Was not long ago my surgery was completed and was put into my first ever cast - not bad considering my early years as a child falling off everything I ventured on (more on my head though, which can explain a lot).
Reflecting back, I looked at the ups and downs of being restricted to cast for over 8 weeks.
At the early stages I was super happy to have the surgery completed. I've waited over 13 years to have the right procedure offered and it was also the right time as other parts of the body were slowly being affected by the imbalance of my legs.
After a few days of pushing the limits using the crutches and having a few fails, falling over on slippery surfaces (as with anything it always happens in 3's) so after the first one I knew there would be two more - and yes there were 3 fails to be precise! You soon realise though the limitations that have been set for yourself and the initial frustration can set in.
DOWN - Frustration.
Frustration can set in quickly. It did for me due with the continued offer of "can I help with anything", "here, let me do that for you" or "you okay?". I have always wanted to do everything for myself and only ever take on help when I had failed the first time - so teaching myself to actually accept an offer of help from anyone took some time but I think I say I have achieved that - maybe :).
UP - Thinking outside the box.
Being restricted to the house with crutches and with all the above offers of help I decided to find alternative ways to get out, explore and find ways of doing things differently. My knee scooter which I had received from day dot was my saving grace in most of these cases.
I managed to get to town a couple kms away to get exercise, shopping, see doctors, scrub decking, harvest fruit from the garden and most of all to get out of the house.
As with anyone when you are restricted you have to adapt and find new ways of doing things.
UP - Getting to meet great people who can help in the future.
At every stage after surgery I have met people either going through their own recoveries, have offered advice or support and people who are helping everybody go through each step.
I have been really lucky I have a great support team around me - especially my wife Sam. She has been awesome through this process and always questions me over every decision that has to be made and supports me when during the downs.
I have been able to speak with surgeons, nurses, other practitioners, friends and family. All who have had their words of wisdom to move forward successfully.
DOWN - Travel.
Having surgery completed in Auckland means a lot of travel - initial consultations, surgery and follow-up appointments. I eventually figured out a way to still have my foot raised by sitting in the back seat whilst having the front seat folded right back - much easier.
UP - Saving cash.
One major thing I noticed whilst being in cast is the money you can save - not going out as much and eating healthier. The credit card was asking questions after being left in the wallet for many weeks. I don't recommend anyone to go out and break a leg on purpose to save cash but it's just what I noticed.
DOWN - Getting a comfortable sleep.
Getting sleep is important for everyone - having a leg that is in cast and even now it is off, getting comfortable in bed at nights can be tricky. No easy fix for this, just trying as many tricks you can until you find that perfect fit (3 pillows wrapped in a towel on the bed to keep it raised was my trick).
UP - Experiencing new things.
Being in a cast for the first time I got to experience some cool things and I took videos of them to remember. Caution - some images may cause discomfort.
Getting my cast removed was good but the k-wire removal below was pretty awesome - fairly pain free but felt kinda awkward. The pins were actually inside the bones of the toes (no wonder I have fat pinky's at the moment).
I've got still a long road ahead re-introducing weight bearing exercises and rehabilitation programs to strengthen my leg muscles and lengthen tendons/ligaments but I am looking forward to the work.
Will keep you posted.