Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shoulder update

As it's been just over six weeks since the anthroscopic stabilisation of my right shoulder following recurrent dislocations, I thought I would write a short post on how it has been so far. The main reason being that people stumble across these little posts of mine for the strangest reasons, so I should write about something potentially useful for a change.

It took a week or so for the swelling around my chest and shoulder to go down post-op and I've never had any pain really. Occasionally there would be some ache on waking in the morning, but that quickly went away. Luckily I was able to go back to work after a week (not allowed in the plant) - I would have been very bored at home for six weeks, the evenings reading and watching TV started to drag on as it was.

After a few weeks I started to get more movement with my humerus by my side and my forearm out in front of my body - that was during the short periods when I wasn't wearing the very comfortable polysling. Over the last week of six in the sling I have often had my forearm out to type, while still keeping my elbow attached to the sling at my side.

The sling came off early this week and I'm now able to drive again, which is nice. There's still no pain and movement of my arm is good within its range. My upper arm will only lift to about 75 - 90 degrees out from my torso, which isn't a problem for normal life. Although it does mean I have a good reason for not climbing ladders to the top of tanks or driers at work. I'm sure the physio sessions that start in about ten minutes will work on that and the strength of the joint.

Yesterday I was fitted with a new elasticated harness that is supposed to hold the joint up, as it were. It fits under my shirt and while rather tight around the body, it allows plenty of movement. I hope this isn't too hot come summer time.

*So I have some simple exercises from the physio now to get a bit more movement going on and improve my arm's strength. That last part may not be necessary as I negated to tell the physio that I had no measurable upper body strength pre-op anyway. Unfortunately I can't get out running just yet - jeans are getting tighter. But I can move my physio sessions out of London closer to home.

Now I think I will go to Rome.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Christmas-like Easter

A four day weekend was once again too much to stay at home & read & watch Spooks with my arm in a sling, so a good excuse to get away. Tedious buses & trains took me to Somerset for Easter weekend - which was strangely much more similar to Christmas than I am used to. It's not Easter Sunday as it is in NZ, rather Easter Day. I'm not completely sure what is a normal Easter at home - but I wasn't familiar with sitting around eating copious amounts of food, drinking well, fruit cakes, masses of cheese & biscuits and receiving cards & presents. I approve of little Christmas - especially as all the exercise I could manage was walking to town & down the beach.

Gary was Stationmaster for the afternoon at the local miniature railway, so I escaped into the sun to watch for a few hours. There were plenty of little steam engines chugging around the 3.5"/5" double-gauge track carrying a surprising number of children and parents/grandparents around. That smell of steam and partially combusted coal is still good on such a small scale. I managed to get a couple of loops of the recently extended track - but of course all I wanted to do was tinker with the little levers, fill coal boxes & water tenders. Alas. Anyway, that was different experience & I got to hear some proper West-Country accents (most of the people I know in the area are imports) - where you don't have to have a eye-patch & a wooden leg for it to be acceptable to say yarrrr.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Reading escape

Life post-operation has settled into a routine of coping with one usable arm - kind workmates give me lifts to & from work, not being allowed in the plant at work, shopping done online, groceries turning up, eating a variety of pre-prepared meals (which aren't quite as bad as I expected), reading a lot of books & watching many series of Spooks. This isn't too bad, the worst thing being that the weather has been exceptionally good (& unseasonal) lately - many afternoons spent outside in the sun eating lunch at work or reading at home after work with temperatures the high-teen or low-twenties. But one weekend of that was enough - there's only so much walking around in the sun that one can do without getting itchy feet.

So it was up the line to Reading last weekend (only fifty minutes on the train) to finally see Anna & Luke (Anna being one of my sister's best friends & the sister of one of my best friends). They've been over in these parts for about a year now & like most Kiwis over here, have many travel stories to share. It was great to see some faces from back home - including one I suppose I've known for over twenty years now, there's a sobering thought. With my slight disability, there wasn't much planned - but I was more than to happy to wander around a charming (big) town, up & down the Kennet & Thames rivers and eat ourselves silly.

Saturday was a little cloudier & cooler than recently, but coffee/hot chocolate in a coffee house dating back over five-hundred years on the nice big pedestrianised main thoroughfare warmed one somewhat. Luke & Anna have only just moved in to a new loft flat on a nice Georgian square. The architecture isn't quite as regular I'd usually expect from that period, but it is charming all the same. The nice big lawn & garden right out their front door is quite a bonus. My left-handed attempt at using the camera on my phone is up to its usual standard, oops.

After dumping my bag, I was treated to Anna & Luke's walking tour of the area. For the transport historian, the Great Western Railway and Avon & Kennet Canal were of note. After strolling past the prison, a ruined abbey & Forbury Gardens - home of the Maiwand Lion, which it turns out that the sculptor of didn't kill himself over getting the gait or feet wrong - we popped in to the museum & got a brief history of the city from an amusingly dated video. Reading grew to prominence trading the three B's - beer (Simmons), bulbs (mail order seeds) & biscuits (the home of Huntley & Palmers). More wandering took us to a great & large lunch beside the Kennet - the sticky toffee was incredible & apparently the brownie wasn't too bad either.

After chilling back home for a while & remembering how to play Yahtzee, we were keen to head out to the cute village of Twyford - but still feeling full from lunch, headed out for another walk. This time we went further down the Thames & then cut over to Palmer Park (land donated by the biscuit family). Eventually we were in the car for the only trip that weekend & heading towards the Gaylord. This tandoori house was highly recommend by someone to Anna & as well as providing fantastic food & some interesting, almost dictatorial, service the name was the source of much amusement well into the next day. This lack of biking must be reducing my appetite - the amount I was able to take home with me was shameful. More great picture taking on my behalf, this one's for you Adele.

Sleeping well considering the proximity of the Royal Berkshire Hospital & its ambulances, it was a slow start to a very sunny Sunday. When we did eventually head out for brunch, we found ourselves cut off from the centre of town by the Reading Half-Marathon. Luke was wishing he was out there, but couldn't really do much about that as we waited for thousands of runners to thin out just so we get across the street without being trampled. My reward was Eggs Benedict - which I haven't had in ages, yum. With more pottering around town in the sun, when Anna & Luke started itching to do something beyond my current capabilities, that is running - actually, I can't/won't/don't run at the best of times - I left them to it & started my little trek back home. Turned out to be a bit more of it as I had to walk to West Reading station due to engineering work - I saw first hand why it was good Luke & Anna had moved from that area. A delightful weekend with good friends & a lot of outstanding food.

OK, this is from the more gloomy Saturday