Week 5 – Gaining Muscle

27 May 2013

This week has been spent trying to re-build as much muscle and movement as possible.  The first 3 days I was able to increase my exercises slowly but surely each day, and on the third day decided it was time to go for a real walk outside.

I started off walking slowly and carefully with my crutches and noticed lots of things that I have always taken for granted; the road was not perfectly flat like the floor at home so having to repeatedly place my foot on a slight angle just wasn’t possible.  After reaching about 60% of the way around the block, I realised that my undertaking was too big, and I wasn’t sure what to do because I had already gone too far to turn back.

There was only one choice: keep going.  By the time I got back my leg, foot and ankle were really sore and I spent the rest of the day and all of the following day with my leg up.

I continued with my leg up for the following 2 days, only stopping doing this to do my exercises and go down to the shop once or twice a day.

I have diligently been doing all of my exercises each morning and have finally today been able to complete all of them up to the repititions that the physio recommends.  Even the days when I was really sore I still gently did my exercises – basically this entire not-being-able-to-walk thing has been caused by not moving so I didn’t want to fall into the trap of it being sore and therefore not moving.  So I did my best to move it as much as I could and strenghten it as much as I could.

It’s a fine line between doing enough exercise to strengthen my ankle and leg and doing so much I can’t move the next day.  I have had about 2 and a half days just resting this week, and the other days I’ve been able to navigate the 60 stairs and walk about 50 metres to the shop to get food.

There is lots of pains and muscle spasms and twitches going on in my leg, ankle and foot, so I am taking this as a sign that things are moving and healing themselves.

I now have enough strength in my left leg to stand on it by itself, currently I still cannot lift my heel off the ground though so am still unable to walk properly without the crutches.  Each day though I practice to strengthen myself, so I am confident that despite the pain days I am improving and will be able to walk un-aided soon.

The burns have pretty much stayed the same this week, my lower one is starting to get the white spots that the upper one originally got as it started to lighten.  So it looks like it will probably start to fade.

Dre’s burns lost the final bit of scab and his small one is virtually impossible to see now.  The larger one is just a pink patch on his leg and isn’t bothering him at all.

It’s also amazing how much the colour of the burns changes throughout the day.  I think it’s because the skin is so transcluscent now so if I have just woken up or have been resting, they are a lot lighter in colour, and if I am exercising or have just come up the stairs, the top one is bright pink and the lower one dark purple.

I have been learning about the actual complex movements that the human body does when taking a step.  At first I thought I didn’t have enough muscle in my knee or flexibility in my ankle to take a normal step, and while this is true, I now realise that the main problem is actually not being able to go up onto my toes to lift my heel off the ground.  There just isn’t enough strength yet to do this.  I can lift both heels off the ground together, but when I do just the left leg it just stays flat on the floor, and so far no amount of mental encouragement to my foot/ankle has been able to lift the heel.  I am sure this will come soon though, with all of the exercises.

So, at the end of week 5, I am feeling confident that proper walking will come soon.  Our burns look like this:

Recovering from second degree burns
Week 5 My upper burn
Healing from second degree burns
My lower burn week 5
Second degree exhaust burns
Week 5 Dre’s burn

Click here for Week 6 – Slow Progress
Click here to read the story from the beginning – healing from second degree burns while living in a third world country.
Catch up on last week:
Week 4 – Taking Steps Forwards and Backwards