Despite the horrendous night of pain I have just experienced and my nerves about what it all means, I feel strangely calm about it all. I feel a peace descend upon me in the shower and I feel calm and relaxed in the face of it all.
I am confident that whatever is meant to be will be and I am strong enough to tackle whatever that is.
Mum couldn’t wait to hear the verdict and has called Dr Al Muderis herself. He tells her the x-ray hadn’t been sent through but he is not too concerned about it all. He will send Belinda, his assistant out this morning to check everything and have a chat with me.
I reunite with my leg and nervously stand. There is a jolt of pain with that first step and I wince. Just breathe Miranda, breathe.
I head down to the gym and every step is a battle. It is not excoriating but it is not pleasant.
I have to stop in the hallway to lean against the wall and breathe through the pain.
Right, smile on, let’s get into the gym and do this walking business.
I manage a few laps before Chris arrives.
He tells me to take a seat.
“I have only been walking a few minutes,” I protest.
He gestures to the seat again. There is no smile.
This is not good.
He sits next to me and I brace myself for whatever is coming.
“You are not going to like this but I need you to take the leg off.”
I begin to protest again but he interrupts.
“I know you don’t want to, I don’t want it for you but professionally I can’t let you wear it. I can’t let you be in as much pain as you were last night. That’s not good for you. And I know you will struggle through and tell me you are fine but I don’t want you to be in pain.
“I don’t want to be, but I have to be tough. Stefan is coming to today and I want you to be able to walk for him. I don’t want you to be in too much pain by then.”
It’s the last thing I want to hear and I am frustrated to feel like I am again taking a step back but I understand. He is just looking out for me.
There is a part of me that is almost relieved to take the leg off and not have to struggle through anymore steps. The minute I unscrew it, I can feel the pressure release and my pain lesson.
Looks like it’s back to weights and core work for a while.
There is an old guy to my right who every few minutes mutters to me; “you have one leg,” like it might have slipped my attention. Like I have simply forgotten to put my pants on. He keeps remarking to the physio, “but she has one leg!”
I’m not sure what he would like done about it.
The rest of the oldies in the gym pepper me with questions about why I am not wearing the leg and I need a breather. Just for a minute.
Despite my resolve to be calm, take it as it comes and knowledge it will all work out in the end, I can’t help it. I allow myself a few tears in the bathroom accompanied by some deep breaths. I think it’s the uncertainly of what is going on and partly due to the constellation of pain throbbing in my leg.
I fix my mascara; readjust my smile and head back to the gym.
Despite my best efforts somehow Chris seems to know exactly what I have just been doing and gives me a comfortingly pat on the arm.
Nothing gets past him.
Belinda stops by to deliver the verdict I have been waiting for.
“The x-ray is fine,” she says.
Oh sweet relief.
She shows me the text from Dr Al Muderis who has said the implant looks fine and it is not possible for it to have moved. He is upset the other doctor even put it into my head that something would be wrong with the implant.
We discuss my pain and she doesn’t seem concerned that the pain in the hip has anything to do with my lack of a hip joint nor does it indicate a hip replacement is on the cards.
She mentions that it is quite normal to be in pain in the hip and they always thought this would be the case for me.
The other pain I describe she seems more puzzled by. She mentions it sounds like nerve pain which is unusual.
Dr Paul Whiting, the anesthetist will come by tomorrow to prescribe some more drugs in order to get this pain under control. Time to bring in the big drug guns. I might just leave this rehab only to need to go to another rehab to get off the drugs. Now that’s a little awkward.
While she is keen for me to go home as soon as possible in order to do so I need to eliminate this pain.
At lunch Dan suggests heading over to Norwest Hospital to show off our new legs to the nurses who looked after us there. I am keen to see Nicky and the gang and show off my new toy.
The only problem is Chris has confiscated my leg.
I think I know the answer to my question before I even ask but I ask it all the same.
“Do you think I could possibly wear the leg if I only put it on when I got there and only did one lap?”
He tells me to take a seat.
Only bad news is delivered from a seat.
He looks conflicted.
“I know how much you want to do this and I want it for you,” he begins.
“But I really don’t like the idea of you wearing it for the first time in four days out unsupervised.”
My heart sinks.
“Plus who are you kidding, one lap!” He laughs.
“You won’t just do one lap.”
He is right.
“Look I can’t stop you but I really don’t want you to wear it,” he says.
“Please don’t hate me.”
How could I hate him? And while I don’t want it to be this way, he is right. I’ll behave. It was unfair of me to put him in this position in the first place.
I shouldn’t have worried.
The nurses were excited just to see us up and about, beaming and full of joy.
They don’t seem surprised at all that my leg would have been confiscated.
“Have you been going too hard,” they chide me.
“You need to slow down,” they say with a laugh.
I show them the videos of my walking and they exclaim with excitement and I can feel my grin widen. It feels good to be excited about walking, about my progress and my future again. It is infectious and I leave on a high akin to the one I felt earlier during my boxing session with Chris.
I even score a few free magazines from Dr Al Muderis’ rooms at the hospital while I am there.
Boxing, free magazines and a rekindled excitement, despite the turmoil of the morning and the pain situation, it has been a good day. There is always plenty to be grateful about it would seem.
I am allowed to be reunited with my leg just before Stefan arrives and surprisingly it doesn’t feel too bad. Nothing like this morning.
Things are looking up.
I chat with Stefan about the pain and he is perplexed. He brainstorms a few possibilities with Chris. Squashed nerves, torn tendons, bone pressure, it is all thrown into the mix. I try to follow but it is all a bit above my head. The end result is the pain is for now a mystery. Like fog clearing, hopefully more will become clear in the following days.
Again it is a waiting game.
Ah patience, you and I are getting to know each other quite well.
Tomorrow, the leg and I can get back to proper walking school. Chris warns we’ll have to talk it easy and slower than last week but we are getting back on track. And despite having not walked in a few days he mentions it has improved since he saw me walk on Friday.
As for my discharge and return home, well that depends on how this pain situation plays out.
He explains it needs to be under control before they let me leave especially since I will be moving interstate and living by myself.
Again I feel strangely calm in face of this uncertainty.
The only thing that concerns me is the unknown reason for this pain. If it was a fracture or a torn tendon or something definite then I could face it head on and deal with it. But the not knowing, that is the worst.
I just have to trust the process.
Tomorrow is a new day after all. And cyborg walking school is back in session. My suspension is over.