I was at home for two weeks before I had my first appointment with the surgeon in his rooms. He wanted to remove the splint so he could have a good look at how the incision was healing. It was fine, the first major concern – infection was longer a problem. “Yeah, looks good Tom. Now for your cast.” He put on a hard fiberglass cast “Remember, no weight bearing. I’ll see you in four weeks’ time.” There was still a small worry if I would have an allergic reaction to the new ankle or not. But that was now a distant fear.
Two weeks down and another four to go. If ever there was a challenge it was that. Confined to a big black couch with the remote may well sound like a fine way to spend your life, but it does have many mental and emotional challenges. I was dependant on everyone for my wellbeing, I couldn’t even carry a cup of coffee from the kitchen – I need help with that.
This total ankle replacement does call on your patience as much as it does your positive attitude. With hindsight the no-weight bearing period seemed a breeze, but it did require a monumental amount of application. I followed certain practices during those difficult times to ease the stress. Keeping a regular and strict routine helped pass the time, and each day became manageable. I rose early, shaved and showered and got myself ready every morning. By 07h00 I was dressed, armed with newspapers and breakfast on the way.
Biteable bits and chewable chunks got me through those tiresome weeks. Each hour part of a day and each day was part of a week, and with three weeks down I was halfway done. There are times, make no mistake that are dark and depressing. “I had this op and there is no light at the end of the tunnel” “I’m still in pain” and “One step forward, two steps back.” All of these negative thoughts come to haunt me. It’s at times like these that I remind myself why I had an ankle replacement in the first place. One day, someday I will be able to walk again – pain free.