Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The final fling! A bikepacking and family holiday before my knee replacement.



As soon as we got the date of my knee operation we decided to have a fortnights holiday before the op as it would be the last chance we'd get this year.

The first bit involved me leaving a little earlier with my friend Colin to do a little bikepacking trip in northern Scotland. Nothing taxing terrain wise, but a long trip in my condition...



About 350 miles in total of tracks and quiet roads. But first we had to get to the top of Scotland.

After meeting up we cycled to Lerwick for the ferry to Orkney for the fun to begin...


Arriving late in Orkney we headed to a bird hide I'd been told about near the Stanes of Stenness for a cosy trouble free night...


A cycle to Stromness the next day saw us on the ferry to Scrabster, passing Hoy and it's Old Man on the way...


Now you may wonder why there's a little dead end on the map above just below Thurso? I made a major boo boo! Despite us trying to be ultra cautious every time we left some where to check we hadn't left any thing I had left my bumbag with money, cards and all sorts in it 25 miles back on our route and we had to back track to get it. By then it was too late to retrace our steps again (adding 50 miles to the day) so we had to make alternative plans to meet back up with our planned route at the Crask Inn the next day. The reason for leaving it as simple; we'd stopped to remove clothing and the horse flies were so bad, and the worry over ticks where we were was so great, that we rushed to get moving again.

Still it meant when we camped at Bettyshill that night, we got this amazing view...


The rest of the trip was uneventful, with amazing weather, tracks and views. The only thing that was an issue was the horse flies, they were totally horrendous and biting all the time.






 And here's a short video of our trip...


Clare and Beren met Colin and I at Aviemore and then we had a family holiday at Gardenstown and the Banff coast, before a week near Jedburgh and me being dropped off at the doors of the hospital for my operation.



Looking down on Gardenstown. An amazing coast...


House in the woods near Jedburgh...



A family cycle to Holy Island...



 The Capon Tree, oak...


A family cycle around Keilder...



Clare and Beren went Ape!


And a stay at Falkirk just before my op...





By the way, I was left at the hospital by Clare only so they could get the ferry home and then she could take the time off once I got home rather than waste it while I lay in a hospital bed!






They have rebuilt me!


So the day of my knee replacement operation has been and gone. In the end it was a partial knee replacement by my cycling surgeon who's worked with Team Sky! He felt the damage in the rest of my knee wasn't severe enough to warrant a full replacement and the benefits I'd get from a partial knee; better and faster recovery and more natural use at my age with my activities was worth it. Not quite the Six Million Dollar Man (to get it done private I was quoted 12k), but they have rebuilt me and I will be better, faster, stronger and all on the wonderful NHS!

Golden Jubilee Hospital (Glasgow) was a fantastic hospital with fantastic staff. The view from my bed of the Clyde with the Titan Crane (which a friend has BASE jumped off) wasn't bad either...


Post op I had to stay in bed the first day as my leg and foot was still totally numb.


And I still had a hunter canal block in my thigh in case anything else needed doing...


 But the next day I was finally able to sit up...


Get out of bed and hobble to the loo on my sticks. What a relief!


 I'm now two weeks post op. The 7 inch scar is so neat and healing well!


I guess having dissolving sutures instead of staples helped. 


The swelling has gone down massively, but it's still very tender, numb and swollen around my knee and the thigh muscles aren't quite firing right yet. It's early days still though and it'll improve as the muscle damage and swelling dissipates. Night time is particularly uncomfortable, especially if I've pushed my activity too much; what me?! 

Currently my life is sofa, bed, physio exercises, a couple of 5 minute sessions on the turbo for range of movement and the odd hobble near the house. Walking is still with two sticks outside, very slow and tiring and leads to pretty quick swelling and stiffness in my knee. But, it's still only two weeks since the op, it's all looking very promising really!

Once recovered I'll hopefully be able to get out and about in the hills and coast like I used to and rejuvenate this blog!

In the mean time the next post will be what I did in my final fling  two week holiday before the operation...