Thursday, October 19, 2006

Nice Legs!

A number of years ago, I dislocated my knee. My kneecap slipped completely out of place, and I had to make the icky decision to whack the kneecap back into place myself, rather than waiting an hour or two for the people at the hospital to do the job for me. I figured that I had better move fast, before the "shock" wore off.

My recovery was a tedious and painful process, and for much of it, I had my injured leg immobilized in a rigid ankle-to-hip brace. I remember going to the beach with friends, and taking off the brace, looking at my legs and bursting into tears. My uninjured leg had gotten so muscular so quickly that it was covered in stretch marks. My injured leg had atrophied so severely that the largest part of the leg was my knee. My thigh was actually concave.

I had been expecting something of this sort to happen to Robb, but, in fact, it has not. He may not be able to control or feel large portions of his legs, but, for the most part, they look the same as they did before the spinal cord injury. Robb has beautiful legs.

He and I were discussing the possible reasons for this lack of muscular atrophy, and Robb believes that the spasticity that has been deviling him is, in fact, keeping his muscles from completely disappearing. The muscles may be getting totally scrambled signals from his damaged nerves, and may be clenched painfully for hours at a time. But they are "exercising" the leg and butt muscles. Robb jokes that he has buns of steel. His muscles are that firm.

I had a co-worker at a theater in Connecticut who used to wear a shirt from the maker of her stepfather's prosthetic leg. It said "NICE LEGS" in huge letters and, the name of the artificial leg maker in much smaller text underneath. Guys would see her on the street, and call out, "Nice Legs!" And then they would get close enough to read the rest of the shirt and get really embarrassed. My co-worker was convinced that these guys were unsure if the legs they had just praised were real or not!


Laura Hackman said...

I have that shirt! My Dad had an above the knee amputation almost three years ago - the result of a knee replacement surgery gone terribly wrong. I've thought about my Dad's slow, slow, slow recovery a lot as I have read this blog. Having to teach one's body how to walk and stand and sit all over again is such a difficult and incredibly slow process. However, I am glad to hear that Robb is maintaining his "buns of steel!"


Anonymous said...

Buns of steel, eh?

When do we get to see a picture of them on this blog?


shiloh said...

Now I'm wondering if that gizmo they sell on the infomercial really works? You know the belt that sends pulses to your abs?


john said...

Those look a lot like your legs! (I'm saying that in a good way, of course.)


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