Figure 2: After three weeks
Figure 3: After three weeks
I hired a wheelchair to get about on. It took me a while to find one that had a high enough seat (I’m six foot five -- 1.98m) and the support for the leg. The one we found was not very new, and too heavy for my girlfriend to lift into the car. Fortunately, our flat is reasonable wheelchair-friendly. Initially, I couldn’t use the wheelchair on the underground on my own, simply because I hadn’t got the knack of getting the front wheels off the ground to get in and out of the carriages. With a good leg, it wasn’t that hard once I’d worked out what to do. I never managed it completely on my own -- sometimes the floor of the train was too high, but someone always gave me a push.
Figure 4: After four weeks
Figure 5: After four weeks
Figure 6: After four weeks
Six weeks after the operation, I was measured for a foot support (the German hospital called it an Allgöwer). This grips, corset-like, between the calf and the knee and has a stirrup which goes below the foot, allowing me to walk on the leg, without putting any weight on the foot. It took a good week before I was comfortable getting it tight enough so that it didn’t slip, but not so tight that it didn’t restrict the blood circulation. Having got to grips with the support, it is a huge improvement over walking with crutches. By this time, I had lost the majority of the muscle in my leg.
Figure 7: Allgöwer
Figure 8: Allgöwer
Figure 9: Wot no muscle!
Since I was released from hospital, I have been able to work from home, thanks to a very understanding boss, and the wonders of modern technology.
Seven weeks after surgery, blood work done did not show raised levels for tumour markers. A cautious hurrah!
Progress with the foot seemed to be in stops and starts, and the weather made (makes!) a huge difference. I was able to have the foot down for an hour or more, four or five times a day.
Figure 10: After seven weeks
Figure 11: After seven weeks
Figure 12: After seven weeks
Up to then, I had always had to shower sitting down, because I wasn’t allowed to have the foot down without the compression stocking. After checking with the plastic surgeon, I took my first shower standing up for three months. Much better! Except that I could see just how far I still had to go when the foot started going red and swelling up. I finished the shower OK and the foot was back to normal within a couple of seconds of being up.