The nurse this morning remarks my leg looks like a piece of machinery for NASA. A mini satellite dish able to pick up signals.
I laugh, it does.
The next nurse that comes in is less perceptive. I have the sheets pulled up and she sees one of the TED stockings hanging on the bed.
“Why aren’t you wearing your right stocking?” She scolds me.
I laugh, thinking she is joking. But as she unties the stocking and goes to lift the sheet I realize she has no idea what I am in for.
“I don’t have a right leg,” I say matter of factly.
A look of embarrassment passes across her face.
“Oh right of course,” she says trying to cover her mistake up with a breezy laugh before hurrying out of the room.
It’s a good morning, I am feeling bright and well so Mum brings me down some dumbbells and I am able to do some weights sitting on the end of the bed. It’s only been four days but it feels good to be moving my body again.
I’m out of my nightie and in a real dress and as Mum and I sit in lounge chairs in the café downstairs sipping chai and catching up on the latest gossip mags, I forget for a moment that I am in hospital.
I notice a kid in the chair in front of me trying to subtly peer at my leg. He is pretending to be driving his toy car around the edge of the chair as a ruse for being able to turn around and peek at my leg. I laugh. Normally this would bug me somewhat but today I don’t mind. I do have a piece of metal sticking out of my leg after all and I would want to gawk too.
Jenny and Nat return to see if they could figure out the stump loader but it still doesn’t fit.
Nat doesn’t want to force it as even if they get in on, she is worried that once I start to push down on the scales it will become stuck and I will look like a peg-legged pirate for life. I don’t quite fancy a life confined to the high seas so I agree.
Meanwhile I am panicking I have been fitted with the wrong size cyborg part.
Later the rep from Orthodynamics stops by to try his luck with the stump loader. He seems convinced the physios just didn’t know what they were doing.
“They’re all the same size,” he says as he reaches down to attach it.
“Each part is exactly the same size.”
He scratches his head puzzled.
“Right, well, this really doesn’t fit does it? That’s strange. I don’t know what has happened here.”
I can feel the panic rising.
He returns later with some pre-used stump loaders that some of the other 26 cyborgs before me have used before.
They look like they have had a decent work out.
To my relief they slide right on like a perfectly fitting dress.
I get on the scales, nervously wondering what it is going to feel like. This is the first time in my life my bone will have taken any load through it. Nat explains since I was amputated so young before I had even walked, my bones had never probably taken load. Despite the fact I have been walking about for the past 24 years, with the old prosthesis the bones actually didn’t take the load. I hadn’t thought of this. This is why my femur is so underdeveloped and tiny and why they want to take the loading process slower with me.
The loader feels heavy on the end of my leg, I push down but it doesn’t hurt at all and I can easily push down the target of 5kg. I can push a little more but Nat warns me against it. Best to go slow she says. The goal is to hold it for 10 minutes. I feel a few twinges of pain throughout but it’s not too bad. When the timer clicks over 10 minutes, I feel as triumphant as a marathon runner crossing over that finishing line.
For the next three days I will continue at 5kg at two or three times a day before increasing to 10kg.
Nat warns me I will likely be sore tonight and I am. It’s not pain per say but rather tired and achy like I have had a tough workout at the gym.
It’s uncomfortable but it’s uncomfortable in a positive way. I am one step closer to walking.