Friday, March 26, 2010

Turning a corner

My recovery from my injuries from my bike accident is, of course, gradual. There is never a moment when all of a sudden there's a big jump of improvement. However, in the last few days, I feel like I crossed a threshold that's hard to put into words.

For the first week, every step I took required me to think about the position and movement of my leg. Every time I sat, stood, got into or out or bed, or did just about anything else involving moving my body, was a conscious process. At no point could I really fall back on the habit and instinct that we all use every time we take any of the thousands of steps we take each day. My movements had nothing of normality to them, they were entirely newly-invented motions.

Somewhere around Wednesday, when I stopped wearing bandages and switched to bacitracin cream, I found I was starting to be able to make movements that were like my normal, habitual movements -- standing up, walking, sitting down, going up stairs, etc. -- but modified to accomodate my knee. In an odd sort of way, this transition made the aches more annoyingly noticeable because now they were impeding my movements; impossible things had started to become possible again and the swelling was getting in the way.

Recovery is going very well, though. I am totally sold on the bacitracin cream. All these years I thought the point of them was their antibiotic qualities, which I dismissed as being a wasteful use of antibiotics (which should be avoided due to antibiotic resistance). Maybe that's still true (though from what I understand, bacitracin itself is already almost useless for anything but this, so no big loss there). But the real point of the cream is that it keeps a wound covered and moisturized, so you can go without bandages, and thus avoid them sticking to the wounds, impeding movement and having to be peeled off regularly. At least in this circumstance it has made a huge difference.

My elbow scrape is now about a third of the size it was, with the rest now pink, new skin, and even the scraping on my knee is almost half replaced with new skin under what's peeled off. The swelling is also going down a bit, though the cold weather today (and the resultant need for long pants) is making it hard for me to keep up with the hot compress technique at work to keep that progress going. And I can now walk both up and down stairs (slowly and carefully) the normal way (one step per foot), and finding a position in bed that I can sleep in is nowhere near as hard as it was.

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