The Exercise That Broke Me

One event and one exercise has consumed my time this month. We tried something new in a Rexercise session where we strapped my FES machine to my legs while I was in Rex. This enabled us to be able to electronically stimulate the right muscles in my legs with a FES clicker as I was performing sit to stands from the static squat Rexercise. This worked extremely well. We then moved things around and provided FES to my legs while I was walking around in REX, it took a lot of coordination to be operating the REX joystick and activating the FES clicker. We managed to get it all sorted and running smoothly. We were not stimulating the moving leg but the weight baring leg to try and get it to help support my instead of REX holding me up solo. We were having a casual conversation about how your muscles are so strong that if you over stimulate them they have the potential to snap you bones, this was a high-level coincidence with what was going to happen to my later that night.

On the drive home after that physio session on my legs there was all sorts of burning and tight muscle sensations going on. When I got home I jumped straight onto my floor exercise mat and thought it would be a good idea to work on my core and do some stretches. One of my back stretches is getting onto my knees and leaning down and forward with my arms out in front. As I was getting into position for this with one leg under me a was pulling the other leg out and around to try and get it under me too. Now this is not the usual way I would get into a kneeling position, I was being lazy and karma was about to get at me for that. When I had the leg half way around my weight fell the wrong way onto my thigh and I heard a bang like to planks of wood been hit together. A shock went right through my body and intense pain went for my knee shooting to the sole of my foot. Thinking I had dislocated my knee somehow, I started crawling to my wheelchair. When I got to my wheelchair I tried to pick up leg and I felt like jelly bone with a grinding bone feeling deep in my thigh. I called on my phone for some assistance from the house and my partner Bianca quickly arrive at the shed. She asked if I wanted her to call an ambulance and I quickly replied, “Hell Yes”. From that point, she knew we were in trouble as I normally I would never want an ambulance called unless I was on deaths door, but the pain was getting too much to even be able to move at all by this point. The ambulance arrived in an hour and just at the point of me nearly passing out for pain, another thing that is rare from me as I normal have an extremely high tolerance for pain. The paramedics gave me pain relief then assessed me and I was loaded up heading to hospital with a suspected dislocated hip. On the trip to the hospital I kept telling the paramedics it was something up with my knee and my hip felt fine, I can never trust pain though because it can sometimes get signals from the wrong place.

Once we arrived at A and E some x-rays were done and it turns out my pain messages were right this time. My hip was fine but my femur was broken into 2 pieces just above my knee. The orthopedic surgeons were called in to make a plan for repairing the fracture. They informed me that normally, (meaning with able body patients) they would do a surgery that involved putting a rod up the middle of the femur and screwing it in place. Because I was a spinal patient and don’t walk we could just plate it. The doctors then got a full on angry rant from me that I do walk and I must be able to load bare on my leg again. I told them about my job at Rex Bionics and what REX dose. As they went away to discuss the job ahead I saw Me and my REX on google images appear on the computer monitors in their office. They were doing some research and quickly came back to me and said that they can see REX is really important to me and would perform a function surgery so I can still use REX and live out my goal of walking independently in the future. My leg was put in traction and I was book in for surgery the next day.

Surgery day was a long day as I was 3rd on the list and didn’t get to go in until 2pm for a 2-hour procedure. The operation ended up taking 3 hours with a few extra precautions taken with my soft bones and strapping them up right to heal. I woke up with my leg bandaged from my hip to my ankle to keep it out straight and keep pressure of the wound that was stitched from my lower knee to my hip. Normally they would out cast on but with the risk of pressure sores under the cast and my not been able to feel much that option was opted out. I spent another 2 days in hospital on painkillers then was back home resting.

My biggest fear while on all this bed rest again was losing all my strength gains from all my hard work at the gym. So I adapted TheraBand to my bed in the hospital and at home and developed some sets using my body and free arms for resistance. I also kept using my hand weights while parked up and recovering. The Stitches came out a week later and I began moving around in my wheelchair again. But, me being me, I started to feel to good so I spent a couple of days lying under my car working on it and done some odd jobs around the house. The day after my knee blew up like a balloon and was full of fluid and a bit of the pain was back. I asked some advice from my physio and was bluntly told to pull my head in, rest means rest which isn’t odd little jobs and working on my car is it pork up, out that leg up and recover before I damage myself more.

So, the next two days were laid out watching movies and only getting up when I had to eat and go to the bathroom etc. I have since been up and moving around a bit more but mostly resting my recovering leg. I am trying to listen to my body more and more but often get I wrong and do things to quickly when I feel good, there is a fine line between doing good and doing damage with active movement on my body and I’m still trying to find that line. I know I will always be on the wrong side of it as I always push things to the limits, that’s just who I am and is never going to change. So, I have realized to need to take in a bit more of the professional advice I from my support group I have around me, also not easy as I always think I know best. Thanks to all the amazing people around me from physios to REX professionals to family and friends, your all stars in my eyes and make the hard time manageable. I am now looking upwards and onwards to get back at the world and back up walking and training again with my Rexercise programme.

Leave a Comment