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Published 24th March 2007 by

Putting my knee to the test by climbing Jacobs Ladder in Cheddar Gorge, a little over a year since it was shattered in a car crash. I was discharged from hospital exactly one month ago.

Stairs and steep slopes have been painful since the crash as the knee joint plays an important part in both movements. It is usually worse going downwards than upwards, however, I can manage a normal flight of house or office stairs without much trouble now.

Jacobs Ladder consists of 274 stone steps that run from the bottom of the Gorge to the top, each step represents 1 million years into the Earth's past. They say that at this scale, mankind's existence is equivalent to the thickness of a sheet of paper on the top step!

The picture below shows 46 steps between two resting points.

Jacobs Ladder

Jacobs Ladder

At the top we walked a little of the Gorge trail, but the land underfoot was very uneven and tiring to walk over. Coming back was even worse and my knee rapidly grew more painful. By the time we reached the bottom we were glad of a sit-down!

2 thoughts on “Putting my Knee to the Test on Jacobs Ladder
  • 1st April 2007 at 12:00 am

    Well I have just sat and read all your car crash story. Wow!!

    You and I probably have similar wirework around our knee caps [mine is the left though]. The consultant informed me that in the hospital in Brighton where I went that they only get 3 or 4 cases like this a year so it has been diffiult to find anyone else to compare stories with!!

    I just fell out the car cos the foot inside that was pushing me out - wait for it!! - got caught in my handbag strap!! All my own fault in my case then.

    Reading all your entries has been very helpful to me and made me realise just how impatient I am being. I am over twice your age so I can even allow myself more time to recover than you I guess. You are doin so well to ride an exercise bike I think.

    My husband had a serious motorbike accident in 1975 when he was about your age and broke the femur just above the left knee - too close to the joint to be mended with metalwork. In those days [hark at me!!!] he had to spend 13 weeks in traction in a huge hospital ward AND we had two children of 5 and 2. Over the years he has had various problems with both the good and bad leg resulting in lots of surgery. He was a policeman in Metropolitan Police Force and very ambitious. The crash [again some one elses fault - a car came out of a side turning from behind another one and met my husband in the fast lane of a dual carriageway - there is a roundabout there now!!!] cost him his career in the police force. he has never been able to ride a bike since. He has been very deternmined and like you not let anything stop him doing what he wanted to - well almost!!! He trained to be a teacher so therefore was able to follow a new, somewhat less physical, career and made it to deputy head. He then fell on a wet floor in school [no warning signs out - another insurance claim and loss of another career!!!] and broke the kneecap on the already injured leg!!! that was sometime ago and neither of us can remember the timescale for the recovery for that one and since then he has had the wires removed and that knee joint replaced and also the 'good' one which got worn out looking after the 'bad' one.

    I think you should know [just in case you are worried about when you are 60 - and you did mention that you had been warned that you might have problems later in life] that the knee replacement surgery is very very successful. My husband opted to get it done sooner rather than later while he is still 'young enough' [you will still feel young when you are 60!!!] to get over the surgery. also we took early retirement and our aim is to enjoy some life while we can now. His knees were both becoming quite painful and gardening, walking etc were becoming difficult. The first knee was done Jan 05 and the secon Jan 06 and he can now do the things he wants to without pain - the knees get tired but after a 10 minute rest he can carry on which prior to the surgery he could not. Like you recovery, physio etc. was hard work but well worth the effort.

    Sounds like you are definitely moving in the right direction.

    Keep up the good work and the positive attitude. I will try to follow suit with more enthusiasm and inspritation since reading your story. Thank you for sharing.

  • 1st April 2007 at 12:00 am

    I shattered by kneecap 13 weeks ago. This was repaired by tension wiring and I am very frustrated at the slow recovery. It was helpful to read your comments about what you are doing a year after your accident.

    From being a very active, just retired, pensioner I now find the mobility issue so frustrating [I am normally renowned for my patience but at the moment I am a very impatient patient!!] and as for not being able to drive yet?!!!

    It sounds as though your injuries were quite extensive [I will look further back in your writings] and to hear that you climbed Jacobs Ladder a year on is amazing - at the moment I feel like I will never let anyone wrench the walking stick from me although i must remind myself that I have dispensed with the crutches.

    It is so easy to forget how bad you were and not realise what improvement you have made. I am sure you found the same? Do you have metalwork in your knee and is it likely to be taken out in the future?

    I am off now to check your earlier comments!


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