Finally Some Answers

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.

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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.

Forced to be apart again

Forced to be apart again

“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.

Excellent.

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.

future

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.

happen

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.

Success!

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.

If I Was To Be Trampled By A Horse…

I’m not sure it would hurt anymore than the pain I cam currently in.

After seeing Django Unchained I told Chris I might need to adjust my pain scale. If 10 is being trampled by a horse or knee-capped or stabbed than surely any sort of pain I am feeling pales in comparison.

Tonight I am not so sure.

I feel like my hip has been kicked by a fiery horse rebelling against its rider. It burns and throbs and aches, pulsating in pain in time with my heartbeat.

The rest of my leg has been set on fire and fused with an electrical current, which sparks and crackles and snaps.

The pain is taking up all space in my mind.  There is no room for another thought. I am possessed by an unrelenting demon. The demon laughs in the face of the painkiller I throw at it in order to pacify it. Oh how I long for the days of ketamine. It may have made me send loved up messages and buy random purchases online but boy did it slay pain.

brave

Since I have barely worn the leg for four days and have done nothing to aggravate nor put any strain on my hip, this is what concerns me most. If the pain was from doing too much, this I could handle. This would make sense.

But this pain makes no sense. Like trying to make sense of a puzzle with missing pieces, I don’t know what it means and it doesn’t logically add up.

I take an endone and get a couple of hours of respite but then the demon starts up again. I wake with a jolt of pain. My leg feels like it is being wrung out like wet washing by an angry gorilla and my hip feels like it has been kicked by a an elephant.

I can feel the tears threatening to rise and spill forth and I can do little to hold them back. Like the drug addict I feared I would become I desperately call out to the nurses and beg them for more drugs.  Stronger drugs.

At first they say no but I plead and wail and they relent.

I gobble those pain killers like candy.

I laugh to myself about what the nurses must think about my descriptions of the pain. A kick from a horse, cattle prod with jolts of electricity, a gorilla wringing my leg out like washing and a sumo wrestler sitting and squashing me; I’m not sure the other patients talk of their pain quite like this.

Dear hip and leg, please play nice. Enough with this pain nonsense.

Just A Girl Waiting For A Boy To Call

Essentially I am just a girl waiting for a boy to call. Except this boy is a surgeon and rather than a chance at a second date I am awaiting my walking fate.

This morning Dr Webber tells me he has spoken to Dr Nario and he is not too concerned about the gap between the bone and my implant  but we still need to wait for Dr Al Muderis to decide what it all means and if it is ok.

Until then it means no leg.

I feel like I am wasting yet another day. It has now been four days without the leg. I am frustrated. I have limited time here and I don’t want to be wasting a second of it.

Chris reassures me I am not wasting time nor have the days been wasted.

“You needed the rest,” he tells me consolingly.

“If you weren’t here what would you have done? You would have worn the leg anyway and just put up with the pain and it would have made things worse. And then you might have caused a fracture.

“At least here we have been able to monitor it and limit the pain.”

journey

While it is a frustrating situation, he is right. And the silver lining is since I am going to be here longer than expected I can make these days up once I am allowed to reunite with my leg.  I just have to be patient. Patience again? Universe are you trying to tell me something? Clearly this is a key lesson for me to learn.

I anxiously peer at my phone every few minutes constantly checking the time zones in Chicago like it might have sneakily changed in the minutes between when I last looked.

I can’t handle the waiting. Isn’t the saying life doesn’t come to those who wait, but rather those that go out and get it? So I take matters into my own hands and call Dr Al Muderis myself.

It goes straight to voicemail.

Damn.

I resist the urge to go all stalker-girl and call again. At least not for now.

If he doesn’t call by lunchtime then it will be too late his time and I won’t hear anything until tomorrow morning.

I desperately want to be wearing the leg and doing some walking this afternoon but as the minutes trickle by and turn into hours it looks like there will be no walking today and the fate of my bone is still unknown.

All morning I swing between being incredibly frustrated and desperate to know what is going on, to feeling calm, at peace and accepting whatever will be will be.

A million possibilities of what might happen, what this pain could mean, what this x-ray says all dance before me but I can’t entertain them. Not yet, not till I know for sure. There is no point worrying about the unknown. Like Mum always says, “worry does not solve your tomorrow, it just takes away today’s strength.”

worry

There is nothing to do but just wait.

Between sessions Dan and I are outside having a chat about various leg related business and the different parts, knees and feet we are hoping to get once we master the standard model.

A lady pipes up in the background.

“Sorry to eavesdrop but you guys are just beautiful,” she says.

“The way you are talking you could be talking about cars or boats or anything.”

I smile.

“Yep we’re just having a discussion about accessories.”

Not many people can accessories their leg after all.

Back in the gym, I watch enviously as Dan walks up and down the parallel bars. Oh how I wish I could be doing the same.

My phone is still silent.

I can’t resist, I try Dr Al Muderis again.

Straight to voicemail.

Damn. I feel like a jilted lover. Please just answer the phone or call me back. Please.

To distract myself from the waiting I work my body as hard as I can with what I have. Weights, exercise bike, sit-ups anything to keep my body active and my mind busy. Plus it helps to distract me from the fire pit of pain burning in my hip.

As the afternoon draws to a close there is no call. It is now midnight in Chicago so there will be no word today.

Chris has spoke to Dr Webber and he comes over to deliver the verdict.

I can feel my heart pounding.

“Dr Webber said you can wear the leg tomorrow and we can do a light session.”

I grin. This is what I want to hear.

“But if the pain is too much you will have to take it off. You won’t like it but I will make you take it off. I have to be tough.”

I nod.

“And you have to be honest with me with how you are feeling and your pain level. I know you will say you’re fine and just grit your teeth and do it anyway but I will know. I can read you like a book and if I think you are in too much pain then we will stop.”

It’s not what I want to hear but I will be good. I can’t have my leg confiscated again.

He has his serious look on.

Uh oh.

“I am imagining tomorrow it will be quite painful. Considering the pain you have been having without the leg on, I know there will be pain. But we’ll just have to wait and see how much and how it goes and take it from there.”

Oh uncertainty you and I are becoming fast friends.

If I am in too much pain to walk what will this mean? Is that normal after this time? How will this affect my progress? Will I be able to leave? How much pain should I be putting up with?

While the thought of the potential pain walking tomorrow makes me uneasy it is the constant pain that has been my companion for the past few days that is concerning me. I haven’t worn the leg for four days, there has been no weight baring nor pressure on the muscles, so why is the pain still there? Last time when I overdid things and was forced to rest it felt infinitely better the next day. But this time the rest has done nothing. The pain has remained and if anything it has gotten worse.

After my session in the gym this afternoon, it is the worst it has been. I have done nothing to aggravate the hip nor the leg so there is no reason why it should be aching, throbbing and burning so much. After speaking to Ali and Dan who are not experiencing any pain I know this isn’t normal.

Chris admits he is worried and concerned too. But there is nothing we can do about it for the minute. It is a wait and see kind of game.

Despite him not wanting to, I convince him to let me do a trial couple of laps with the leg on. I just want to see if it is excruciatingly painful when I walk. If the hip feels as bad as it did on Saturday when I attempted to walk and just how much worse the pain is when I put weight through it.

I tentatively put it on and take a few steps. God it feels good to be reunited and upright again. Oh I have missed you little fella! Without the leg, crutching about I have felt unnatural and like I am missing something so it feels good to be whole again.

There is more pain than I have had previously walking but no shooting, stabbing or shocking pain that makes me wince each step. This is a good sign.

I do a couple of laps before Chris instructs me to head back to my room. That is all I am allowed for today.

It was only a small effort but I feel strangely triumphant. Sure it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable experience but it was nowhere near as painful as I had expected. Chris is also pleased and pleasantly surprised by this.

Tomorrow might not be so bad after all. Or at least while I am walking that is. I am still in substantial pain without the leg on so I’m not sure what this means. All along Dr Al Muderis warned me I would suffer hip pain. Perhaps that hip replacement might need to happen sooner than we expected. What that will means in terms of my recovery, in terms of work, in terms of the next few months I don’t know. Life is holding its cards close to its chest at the moment and not letting me have any sneak peeks.

A few frightening possibilities run through my mind but I dare not let them stick around and chat to me. There is no use worrying about anything until I know for sure what is going on. There are no prizes for the best worrier.

Mum calls to see what the update from the doctor is.

She sounds more frustrated than me by the lack of response.

“What is getting you through? Helping you be so calm and ok with everything, with the uncertainty,” she asks.

Her question catches me off guard.

But she is right, despite my frustration at the situation, at being forced to stay another week and take yet one more week off work, I am surprisingly calm in the face of uncertainly.

be open

Throughout this whole journey, with each set-back, delay or roadblock I have had to simply surrender and accept what will be will be. I can’t change the outcome; I just have to accept it. Breathe and know it will all be ok, it will all work out.

I also feel calm in my trust that everything happens for a reason. This has constantly been the case throughout this whole thing. Like I have said before, if that first delay hadn’t of happened then I wouldn’t have ended up in Norwest Hospital or here and I wouldn’t have met Chris. And if my rehab stay hadn’t of been delayed I wouldn’t have been in here with Ali and Dan. It has all worked out the way it was supposed to each time and I trust completely it will again this time. I may not know what the future holds and it might seem scary at the time but I have faith it is all happening exactly as it should be and to get me where I need to be. At the time I might not feel it is where I want to be but that is the thing about life, it’s not always about what you want but rather what you need.

Plus Plan A might not have worked out and if the new Plan B fails then well, the alphabet has 25 other letters. I just have to roll with the punches.

Mum raises the scary possibility of what it will mean if I need to have a hip replacement or if this pain is more sinister.

“You might have to quit your job. How would you feel about that?”

I gulp. Truth be told I am terrified to the core of this possibility. Of giving up the job I love, my friends, my whole life really.

work out

But if that is what life has planned for me I guess I will need to accept and be ok with that. At the very beginning when I was weighing up this surgery I was prepared to quit my job if I had to. This chance at a new life was too important and it still is. Jobs may come and go but this cyborg business, this is for life.  And despite the setbacks, roadblocks and uncertainties it is shaping up to be a pretty good one.

Caterpillars into butterflies,

Sand into pearls,

Coal into diamonds,

& with time and pressure,

You are being worked into something just as magnificent. – Lorna Jane

D-Day

I’m lacing up my shoes and preparing to head down to the gym for a cyborg walking school: the advanced class lesson when Chris enters my room, closes the door and pulls up a seat.

He asks how I am, about my pain and the events of the weekend before telling me to take a seat.

Uh oh.

I do as I am told.

“You are not going to like this,” he begins.

I can already tell I’m not.

“Dr Nario has instructed me not to let you use the leg today. Not until we know what is going on with the x-ray.”

My smile falters. I had thought I was able to do an easy session.

He shakes his head.

“I have to be tough. I don’t want to be but I have to.”

I bite my lip. I can feel the frustration coursing through my veins. I’m fairly certain there is no fracture, I am fine and this x-ray and yet another day of not walking is a waste of time.

Last week went so well and on Friday afternoon I was feeling so confident and triumphant and now I feel like I have taken two steps back. I feel the bitter flicker of failure.

Nothing is smooth sailing on this journey that is for sure.

“You’re welcome to still come down to the gym and do weights and all the other stuff just nothing with the leg,” Chris tells me.

“Is this ok?”

I nod and ask him to just give me a minute.

slow down

I take some deep breaths and flick through my inspiration cards to find something to give me that push towards positivity.

Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Trust the process.

Right, everything happens for a reason. I may not know what that is right now but I trust eventually it will be revealed to me.

I’ll do a workout in the gym, have my x-ray and hopefully be walking again by the afternoon after getting the all clear.

I can do this.

The wardsman comes to collect me for my x-ray. My fate awaits.

I chat nervously on the ride over there. It’s high-speed nervous chatter. My specialty.

As I climb down from the bed I ask the radiologist if she can see any fractures.

She shakes her head.

“No there’s nothing obvious. But we’ll have to wait to see what the report says.”

I beam. This is a good sign. I’ll be cleared in no time.

Back at rehab Chris takes a look at my numerous x-rays. Like a model’s photo shoot there are many poses to look through.

He holds the films up to the light and peers at them intently.

“There’s no fracture,” he says.

Yes! I mentally do a fist pump.

He mentions that Dr Nario had said the implant might have moved and he inspects the site of the implant and the gap between it and the bone. The gap is slightly larger in the new x-rays than in the previous ones.

“But that could just be the angle. I think it all looks fine but we’ll wait to hear what the doctor says.”

Things are looking good. Now I just have to wait.

Both Dr Nario and Dr Al Muderis are overseas so I check the time zone and am thrilled to see it’s only morning over there. Plenty of time for them to see the x-ray and give me a call with the result.

Until then though, there is no leg.

In an effort to cheer me up Chris takes me down the other gym to use the cross-trainer. I am grateful for this distraction and boost of endorphins.

Crutching down there I feel like I am missing a piece of me. I don’t feel right without the leg. It’s only been a few weeks but already it feels a part of me.

By the end of the afternoon there is still no word from the doctors.

Frustration central: population me.

Oh well, tomorrow I’m sure I will be given the all clear and I can wear the leg again and get back to mastering this walking school.

I am still in a fair bit of pain so I relent and take some painkillers. Chris has been constantly telling me to take drugs if I am in pain but until now I have been stubborn.

I am not a fan of drugs. I don’t like the idea of masking pain rather than dealing with the source of it. I am also a big believer that given the right ingredients; healthy food, exercise and sleep, the body can heal itself.

But after taking the drugs tonight I am pain free for the first time in days. Maybe Chris was right yet again. This drug business isn’t too bad.

Perhaps I am just a slow learner. Looking back in the last couple of years I have only been really sick twice. Once with a horrendous flu during which for two weeks I refused to take cold and flu tablets instead opting for vitamin C and Echinacea. But when I didn’t get any better and finally gave in and took the drugs it went away in a few days.

The same goes for earlier last year I suffered from searing stomach pain every time I ate and I let it go on for a couple of weeks thinking it would get better on it’s own. Then after constantly being reduced to tears with the daily pain I went and saw a doctor and discovered I had a stomach injection which healed within a few days with the antibiotics they prescribed.

I don’t want to admit it but maybe there really is something in this drug business after all.

Since I was supposed to be going home on Wednesday my good friend S stops by for sushi and to see me before I leave for Queensland.

I fill her in on the roadblock and the waiting game.

learn

We have been friends for more than 10 years but tonight I feel a shift in our friendship. I feel like for the first time perhaps ever I am completely open and honest with her. It wasn’t a trust thing, I love this girl to pieces but I have always kept my struggles to myself, too afraid or perhaps ashamed to share them with others. But this journey has changed me and I chat candidly about it all with her. About the changes I have made during this journey, the shifts I have felt within myself and the lessons Chris has helped me to learn.

She tells me she has noticed the change in me and has witnessed the gradual shifts for herself.

I feel closer to her than I have ever felt and I guess I have Chris to thank yet again.

The ward doctor filling in for Dr Nario interrupts our dinner to take a peek at the x-rays. He agrees there is no fracture but seems very concerned about the gap between the bone and the implant.

He doesn’t know what it means exactly but he doesn’t seem too pleased. But we have to wait to hear what Dr Al Muderis makes of it all.

Back to waiting. I sleep with my phone next to my pillow willing it ring.

Potential Roadblock

I put the leg ready for my first Saturday physio session. The pressure on my hip is incredible. I wince. It feels like an obese sumo wrestler is sitting on my shoulders and my hip is being asked to take all the force. While my hip has been aching a fair bit this week this is a whole new sensation. It is joined by the same shooting pain up the back of my leg I experienced yesterday.

I take a few steps and I think I could push through the pain. It would be unpleasant but I could do it if I put my mind to it.

Like a thought bubble in a movie, my mind is drawn back to what Chris said yesterday.

“I need you to take it easy this weekend. Promise me tomorrow if you are still in pain you will take it easy. It’s ok if you don’t do anything in the gym with the leg on.

“Rest is just as important. Don’t feel you need to push through too much pain. I know you always used to but this is different. Take it easy.”

I sit on the bed torn.

It’s the classic situation of an angel on one shoulder telling me what I should be doing and the devil on the other telling me what I could be doing.

I want to be down in that gym walking, progressing, being one day better than yesterday. Building those muscles, taking another step towards my goal.

I bite my lip.

I know what Chris would want me to do. I know what I should really do.

It takes all my strength to ignore the devilish voice in my head whispering to me to forget the pain and I take the leg off.

As hard as it is there is a part of me that is relieved. Relieved I won’t have to push through the rather intense pain and can just relax.

Ok, let’s give this rest thing a try.

Today I love and hate you in equal measures

Today I love and hate you in equal measures

I sit on the bed and stare at the leg half disgusted that is has betrayed me and also half longingly.

Four minutes pass.

It is the longest four minutes of my life.

I know I have done the right thing but I can’t stop the vice like guilt that descends upon me. I can’t help but feel like I have failed in some way. That I am weak, that I am giving up and not doing all I could, all I should be doing to reach my goals.

Half an hour passes and the guilt intensifies. I feel a little panicky and jittery.

I text Chris and he is shocked that not only did I listen to him but I am choosing to rest.

He tells me he is impressed, this is a big step.

It does little to alleviate the guilt.

I just have to ride this out.

Dr Nario stops by for a chat during his rounds.

He asks me about my pain. Chris had noted in my file the level of pain I was in yesterday and Dr Nario is concerned. He seems a little more concerned when I tell him I didn’t put the leg on for physio this morning due to the pain in my hip and bone.

He tells me it is probably nothing too serious but he would like to organise an x-ray on Monday and will give Dr Al Muderis a call just to check a few things.

He returns with a solemn face.

“Have you already booked your flights home?” He asks.

I tell him we are driving but plan to leave on Friday.

He leans forward.

I can feel my heart quickening. I don’t like where this is going.

“It is probably nothing but given your level of pain we would like to do an x-ray to make sure there isn’t a fracture.”

A fracture? A fracture? Surely not? If there was a fracture wouldn’t I be in extreme pain? I wouldn’t be able to walk or put any weight through it at all I would imagine.

“Even if there isn’t a fracture given your level of pain we would like to keep you here till next weekend just to make sure everything is ok. We don’t want you to go home and for things to get worse or something like a fracture happen,” he said.

I nod nervously.

Thoughts push and shove their way through my mind like frantic shoppers on Boxing Day.

What will this mean for work? I need to be back in a week. If it is a fracture how will this set me back? What will it mean for physio on Monday? Will my parents still be able to have the time off to take me home?

I can feel the panic rising as he tells me they will look at the x-ray and let me know on Monday.

He gets up to go, leaving me alone with the aftermath of the bombshell. I curl up in a ball on the couch in my room and take a few deep breaths.

No use panicking, not just yet, not until I know for certain what is going on.

I text Chris the update and he calls me immediately.

He doesn’t think it could be a fracture. He agrees I would be in more pain if it was.

“Unless it was a small one,” he adds.

I gulp.

But he continues.

“But I’ve been thinking back over everything we have done in the past few days and there is nothing that could have caused a fracture. A fracture would have to be from a particular incident and there hasn’t been one.”

This is comforting. The doctors are likely just being overly cautious which I suppose is a good thing.

buttercup

 

He tells me to try and relax, rest up and to keep my chin up and stay positive.

Like so much of this journey I am learning I really just have to breathe, take the set-backs, roadblocks and delays in my stride. Trust in the process and know it will all work out in the end. Like Dev Patel says in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, then it is not yet the end.”

There is no point rushing this process, it is too important and I have come too far to rush out of here before everything is right.

I do need to be back at work but I also need my bone to be ok. I need it to be ready to tackle everyday life and be as strong as it can be.

The worst is just the waiting for the x-ray on Monday. Then all will be revealed.

Resting and waiting, this is going to be a struggle.

Cyborg Walking School: Advanced Edition Day Two

I can feel the grass beneath my feet. I let out a laugh of delight. Who would have thought it would ever be possible for me?

It feels a little trickier than the flat ground but I am doing it. I have now tackled and mastered (I use the term loosely) nearly all terrains I will encounter in the real world when I leave here next week.

It’s also time to practice walking in flat shoes rather than just the joggers I have been wearing. After all I can’t spend the rest of my life in my joggers. I do have a reputation to uphold after all.

It is surprisingly difficult. Without the spongy sole of the joggers there is a lot more pressure going through my bone with each step and it feels a little more awkward. But I need to master this. I will need to wear these shoes when I am back at work in a week.

I pace up and down the bars like a lion in a small cage at the zoo. I am determined to get used to this.

Chris knows about my love for lollies and slips a packet of red frogs into my bag when I am not looking. I think he just wants to see me bouncing off the walls on a sugar high. Or maybe it is the sugar crash that he would prefer. At least then I would be resting. The resting periods are always the hardest of our physio sessions. I sit on the chair like a squirmy child in the naughty corner desperately watching the clock and waiting for him to tell me it is ok to do something again.

As a former pack a day lolly addict I am careful not to inhale the whole thing at once.

After lunch when I am walking I get a shooting pain up the bone and the back of the leg. I inhale sharply. I try to carry on but the pain persists and increases. It gets to the point that I can’t put any weight through the leg without the sharp shooting and ache in the bone.

For the first time I voluntarily take a seat.

I am trying to learn not too push through too much pain. And I am learning to be honest with how I am feeling and how much pain I am in.

Chris tells me it is enough on the leg for today. I begrudgingly agree. But secretly I am pleased. I can barely stand it hurts so much.

Back on the bike again

On the bike again

I am still allowed to visit the other gym but I’m not allowed to walk there. However, I am allowed a small attempt on the upright exercise bike with the leg on.

It’s a little more uncomfortable than the other bike and my foot won’t stay straight so keeps getting caught. But other than that it feels good. I’m not Tour De France speed but it’s a beginning. I only last five minutes before the pain sets in a little too strongly and I don’t want to push myself too much.

Before he leaves for the weekend Chris sits me down.

He has his serious face on.

“I need you to take it easy this weekend. Promise me tomorrow if you are still in pain you will take it easy. It’s ok if you don’t do anything in the gym with the leg on. “

He is constantly telling me to take it easy, slow down and rest but there is a difference when he means business. And he means business this time.

I nod and promise.

He tells me he has already spoken to the weekend physio and has instructed her to kick me out of the gym if she suspects I am pushing through too much pain.

I bite my lip and nod again.

While I don’t want to miss a session I also know my body does need rest at times and I want to be at my best for next week and my last few days here with Chris. I can’t waste those days.

He tells me he wants me to really rest as he knows when I go home I will go hard. I won’t be able to help myself. He is probably right.

“Especially your first day back I know you will probably wear the leg all day as you won’t want to take it off and you will be rubbish at night. And you will probably only be using one crutch. I think I know you well enough now to know you will do this.

“I need you to take it easy.”

I can only promise to try.

And I really will.

I know I need to work on getting rest and committing to balance especially when I get home as it will be a busy time with gym, physio, work and social events. Especially those first few weeks when I will be so excited to be back in the real world and catching up with all my friends.

He tells me I will need to prioritize, I wont’ be able to do it all.

I admit to him I am slightly nervous about returning home.

It’s not that I’m not excited. Believe me I am. But there are also a few nerves. I know it will be fine, I will be fine but still they are there.

Part of it I think is that I feel like I have changed so much through this journey, I feel like a completely different person to the girl that left all those months ago but going home nothing there will have changed. No one else will have changed. I think it will feel weird.

“Do you worry you will slip back? Go back to who you were?” Chris asks.

who you are

Part of it is I think perhaps I am. But more so it probably more some of the situations I wasn’t happy about and want to change.

“If it’s important to you then you won’t change,” Chris reminds me.

He is right and I feel strong in my convictions and who I am. My confidence in myself is growing each day.

“And if there are things you aren’t happy with, change them.”

Again he is right. It really is that simple.

I already have transformed my life and changed myself so much through the past year, what’s a few more changes. I am in charge of my life and my future and I can build it any way I like.

Cyborg Walking School: Advanced Edition

Last night I was in incredible pain. My hip felt like it had been shot as it burned hot with spider webs and spasms of pain. The rest of my leg felt like it was being poked with an electric cattle prod.

But at least I know my muscles are working, changing and ultimately getting better. Either that or I might have slightly overdone it in the gym yesterday.

But this morning the pain is but a memory apart from my right butt cheek which feels like it has done 1000 squats. This is I am pleased about. Hello even butt. Hello looking good in skinny jeans.

Time for some advanced cyborg lessons

Time for some advanced cyborg lessons

Today is Cyborg Walking School: The Advanced Class.

Chris has asked me to write a list of all the things I want/need to achieve before I leave here next week as well as an action plan for when we will do them.

Today we are tackling ramps, uneven ground, getting up from the floor and the exercise bike with the leg on.

I will be graduating to P plates in no time.

First up it’s out to the carpark for some ramp work.

I have never been a fan of slopes. It’s the going down that is the trickiest. It always feels like the knee might give out on the artificial leg which marks each step with a slight nervousness and trepidation.

I really don’t want to fall out here. The cement wouldn’t be so forgiving. At the same time I wouldn’t mind having a small fall just to get it out of the way. Not a bad one, just a little one so I know I can survive. After all the horror stories I have heard about people falling after having this operation I am scared. I just want to get it out of the way.

Chris jokes that he can push me over if I would like. I consider it. Hmm maybe not.

I take my first step down the ramp and my knee gives a little suddenly. I catch myself with the crutches and carry on.

“Don’t give me a heart attack,” Chris says.

But it feels ok. We go up and down the ramp a few times before venturing further into the carpark and braving a couple more steeper slopes. There is a car behind us we walk down the ramp to the bottom storey. I’ve always wanted to stop traffic but I didn’t quite picture it like this.

I am taking a fair bit of weight through the crutches but it’s a start. And a pretty good one. I am one proud little cyborg. I have mastered stage one of the advanced cybrog walking class.

getting there

We even try walking on a patch of pebbles in the garden to mix up the terrain. I can feel each pebble under my foot. It is incredible. Never before have I been able to feel the ground like this.

Next up it’s stairs. I thought these would be challenging but they are surprisingly easy. I have been worried about not being able to carry things up and down the stairs at home so we practice this. Not surprisingly, the physio gym doesn’t have a washing basket so Chris finds me something that is about the same size and an awkward shape.

I pass the test.

Hoorah.

Then it’s some balancing work on the foam mat to make sure I am weight shifting correctly and standing even. It still doesn’t feel quite natural but I am getting better at being able to tell when I am standing even and correctly.

I am allowed to do my weights routine standing up on the mat and it while there is a bit of pain and pressure in my hip it feels great to be upright and doing my routine as I used to.

I probably push through slightly too much pain and I feel incredibly cramped and sore afterwards but also triumphant.

Getting up and down off the floor might seem like a simple thing but with the leg on it feels like a logistical challenge.

I would normally get up by kneeling on the right knee but I am nervous about kneeling on this leg and putting the pressure through the bone.

I attempt some push-ups on the ground and then it’s the moment of truth. I kneel on both knees and brace for the pain but it never comes.

With a huge grin I stand up.

Tick. Another challenge complete.

Then finally; the exercise bike.

I can tell Chris is nervous about this one and would probably prefer I didn’t attempt it but he lets me do it anyway. As long as it don’t go too fast. He fixes me with a stern look.

I put my feet in the pedals and the first spin the knee jars awkwardly and there is a jolt of pain. I wince but continue. After a few more uncomfortable spins it feels much better. I feel like I am actually pushing with my right leg for the first time. It’s not working as hard as the left but it’s definitely working more than it ever as on a bike. Looks like the free ride is over for the right side. Better get used to this muscles.

I’m not allowed to wear the leg in the other gym on the rest of the cardio of equipment but I don’t care, I am on a high from all the day’s achievements. I feel like I am really getting somewhere. They may be small things but I can see I am heading in the right direction. I’ll be reaching my goals in no time. Well, eventually anyway.

Chris stays back so I can work out longer.

“I know how much you like it,” he says.

I don’t think I have ever been more grateful to someone. Not just for this but for everything he has done from the work with my walking in the gym, to listening and helping me work through the emotional side of things to all the little extras he has gone out of his way to do for me to keep me positive and ensure my success here.

accident

He tells me many people report forgetting about this rehab phase. It becomes a blur in their memory of recovery as their new amazing life takes over.

“You can forget about this place but try not to forget about me,” he says.

Like that is possible.

I heard in a movie once that the finger-prints never fade from the lives we have touched.

Sometimes you’ll never even know the impact you have made upon another’s life nor how greatly you helped them even though actions you viewed as small and simple.

I am a firm believer that we don’t meet people by accident. Often people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Chris may have come into my life for a reason but his fingerprints on my life will last a lifetime.