Down time before the storm

Our website was down a while ago due to a problem with the web server. Sorry about that.

On the other hand, my left ankle seems to be recovering without major problems in the two months after the surgery. My doctor was pretty psyched (and even said he was scared) that the progress was nothing short of ideal, in his own funny and casual way. He is referred to as one of the highest acclaimed in his field and so on, but is also a real frank guy. Golden combo right there.

Fair recovery doesn’t mean fast, though, as it involves multiple ligament reconstruction, bone extension, and anticipation of recovery of the necrosis in talus. I’ve been off crutches for a while now, but I’m still wearing a custom-fit plastic below-knee brace. I’m usually pretty good at adhering to doctor’s orders like that even if there are some inconveniences.

Probably the most inconvenient thing is that I can’t wear regular shoes. After I got out of the hospital, I was using a shoe cover over the brace at first, a trick I learned from another patient this time. It’s way cheaper than those covers your brace guys can supply, but was not ideal for extended outdoor use including driving, walking in rain or into puddles, etc.

That’s when I spotted a fake Crocs sandal I had bought for 250 yen. Even cheaper than the shoe cover hack. So I employed it when the brace was trimmed down a bit a month after surgery. I heated it with a heat gun and put my foot in, and re-forming worked perfect like that. Very comfortable, but I never knew that perfect fit wouldn’t last forever.

Snow is piling up as I’m writing this. What should I do…

The short-term solution is simple; I can stay inside until the snow melts. But it will start to stay on the ground in a month or so, thus I’ll need to figure something out if I’m wearing the brace at that point still. I’m seeing the doctor next week, so we’ll see.

Also I’ve been meaning to fix the roof before the winter comes, but I’ll just have to come up with the best temporary fix depending on my progress in the coming month. When your condition is not perfect, the perfect solution is not to haste.

Stay safe, everyone!

Left foot overhauled

Autumn is everywhere, in deep forests, supermarkets, and cozy hospital rooms.

Typically mid August to September is the time to get hospitalized for me for some unknown reason, and it happened this year again, for about 10th time or so and after two years since the last. I walked in mid September, stayed three weeks, and hobbled out on crutches last week.

Just like the last time it’s not for any fresh injury but to treat an old, lingering one. There was this new hope to fix my left foot that’s basically been in an unwalkable condition since the injury three year ago, so I just went all in for the new plan.

Previously the doctor said the main issue was necrosis in the talus bone and there was no easy rectification, but this other doctor I saw this time shed a different light on it. He instantly saw I had flexible joints, then proceeded to point out a few ligaments were missing and the joint was very loose, which he said could be fixed by ligament reconstruction and fibular osteotomy to make the joint tighter. It all happened during this one visit at the end of August along with normal x-ray, stress x-ray, and reservation for hospitalization. Light speed.

As for ligaments, I had long sensed the absence of the anterior talofibular ligament on the outside, but never suspected the triangular ligament on the inside to have failed since the seemingly successful reconstruction many years ago. I’ve always been pretty flexible, like flexible enough to do leg splits, which can contribute to severe looseness when damages like torn ligaments and crushed cartilages pile up in the joint. They say “flexibility helps keep injuries away” (at least in Japan) but you just can’t seem to construe it as “the more flexible, the less injury.” Too bad I didn’t know.

Triple surgery update

The surgery went well last Tuesday. The only real trouble was that I reached the 7GB limit on my cell phone on the first day of hospitalization and had to bear with the super slow internet connection after that. It was partially solved when I remembered wired LAN connection was available for the PC instead of tethering on my cell, and was completely over when the new month kicked in.

It’s been about a week since then, and I’m living in comfort without notable pain. The hospital offers big and super big serving sizes so I went for the super, though the fixed amount of all courses other than rice or bread is a bit troublesome. You can also choose between bread and rice for breakfast so I chose bread so as to avoid getting bored.

And today, the date was set for me to walk out of here, that is to be this Saturday. Less than two weeks in hospital to do three parts scattered over both legs seems quite handsome. It seems to me that, in present day Japan, the higher awareness and more knowledge in sports medicine an orthopedic hospital has, the shorter the periods of hospitalization and to stay in casts will get. This isn’t an accurate indicator, but may provide some hints if you get injured, doctor shop, and compare treatment plans.

As an athlete, however, you’d instinctively want to go further and faster. Stitches were removed today, but it was only natural that I acted in advance. Air conditioning was slightly too warm last night, which resulted in me rolling around in my sleep to lose not just the bandaid over one of the stitches but also the thread itself. I pulled the magical trick, the extreme stitch removal. I was all squirrelly in the morning, but was saved to hear that my doctor was going to remove the threads today anywise.

So, all remaining stitches, five in total, were removed to give me some more sense of freedom. Due to it being an endoscopic surgery, each part has just two small, one-stitch cuts. Not a huge operation at all. Now it’s time to hope and discover how much improvement each part will see.

Comfortable hospital life started

As roughly determined a few weeks back, I’m here, in the hospital now. I’ll have the meniscus currently locking the knee trimmed, and also give the left ankle that’s kept me from even walking normally in the last 13 months some drilling.

Cool update is that I’ve negotiated successfully to include the right ankle that’s had narrower range of movement in this party. It’s like scraping off shell creatures off a boat’s bottom face to regain original performance. All these operations happen at once tomorrow.

Sad part this time is I’ll be under general anesthesia, as opposed to local one on lower body that I prefer. I enjoy hearing the instruments chatter, bones being hit, listening to my heartbeat on the monitor, and watching the live stream of endoscope with the doctor. This time, however, I wasn’t given much choice due to technical reasons such as the duration of the procedure. Just as well, I’m not one to push my ideas against what’s deemed best suited by the experienced professional that is the doctor I’m with.

I’ve had a decent career when it comes to being in hospitals, and I’m stoked to see the technological advancements that have taken place over the years. I’m on my PC now, connected to the Internet via my smartphone on tethering, which would totally provide enough infrastructure for some lines of business. Some hospitals, as I would guess, should have WiFi connections as well, making it a more comfortable environment than average nomad offices in that balanced diet is a given, and without any effort from you.

However, physical limitations apply to businesses involving physical goods. I was expecting a week in here initially, which turns out to be about 2-3 weeks due to the amount of work getting done on my legs. So for that period, our business involving physical transport of goods will be affected. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and I promise to make up for it by riding well and hard and based on which creating more fun products when I’m recovered.

Knee locked!

My knee popped the other day as I was casually riding. Now I can’t fully extend it.

Seems like the meniscus, a component in the knee joint between the thigh and shin bones, is pinched in a strange location. My right knee has gone through ACL and PCL rupture and reconstruction, and it is rather common to have knee locking problems if your meniscus have damages from such incidents. In a societal context, the Japanese style toilet is nothing but horror for people with such an issue, where deep bending and full body weight load can lead to risks such as dislocation. Although, this time, it’s got more to do with my knee condition than the bending angle.

So, I will be hospitalized on the 28th to have a surgery, which is required this time to get out of the locked state. And as I’d be anesthetized anyway, I’ve asked the doctors to cut this and that and grind off this and that to be as good looking as a Hollywood star. Can’t wait to see the results. The only worry I have is my baby tomato trees, which are the non-industrial, super slow growing type. Been months since I got them from a friend and I’m still babying these babies, and need to find someone to take care of them while I’m in the hospital.

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