On the mend

I’m finally feeling like I’m on the other side of this knee surgery. I’ve had two sessions of physio and can feel the benefit of both. The evening after each session, my knee – actually my entire right leg – felt like it’d been mauled by a bear. But the following morning, I had more freedom of movement in the joint, less stiffness and far less pain.

I can feel improvements daily, along with reduced pain. As important is my increased confidence that I can use the leg and not fall over! I’ve moved from needing the crutches to get around, to only using them when outside of the apartment. Yesterday, I found myself walking around Canary Wharf (not my best idea – it was one of the special kids-focused afternoons!) using the crutches more as a security blanket than providing me with actual support.

Hopefully, I’ll be down to a single crutch after my physio appointment tomorrow morning and walking reasonably normally after Christmas.

I do think I overdid the walking yesterday though. I always have my Fitbit attached to my trousers and yesterday, I registered over 6,000 steps. By last night, my knee was complaining. But the majority of those steps were taken really pain-free.

I tell you what, though – people are strange when it comes to crutches.

Around the Canary Wharf malls, I experienced two distinct reactions to my ever-so-slightly-disabled state. Some people went out of their way to hold open doors for me. They waited as I slowly shuffled through and ensured I was clear before letting the door go. This type of person smiled, glanced at the crutches and indicated they weren’t in a rush.

The second type of reaction was something I suppose disabled people get a lot. Annoyance. I had several people push past me on escalators, in doorways and while walking. Someone banged into me in Boots while I was queuing to pay and her husband glared at me. I was standing still, almost fell over due to the thump I got, and yet somehow it was my fault.

Other people pushed past me so quickly, I almost lost my balance. Some shop assistants allowed me plenty of time for the old crutch-bag-wallet manoeuvring I needed, while others hollered “next please!” while I was still putting my purchases into my backpack crutches leaning against the counter-top. This left me feeling rushed, awkward and flustered.

New Grotto 2 BigI also had to make my way through what can only be described as a mountain of toddlers and small children. Actually, I’m proposing that the collective noun for toddlers should be “tornado”.

Santa was visiting Canary Wharf, along with his merry elves and a host of other kids’ entertainers. I was extra wary moving around the kids, as they rarely don’t pay attention to their surroundings (I didn’t when I was 5!!) and just run around unpredictably.

Again, some parents took their kids’ hands to keep them still while I hobbled past, while others looked at me like I was the problem. Sometimes, I just had to stop walking and let a clatter of kids fly past me, to avoid even coming close to smashing into them.

Santa’s elves were hilariously understanding and I can see why – they have to deal with these kids every day (of Christmas…what do they do they other 10 months of the year?) and know how excited they can get. I got lots of sympathetic smiles from them. But sadly, I had to negotiate the toddler-slalom over four times, as Canary Wharf thoughtfully placed Santa’s house in the absolute centre of the Jubilee Place mall. It was unavoidable, unless you wanted to walk above ground.

Good practice for dealing with busy London streets, for when I return to the “real world” tomorrow. But nerve-wracking all the same.

I can rest safe in the knowledge I’ll be crutches-free in just a couple of weeks.

Many, many other people won’t. Ever.

So please – a little understanding?

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