Now after the initial swelling stage, Jim is up on his feet; well kind-of anyway. The weeks are passing, and now more than ever Jim is itching to get back on his bike, but his ankle is still far from that stage in its recovery. Here Jim writes of his second stage, where he gets back in the upright position again for more than just twenty-minute bouts. He talks of his usual impatient ways of getting up and running and ready to take the world on with more of a positive outlook on the whole affair.
There’s no place like home, well at least that’s what they say, but when you’re busted up and home’s pretty much where you’re spending most of your time, then that expression soon becomes a bit labored to say the least! The week after the laser treatment the pain definitely subsided a fair bit, as did the swelling, but I was still hobbling around on the crutches with the original cast still in place. The cast was starting to loose its battle against my boredom, as I started to do more and more jobs around the house. I know I probably shouldn’t have done much and should have spent that next week just sat down with my leg raised, but me and boredom don’t get on and things needed doing.
Before my next appointment at the hospital’s fracture clinic I had pretty much done all the bike stuff I could do in the shed. My place of solace was now (and still is) immaculate, like a show-shed, bikes all gleaming and hung up like un-usable trophies; what I’d give right now to take any of them out! I decided it was time to put the garden to bed for the winter two days before the appointment. This involves a lot of cutting back and tidying of shrubs, a job I do easily one day a year. This was done over two days and consisted of moments of throbbing and a croc taped over the cast with a bin bag over the top of that to keep the wet out! Once done, this was the first of many moments I call my ‘little victories’, it was uncomfortable, but it didn’t beat me and I felt so good at the end of it; ah the little things in life!
I was soon back at the hospital, where the cast was removed and I got to finally see my foot and injury, it was just the one wound with ten stitches (not staples), which the nurse removed. The doctor and surgeon were more than happy to issue me with an air-cast, as requested by Harris and Ross. This thing is seriously high tech, with three different areas that you blow up for support, and once easily fitted, it was so much more comfortable, offering a fantastic level of support. The best thing of all was when I heard that glorious statement given by the surgeon “you can now weight bear on your foot” ‘YES’ I thought, finally I can do stuff, another victory. All I had to do was rest and elevate my leg for three hours a day. I was also told I could remove the air-cast during elevation, plus after a week I could remove it in bed at night if I could bear the pain.
After this the victories came in thick and fast, the air-cast was straight off for the first night’s sleep with zero pain, I wondered what sort of person would actually prefer to sleep in one! The next day I was walking in town with the crutches, although still uncomfortable it made me feel independent again. Also worth mentioning was that my leg had absolutely no bruising whatsoever two weeks after the crash, I put this partly down to caning the Arnica tablets. Also in tablet form I regularly take glucosamine, cod liver oil and multi-vitamins, plus during this recovery whey protein and amino acids have also been on the menu to aid the bone healing. Another joy with the air-cast was being able to fully immerse my leg in the bath, there’s nothing worse than having a part of yourself you can’t clean.
In the following few days of being free I was using the crutches less and less, driving to the gym (upper body of course!) and even managed to get out to the farm I use and split a load of logs (electric splitter!) Things were really starting to look up now, at no point was I feeling down, I was still getting told off by the misses for doing too much, but that’s just what I do. I now had a new incentive to get up and riding, we are booked into Bike Park Wales for a Legends Reunion for December the 4th/5th. This will be seven weeks from the injury and I want to ride, that is the final goal.
The ‘little victories’, have continued up until now, three weeks from the injury. I have ditched the crutches pretty-much totally now, being able to walk in the air-cast, I have managed to go around the house without the air-cast in the last three days, even managing up and down the stairs in a normal way. Tomorrow (Monday) I am going to attempt my first gentle go on my spinning bike, and then Friday sees me off for my first assessment and some hydrotherapy at Harris and Ross. The best victory of this week has been my personal injury insurers (Friends Life) having paid me out for my injury; this certainly lightens the financial pressure a whole lot. Also being at home unable to ride really makes you appreciate the stuff you can’t do that you may not be bothered about some times. The night rides, the wet rides and the turbo sessions; they all would be like a dream to do right now. Lately I have been into my town too, far more than I would ever have when I’m fit, I’m quite enjoying having to slow down a bit and appreciate the simpler things in life, plus I’m loving spending a lot more time with the family.
So watch this space folks to see if it can be done, if I can turn this sad weak and vulnerable part of my body that is my foot into a strong and fully usable contact point. It has a massive reduction in strength and my calf muscle looks pathetic, but this gives me more incentive to get strong again. My next and final installment of this series of recovery articles shouldn’t be too long away and should hopefully be called ‘On Two Wheels Again’.
Words | Jim Buchanan Pics | Jim Buchanan, Doc Ward