Day 15 – A Big Adventure

7 May 2013

Today we got up and prepared to move into the apartment we’ve rented for the next week. We changed our dressings and the burns are looking good.

Recovering from second  degree exhaust burns
The top left of Dre’s burn is fully covered with skin now but the main part is still weeping

Dre’s is still weeping quite a lot and my lower one is too in one small place.

Healing from second degree burns
Karen’s lower burn still weeping from one small spot but otherwise scabbing

We were really lucky that one of the staff at the hotel was just about to go out in her car when we were ready to leave, so it meant Dre could bring the motorbike and I got to go in a car which was obviously much easier for me.

It’s much better being in the apartment and we’ve got a really nice view over  the trees and mountains of Chiang Rai.  As well as that it’s probably 4-5 times the size of our hotel room with a lounge and kitchen so it’s a lot better for what we need while we’re here.

I was very excited to receive a reply from the physiotherapist with a list of exercises I can do to strenthen my leg and ankle.  I did all of them with the exception of the last one which I could only manage 2 of them instead of the suggested 10, but I will work up to them over the next few days.  This is what she told me to do:


feet on floor, knees bent at 90deg

1) try pressing foot down into ground with your bad leg and tensing up your thigh muscles – start with 5 second holds.

(imagine you’re on an office-wheelie chair and about to push yourself backwards). Aim for 10x 10sec holds

2) lift up and down on toes and back onto heel/lift toes off floor – small movements to start. Maybe 1 min of this

3) put a plastic bag under your foot and slide the foot backwards and forwards on the ground (forwards until your toe is pointing with the foot still flat, and backwards under the seat so that your heel/ankle is tucked right back- you can let the heel lift off the floor a little)

4) straighten the knee up into the air – tensing up the thigh muscles – 10x10sec holds

Lying on back (or sitting with legs outstretched):

5) press thigh / leg down into bed tensing all the muscles from your bum to your toes – 10x10sec holds

6) ankle movements

   a) 1min pointing down and flexing up

   b) 1min turning/scooping foot in and out – keeping knee still. (imagine you’re conducting an orchestra with your foot)

7) Bridges *** see how you go with this one – it may be too difficult at the mo:

Lying on back with knees bent – feet on the floor – feet and knees about hip width apart

squeeze your bum and lift your bum up into the air (weight going through feet and shoulders) try a few up and down to start and then try some 10sec holds – Aim 10x10sec holds

So I am really pleased that I can start doing some proper things to get me back to walking.  After I did all my exercises I had a rest for about an hour and then we decided it was time to go to the mall.

This is something that every day since we got to Chiang Rai Dre has been saying ‘can we go to the mall today?’ and I’ve been saying ‘Not today, maybe we can do that tomorrow’.  So today after my exercises my leg was a bit sore and I wanted to say ‘maybe tomorrow’ again, but instead I figured I was just delaying the inevitable and it would be good to get out and we really wanted to go to our favourite restaurant which is inside the mall.

So, we set out with Dre driving very gently and slowly and my left leg dangling because I still couldn’t put it on the peddle without it hurting.  The mall is about 3-4kms away so this was a much bigger trip than the few hundred metres we’ve already been doing on the bike.

By the time we got there I was already exhausted and my leg was hurting.  So we made a game plan to get from the motorbike parking to the inside, and then I could sit down and rest.  I never in my life imagined a 50 metre walk with crutches across a parking lot could be so incredibly exhausting.  Bearing in mind I am normally so fit and run every day, this really wasn’t expected by me, and I was huffing and puffing and sweating and by the the time we got inside I was thinking that going to the mall was not such a great idea.  I guess the fact that I’ve done nothing for the past 2 weeks other than sit or lay around, coupled with the fact that my fitness and strength is/was in my legs and not in my upper body, would have contributed to me being so tired from this short walk.

After I’d sat around for a while and had some water and Nurofen we worked out the shorted routes to what we needed to do.  We would get the lift instead of the escalators, and go straight to the bank which was  only about 5 metres from the lift.  I could sit down in the bank while Dre did the banking, and then we would go to the hairdressers.  Dre has been desperately wanting a haircut for about a month now so this was what he really wanted to do at the mall.

It was probably only another 50 metres or so to walk and I stopped lots of times to have a rest and finally got there.  Luckily, after that, our restaurant was just across the walkway from the hairdressers so a nice short trip.

After dinner (which was awesome, and worth all the effort) I got to buy some more pure extra virgin coconut oil and pure aloe vera for my burns.  I got Dre to bring the motorbike around to the doorway of the mall and I just sat and waited for him.

I now have the utmost respect for anyone who can competently use crutches – I never knew what a mission it would be.  Yesterday we even met a guy who did a half marathon on crutches!  Wow – and I can manage a mere 50 odd metres.

By the time we got home all I could do was sit on the stool by the door for ages, and then eventually made it over to the bed where I fell asleep pretty much straight away.  I think it was about 8pm.

Overall I think the day was really a bit too much to handle at this stage of the game, I did it though and was pretty proud of myself nonetheless.

Click here for Day 16 – Rest and Recovery
Click here to read the story from the beginning – healing from second degree burns while living in a third world country.
Catch up on the past few days:
Day 14 – Tentative Steps Towards  Walking
Day 13 – Healing Time
Day 12 – Resting up in Thailand
Day 11 – The journey to Thailand

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