Bath mats and low chairs

My knee felt a lot better after a quite settled weekend that did not require me to do much. The drive down on Monday was nice and easy and a physio session in the afternoon helped me a lot – although, as always, I was very uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

Sadly Tuesday started badly. For years I have ignored the warning in hotel bathrooms to ensure that I use the supplied bath mat before taking a shower. Whilst I thought I was probably safer not using one I concluded that that was probably some kind of self-delusion: in our suing culture it would be unlikely a hotel would bother supplying these things if they did not genuinely believe that they would improve safety.

I suspect they do IF INSTALLED CORRECTLY – which means kneeling down and ensuring that are properly deployed and good and firm. Naturally, Tuesday morning I did NOT do this.

As  stepped into the bath left leg (bad knee) first and started to transfer weight to that leg, the bath mat slipped as did my leg. I did not fall over but the jar to my leg was extremely painful. I did manage a shower but it was not easy.

Generally, given that am a very big bloke, I take extreme care when doing things like stepping in and out of baths. The risk of accidental and significant injury is high if I fall over – any trapped limb is likely be subjected to very high bending forces and breakages or dislocations are likely. Slipping on a bath mat was really annoying.

A colleague later told me that he never used them. When staying in a hotel in Japan some years before, he used to hide the mat somewhere in his room each evening. The following day the mat had always been returned to the bathroom but he enjoyed the game.

I tried to walk the increased pain off but I found the morning really difficult. The final straw came part way through the day when I sat down in an office coffee/meeting area with a colleague. For some reason never explained by our client, the coffee area has a mixture of standard sized round table and matching chairs and low-round tables and similarly low matching chairs. I carefully selected a standard table to sit out and promptly descended into a chair placed at that table that I assumed was standard height (given the colour scheme, vari-focal lenses, and my limited stereoscopic vision – it was not surprising that I made this mistake). The unexpected drop to a lower level caused even greater shock to my knee than the earlier bathmat slip. The colleague who I sitting down with for a meeting said my eyes watered and I said nothing for a while.

The rest of the day was agony. It slowly got worse and worse. I cannot take pain killers generally other than when in hospital because of asthma complications (already suffering because of an anti-inflammation drug).

By evening, my knee was visibly swollen and extremely painful. Sleep proved impossible. The hotel staff were very helpful and supplied plenty of ice on request which did ease things somewhat but I had no sleep.

I took sick leave the following day and stayed in the hotel working on/off as much as I could remotely mixed in with rest and careful exercise of the knee and ice-packs from time to time. My Wednesday evening, the swelling had gone down and the pain was back to a "normal" level. I managed to sleep and return to work on Thursday.

At the physio session on Thursday morning, my knee was checked over very carefully. I had done some more damage but knew what to do. I was warned again about sitting for more than half-an-hour BUT not to put my leg under load. In other words, move your leg around at least every half-an-hour but avoid walking on it far or for any length of time. Not easy to achieve in the job I have and the situation I am currently in.

Fortunately, Thursday was my last day of work before a holiday of a week-and-a-bit. Unfortunately, the holiday we have booked is, essentially, a walking holiday in the Highlands of Scotland. Our plans will have to change to allow me to protect my knee and help it to get better.

The drive home Thursday evening was relatively easy although I had to take plenty of breaks to ensure my leg was properly exercised. I could see that the several-hundred mile drive to the North of Scotland was going to be a challenge.

Leave a Reply