Learning to walk again – By @Mr_Shankly

By Alex Morris


Learning to walk again 


When you tell people you’re having an operation, their first response is pretty predictable. 

“Ooh are you getting a General?! They’re GREAT. [Me/my family member/ my pet] had one and it was JUST GREAT”. 

So when I came-to from mine, physically convulsing with a nurse frantically suggesting I bring my rocketing heart rate down by pissing in a cardboard bowl, I could only assume my anaesthetist had taken a disliking to the tie of my gown. 

It was only an ACL reconstruction (I say ‘only’ because on reflection my title for this SCAB sounds way too dramatic, but it’ll tie into my pithy SCA prep metaphor; STAY WITH ME). Note to self, learn correct use of colon and semi-colon before start of term. 

Then comes the long road to recovery. 

Days 1-3. Ohhhh this is the life. Signed off work for 2 weeks and I’m back in leafy Kent. In my family home, propped up in the spare room like Grandpa Joe from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Being waited on hand and foot by my mum, who’s only too glad to have me somewhere she can both make a fuss of, and keep an eye on, me. Sure, there’s pain, but when I feel it creeping up, I bang a codeine and crack on with Stranger Things Season 3. My aunt pops by with offerings of Wispa Gold and Mundial Magazine. I put on a brave face and show off my scar. 

Day 5. The hospital morphine has completely worn off and the codeine’s not having the same effect. I’ve finished Stranger Things and can’t decide between a documentary on Mad Cow Disease and starting Series 1 of Big Mouth (again). I can’t sleep, as when I do my knee decides to lollop out to the right, sending sparks shooting up my leg. The lack of autonomy has gone from regal to maddening. I’ve even started replying to work emails to pass the time. I’m fairly sure the walls are closing in. 

Day 30 (today). A month since the operation. Apparently I’m making good progress but it still feels frustratingly slow. I’ve had to sell the ticket for a festival I (in hindsight, stupidly optimistically) thought I’d be mobile enough to attend. 

I’ve also got far too much time on my hands to lie there and over-think things about the course. 


The nagging doubt about taking a year ‘out’ to go back to school 4 years after thinking I’d escaped education. Turning my back on a career ladder I’d sweated to get just a few rungs up. Oh and what if I turn out to not be very good this creative lark; that would be 


But much like the advice my physio gives me as he hands me a list of exercises for the next two weeks, the most complex of which is ‘go-up-and-down—some-stairs-without- crumpling’: 

You have to accept where you are. 

Make a plan to get to where you want to be. 

Put the effort in to get there. 

And be prepared for all this to take time. 

So one step at a time it is. 

Still not sure about that last colon usage though. 

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