I thought getting out of the bed would be easy. You see, until now due to all the surgeries, I wasn’t even allowed to sit up straight on my bed. I was constantly laid on my back. A physiotherapist entered my room to get me started on some moving around with my crutches. I expected we would be doing that from day one. “So, am I going to walk today?” I asked. “Of course not,” he tells me. “Day one is just about getting you to sit upright on the bed.” The cocky ignorant voice in my head is going on saying oh come on man, I’m not a hundred years old, I’m a strong guy for goodness ‘sake.
The moment I stand upright on the bed, my heart starts racing, I start sweating and feeling dizzy. It was as if the moment I tried to stand up my body triggered an alarm. I laid down again wondering what is going on? Why is my body freaking out? They tell me that it’s a common reaction in cases like mine. The body has been adjusted to being on a supine position for a long period of time and it overreacts when it has to compensate for the effect of gravity upon the change in the distribution of blood and blood pressure.
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So, the next three days I just try to readjust my body in a standing upright position. It took three days to be able to do just that. Three days just to learn to sit straight up on a bed. Man how did I get to this point, I think to myself. After that, I slowly start walking on crutches. First walking three steps and back, then three meters and back, then to the bathroom and back, and after a week, I start walking a bit in the corridor outside my room. It was extremely tiring just to move around my bed; those walking attempts felt like the equivalent of an hour of mountain running. But they also started giving me a bit of confidence.
Forty-two days after my accident the doctors come in my room with, what is considered for them, good news. “You are going to be discharged in a couple of days,” they tell me. I ask them, how long is my recovery going to take. “About a year,” they reply. I’m startled…”a whole year?” I ask again. Well yes, give or take. It will take a lot of time to re-lengthen your leg to cover the lost bone length, but we think we will succeed. You see the fixator they had installed on my leg (that medieval torturing device) besides stabilizing my leg’s fractured bones, also had the ability to lengthen it.
The way this works is that every time your bones start to stick together, you turn a screw in the system that pulls the bones a bit apart until they re-build new bone tissue between the new gap and start sticking together. Think of it as teeth braces, but instead of aligning your teeth, it also lengthens them (bad analogy I guess, anyway). They told me that even short people who wanted to become models used external fixators to gain height. I think to myself – these people are definitely out of their mind to go through such torture just to become a model.
Once the doctors leave the room I try to digest the fact that I am going to be a patient for a whole year. It isn’t easy, especially for a non-sedentary/exercise freak like me. How am I supposed to spend a year on crutches and sitting on my ass without going cuckoo?
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