The first three days of physical therapy went well for Danny, painful but well. He didn’t make the two sessions per day which he had convinced himself he was going to achieve before rehabilitation started and that was a source frustration. However the pain during, and after, those single sessions was enough to tell even him that two sessions a day was just not possible.
Each day he received visits from both Dave and Tracey, the former coming in once each day during his lunch break and the later coming in morning, afternoon and evening in between rehab sessions and trips to and from the shops, home or work to fill Danny’s requests.
Doctor Jamison had also visited every day, twice on the day Danny started rehab. On the first day Doctor Jamison was pleased with the way Danny’s knee was healing after the surgery but he was not surprised that even a sportsman who remained relatively fit was not capable of two sessions of rehab a day at such an early point in recovery.
“We had to repair quite a bit down there Danny, it’s going to take time!” Doctor Jamison had told him after the first session.
“Then how is it that these footballers get up so quick after total knee reconstructions?” Danny asked referring to the constant stream of knee injuries reported in AFL footballers.
“Danny, don’t believe every thing you see on TV. Most of them still take six to eight months to heal, some longer. Many of them also return to training and take the field a lot sooner that us surgeons recommend.” The comment not to believe what he saw on TV did resonate with Danny, he knew better than to believe everything that had been reported about him, but he didn’t have to like it. Doctor Jamison continued. “Half the time those footballers want to play so badly the team doctors overrule what we surgeons say. They take things into their own hands and over medicate the players desperate enough to get back on the field to a point where they wouldn’t even feel pain if they repeated the injury. We don’t want that for you Danny. You yourself have said that you’ve got a clear three week window here and I’d much rather you used that window, even at the risk of missing one race, than go out there and risk doing permanent damage to yourself.”
Again the doctors words did resonate with Danny, he obviously wanted to race but didn’t want permanent damage that could end his career. He also didn’t want to live off drugs and sedatives, he’d done that once before in his life and it was not a good time. But despite all that he knew it didn’t mean he wasn’t allowed to be annoyed with everything.
Danny wanted to growl at the doctor, even with the knowledge in the back of his mind that what the doctor said was right, but something in his mind stopped him at the last second as his words came out. “Ok doctor. Thank you. I understand what your saying, but I don’t have to like it!”
“You sportsmen never do Danny!” the doctor replied. “But if you let me be the doctor I promise we’ll get you back out there to kick Fittzy’s butt with plenty of time to take the championship this year!”
That one single personal connection about Fittzy was from the doctor’s perspective more about reaching the patient on their level than understanding the sport but to Danny it was the personal connection he needed to make him smile and believe what the doctor had told him.
On Saturday afternoon, the sixth day of Danny’s hospitalisation and the fourth day of his rehabilitation, the rehab nurse finally gave into Danny’s pestering and offered him a second round of rehab in the afternoon. It was not against doctors orders, it had been discussed and left up to the nurses discretion and the nurse’s plan was to let Danny progress slowly, not to push things too far.
For the first session of the day Danny hobbled to rehab on his crutches, it was a slow trip that took him down two levels from the wards to the gym, but it was a journey he was able to manage under his own steam. The return trip was not so good he needed to stop three times before the elevator, then a further two times between the elevator on level three and his room which was a distance of less than thirty metres.
The rehabilitation nurse who had escorted Danny back to his room had asked more than once during the short journey if Danny was ok, and then when they were back in the ward if Danny really wanted to continue with the later rehabilitation session. An anxious Danny of course told the nurse he was ready and not to cancel rehab but at the time even he wondered if it was a good idea.
By the time Tracey arrived on that Saturday afternoon Danny had completed his second rehab session. It was a session cut short by Danny’s pain and inability to complete what was needed and a session where he was returned to the ward in a wheelchair rather than on his crutches.
When the nurse filled out Danny’s chart upon his return to the ward she had given Danny some reassurance by suggesting that the extra pain was not a bad thing, more a result of the extra working out of muscles which hadn’t worked well for nearly a week and were still recovering from surgery.
Danny spent most of the time between Tracey’s arrival and dinner time when she left, laying back on his bed staring at the TV screen watching the sports channel. He wasn’t heavily sedated but he had been given an extra set of pain meds after his rehab to take the edge off his pain.
Previous car racing story here.