CK's Random Ruminations

the inner mumblings of a busy girl

Time for shock tactics! February 1, 2010

Although my quad is gradually re-emerging, the physio decided it needed a bit of a boost so I was presented with an electric muscle stimulator machine a few weeks, and wired up to two pads which stick to my affected leg, like so:


Resistance is futile, whizz up the dial and away your quaddy goes, whether it likes it or not…


Fellow ACL’ers – dedication, that’s what you need January 18, 2010

Filed under: Dodgy Knee,rugby — ck @ 9:29 pm
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Scouting around a bit to see how others were doing, I came across some great posts from people who’ve also had ACL reconstruction and thought I would share them here:

Zach managed to get back to basketball 3 months post-surgery. Pretty amazing as the usual return is 6months+ but just shows that, as Roy Castle would say, ‘dedication’s what you need’!  His tip to do loads of quad tensing is something I’m going to get going with (although hundreds a day might just do my head in a bit!)

The blogger at Black Belt Blues has been prolific in charting his recovery and even put in his physio exercises – it’s a great reference to where he’s at.  I did find this post on the Myloclonic jerk rather amusing, I could relate to this as a few days post-op I had the same excruciating experience!

I’ve enjoyed reading Sarah Kingdom’s blog on this wakeboarding site – her descriptions of the nice corrugated leg look after taking off the leg stocking made me laugh out loud! Also it was good to hear she had had a broken leg in the past (err, not in a mean way) – I’ve also had that happen so doing the double isn’t so rare it seems ( i must admit, I’d rather a broken leg to an ACL reconstruction, way less long-term effort).  It’s also the case, as Sarah says, that physio – lots of it and dedication –  is the way forward, even though it’s excrutiating at times!

On another note today I had a great development. I’ve been tottering without crutches, just with my brace on, since the snow went at the weekend (even venturing into town on Saturday night – drunk people are v scary when you have a gammy leg!).  At work today, I went downstairs to the loo and on the way back started taking the stairs one leg at a time – NOT your usual good leg up-bad leg follow scenario. I did four steps before I realised what I was up to, and upon doing so I was amazed that there was no real pain, just tightness in the front of the knee.  I really nearly high-fived the next lady I saw coming down the stairs but managed to refrain and focus on the task in hand to do a whole level at normal-ish pace. What a flipping result!! Very exciting, I can’t wait to tell physio lady tomorrow…


Pub Guide 2009 – a taste of three January 15, 2010

For the wedding an inspired friend bought us the AA Pub Guide, to take away with us in the camper van.  We’ve had it on a couple of trips since then and have been to three pubs listed so far – it’s been a bit of a mix – here’s where we’ve been and what we’ve seen:

Snooty Fox, Lowick, Northamptonshire

Bad first impressions here as there were confusions over our bookings – we went into the restaurant and had to go back to the bar to get booked in first, and then they couldn’t find us a table. Once that was sorted, we tucked into a bread and oils dip starter which was far too much food –  although delicious – we would rue stuffing down the dough!

The main course was again big in terms of portion size. Disappointingly the purple-sprouting broccoli we ordered was anything but, being your bog-standard green variety – it was a shame we weren’t warned they didn’t have any of the real stuff!  The Boy’s steak was amazing though and he couldn’t finish it (see above re starter), so we were pleased when the staff offered to package it up for us (nice cold steak sarnie the next day). In the next moment however we realised we’d be overcharged – it kind of summed up this experience of being promising, but a bit of a let down.

Phoenix Inn, near Hartley Witney, Hampshire

Lovely pub which was used in the past as the unofficial HQ of some vintage car club, so loads of old motoring pics adorn the walls. We had a table right by a fire which was very welcome and The Boy enjoyed a nice pint of 6X.  Food began with my goats cheese and walnut salad which had a lovely honey dressing – v nice indeed. For main, I had veggie spaghetti which was nice but nothing amazing, and boy had chicken pie which was “alright” although to my eye the chicken looked a bit ‘square’ to be proper nice chicken, to my mind.  No desserts required as we were sated and apart from a hiccup with the bill which meant we were nearly overcharged (again!! until we corrected the error) it was generally pretty good.

Chequers, in Well

The Chequers, Wells, Hampshire

Lovely little country pub nestled into the countryside of Hampshire. We visited whilst at the darts so the countryside was snowbound and it made for a tricky journey, with one route abandoned altogether! It was worth the effort though and this gorgeous pub was so welcoming with exposed beams, a lovely log fire and that warm nestly cosy feel.  The staff were very good and the food – unbelievable.

The Boy had pork belly to start which was obviously slow cooked well as the meat was moist and the top very crisp crackling. Served with crispy bacon and apple puree, it was spot on and promised great things ahead.  We weren’t disappointed – I ordered Steak and Kidney pudding and got a fantastically crisp suet shell encasing lusciously soft meat with a deep gravy. The suet pastry was excellent – not at all the soggy stodge you sometimes get.  Here it is!

mMMmmmmmm. Pie

The Boy went for the roast dinner and reported back that it was  a “perfectly good sunday roast – everything it should be” – potatoes in particular were lovely and crisp. Pudding was a shared Sticky Toffee Pudding which was lovely and light with a good amount of gorgeous sauce. A bit more honeycomb ice-cream would have been welcome, but all in all it was absolutely brill.

To top it off, a member of staff came out after us as we left as we’d dropped a fiver on the floor as we were paying for the lunch.  Definitely secured The Chequers at the top of our list!

We’re enjoying using the book and it’ll be very well thumbed in years to come!


Physio exercises – 3 weeks post op January 12, 2010

Filed under: Dodgy Knee,rugby — ck @ 7:55 pm
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Mainly as a reference for myself, as I keep misplacing my physio sheet, here’s what I’m working on at the moment:

  • Ice and elevation for 20mins
  • in sitting, with legs over the end of the chair, pushing leg backwards with resistance from good leg
  • massaging E45 into knee and mobilising the kneecap gently
  • in extension, sitting down, pushing knee into a rolled up towel in short bursts then for sustained periods
  • sitting, dragging knee up into a bend (currently achieving around 85degree bend)
  • sitting, pushing knee into the floor to stretch the back of the leg (hurty)
  • laying, stretching back of leg
  • laying down, on the front, bending knee up towards the bum
  • calf raises
  • Tensing the quad muscle often, and coaxing this reluctant muscle back to life!

and new from today’s physio session:

  • very small squats to around 30 degrees
  • going in to ‘bridge’ position in lying down
  • seated on a fit ball, rolling forwards to bend knees
  • stepping up onto a phone book with affected knee, concentrating on keeping it straight and even weight
  • very shallow lunges on affected leg to stretch hip flexors
  • concentrating harder when walking – in order to ensure weight goes evenly through gammy leg, and knee bends properly as much as possible

All of this, around 4 times a day, my friends. Quite hardcore and I was shattered after today’s session!! Ah well, bring it on, there’s only one road back to recovery, isn’t there…

And here’s how it’s looking at the moment – you can see the swelling is still there, and there’s muscle wastage clearly visible on the bad leg thigh – definition? What was that again??!



good and bad things when you’re on sticks

With Christmas, a trip to France and a visit to the Darts at Lakeside, I’ve experienced quite a bit of manouvering over the past few weeks on my crutches. Here’s what I’ve found…

Good Things:

– Service from the ferry company Brittany Ferries. We were parked right by a lift and two people came along to see me onto the ship with a wheelchair. It made things much much easier, although going through the self service canteen on a fairly swaying crossing was a bit tricky!

– Shopmobility! A trip to the shops at Farnborough was made possible by the fabulous Shopmobility service. I was registered there and then and given my own motorised scooter (with basket!) to tootle round on. I felt quite self-conscious though and discovered that shops aren’t really designed with scooter riders in mind – lots was out of reach, I couldn’t get down some shop aisles and felt very cumbersome in a cafe.  But still – the scooter was ace and even got me over snow-ridden pavements!


– People opening doors for you – these are often the trickiest things to do, particularly with heavy doors, and plenty of people offered to help me. Good eggs, all of you!

Bad Things:

– Drunk people. I was a bit scared at times at the darts of all the crowds of people swaying about. In one near-miss a very inebriated man swayed about a metre either side of what was a straight walk to the door of the smoking area outside. He very nearly got me! Luckily, I’m well sharp on my sticks so managed to dodge him!!

– Snow and Ice. Scary. Slippety.

– People can hear you coming – you may as well put a bell round your neck cos the rhythmic clack-clack of walking with crutches is a pure giveaway!

– Sneezing whilst trying to walk on crutches does not an elegant manouevre make.  Knee spasm, pain and wobbles.


on the move January 6, 2010

Filed under: Dodgy Knee,rugby — ck @ 5:26 pm
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Today is the first full day of my physio and I’m already excited by the vague re-emergence of my quad muscle.  I’ve been staring at it whilst doing my exercises (positive vibes) and massaging it to get it going, and I think it’s starting to wake up!! Was very excited today to see some indication of a twitch in the right place for it to be a quad moving, so that was really encouraging.  Boy finds it quite amusing that I sit there tensing my leg, saying a variety of positive messages to my knee: “come on leg, well done!  Excellent work quaddy, keep going! There it is, that’s the quad!!!” I’m easily entertained…

One exercise I don’t enjoy is the ‘mobilise the kneecap’ manouevre.  This is where you put your hands either side of the kneecap and shift it gently from side to side, and then up and down. It’s quite ick seeing it all float about under the skin.  Whilst we’re talking skin, my scar is being softened gradually by massaging in E45 cream – I definitely feel the benefit already of this, and it just makes it all look a wee bit nicer:


And here’s the scar as it is now, without the staples in. I think it looks quite like a caterpillar although someone today thinks it’s more like a strange henna tattoo:

caterpillar scar

Also managing flexion quite well and am now getting on to 80 degrees – click on the picture below to watch the video…you can see how swollen it is still over the actual knee cap as well –

From Knee Operation 09

staples out – let the physio begin! January 5, 2010

Filed under: Dodgy Knee,rugby — ck @ 12:50 pm
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Yesterday the staples from my operation finally came out, thank goodness. They were getting well itchy and I’m desperate to have a long soak in the bath!  The nurse who took them out did so very quickly and there was only mild discomfort with the last staple, which was wedged in pretty well.

The surgeon came through and asked me to try a straight-leg lift.  In normal circumstances, no worries; but my leg just wasn’t up for moving in that way.  I literally stared at my knee and beamed encouraging thoughts, willing my leg to lift as he stood there, but it was no use, no matter how hard I tried it just weren’t shiftin!! The next test was a knee bend and he pretty much managed to get it to 90 degrees which I was amazed with, and a bit scared of as he was levering my limb around.  I think I’m most fearful of my skin pulling apart where the staples were  – that idea freaks me out!

So this morning it was off to the physio and she gave me loads of useful info. I’m to massage a small amount of E45 cream on the wound to help soften it, and massaging around the knee and thigh will help reduce swelling. I was quite shocked at the swelling when I stood up – my affected knee is waaaaaay bigger than the normal one! I hadn’t thought it was that bad but it clearly was.  Cue 20mins of ice, 4 times a day.

On to the exercises.  I had to do the knee bend slide (definitely not to be confused with the cha-cha slide) and managed to get up to 80 degree bend with a bit of persuasion.  We worked on moving the quad muscles and bending up the knee including an exercise where I’m on my front and bend my foot towards my bum. This one was well hard and I felt definite tightness and discomfort. But needs must – teeth gritted, I shall press on!

Physio was keen for me to take weight off the crutches and go without them at home, but making sure I put weight through my leg properly and maintain a straight gait. The temptation is to lift the hip rather than bend the knee so I’ve taken to speaking to myself on each step saying “bend….bend…bend” so at the moment I look like a hobbling madwoman when tottering round at home!!

I got sent off with a whole A4 sheet of exercises from the physio which I must do 4 times a day. It’s going to be hard work and especially when I venture in to the office, I’m going to be hard pressed to lie down and bend my knee without looking like a total looney! But I’m sure I’ll work something out, they already consider me slightly mad at work, I’m sure  :-)



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