He walks in with a large metal case and instructs me to get on the bed and lay down.
Instead of scalpels, tweezers, forceps or any other kind of medical equipment you might except a surgeon to turn up with, inside he has a vice, screw-driver, clamps and a hammer. Not your usual operating tools.
It’s time for my cyborg servicing. Just like a car it’s time for some repairs. The 5km service perhaps.
Dr Al Muderis tells me he will need to take the abutment (the piece of metal attached to my implant that sticks out of my leg) off and replace it with a new one. One that fits.
He places my leg in the vice and unscrews the bolt with a jolt. There’s a sharp twist but it doesn’t hurt.
He pulls out the new piece and the hammer and tells me this part might hurt a bit.
I gulp nervously and grip onto the bed. I can feel my fingers tightening around the bed sheets as he raises the hammer.
It’s only a little tap and I relax. Not so bad really.
Turns out I was lured into a false sense of security as he brings the hammer up again and brings it down with an almighty whack!
“Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” I yelp as the pain rockets up the bone. Essentially he has just hit my femur with a hammer. If yesterday was painful, this is a whole other universe of pain. One I would be glad to never visit again.
But at least I didn’t swear this time. I don’t think he would have approved.
The pain doesn’t last and with trepidation I slip the leg on.
It fits! Hoorah, hoorah.
I do a few laps of the room for him and he looks on approvingly. He seems quite impressed when I am able to walk with one crutch and tell him I have managed a few steps unaided even though I really shouldn’t.
“You’re not pistoning,” he says with surprise.
From the very beginning he has said this would be the case with my hip.
“Your hip is doing so much better than we ever thought possible,” he adds.
Oh good. Glad he had such faith in me. But I beam all the same. I feel like a child in kindy who has just been awarded a gold star.
From the first operation he has constantly said the stump was a bit long but today he explains why he didn’t amputate higher; if he did then my bone would have been too narrow for the implant. This makes sense and I am relieved to hear there was a reason and it wasn’t just a miscalculation.
He packs up his tool kit and says he will see me in six weeks.
I am no longer a faulty cyborg.
My fellow cyborg Ali is leaving today. She has graduated and is out of here with top honors.
I give her a big hug. We both feel like we have been through such a profound life-changing journey together. It has been an intense couple of weeks and I feel incredibly close to her. She is one of the few people who will ever truly understand this experience and what I have been through. I wonder if this is how the contestants on The Biggest Loser feel when they leave. They live and breathe their challenge with their fellow contestants and then when they enter the real world it’s only those who have been in there with them who can truly understand the journey.
We have been through a journey filled with so much emption, in a world that is removed from the real world. Cyborg walking school has been an intense physical, mental and emotional journey.
Us cyborgs are bonded for life.