It’s been a very surreal week, even by my standards. I spent most of it feeling like I was playing hooky from work, constantly waiting for the knock at the door and the person behind it telling me to get back to my desk. Now before anyone judges me, ya buggers, I was actually on leave, albeit it was very short notice.
Last Saturday the Fathership got a letter to tell him he had to go for the minor eye op he was waiting for, the problem was it was set for Monday, not the Monday a week or two weeks away, more like the Monday, two days away, I thought, holy crap that’s quick, I better get him clean undercrackers!
Work were very good, I went in for a short while on Monday to get everything organised, ask for leave and then head to the hospital. I had some days booked for next week, but as I was still having to clean the ships eye and put in drops I swopped them and took all last week instead. It wasn’t the relaxing few days I wanted, but that’s life. Two ships and myself under one roof for more than two days creates a little bit of a pressure pot.
I’m sad I had to cancel the days for next week, I had been looking for a couple of days to kick back and chill, sadly this week was anything but and here we are in the middle of the weekend and it will soon be time to go back to work, can’t fecking wait…..not!
I’ve been giving a lot of though to this blog over the last week or so as well, wondering if it is something I should continue. It annoys me that I no longer have the time I need, which in turn saddens me because I cannot get the time to keep up on the reading of all the blogs I love. It is unfair of me to expect people to read and interact when I am not doing the same. I don’t want to give it up though, this is my little space and I feel like I need it sometimes to keep me sane. I’m not going to make any sudden decisions, I still hope that I will be able to get myself into a routine. So stick with me just a little bit longer please.
Sorry for the short update, but it’s 1.35 am and I think it’s time for bed!
This is going to be the last post I write about you, I’ve decided that you are what you are and I am just going to have to live with it. Things could have been a whole lot worse.
We’ve had a rough year you and I.
I found that being with you through your recovery left me feeling a little depressed, I’m still trying to shake it. It’s hard to go from being fit and healthy to bolloxed in the space of 30 seconds. Harder still to be housebound for 6 months when you’re used to working two jobs.
I’m reminded of your existence every day. I’m always in some degree of pain or discomfort, always wary and now even your twin has started acting up because she is fed up taking all the strain. To think she was always the problematic one when we were younger, you not so. Now look at you ffs!
Your cousins, the Hip sisters are not so happy either. They say you two are not pulling your weight and passing a lot of the work to them. I’m just praying you all figure it out, so that someday soon we can all work together as a team.
We met some interesting people on our journey though didn’t we. We’ll not forget the help they gave us because we couldn’t have managed without them.
Looking back 9 – 10 months, I didn’t think I would be able to do what I am now. I know there are still a lot of things we can’t do and there are some things we’ll never be able to do again, but that’s just the way it is and I’m trying to find a way to accept that. It’s proving a little harder than I thought though.
Usually in letters there is a bit about how you wouldn’t change anything etc, but I can’t say that, because if I could go back 12 months and never have met you in the first place, of course I would. No offence intended of course!
Even though they have said you might never get better, I still think, and hope there is room for improvement. They say though that we are certain to get a visit from Uncle Arthritis and that Cousin Cartilage might have us in hospital again in the years to come. We’ll just have to cross all those bridges when we come to them.
I’ve left you a present on the dressing table. Cod liver oil capsules with a hint of Glucosamine. I know they aren’t very pleasant, but they are meant to help, so lets give it a shot.
I’ll try and remember to get in touch in about 6 months time to see how things are going. In the meantime I hope you continue to improve and try and have a word with your twin and tell her to give me a fecking break.
Be good and stop giving me so much pain if you can, I’d appreciate it!
(Image by: Stuart Caie – Click picture for more info)
Let‘s go back a little in this story. I feel I need to provide some information with regards to my injury.
The Patellar Tendon runs from the kneecap to the Tibia, the bone under your Knee. The rupture meant I had in effect severed this tendon, removing it from the knee cap, resulting in me losing the ability to straighen my leg and my knee cap to be lodged about 3 inches higher than it normally was.
The repair involved the surgeon, making a incision of about 6 inches vertically up the knee, drilling 3 holes in my kneecap and basically sewing the tendon back onto it.
Recovery involves the tendon healing and scar tissue forming to help everything re attach. That’s it in a nutshell, well to the best of my knowledge anyway, I never got very detailed accounts.
I googled pretty much everything to try and gain a better understading of what was happening, and more importantly, going to happen.
Back to the story…..
The rest of Saturday passed in a bit of a blur. I was still a little woozy from the earlier Rice Crispie incident. My friends came to visit, bringing with them smiles, helium filled baloons and Haribo!
I slept better that night, I’d eaten a little and I was so tired I even managed to block out the middle of the night chatter from my ward companions.
Sunday morning brought about a shift change and a new nurse, however the Sister was still in attendance. The new nurse was brilliant, she promised she would try and get me released later in the day. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to get home and into my own bed.
Under her watchful gaze I managed to make it to the rest room all by myself, she did however follow me with a wheelchair in case of emergencies.
Satsified that I was walking she arranged for me to go and be fitted with my leg brace, which was to be my constant companion for the next 3 months or so. I’d walked relatively ok in the post surgery one so I had high hopes that the new one would be the same.
I was placed into a wheelchair with alien leg on a little platform to keep her up and safe. A lovely porter, who just happened to be a gamer came to collect me and we chatted about consoles and what was hot or not in the gaming world as we sped through the corridors to the Fracture Clinic.
Once there, it was out of the chair and onto a higher one, kind of like a dentists chair. The two gentlemen who had cut me out of my cast the previous Tuesday, removed the temporary brace, all my bandages, checked my wound, put on a smaller dressing and then fitted me with the new one.
Back into the wheelchair and my friend is back, push push, more chit chat and within the space of 45 minutes I was back at my bed. I was worn out, kinda hard to believe really considering I hadn’t done anything!
My nurse was all business trying to get me sorted out to go home, tablets and injections were ordered. I was given a box of Laxido (in my head pronounced Laxidoooo to help you poooooo) just in case, as I had not been able to….well you get the drift!
It worked not to bad actually, because the sight of the box, and all the injections I was to take with me were enough to scare the shit out of anyone!!
They decided I could go home. Not that I was glad or anything, but I started packing straight away!
I changed out of the pink nightshirt, and back into my cow print pj bottoms and started to walk down to the toilet. It was going to be a long journey home.
Panic set in, I couldn’t walk in the new brace. My earlier freedom of movement was gone. Now when I stepped forwards my leg felt like it was being pulled in about 5 different directions and I was thinking this brace can’t possibly be on right. I was in quite a bit of pain, so much so I was beginning to wonder had I somehow hurt myself again. I called over the Doctor on duty but he wasn’t to sure about how leg braces were supposed to work. I asked “Do you think it’s ok” and his reply was “Aye it should be”. Now there’s confidence for you.
Feck it I thought, I don’t want to be here another night, I want to go home, so shut up and ship out! and thats what I did!
I’d mentioned in my previous post Looking Back, that since my accident I have been living my life from appointment to appointment.
Tomorrow is a biggy and I would be a liar if I said I was not nervous.
About 6 weeks ago I had an MRI scan to investigate the innards of my knee in an attempt to try and establish why I am not getting a better range of motion and also why I am clicking when I walk.
Since my last appointment almost 4 months ago there have been big improvements. My colleagues assure me I no longer walk like I have crapped my kacks! I still limp, but it is not as noticeable to someone who did not know I had been injured.
My biggest fear is more surgery, that is something I really do no want. I feel like I need a little more time to let everything meld into place, I can only pray my surgeon agrees.
So everyone please keep your fingers crossed for me that it is good news! Surely I deserve some!
Image by Bryce Johnson (click picture for more information)
After my earlier post and much discussion in the office about my new shoes it got me thinking. I have been back in work almost 5 months now and although I am far from being better, I am also much improved.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I very rarely “Always look on the bright side of life”, I tend to worry more about where I am going as opposed to how far I have come.
It’s been almost a year since my accident. Eight months ago I would never have imagined being where I am now. I thought myworld had ended.
My next appointment is in a weeks time and I dread it. What if I go and they tell me they have found something on my scan and I have to go for more surgery. What if my now slightly higher than before kneecap is not right and has to be realigned. what if, what if, what if…..
I realised today I have pretty much lived my life from one appointment to the next. I can’t make plans. It’s a weight on my shoulders.
Aside from the fact of more surgery, there are other things to consider. More sick leave means going onto half pay again. Bills still need to be paid. It could also mean warnings from work.
But I can walk, that is the main thing here. Sure I may have a limp or not be able to do all the things I previously did, but I am walking. I’ve been through the toughest 7 months of my life and come out the other side.
I need to breathe and remember it is a long road to full recovery. There are many people fighting different battles and they do it with a smile because there is always hope.
Picture credit Bryce Johnson – click picture for more info
The shift change brought with it a Ward Sister and she was all business. I figured I was being left alone as I had just had surgery the previous day. Everyone else was washed, scrubbed and titivated.
Breakfast came and I decided to have some Rice Crispies and Milk (I’m spelling them with a C because I am doubtful they were Kellogs), heaven knows why but right there and then it seemed like a great idea. About half way through the bowl I gave up, I just wasn’t 100% ready for food. Slow steps, it had now been well over 24 hours since I had last had solids, apart from the little pot of ice cream.
Just as I was drifting off for some well needed sleep, the Sister comes over to me and says “Right you, get yourself washed and dressed you’re getting out of bed today”. I was horrified, I looked in despair at Alien Leg all bandaged and strapped thinking how on earth am I going to be able to get up. I have to say though, the prospect of being able to make it to the toilet myself was much better than having to continually call for a bed pan.
I was given a wash basin and proceeded to wash myself, well the best you can while half lying / half sitting in a bed, I was appreciative though of the fact they let me wash myself.
Previously the Sister had given me my medication, a concoction of Tramadol and Paracetamol as far as I can remember, apparently they are more effective when taken together. I couldn’t believe how little pain I felt considering the agony I had been in the night before.
“Right” she says, “time to get out of bed”. Somehow I managed to get my legs around and down onto the floor and she helped me manoeuvre from the bed to the chair at the side and there I sat, my leg in front of me on a little stool. “You’re physio’s will be along soon to see you, they want you up and walking”. Oh fecking great, not content with getting me out of bed I now have to walk as well, mind you spurred on by the bedpan / toilet argument I thought fair enough.
I’d been sitting no more than 5 – 10 minutes when the sweats started, you know how it is, the cold fingers that creep all over your skin and you’re quite alarmed about the fact you can feel so cold but be sweating like it’s 50 degrees and rising. Then came the nausea. I asked a nurse for a tissue and told her I didn’t feel so good and it was right at that point the physios walked in.
Smiling profusely they introduced themselves and said that they needed to make me walk to check everything was ok. I replied saying I didn’t feel too good and in a slightly sterner voice she told me she needed me to just take a few steps. I think she thought I was making up the sickness to get out of the walking. I assured her I did want to try I simply wasn’t feeling the best.
They helped me up and I managed to shuffle a couple of steps. Again I told them I did not feel so good. “Just a few more steps” she said “and then we can turn and go back.” I replied “ok, I’m just telling you I really don’t feel so good” and she said “Well are you actually going to throw up?”, “Yep” says I, as I proceeded to do just that all over her. Well I mean come on I did warn her. Welcome back to the world little Rice Crispies, I didn’t expect to see you again.
I don’t know who was more horrified, my poor physio or me. In my defence I felt too sick to actually care all that much. I was pushed into a comode like wheelchair, (basically a wooden board with an arse shaped hole that fits right over the toilet), and wheeled to the bathroom, handed some paper towells and left to get myself cleaned up. Not an easy task at all, but I did the best I could. I was given a pink gown to wear considering the state of my poor nightdress, pink ffs, oh how my friends laughed.
When I came back all the little rice crispies were gone and I was allowed to climb back into bed. All this and it was still not even 11.30 am.
When I awoke I had a little trouble understanding why I was so groggy. I also had trouble remembering where I was and as I started to try and sit up and process what on earth was going on I saw a blue uniform advancing towards me and felt a hand gently pushing me back onto the bed. A voice asked if I needed a drink of water and I nodded, a straw was passed to my lips and a voice told me I was in a recovery ward after having surgery.
I drifted back to sleep.
I had no idea of time and I continued to drift in and out of consciousness. I kept being given drinks of water and could listen to the general hum of conversation all around me. I seemed to be in a large ward with lots of people in various states of recovery.
Eventually I was told I was being taken to my ward. Lots more corridors, whizzing overhead lights, smiling at people in lifts and probably still occasionally nodding off.
Bearing in mind my surgery had been scheduled for 9am it was late enough in the day, as not long after I arrived in the ward the hustle and bustle started for tea time. I’d not really eaten properly since the day of my accident, worry will do that to you and on top of that I had had to fast for the surgery but oddly enough I still didn’t feel that hungry. I was aware of the fact that I’d need to try and eat something so I accepted a little pot of ice cream.
I don’t remember much else about that day. I was woken occasionally to have my blood pressure checked and to be given pain medication. I vaguely remember my Surgeon coming in to talk to the lady in the bed opposite me and then stopping to ask how I was on his way out. I asked him when the pain was going to stop, as the local anesthetic had started to wear off at that point.
I completely forgot to thank him for performing the surgery and the fact that I was still alive, I was in too much pain. Even the nurses came over and were nudging me and telling me how lucky I was to have him with exclamations of “Ooo isn’t he gorgeous”. It would be 3 months or more before I was actually able to see him in person and thank him.
After visiting time when my folks had left I was able to have a look around my ward. I was the youngest out of 6, the closest to me being 65, but she was good conversation and had had a similar kind of accident to me, only involving her arm and not her leg.
I’d never been in a hospital before, I had no idea of what to expect. I also had no idea how to use a bed pan and the thought of asking for one terrified me, but I knew for sure that myself and Alien leg were not going to be able to walk there.In the middle of the night I had to call the nurse and believe me it was even harder than I had imagined, but somehow I managed.
I didn’t get much sleep that night, one of the old ladies kept calling out everytime she heard someone passing. She was calling for someone she knew, and kept shouting “Is that you, come here I want to talk to you”. The nurses would come over and placate her saying shusssh it’s only one in the morning, shussh it’s only two in the morning and so it continued the whole night.
Shortly after 6 the ward was all business getting everyone washed for breakfast and the shift change, thankfully I was left alone and was able to drift in and out of sleep for an hour.
I’m not sure how I survived the few days leading up to surgery. I know I didn’t sleep very much. I had a lot on my mind.
The thought of anesthesia scared me. The thought of not waking up from anesthesia scared me more. No one really prepares you for what to expect, but signing a form to acknowledge the fact you maydie during the procedure is certainly thought provoking.
My surgery was scheduled for Friday the 13th! I know, someone somewhere was having a great chuckle at my expense.
We had to leave the house at 5.30 that morning to ensure prompt arrival at the hospital for 7.30am. I was taken into an admittance ward and my parents were told they could not stay with me. I was actually calm, something that surprised me. I was practising my albatross breathing to try and keep my blood pressure as level as possible. Breathe in while imagining the wings of the great bird lifting, breathe out as they lower. Hey stop laughing, it actually works!
I was given a gown, and a sock and told to get changed. It’s almost impossible to keep your modesty in check when you’re on crutches, have no spare hands and your arse is hanging out of a blue gown that you can’t tie because the fastenings are at the back. The single white sock however was kind of fetching in it’s own way, it’s aim, to aid circulation I think.
Then in walked my surgeon. I am guessing he came to explain the procedure to me, I did not hear one word he said. I was to busy gazing upon his loveliness. I saw his mouth moving, but seriously that was all. Little words like, drill, holes, in, kneecap, suture and stitches may have filtered through the bird song and fireworks I just can’t be sure. He then grabbed a marker and proceeded to draw an arrow on my foot. I’m pretty sure had it been anyone else but him I would have joked and said do you not know what leg it is ya eejit, I mean does the full leg cast not kind of give it away, but I said nothing. My sub concious was obviously smart enough to tell my brain, you’re going to be asleep and under his knife, shut the hell up!
Next came the anesthetist, lovely man he was, all jolly and smiley. He’d have put me right at ease if I hadn’t been already due to the aforementioned albatross exercises, to be honest I think I was a little giddy at this point from all the attention.
Anesthetist: Hello I’m Dr Anesthetist and I’ll be looking after you today.
Me: You’ll be putting me out, right?
Anesthetist: Yes, that’s my job.
Me: As in, out, out.
Me: As in I will be asleep, right out, not aware, dead to the…..ummm reallly soundly alseep.
Anesthetist: You have no need to worry.
Me: Ok! (begrudgingly)
They come and tell me it’s time and start wheeling me through the corridors, into lifts and down into the bowels of the hospital. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried. Watching all the ceiling lights go past I started to think of all the people I might never see again if I didn’t make it through, I was lonely, I wanted someone I knew to tell me goodbye and that they would see me later. The nurse patted my hand and told me it would be ok and right there and then that was the nicest thing anyone could have done for me.
The scenery changed and I was in a little annex off the theatre and the Anesthetist Nurse says she is going to put in a cannula, I think that’s what it’s called anyway. She says “You’ll just feel a little prick” and I swear I let out the loudest schoolgirlish giggle in the whole world and said “tee hee hee she said just a little prick” and they all started laughing. I went bright red, I think I muttered “Oops did I say that out loud! She carried on with what she was doing and it bloody hurt, “Ouch that wasn’t such a little prick after all!” says I.
My jolly anesthetist came back and started patting my hand and asking me questions, I heard him say she won’t need a mask. I remember turning to him and saying “Ooo my face has gone all tingly” and him replying that was perfectly normal, I remember nothing after that.
Never wear lounge pants that have a tendency to slide down as you walk, that’s all I am saying, they are detrimental to your health!
Last summer I was wearing a pair of said trousers and my toe of my right foot caught at the bottom and down I went, landing on, I can only assume a bent left knee. It all happened so quickly, I can’t really be sure how I landed but I knew I had done some kind of damage.
When I was younger my right knee had a tendency to dislocate as in I would turn and it wouldn’t, so I figured this was something similar. After about 5 minutes when I had stopped writhing around and the shock subsided I managed to get myself up onto my feet with relatively little pain, however when I went to step forward I realised I had no control over my leg, I couldn’t kick forward and there was a strange lump about an inch up into my thigh when I bent my knee, I later learned this was my kneecap.
One trip to A&E later and I am in a full leg cast and all set for the Fracture Clinic the following Tuesday. At this stage I still had no inclination how serious my injury was, ignorance was bliss.
I’m 41 years old and I am lucky enough to be able to say that up until this point I had never been at a hospital in my life. I was fecking petrified, I’m pretty sure my blood pressure was through the roof and every part of me hurt from trying to haul myself around on crutches. It is sooooo difficult, I used to scowl at people who made it look easy.
7 Hours later I am leaving the Fracture Clinic, my cast is split but bandaged together, the Dr has said I can weight bear on the leg as I have already done the damage, but I have to go for Surgery on the Friday to fix what I now know is a ruptured patellar tendon.
So back to the title of this post, I affectionately named my left leg Alien Leg or AL for short as it no longer felt like my own.
I want to document what happened to me, so that I can look back and remember, but as you read this keep in the back of your mind that I am fully aware how lucky I am that I can still walk and my injury while traumatic for me was not life threatening. My heart goes out to anyone who has to experience anything like this or worse, it is not an easy road to travel!