Saturday, July 31, 2010

Compression you idiot!

So I finally figured out what they were talking about with the "compression" bit of RICE (rest ice compression elevation).

See, I've had this compression stocking thing... and it truly helps. It's especially nice when walking around cuz it slows the blood-pooling in my leg. It makes things way more comfortable. I figured I had the Compression bit covered.

Not by a long shot!
Freakin idiot!

It's ICE under compression!
You don't just ice your knee... you strap those suckers down! I've started taking some velcro straps that we tie up gliders with and using them to sych down my ice packs. I've also started getting them in the freezer. Now that I'm a bit more mobile, this is possible.

Holy freaking hell what a difference!


Friday, July 30, 2010


This ones some boring TMI stuff, so run away while you still can.

Ok, too late... here we go...
I don't like popping corks too early, so I'm putting this in the maybe category for the moment.

See, I don't like to sleep on my back. I don't know why, but I never have. At the moment, aside from all the other BS, I wake up with sore heels. If I don't however, I seem to have added little pains in my knee. I don't seem to sleep very well either, although getting to sleep is much much easier.

I tried sleeping on my stomach. As per my physio's advice, I even stuck a towel under my shin. No go. Still too much weight on my knee for comfort. Then I tried sleeping on my side. As I've read, I stuffed blankets between my knees. I kept my operated knee high so as to avoid putting any weight on it.

No go. I don't know if it was that position or just general healing pains, but man I did not like it. The inside of my knee was feeling again like it did after the accident... I had bone bruising there, I'm quite familiar with the spot.

Well, last night I found a way to lay mostly on my side with my operated leg on the low side, but, without my upper leg resting on it. :)

I did wake up at 4 for a while, but then slept till around 10 or 10:30. No residual pains. That could work.

Here's hoping.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ice is nice

Icing my leg.
I'm a bit more mobile these days which is nice. I still have one twinge of pain that's keeping me from feeling good about loosing the crutches. I'll be taking my good sweet time thank you.

There's muscle pain and then there's "other stuff" pain. This is other stuff. Muscle pain you work with. This stuff you stop doing whatever's causing it. It's very tiny, but I aim to keep it that way.

Today's distraction is computer emulators (as was yesterday's).
Found some stuff that allows me to use my WiiRemotes with my computer. So of course I grab the old AppleII emulator and "Wings Of Fury", my favourite AppleII game. With a little (ha!, couple hours) of tweaking, it's all up and running. Fortunately for me, I got lots of time, so tweaking around for a few hours getting a computer emulator running is absolutely no big deal.

Today, I've moved on to the Atari2600 and Nintendo64 emulators for the Wii. Neither of the two were running very well last time I looked. But that was a year or so ago. I just got the Atari running and they've got it running well :)
I'm going to be going head to head with my flatmate on Combat once my knee is done cooling off.

I'm hoping the N64 might be fixed up as well, though I'm less optimistic. That one seems to be a tough cookie to crack. I haven't even seen a good PC emulator for it yet. Here's hoping though. It'd be cool as hell to play PilotWings64 :)


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sutures out :)

The stitches came out yesterday :)

They warned me that there would prob be a little bleeding and swelling since even just removing stitches jars the knee a bit.

Between that and physio and not keeping it extra-elevated... it swelled up a bit. Fortunately today it's back down. It wasn't that bad, but I don't like overdoing things.

The upside is now I'm that much closer to getting back in the pool :)

Geek warning... all others may wish to leave the room now.
So, my happy fun project today?
Getting my computer to connect to my wii remote.
Why you might ask? ;)
Weeeeelll... Couple reasons.
I lack a joystick... and I'm not shelling out a bunch of money for one either. I've got an old AppleII emulator with a stack of games. I've got a stack of flight simulators as well. Soooo... with enough time, something I've got in spades, and zero money... well, I found some instructions and programs that let you hook up your wii remote and use it as a joystick. Still a few bugs to get past, but I'm playing some old favourites like Chopper Command, Arctic Fox, and Wings Of Fury :)


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two weeks post

Everything in the world of surgery, as far as I can tell, is measured in how much time has passed.
Tomorrow morning, I'll officially be two weeks post :)

Things, thus far, have seemed to progress at about the rate I've expected, judging things on what I've read and what I've been told.

My estimation for ditching the crutches was around now. I've heard lots of "before two weeks" stories and even some "days post" stories, but that either seemed a bit like they were rushing things or had a different procedure. Some techniques include manually draining the swelling caused by surgery. This allows for far quicker mobility. I don't think they do that with arthroscopic surgery. Slower mobility, but far lower risk of infection. That's not why they make that choice, but that is one of the end results.

For me, the marker was feeling well enough to start using less to little pressure on my crutches. My physio reckons I could go faster about it, but I just haven't felt that good about it. I'm in no rush. I've been through this before.

I remember the first time I was asked to take a "weight bearing" step after I had broken my femur. I know I gave the doc a distinct "are you sure?" look. I think I may have even asked that.

There is a definitely different mentality when you're feeling "fragile".
It's quite the contrast to the "push hard!" society we live in. There's a time for that. This just isn't it.

The first week is all RICE.
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
Week two is the awkward inbetween phase. You need to move more, but only so much. And you can only take so much. Swelling pooling in your ankle sucks ass.

Now I'm beginning to be able to stand for longer periods of time. I can take more weight on my leg. I can walk fully upright with little weight through the crutches. It's getting there.

I'm also holding to the muscle building mentality. Rather than doing muscle building exercises every day, I do them every other day. Routine is a lovely thing. I actually wouldn't mind a bit of that. But I also know that to build muscle, there is a technique to it. You workout "to failure" and then rest a day. Your body builds back up on the rest day. If you interrupt it with an other workout session, you reset the clock. Oh, "to failure" just means that you lift (push/whatever) till you physically can't. You want to make it 1/2 way through a motion and not be able to complete it. This actually tears muscle, which is what you're trying to do. When that heals, it heals stronger.

Tomorrow is my workout day.
We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

White or Wheat?

Boy, if it were only that simple.
But no, the chemists out there are continually figuring out ways to sell us crap "food".

Some bits are simple.
White is crap.
Eating white bread is roughly the equivalent of eating a spoonful of sugar.
Your body processes it the same way. You might as well be eating a candy bar.

But when we get down to "Wheat" bread, things get "tricky".
(They're not, but you gotta know what to look for)

Wheat has 3 main parts.
Before I bore you with the jargon, it's easiest to think of it like an egg.
You've got the shell, the white and the yolk.
(Bran, Endosperm, Germ)

White bread, including "white wheat", uses only the Endosprem... like the eggwhite.
It's basically starch (up to 75%).
Without the other two, it's crap.
Your body turns it into sugar and it makes you fat.

"Whole Wheat" bread uses all three.
The key word is "Whole"
This is practically speaking and legally speaking.

"Whole" means they use the whole wheat kernel... all three parts.

This is also where you need to read the ingredients label as well, cuz the government allows them to call anything around half composed of whole wheat as whole wheat... except on the ingredients label. There they gotta spell it out.

Once you know these tricks, it's surprisingly simple to tell the crap food from the real food.

BTW, that "Multigrain" crap, is generally just that... crap.
It doesn't matter how many styles of grain they use if they're milling off two of the three base components.

Here's to better eating :)
BTW, white rice and pasta are the same as white bread.
Rolled Oats on the other hand are great for you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Everyone's heard of your hamstrings. I didn't really know which muscles they were, apart from leg muscles, till the other day.

Do this.
Lay on your stomach. Now, lift your leg up bending at the knee. That's your hamstring. Easy right?
I currently can not do that.
That's a weird feeling.
I can try (I have to try)... the muscles go tight. I can feel the ends where they've been cut. The ends hurt, but not too much. There's just no power. My leg is 100lbs.

With my right leg... easy peasy.
With my left?... I can't lift it at all.

My surgery used hamstring ligament to replace my ACL.
So all my power is gone. I'm sure a lot of the muscle will go soon too. Building it back up will be a large portion of my rehab.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New day

New day, a little more mobility.

The swelling's backing off. I can stand for quite some time now. Might even get confident enough to take a shower standing up! Really, how many people get to say that? And mean it?

I can even walk with some weight on my bad leg. The only thing holding that back was the swelling. Now I get to feel the real limits... the muscles. This is great. This is a weakness I can fix. It'll take time and effort, but this one's do-able. I'm not just sitting and waiting.

Now comes the need to consciously go easy.
To reign it in and "don't be a hero". It's a slow road. No need to rush. The tiny improvements have such a dramatic effect on my psyche. Now is the time to be patient. This is the time I've waited for.

Next up, so the story goes, are the dramatic improvements.
This is of course followed by the plateau. You get a month of big big changes, then things level off. This is often viewed as "hitting a wall", but I think it's more that the low hanging fruit of repair work is done and you go back your body's normal pace of improvement. I think it's kinda like getting off those flat escalator things at an airport.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Like Clockwork

I currently have a natural alarm clock.
I set mine anyway, but I find that I don't need to.

See, every six hours I'm meant to take my pain meds. And they last almost exactly six hours. So I pretty much know when it's getting close to time for an other pill. It's nothing dramatic, but I start to feel a little twinge of "inside pain". This would be opposed to "outside pain" which is from swelling. That disappears as soon as I elevate my leg. "Inside pain" comes from just inside my kneecap, which is where they've drilled.

So, this morning I woke up at a strange hour. My knee was feeling a little sore, so I iced it. Then it dawned on me... hrm... did I forget to set my alarm? I took a look at my clock and Yup... 6:20am. 20 min overdue.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Out of the dark.

Is there anything scarier than new pain?
Just got back from the physo though, and all is good :)

But man, what a week.
The hardest part I think is the unknown.
Not so much the not knowing what's next, I sorta do, but the not knowing what's "normal" or more importantly if you're doing something wrong.

So, post surgery, they wrap the shit out of your knee with ace bandage stuff... even some insulating type stuff under it. It's to keep DVT away and to help keep compression on your knee to help with swelling.

Well, that wrap prevents you from icing it!

Anyway, long story short, by Friday, even sitting up was uncomfortable. Standing was brutal. Moving around was next to impossible.

Of course, in addition to the swelling, the heavy drugs are wearing off by now. All this adds up to... it feels like you're going backwards!

I have no clue what "normal" is. I just know it all feels worse than the day before... this doesn't seem good! So I calm down and remind myself that I'm seeing my physio soon. She has a blown ACL herself and I'm sure she's treated many people with one, so I'll just wait and freak out later.

My first sign of happiness was this morning I could feel that the icing was starting to take. It's handy that it's winter here, cuz I don't have to go to the kitchen to cool my packs... I just put them on the window sill above my bed. That's a life saver!

Well, my physio confirmed all the stuff I was hoping. The ice is working. The swelling is actually very low, and yes, she's treated lots of ACL patients so she's quite familiar with "normal". The little exercises I've been doing have already paid off and she showed me some new stuff as well. I've been doing right by not walking around a lot. Walking is good, but only for a minute... then back to ice.

I am so flippin happy to know that I'm on the right track.
It's cool to know that I'm actually doing very well so far, but I'm mainly happy that I've not been doing anything bad.



"Is it warm in here? Or is it me?"
An innocent question. Simple really, till it matters.

I've been sleeping under a pile of blankets... a big pile. The house is normally cold. We've got a wood burning stove, but anyone that's had one knows that the heat comes and goes. You have to keep after it, or it stays pretty cool.

As I was trying to sleep last night, I felt hot.
Normally this wouldn't be a big deal.
But I've just got out of surgery.
A fever is a huge deal. If you get a fever, you go to the hospital immediately. Fevers are a sign of infection.

I wasn't convinced I had a fever though. I was warmer than normal, but not overly warm. I threw off some of the blankets and didn't feel like I needed my hat (yes, I live with a hat on). Like this, I felt normal.

That's the tricky bit though. If you're running a fever... how do you know? Of course it feels warmer... you're overheating.

Then I remembered that we've got someone staying in the livingroom and Abe appointed him the task of looking after the fire. I figured that he was probably doing an admirable job. So I asked him and yup... the house was just warm.


Friday, July 16, 2010

1st layer off

Rather than shoving this in everyone's face on FaceBook... I'll put it here.

With the pressure bandages off, I can finally actually ice my knee.
Before, all the wrapping stuff acted as insulation.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hell week

The first week is hell.
I knew this before I got on the plane to go to surgery.
The path to recovery requires a pound of flesh.

Your body does not like when they drill holes into your bones. Not at all. And it lets you know it.

After the surgery, you are way wacked out on drugs. They don't let you leave till the next day. Not that you could.

Day 2 isn't much better.
My leg was swollen and "weak". This translates to it feels like a balloon that's about to pop and "weak" means it feels like a ton of bricks. You don't feel "weak" muscles. You feel like your leg weighs 100lbs.

Day 3... will this swelling ever go down?????
That lingering voice in the back of your head keeps warning you about infection. When you get mentally past that one, you've got DVT to keep you worried. Both are very real, so it's not a "just put it out of your mind" thing.

The infection risk got way lower simply by leaving the hospital. Not kidding. Not being a smartass. The best thing you can do from that standpoint is leave the hospital. The antibiotics don't hurt either.

DVT's a kicker.
You need rest right? You need that swelling to go down right? But guess where you get DVT from? Immobility, especially post surgery. So you elevate your leg which helps in many ways. And... uhg... you walk around on your balloon of a leg. The first few steps are the worst. It settles down a bit after that. But that doesn't help the swelling... in fact it does the opposite. Fortunately, the benefits far outweigh the little bit it sets you back in the swelling department.

So when I tell you that I am out of my chair happy that the swelling has started to subside, I think you'll get the picture a bit.

I'm not there yet, but holy crap that's a welcome move in the right direction.

Once the swelling's out of the way, then I can start making real progress. I can already move around my place fairly well. It only starts to suck if I stand in one place too long (which isn't long).

When that goes away, then it's just sore, stiff and weak. Those are easy. I can do that. That's just patience and perseverance. A slow, steady push. Wearing it all down like a river wears at it's banks. I look forward to it.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Gotta love the internet.

Latest one... Hey google... my shin hurts after my ACL surgery....
"Yeah, that's normal"

If your calf hurts, look for these other signs...
(mine doesn't)

Freakin amazing.
Also learned that while elevating your leg is good (along with cold, etc), it's also rather important to move around as well. Sure, it sounds simple, but when you're dealing with something like this, you don't take anything for granted.

Such as, I know one of the biggest issues right now is reducing the swelling. Well, running around cuz you can't feel any pain cuz you're on meds, might not be the best idea. So, I'm on minimal meds and very easy but consistent moving around... and a LOT of laying around (watching movies and surfing).

Got my next appointments all arranged as well.
Next up is physio on Monday.
The week after I get my sutures out.
Then back up to Christchurch to follow up with my surgeon.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Pizza Delivery

When you can barely walk... is there anything quite as sweet as pizza delivery?
I mean seriously.
Pizza, Garlic Bread, Potato Wedges... and a Chocolate Brownie!
Delivered to your door.

And I was concerned about getting something to eat?
30 minutes though. :(
Soon enough.


Post Op

So far, so good.
Gotta say, that was weird.
One of the strangest bits is I've heard people talk about how much they enjoy the pre-surgery drugs. Well, I'm a freak I guess cuz I hated them. They shoot you up with something right before they put you under... made my world go all wonkey. It was like a TV with bad reception... the picture would flip up and down... for the geeks, the Vhold was out of sync. I did not like this at all.
That wasn't bad though.
Just weird.

When I woke up however.
No thank you!
Man oh man. Groggy, half there, half not. Just up, so not sure if you're supposed to try and stay up, but you don't want to. That sucked. Lasted a few hours too, though thankfully wearing off the whole time. I'll be quite happy to never do that again.

Knee's good as far as I can tell.
Doc's happy, nurses are happy. Doesn't seem to have too much swelling. Very little pain, but can't tell how much is the pain meds. I'm not taking both meds. They said to use both if it does get rougher.

Time for lots of movies I think.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

5 min

Taxi should get here in 5 min or so.
Then it's off to the hospital.
Strange mix of nervous and exciting. Of course I didn't sleep much last night. All this waiting will do that to ya ;)

Ah well
See ya on the other side.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Turn it up to ELEVE.... easy there tiger.

It's funny.
One of the hardest things so far is not "finding the motivation". Quite the opposite. It's reigning it in. I've got so much pent up energy that the real struggle is "not cutting loose". It's good though. It's a long road ahead and not having to search for motivation will be a big plus. I'll be searching instead for patience and discipline. Slow and steady win this race.
One of my favourite sayings at the moment to remind myself has become "Don't be a hero".

I look forward to being able to get back to the gym.
Strength training flows well with my condition. Part of strength training is "pushing to failure". Unlike cardio, where you go for long periods and slowly grind yourself down, strength training comes is bursts. You push hard till you can't push. You literally go till your body fails you. Then you rest and push again... till you fail again.

It's a concentrated blast of punishment.
I find that it suits my current situation well.
After I've exhausted myself, I can relax. I've done all I can. I crawl over to the pool and the hot-tub. I love Aqualand (my gym).

It'll be a week or so till I can get back to it.
We'll see how it goes.
Till then, I think I get to live in the internet for a while.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Junkies are all the same

I'm used to hearing the reactions of pilots when someone quits hang gliding or paragliding.

It's always the same.
There's this denial and shock. In general, it's a mad mental scramble to find ways that "you can still fly!". Like "just give it time" and such. It's a bit comedic really.

See, for a lot of pilots, this isn't something we take up lightly. It's a lifelong passion and we are complete and utter addicts. And of course, we naturally assume that everyone else is too. For us giving up the sport is akin to giving up breathing. We can't fathom not flying and thus we can not fathom anyone else not flying. There's a bit of comedy in this narrow minded thinking. But everyone does it.

So it's been kinda interesting telling people I'm never skiing again.
That statement alone illicits the exact same reaction.

I'm definitely outside the looking glass. It's a strange perspective that I've not had before. I understood it, but it's quite an other thing to see it up close and personal.

Everyone tells me about their friend that's torn their ACL and continued to ski. They use braces and strength training and la-de-da.

Oh the disappointment in their faces when they see that their stories aren't swaying me.

For a while I tried to explain how I wasn't really into skiing in the first place. To them of course, this just sounds like denial. Nevermind that I only skied a handful of times 15-20 years ago. I'm seriously not that into it. But they don't understand how someone can not love it as much as they do.... ah, just like flying ;)

Even if I did love it though, it's not worth it.
The thing people miss is it's not about my physical ability to ski. I should eventually be well enough to go skiing, but I just can not go through this again.

But try explaining that to a junkie ;)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Silver lining

So, don't get me wrong... this sucks. No bones about it, I'd trade it in a heartbeat.
It does provide an interesting perspective.

See, there's an old saying everyone knows... "You don't know what you've got till it's gone".
It was put very well in Fight Club
Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.

And, my favourite... Lucky Number Slevin...

The unlucky are nothing more than a frame of reference for the lucky. You are unlucky, so I may know that I am not. Unfortunately the lucky never realizes they are lucky until it's too late. Take yourself for instance; yesterday you were better off than you are off today but it took today for you to realize it. But today has arrived and it's too late. You see? People are never happy with what they have. They want what they had, or what someone else has.

So I am in a unique position.
I know what I have and more so, what I am about to lose. Albeit temporarily and thankfully so.

I can very well right now. My knee is in very good shape, as it needs to be for my operation. I remember the day after my accident when I couldn't even put weight on my leg. I was confined to crutches and felt like quite the invalid. It's a strange place when you have to struggle to put on a sock. I know what that world looks like. I've been there twice. And in just over a week, I'll be there again.

The strange part is I'm looking forward to it.
It's going to suck.
A lot.
But, it's the road back.
I have a thought ringing in my head... "I have the most amazing life... I'm very keen to get back to it". When I'm struggling, this is what keeps me going. And I've not yet even begun to struggle. So I push hard at the gym. And it's very easy to push hard. I want my life back... it's easy to find the will power. Almost too easy sometimes. I have to be careful not to push too hard.

But then there's this interesting spot I'm in.
It's not easy knowing you will struggle to so much as shower. Stairs will be mountains. Temporary fortunately. And here I am now. I'm in good shape. I'm quite mobile... I can even drive a manual car, something I won't be able to do soon. And I'm working on being even stronger.

Going to the gym is easy.
I wonder how long it will take to get back to this level. I know how long it takes to get past it and that's the joy of the small hell I'm about to go through... I get to go past where I am even now.

Odd stuff in this head of mine ;)