Some seven months after my op, I was still quite sore and stiff but this may have been something to do with the fact that I had single-handedly landscaped the front garden. I never was a good patient. I didn’t hesitate, however, to accept an invite to the Chief Flying Instructor’s stag ‘do’. There was some debate as to whether we should go white water rafting or go on a stupidly long zip wire but, as it turned out, the decision to go white water rafting had two surprising benefits.
It has to be said that I was still pulling the ‘knee replacement card’ at this stage and, when confronted with lugging a heavy rubber boat down a very steep hill, the card was played immediately. This led to a lot of chuntering and muttering from one of the shorter members of the crew but, as it was delivered from near-ground height in an indecipherable Wilthsire accent, I ignored it. In fact, I encouraged further mumblings by pointing out that, not only did I have a very sore knee, I was management, and therefore unused to manual labour, and he was not. Management, that is.
A completely unprovoked tumble backwards out of the boat in still water should have alerted me to the perils ahead. A short while later, whilst paddling at the front of the boat, a particularly large ripple swept undeneath us, causing me to fall forward into the boat with my left leg bent under me and taking the full weight of my body. My cries could be heard across the whole of North Wales. The solicitousness of my fellow crew members did not last long, their concern soon being replaced by much jollity. One of the shorter members of the crew seemed to find it particularly amusing.
I had given myself the equivalent of an MUA: a manipulation under anaesthetic. This manipulation takes place if you cannot bend your knee as much as you should be able to and involves grabbing your ankle and bending your leg back as far as it will go. For that reason, it is done under general anaesthetic and, I am led to understand, sounds interesting. I had just achieved the same thing (when I probably didn’t need to) but without the ‘Under Anaesthetic’ part. Make sure you do your physio! I did manage to repeat the exercise ten days later, slipping over in the bathroom after a shower when in a hurry and taking shortcuts: walking over a wet floor to get my towel. I must say that once the swelling died down, my knee felt remarkably good and pain free. It is not a course of action that I would recommend, however, at least not without the ‘UA’ part of ‘MUA’.
The other benefit of our trip to Wales was seeing myself in profile in a full length mirror, wearing a body hugging wetsuit. I do not need to tell you which of the crew members pointed out my rotundness to me but, on this occasion, his cruel remarks were probably justified: it was not pretty. My subsequent loss of weight was also accompanied by a reduction in pain. Funny that…….