20180205_My Poor Old Knees
… or … Why hill walking is off the menu for quite a while.
… or … Why a 1/2 mile walk to the CO-OP & back feels a huge success.
… or … The next chapter starts here.
If you’ve come across and read any of my past walks diaries, you may have noticed that, from time to time, I’ve talked about my poor old knees, including way back in 2011, when I had a double arthroscopy, with key hole surgery on both knees, debriding loose/torn cartilage and cleaning out a load of debris. These op(s), along with steroid injections directly into my knees (three or four times a year since then) have kind of kept me going reasonably OK, until recently.
Last year, after changing to a far more physical job and managing to get a few decent walks done, including a trip to The North York Moors & Coast [in March] and a couple of trips to the great English Lake District [in June and September], where I got up (and down) several fells and a couple of mountains, I was beginning to suffer somewhat, having to endure quite a bit of pain, especially on the downhill bits.
My quarterly steroid injections had certainly been helping, but eventually, following my September trip to the lakes, my last set of injections hardly worked at all and the pain during and after a shift at work was becoming debilitating including keeping me awake at night. So, after a holiday to Zante in October, feeling like an old man hobbling around down to the beach (although sitting around in the autumn sun with a beer or three wasn’t too hard a task) I decided a visit to the Doc’s was needed once again, hoping another scan might be possible, and maybe then a second set of arthroscopy investigations.
The Doc had slightly a different idea however, referring me directly to a consultant at a local Hospital, where in December, after X-rays, I was diagnosed with the insides of both knees now being worn down to “bone-on-bone” with my cartilage having disappeared completely. Not a wonder then that pain had become pretty much a constant and the injections had stopped working. I was offered, right there and then, “Bilateral Oxford Knee Replacements” otherwise known as “Half Knee Replacements”, where they would cut out my damaged bones and insert metal plates and plastic bearing strips. Because I was adjudged to be “relatively young, not over-weight, generally heathy and fit, and obviously self-motivated” it was recommended they’d do both knees at the same time.
And that has indeed happened, the op’s being done early last month (February 2018). The physio’s came in and started working on me the day after …. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t even pick my legs up off the bed!!! That felt very disheartening, but, with pain relief and a lot of hard work I was managing the hospital stairs by the end of the week (albeit with crutches) and I was being sent home with a leaflet or two showing the exercises I had to do.
So, now, about six weeks later, after lots and lots of boring exercises (and then a load more slightly different boring exercises), I’m just about at the point of discarding the crutches (well most of the time anyway) and it felt so good getting out last week for the ½ mile walk to the local shops … and then ½ mile back again, making a whole mile! That maybe doesn’t sound far and it was all on the flat and it did take nearly 45 minutes, but I negotiated kerb stones and uneven paving/tarmac paths and the like. It felt good getting out into the real world under my own steam, and I’ve since recreated the walk to the CO-OP a few times now and I can do it quicker.
The physio’s are really happy with my progress and some of my “class mates” have said they are using me as inspiration to push on with their exercises (no pressure to live up to expectations there then!). However, I must admit it’s been, ermm, a challenge at times.
Some things have been harder than others:-
- The exercises hurt at times (no pain no gain is the cliché) However, it’s surprising just how quickly you lose strength, muscle tone and flexibility.
- Mostly however it’s been the enforced rest I’ve had to adhere to that’s been the hardest; the enforced layoff is incredibly frustrating! Daytime television doesn’t help either! With the snow and ice we’ve had as well, being stuck indoors has made me feel quite stir-crazy at times.
- Also, I’ve had to stop driving, making any trip totally reliant on my good lady wife ferrying me about. I guess most of us don’t think about our independence until you lose some of it.
- I also miss work. I know we nearly all moan about working, but I’ve always worked, and worked hard for that matter, and being told to stay at home is anathema to me.
Having said that, I have tried to motivate myself, I’ve even baked a cake! I’ve also raised myself to edit a few sets of photo’s which have been sat on my laptop for quite some time, and then write up the associated posts for my walks diary blog … which now includes this one.
Anyway, I think I’m over the worst of the initial recovery, starting to walk around more naturally and trying to rebuild muscles back to some kind of fitness levels, but I think it’s gonna be a bit of a long haul back to full(ish) fitness.
So, as the title of this post suggests, hill walking is certainly off the menu at the moment, but maybe, if the weather improves [no, when the weather improves] a wander around a local country park might be on the cards soon – At least there’ll be benches to sit on if I need a rest and a café for a coffee and perhaps a slice of cake.
The Plan Going Forward :-
- So, last week = That first mile to the local shops felt good.
- Very short term ambition = Longer walks around the estate, maybe down to Mosaic Coffee Shop in Bilton and back (always worth a visit) and maybe a longer walk around a local country park.
- Slightly longer short term ambition = Get a few miles of a country walk done locally, maybe even with a rucksack on my back, and with walking poles instead of crutches for support – Just need the weather to improve (I’m totally fed up of this winter’s snow and ice now) and for me to feel confident enough to manage stiles and rougher ground.
- Main goal = Get back fit enough to work again (aim is for mid/end April).
- Longer term ambition = Hopefully walk up a mountain by the end of the year …. Which in reality probably means by the end of September/beginning of October at the latest, because of daylight hours. That gives me about 5 to 6 months of training, without overdoing it …. Oooh, but where to?
- Snowdonia? … Maybe Snowdon itself?, but I do like Cadair Idris too.
- Lake district? … Spoilt for choice!
- Yorkshire Dales … 3-peaks … Pen-Y-Ghent maybe?
In the meantime, I’ll just have to make do with looking back at some of last year’s walks photo’s and writing another blog post or two. At least I’ve got quite a few walks to choose from (see below), or is there anyone out there who would like to pick one for me to finish off ? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do :-
- 20170201 A Rugby Walk [Warwickshire]
- 20170222 A Wet Walk Around Draycote Water [Warwickshire]
- 20170412 Hunstanton Beach and Cliff Circular Walk [East Anglia]
- 20170509 Daventry Country Park at Sunset [Northamptonshire]
- 20170620 Another Daventry Country Park Sunset Wander [Northamptonshire]
- 20170627 Ambleside, Loughrigg, Grasmere, Rydal Circular Walk [Lake District]
- 20170628 Place Fell Circular Walk [Lake District]
- 20170726 Shaldon to Maidencombe Linear Walk [South Devon Coast Path]
- 20170810 Luds Church + The Roaches Walk [Peak District]
- 20170921 Langdale Pikes Circular Walk [Lake District]
- 20170923 Ambleside – Wansfell – Orrest Head – Windermere Walk [Lake District]
- 20170924 Langdale – Crinkle Crags Circular Walk [Lake District]
- 20171018-25 Zante Holiday Wandering – Not proper walks really [Greek islands]
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.