Day 40! 6-week X-ray and all clear for walking!
I'll go with the bad news first: No horse-riding yet. No heights, basically, for a bit. And I'm not buying a Shetland Pony. (But, I will definitely be pushing at this boundary when my walking gets comfortable enough. I've just asked my horse and he's missing our outings too.)
Everything else is good news. The 6-week X-rays show really good new bone formation and no Lisfranc ligament damage. I'm cleared to walk, which is nice, considering I've been walking (well, hobbling really) indoors since Saturday, just in the splint boot, no crutches, because it felt right. It's really amazing how your body will tell you what's OK and what isn't if you actually listen to it.
Those X-rays were a bit of a contortionist experience. The young radiographer was lovely and we laughed and joked a lot. She was showing me the various weird and wonderful poses I was to assume on several barefoot weightbearing takes, and I'm going, "Ummmmh, can I have one crutch in case I unbalance?" And so, I stood bearing my full bodyweight on my bare injured foot, in so-called flamingo pose, for the first time since my accident. And it didn't hurt, it was just the usual funny sensations coming from that area - pins and needles in the ball of the foot, creakiness, even crunchiness (but it's not the bones, so that's OK
And isn't it cool that the days of film as mainstay have passed for X-ray as well as photography? Nowadays they just have sensitive plates that convert the radiation imprint into zeroes and ones that get sent into a computer for digital re-construction. So, even X-rays are digital these days.
Behind the reception desk at X-ray was a young woman who looked at my astronaut boot and said, "Ah, been there!" I had shown up at 7.30am when things aren't busy and people are happy to chat then. Turns out she fractured her ankle-bone during netball two years previously, when someone stepped on the side of her ankle as she was moving. We compared notes. She says her calf still isn't back to normal size after all that time, but she's working on it. We wished each other luck and an excellent day.
I was way early for my 8.20am orthopaedics appointment in fracture clinic. Someone didn't turn up who should have, so the receptionist bantered with me. We're getting to know each other a little with all this going to fracture clinic - she's a lovely, very energetic, endearingly don't-mess-with-me older lady. She used to ride horses too, but life has taken her elsewhere. We ended up chatting about Monty Python's "Machine That Goes Bing" and the public hospital experience, which has been A1 in all respects for me for this particular injury, everyone
I've been meeting and dealing with have been top-notch wonderful and professional all rolled into one, and as we said to each other, that's often not the case. Also we referred to Grumpy Old Men / Women
which I've loved and identified with since my 30s and she said she formally became like that at 50.
We both swore we'd be holy terrors if we lived to be 80.
Zac the orthopaedic specialist is still enjoying Florida, so today I had a short-term young locum from Perth, resplendent in turban and jet-black beard. All three of the specialists I've seen for this injury have been Generation Y and so lovely, down-to-earth, well-mannered, and professional. The very first leaving class I taught back in 1998 was GenY and after getting to know them, I felt so happy that the world was getting a better generation than our own next, and that's indeed how it has turned out. GenX was so shiitake. Don't get me started on my leaving yearbook, on how most (but not all) of my generation answered the question of what they wanted to achieve with their lives with responses like, "Get rich," "Be a millionaire by the time I'm 25," "Get laid as much as possible," "Own a Ferrari," "Go to Paris and get famous," blah blah yadda yadda. It was all me-me-me, most people didn't appear to consider that they might have something to offer the world, that they should
offer the world. Oh no, the world was like a supermarket at far as most of them were concerned.
My allocated orthopaedics specialist shook my hand warmly and introduced himself, said the X-rays were great, looked at my foot, and said, "Walk! As much as you can, but sensible and not overdoing it. Build it up. No running, no horseriding yet, sorry, walk walk walk!" I asked him if I could rollerblade yet and he laughed and said to me that it's not a problem for my foot, but what he worries about is that I will feel a twinge of electric pain at some point and this will cause me to stack it and fracture something else higher up. So officially he was going to say no. I winked at him and said, "I do use a crash helmet and have full wrist protectors as well as knee and elbow gear on standard as well, so I tell you what, I'll walk walk walk on that foot this week and do a study on the assorted twinges and take it from there, maybe in a week or two...but I promise to stay in pretty flat areas, no big downhills so no uncontrolled speed..."
Next we discussed good hiking trails, since he's from Perth and would like to get out and about a little. He mentioned Bluff Knoll and I told him it's a tourist hike, Toolbrunup is the real deal, and if he wants something that only takes an hour to climb and is the biggest bang for your buck, Mt Talyuberlup is the thing: A cave on top, and when you get on the other side of that, a Lord of the Rings
view, a rock formation like an eagle on your right, and a little goat track between that and the cliff that takes you to the summit proper. This one:
Birthday Walk XIV
by Brett and Sue Coulstock
, on Flickr
...the one Brett and I climbed the weekend before I broke my foot actually... and you might have seen these photos then too.
The friendly orthopaedics fellow got me to write down the name of that one, and showed me my X-rays. He also suggested I make my astronaut boot an outdoors-only thing ASAP and start wearing supportive hiking boots indoors on both feet. He says I can walk on reasonably level ground outdoors immediately as well, in the astronaut boot, in which I will still be anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks - phase in the hiking boots as pain permits. To take crutches for the first couple of days for extra assistance, and in case I need to rest the foot on the way back. Not to do any tiptoeing on my injured foot for a bit, nor heel raises. To do range-of-motion exercises for my ankles, and that he'd tee me up with the physiotherapy team for rehab.
I'm well advised to keep using the pirate leg when on uneven or muddy ground - for my horse feeding routine, basically - for another couple of weeks. He was really interested in the pirate leg actually, so I told him the model name (it was at home!). He also told me that my foot was going to have associated swelling for at least half a year, perhaps a year - that's normal for that sort of fracture.
I couldn't make physio today or they would have sent me straight there, but Brett needed to go to work and he's got the late shift, so we arranged it for early next week, and I'll do all sorts of things meanwhile anyway.
On the way home, I did stop in at Trailblazers and buy myself a new pair of hiking shoes for the rehab, and the mountain climbs that lie beyond.
My old Keens were relegated to farm wear recently, although I did wear them in the last climb before the accident, in the photo above. I needed a new pair anyway - the soles were too worn for decent traction on rock. My last Keens were low-cut, which I prefer for most walks as I really don't ordinarily need ankle support. I have some high-cut Columbia boots for serious stuff like Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, but they're too tight for what I need to do now.
Keens have always been superb for people with wide feet like myself, and you do not need to break them in, they won't rub or blister you. I tried a few and ended up going with these:
I did actually consciously buy ankle-highs this time, because I do want a little more stability for the next six months or so, and this boot is kind of convertible - you don't have to use the top two clips for your laces if you don't want to, if you'd like less restraint.
Online review: https://runrepeat.com/keen-gypsum-ii-mid-waterproof
That's nice, considering I bought them on foot feel and inspection alone.
Of course, the main problem with getting into the left one is pain associated with swelling, but this is not a problem if I can go straight in first thing in the morning, when the foot is almost normal. Compression tubing over the mid-foot has been helpful for reducing the daytime ballooning associated with the vertical position while I've been in the astronaut boot, but will roll inside a tight hiking boot, so I had a chat to a pharmacist on the phone earlier and she's put some ankle-high foot compression socks under the counter for Brett to pick up in his lunch break for me, so that hopefully I can convert from astronaut boot to hiking boot indoors tomorrow morning!
...and to celebrate all this I'm going to:
1) finish my Val McDermid book, Beneath The Bleedin
g, with my foot up. It's crunch time for all my hunches for the puzzle she has presented, and the rest can be read in one little sit-down. She's a great writer (known for the TV spin-off Wire in the Blood
) - not just a crime writer. Her characterisation, sense of place, vocabulary, and observations on the human condition and modern madness are all superb; the crime is more a background thing, just the job that the beloved detective protagonists happen to do, with puzzles to figure out... this is my favourite of hers yet... but if you want a really outlandish and superb read, I highly recommend Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
2) Take the dog on my first official bipedal outdoors walk down the sand track and back, with crutches along just in case.
PS: Drove again for the first time today too!