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l’azile » réadaptation

September 10, 2013

out on a limb

catherine @ 9:09 pm

About a month ago, I had my left leg amputated below the knee. How this came about is a long and rather sad story and I do not really feel like getting into the whole thing because some of it is just too personal or complicated and I suspect a fair amount of it is not really all that interesting. My friends already know enough about it, having followed along with me for the last 18 months or so, whether IRL or online (I have dared to indulge in a rant or two on “the Facebook” to friends). And family and close friends, most notably my BFF Alain, have been there with me through a lot of it.

But I think this is a major life event and not something that would go unnoticed. Indeed, judging by the stricken looks of most people I cross on the sidewalk or at the little shopping mall up the street from the rehab centre when I venture out for a stroll, I guess it is quite a sight to see this seemingly youngish woman, zipping about in a motorized wheelchair, sporting a tibial prosthesis on her right leg and a freshly bandaged tibial amputation on her left leg, not to mention a great new hairstyle. So I just felt I should say a little something about the experience.

Continue reading out on a limb

September 10, 2011

the never-ending saga finally ends

catherine @ 8:14 pm
a photo of my hip x-ray a photo by zaziepoo on Flickr.

Well, it will never be completely over. I mean, when you have a titanium rod the whole length of your thigh, literally inside the bone, it changes things forever (not to mention making things kind of interesting at the airport). But I think, I hope, the worst is over.

This coming September 24th will mark the 2nd year anniversary of my breaking my hip. A second time. But the story really began on May 24th 2005 when I broke my hip the first time and embarked on a journey filled with pain, frustration, uncertainty, loss and personal and professional setbacks.

It was not all bad, though. Through all of it, I met a lot of cool people, had some great moments and even managed to hold my head above water and remain relevant in a highly competitive field.

But I am so glad it is over. And that not only am I finally healed but I actually came out of this physically more independent. I actually came out of this better. Better. Stronger. Faster (almost ;)

Certainly a few people contributed to that, namely my family and by best friend forever, Alain, not to mention Carole, my prosthetist.

But there is also one person who played a big role, who made it medically possible for me to walk again, drive a car, dance, run (albeit very slowly ;) and a whole bunch of other things I could hardly imagine 2 years ago. My orthopedist, Dr. Mario Giroux.

Dr. Giroux succeeded where two other orthopedists failed. And I suspect one of the biggest reasons for that success is because he actually gave a damn.

Thank you Dr. Giroux for making me better. Thank you for caring.

For a trip back in time, check out my visual logs on flickr (via my From The Hip collection as well as the hip tag) or my writings about the whole thing here on this old blog.

October 31, 2009


catherine @ 10:45 am

I have been granted a temporary release from the rehab institute (on the condition that someone help me navigate the 19 steps that lead to my front door) so I am home until Sunday night. It is kind of strange being here after more than a month away but it feels so good to be back among my own things and to sleep in my own bed! The place was a bit of a mess when I arrived last night but Alain helped me organise and clean things. He will be back Sunday night to take me back to the institute. A nurse comes by twice a day to give me my Luvenox shots (an anti-coagulant).

I have about three more weeks of on-site rehab to do and then I should be able to do most of it as an out-patient. I have started walking a bit with my prosthesis, about 30 minutes or so a day, and they have been having me do various simulations, like walking outside, walking up a hill, walking up and down stairs (although there is just no way they will ever be able to simulate the broken-down stairs I have here), etc. The objective is to get me, at the very least, to the same point I was in terms of mobility and autonomy before I broke my hip. We are also working on adjustments to the prosthesis because, by inserting that titanium rod in my femur, the doctor straightened my thigh. This has resulted in my leg being over a half inch longer as well as having a very different alignment.

Finally, I am happy to report I am still smoke-free. It has been 37 days since my last cigarette and I must admit that I am very pleased with myself. Although, to be honest, it was actually very easy. Of course, I have been tempted a few times but the urge was fleeting. I think the radical change in context is what has helped the most.

Anyway, for those who are curious, I have been taking a few photos of my experience (although never with as much zeal as the first time around).

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

October 13, 2009

déjà vu and yet not so much

catherine @ 3:47 pm

I am very tired. To the point that I have had trouble keeping my eyes open these last few days and would I listen to myself, I would just nap all day long. Most evenings, all I feel like doing is calling it a night at 7 PM. People who know me understand that this is completely out of character for me.

I think part of it is obviously the fact that I am still healing, my body is still working on things and it indeed has a lot of stuff to take care of. And of course, I am also dealing with a lot of stress. Not to mention low blood pressure which is something new. The other part of it is, I think, that I have not smoked a cigarette since the accident (which is hardly surprising, what with being unable to move much for the first week or so, let alone get out of bed and go outside to have a smoke). Every time I have tried to quit smoking, it has had a similar effect on me, i.e. being tired and practically stoned, although never quite so intense.

So I have decided to try to stick with it. I do not know if I will succeed because although the physical withdrawal is pretty much over, it really is the psychological withdrawal that is the hardest and the longest to deal with. But I am going to try because I have been hoping to quit smoking for a good while and, ironically, this seems like the perfect opportunity.

Continue reading déjà vu and yet not so much

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