It’s the small things that you miss

So I’ve had quite the time these past few days.

Caught up with the surgeon and podiatrist this past Thursday.

I was feeling quite down when I consulted with the surgeon, I knew I was making progress but I really couldn’t see it.

He confirmed for me that the joint had more movement that he expected and did confirm that the wounds were looking largely ok. I’m really concerned about how I’m walking (or more to the point of wobling) The way I walk/wobble is a heel strike, flat footed gait which means I’m doing horrible things to my body and putting additional load/stress on other parts of the body to cope.

I think it’s the post op shoes actually doing what they are meant to do, in slowing me down and preventing from my foot to flex.

I get out of the post op shoes on Thursday and really looking forward to that!

Being told I couldn’t weight bare without the post op shoe on meant that I had to bag my foot and sit when showering. This presents all sorts of problems, while the surgeon maintains I’m to wear the shoe while weight bearing I am allowed now to shower without it on. Just need to keep it on when arriving and departing the bathroom! Now why would I share that you ask? Well just think how awesome but basic it is, when you stand in the shower on a cold winter’s morning and have hot water drip over your body and have it run down your legs and between your toes. Yeah! I missed doing that for 5 weeks, it’s just one really small thing that you’d normally take for granted that is a really nice part of waking up in the morning!

The other thing which is big for me this week is pool clearance. There obviously are still somethings I’m unable to do, but this morning I headed into work to use their pool. Caught up with the lifeguard who has to be on duty when you swim. Touched based and handed over my membership form.

Went through with him what I planned to do and got my gear poolside (see photo below)


Being the first time in the pool after surgery and first time in the pool at work I picked a time when I knew there would be few people around (8am on a Saturday morning) the swim school hasn’t started yet and it’s the first day of the term 2-3 holidays) I couldn’t see too many people coming in that early! Little did I know I’d have the entire aquatic area in work’s new $15M sports centre to myself!

Never had that happen before and as you can see i got all my gear right to the pool edge.

I was a little concerned about how today would go. The requirement to wear post OP shoe was going to make getting in and out of the pool hard. Sure I could risk walking, but I’m making such good progress why risk it?!

Using my chair transfer technique I got down to the pool deck and lowered myself in. There is a wheelchair hoist, but my pride and determination was not going to let that happen!

When I caught up with the podiatrist on Thursday I had her review my hydro rehab program from last year and we modified it a bit.

Was great to be back in the pool, at one point I go back into “cycling” which is a couple of noodles under the arms and the legs were going crazy.

The pool has three depths, the best part being the 2M middle deep section, great for leg extensions and full ROM cycling. at 179cm I ain’t going to hit the pool floor.

Even managed some arms only swiming!

In true form at around the 40 minute mark I was cramping like hell in my feet so it was time to get out.

So I had to figure out a way to lift myself back onto the pool deck. Worked out I could hop onto the landing of the stairs and then do a seated twist up.

Worked really well. concerned about the foot cramping, but that’s to be expected.

Suspect next week it will be 3 to 4 pool visits, after Thursday it will really be on as I will be cleared for full weight bearing.

The pool is going to be amazing for me to build strength and get my cardio fitness back.

In the words of “big kev” I’m excited!



A connection with food, learn to love what you once hated

So I’m a little inspired right now, I hope that is going to last.

I’ve not really given myself enough credit for what I’ve achieved which is coming up in about October what will have been a 2 year journey which will last the rest of my life.

This morning I wanted to head to the Adelaide Showground Farmers market. While I’m going ok, there are times when it’s best to have support. A good friend of mine told me that the markets was a regular Sunday for her and I asked if I could grab a ride.

We got there around 9:30 and headed to the breakie place and had the most amazing fresh juice I had some hot spicy chicken wrap thing which was a great choice given the cold weather.

Ventured around the market a little bit to see what was happening and what had changed since I was there last. Foursquare last had me at the market in January which I think would be right.

What got me today was I had a bit of an idea what I was after and part of that was I had no idea about some of the products I was buying.

Some of the problem was there was quite a range and the real benefit you have of buying from the supplier direct is you can ask questions about the production of the product and how to  best use it.

The other great thing you can’t get from a supermarket shelf is the good old taste test.

Sure I’m outside of my comfort zone, I’m not sure what I’m doing, but hell I’m not always going to tell the vendor that.

There are times that I will play that card.

What amazed me today is for the first time a little bit of meal planning came in and that meant I had to work out who I was going to talk to.

I caught up with The Semaphore Pantry who turns out is a mutual friend of mine, their stuff is always a nice heat and eat option.

Next door that was The Passionate Foodie, looked a little quiet but had an amazing display of food dips and sauces. Wanted a new salad dressing ended up with their Chilli, Lime and Coriander Dipping Sauce.

It’s very strong so am going to have to be careful how much I use. Will be a great dipping sauce as the name suggests or even applied on cooked meats or extremely lightly as a salad dressing.

I was actually meant to buy seeds today to get my garden started and I really must write up about the work Productive Garden Co have started for me, that’s a post in itself.

While I don’t profess to be an expert and I’m stil battling getting my diet under control

going to a market and talking to stall holders about their product and actually have a way I can practically use it, is something that I never dreamt that I’d do.

This is only the first step of the “next phaze” of what I’m working towards.

I’ve gone full circle, gone is the 2L+ a day of “fully leaded Coke” as a friend says.
To reading product labels to work out what I’m ingesting and to working with raw ingredients to now have a garden ready for planting.

I really is all starting to come together and what really gets me, is this shouldn’t be anything special, this should be the norm.

Sadly in this day and age it’s not the norm and I personally feel compelled to try and help people make the same realisations that I have and comity to themselves to make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Never said this stuff was easy and by heck I’ve made some mistakes, but the by product of actually eating foot that’s good for you instead of highly processed, fat & sugar rich crap really makes a difference.

I’ve done quite a few cooking classes and only just recently started re-applying what I’ve learnt from them.

Even had to get a friend out to sharpen my knife block for me as I was actually injuring myself with blunt knifes!

I’m all about sustainability, from making sure the food I eat is local, fresh and in season.

To making sure the changes I build into my life are able to be maintained and that I don’t change too much too soon.

It’s through this realisation that I’m finally about to break the obesity cycle (I’ve done well, but there is aways room for improvement) and get past the comfort eating (that still happens but not as much) and rather than see food as a vice. To actually  give some thought and do some preperation in both sourcing and preparing the food. Rather than putting up the white flag, say it’s all too hard  give in and buy junk food. I’ll actually enjoy buying, preparing, cooking and sharing  food.

That’s the wow or “ah ya” moment right their folks, that’s my journey so far today.

Hope your having an amazing one too.


With a hint of stubbornness

I have had quite an interesting time since last writing.

Managed a 4 day week at work last week, I’m headed tomorrow to complete my first full week back at work since surgery.

This week has been quite the challenge on so many fronts.

I’m going to keep this largely personal as that’s the focus of this blog.

Comment of the week would have to go to the dry wit of a couple of nurses I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with this week.

One in particular sees me in two post op shoes and says something like “oh…. You look like you’ve had some surgery”

Yeah second round in about 12 months and a week!

Lets face it in many ways I’m my fathers son and as a byproduct of that is dedication, determination and hard work. To some it could be seen as being stubborn!

It’s been explained to me that this “stubborn ness” if focused correctly is not a bad thing!

I have to might for many things and sometimes it gets really easy to get caught up in sweating the small stuff and is often the case not being prepared to take chances.

My mobility right now is really frustrating me. It’s such a fine line. Do too little and get depressed due to isolation. There are times I just have to accept there are things I still can’t do.

That said there are times you push though and surprise yourself with your abilities.
That said you literally have to be ready for the pain when you screw up.

The trick is making sure what you are doing is consistent with your goals. Taking it easy, one step at a time or just not over doing it are popular terms.

The challenge is their and one needs to pick a balance between the conservative approach and taking risks.

The rewards should not be underestimated.

Rehab has begun and on the road to a good outcome

So I’ve neglected the blog a bit over the past week. I’ve been just a tad busy and wanting to focus on the really important things in life!

Blogging can be quite cathartic so there does come a time when it is handy to spend a moment and summarize the past week.

So Monday was a public holiday and Tuesday was return to work (full time) I set a time frame of two weeks to take off for this last round of surgery and it will actually be 12 work days so technically slightly longer than two weeks.

Anyway I fronted for work on Tuesday and while it was a hard slog, as the week went on I started to adjust.

I’d be lying if I said the return to work was easy. Managing my own situation and that of my Dad’s plus the pressure work adds to the fold is quite the challenge. It’s for that reason that I’ve not tried to get clearance to return to exercise. I get home from work totally exhausted and right now the focus is sustaining the return to work, so pushing myself harder with exercise can wait.

On Thursday night I had my first appointment with my podiatrist who is going to be managing my rehab.

She has given me a very basic set of exercises to do, called ROM exercises of the toe which are done passively and resisted.

Passive is really easy, you just move your toe, resisted is where you actually physically move the toe.

When I first did these exercises I pushed too hard and put myself in a world of pain (literally)

I contacted my Podiatrist to clarify that obviously moving the toe is going to be sore but just how far do I push it?

Advise was to push into discomfort but not pain. Seems obvious, but I’ve had a few issues in the past when I’ve got exercise instructions wrong and it’s best to make sure your doing the right thing!

Over the past few days the exercises have been getting easier to do which is good.

I’m still getting pain out of the incisions and I suspect the one on the top of the toe is going to be the worst. The surgeon did mention the top incision would only be done if required and it was.

I’m still three weeks out from loosing the post op shoe which is frustrating. The height difference in my legs is so substantial the “wobble” I am doing is throwing my body alignment out. I’ll have to experiment tomorrow to see if I can get a sandle a similar height, otherwise on advise I will get a second post op shoe.

The fall out from the “wobble” is causing calf, back neck and shoulder pain. Even if I slow down and reduce the length of my stride I still can’t stablise sufficiently.

One really positive thing to come out of the podiatry consult was that better movement is already noticeable in the big toe joint, which is the whole purpose of this surgery. As long as I continue to do as I’m told and progress continues in this way then we are on tract for a good outcome.

That is pleasing as I’ve started to receive emails from the City Bay office and I’m keen to start training for the event.

Given that I’m only able to walk short distances right now (as in a few meters at a time) even the 3km seems impossible right now.

I’m hopeful to be able to complete the 6km again. Going to be really interesting to reflect back on this post in September!

Ultimately in the early stages of rehab lots of working and certainly jogging or running are out of the equation.

That said, as soon as my wounds clear and I get the all clear I’ll be back in the pool like a duck to water.

I’m getting to a point when I’d really like to go for a swim or smash myself in PT, but I’m not quite ready for either of those just yet.

As “they say” all good things come to those who wait!

That’s the trick, for the good outcome comes patience. My Father regularly remarks that he was out of the room when they gave out patience and in this regard I truly believe I’m my Father’s son!

A lot of changes have been going on in and around the house.

I aim to write about this soon.

Small steps

So right now I’ve had a great 24 hour period.

To help a mate help me I lent him my car. Means I had a driver for a few days which was awesome. The advise from my surgeon was as soon as I felt ready to drive, start off small and make sure you can accelerate and emergency brake easily.

Last night I got behind the wheel for the first time in two weeks and shrugged off some nerves and head out. Really happy with that so dropped my mate off and headed home.

Was nice to see the car in the garage last night.

We have two bathrooms in the house and my Dad and I have been sharing because we both had to shower with plastic bags on covering the wound sites.

I’ve been reliant on a shower chair and finally got the courage to shower standing up.

While I’ve had to get a suction cap grab rail to give me a little support being able to stand and have warm water drip over me was just amazing.

It also meant I could stop using a face washer to wash those more intimate parts of me :/

Headed into Dad’s post OP appointment today and things are going very well there, mine is tomorrow and I look forward to the removal of heavy bandaging which I think is causing some numbness in my toes.

Many challenges ahead, but ready to deal with them head on.




Well, here’s something that caught me by surprise.

Today is Sunday and in this family for my Dad at least that means church.

For the past 7 weeks that’s meant tuning into ABC1 for Songs of Praise.

Well today by hell or high water we were both going to church. Him on a power wheel chair and me in my post op shoe and a single crutch for support.

It’s a little bit of a operation getting us both moving, but so far it’s being going really well.

Taxi was actually early which made a nice change, but caused problems of it’s own!

The Taxi today was a small SUV type car, a config of an accessible taxi I’ve not come across before. It’s actually a format I really like and I think in time I may see if we can buy something similar.

Was great, plenty of room for me as a passenger but a fold out ramp for my Dad rather than hydraulic. The converted wagons don’t provide enough leg room for my Dad.

Fast forward, we arrive at church and make out way into what for me was familiar but old familiar and now changed territory.

My work place is afflicted with the Uniting Church of Australia, South Australia Synod.

While I have a very strong belief, my faith until today has always been questionable. My faith got a nice kick start when my Dad and I visited HIllsong’s Hills campus on Christmas Day.

I’m not sure if it’s the events of the past year, my own personal circumstances but I really did feel at home today.

The church is virtually unrecognizable from what I remember as a child, growing up attending church on a weekly bases through kindergarten to youth group.

Gone are the collars, ties and large formalities. Jeans, sneakers, iPads & iPhones are in.

A young man today spoke passionately to an engaged congregation on Psalm 69.

A little theatrical, but there was no mistaking  his passion for the scripture in what he was reading.

The usual service goes for just over and hour. Today we were well over the two hour mark.

Apart from an issue I should have already spotted, the time didn’t concern me. It would have to have been one of the most inspiring and moving services I’ve attended to.

Not only did I relate to the message, the witness provided by some rather brave souls

it was like someone came and punched me in the face, didn’t even it coming.

Recent events have made me question virtually every part of my life and I think today the penny dropped of exactly what is being planned for my life and I’m all about this “bring it on” mind set.

I’ve indicated to the Pastor I’d like to catch up during the week.

I suspect I’ve found a calling, one from an unlikely source and while it’s going to be an interesting mix. Sitting separately from my father during the after church Sunday Soup Kitchen paid off. He mixed with his church friends of 60+ years. I met some new people who I hope in the future I can call friends.

The church has had a moto ever since I was aware “a family to belong to”

today that really did feel true.

I look forward to blogging more on this subject as there is so much positive happening in my life right now. Sure we are having challenges, but there is nothing that we can’t find away around.

Work hired a motivational speaker to speak to the non-teaching staff and he is known for being “an annoyingly positive person”

My goal is to be that person, push the limits, smash the boundaries, share the experince, motivate myself, others and as Uni SA once said, Life Impact.

As the pastor says “God is good” and I’m still figuring out why it’s taken two orthopedic surgeries and my Father away from home for 3 months for me to realise what opportunities knock at the door, if only I knew to listen.

The forecast for the rest of the week is greatness, I look forward to blogging more on this subject.