Fresh Air

Week 8.  Liberation

Two days ago, on Thursday 9th March, I was finally set free from my cast.  I wasn’t certain how the appointment would go, but to my joy, the circular saw from hell removed the cast, the consultant tapped my the bottom of my foot and my ankle joint and asked me if it hurt (which it didn’t) and he declared me healed!!  I was given a boot, just to ease me back into weight-bearing, and obviously I still have my crutches.  However, I was told that he expected me to be free of both the boot and the crutches within two weeks.  At the time this seemed like a tall order.  As I eased myself off the plaster table with my newly acquired Darth Vader boot, the prospect of putting one foot in front of the other seemed very daunting.  I do have some physio sessions ahead of me, and I don’t have to have injections anymore.  Also once I’m free of both and both my Bitch Sticks I will be able to drive again!

One of the big surprises once the cast came off was the amount of dry skin that was living under the plaster.  I’d spent a few days fearing Godzilla legs, but I will he honest now and say that it’s not the hair that’s the shocker.  The dry cracked skin is really something to behold.  It wasn’t apparent straight away, but I discovered over the next few hours what was happening to my skin. I’m using Palmers Cocoa Butter skin oil to relieve the dryness, and it’s doing a good job.

Mobility wise, its early days, but I’ve already been able to dispense with the boot!  And I can quite easily potter about the house, very slowly, with just one crutch.  I do still feel ‘safer’ with two crutches when outside the house though.  Today I actually went into a supermarket for the first time in 2 months!  I took things very slowly, and I lived to tell the tale, although I think I might pay for it later swelling wise.

I really feel that I’m going to come out the other side of this and get on with my life.  And I can’t tell you how happy that’s made me.

Advertisements

Seven Days

Week 6 – The end is in sight

This week has drifted past in another blur of having good days and having bad days.  It may be a lot to do with the fact that I can count the times I’ve been outside on 3 fingers since I had my accident.  In hindsight, the first thing I should’ve done is get a wheelchair on loan from the Red Cross.  It might have been difficult for me to get around on my own though, which was one of the things that stopped me.  But as least I might have been able to get outside into the garden safely and get a bit of fresh air.  Or perhaps been able to go shopping with a friend etc.  It sure would’ve made for some interesting blog posts too; me getting carried away in a gust of wind (I live on a hill), or ending up upside down by the wheelie bins in the garden.  I rule nothing out where accidents are concerned now believe me!  The longer being “holed up” goes on, the more reclusive I can feel myself becoming and that is no good at all.  I know that once I’m in a boot my life isn’t suddenly going to be as good as it was before.  I know that I’m still going to be pretty much semi mobile for a few weeks yet, but I will be one step further to normality….that’s what I keep having to tell myself.

I’ve been reading other people’s experiences via the internet and social media groups, and I suppose a lot depends on the kind of fracture you have, and whether you’ve had surgery. I think probably I need to stop reading and stop over analysing and just RECOVER!  Yes, actually that sounds like a plan!

Having said that I’ve really loved being able to talk to others online, and especially to be able to offer help or be around for a chat to anyone who’s just hobbling around on the fracture start line.  My hopes are that my blog will continue to hang around in cyber space and that maybe others will read this and think “Yep, she’s saying everything I feel and really don’t want to admit to!”, or that some link or tip I share will really help someone out.  Who knows eh?  Anyway, I’m nowhere near signing off and disappearing  back off the land of the two functioning leg person for a good while yet – so you are stuck with me!

Maybe the next entry will be from me – free of cast!  I have to be honest here and say that I cannot wait to shave my legs again – a quick peek down my cast has pretty much confirmed that I have morphed into a hairy beast of some description (possible a gibbon).  I may have to resist the temptation for take my ladyshave to the plaster room with me to de-fuzz the moment that the plaster is removed.

I will see you on the other side!

finishlineahead

 

 

 

Reassurance

To all of you reading who are new to the world of Broken Ankleism.

I’m imagining that you, dear reader, are at the beginning of your journey.  You’re freshly dispatched from A&E with a Backslab cast and you’re wondering what the hell has happened to your life in the past 24 hours.  I’ve been blogging about my inner feelings for the past few weeks, but I felt that a summarising post was necessary.  A post that you can quickly refer to, just to reassure yourself that you are normal.

So here are the key feelings that you may experience.

  1. If you are used to being the housewife/husband and your partner has taken over, nothing they do in the first 14 days will be right or up to your “standards”.
  2. You will feel guilty that you’re not doing anything
  3. You will feel useless and like a burden
  4. You will feel totally overwhelmed that you will be off your feet for at the very least 6 – 8 weeks, and in reality it’s going to be more like 12 weeks before you’re back in the saddle.  Actually that thought still overwhelms me (I’m 5 weeks in) so I’m not going to read that back to myself.
  5. You will worry if you ever will be able to walk “normally” again.
  6. You will regret not walking your dog for 10 miles a day while you had the chance.
  7. You will worry about your job.
  8. You will start to go stir crazy.
  9. You will watch rubbish like The Jeremy Kyle show – and wish that you could walk 10 miles with your dog just to avoid daytime TV.
  10. You will make mental lists about what you’re going to do when you are able to walk again.  If you never had a bucket list before, you will make one now.  Mine includes visiting the Grand Canyon and the Shoes by the River Exhibit in Budapest.  Best get a passport then…..
  11. You will think that you will NEVER be able to control your crutches.  You will.  I promise.
  12. You will discover you have a temper.  In the early days you will lose the plot at the slightest thing or if someone/something isn’t in the right place at the right time.  Reassurance for your loved ones – this does get better.  It’s gradually improving for me anyhow.
  13. You will miss driving and your independence.
  14. You will wonder if you’ll be able to weight bear without your ankle snapping again immediately.
  15. You will feel slightly jealous at some point of those that can drive or those that are independent.
  16. You will think about events that you’ve got planned for the year ahead and wonder if you’ll be able to cope.
  17. You will enjoy, for a brief period, being the centre of attention.  That stops when you realise how long you will be out of service.
  18. You may have a period of time where you sink under covers and feel very blue.  You will seriously consider the possibility of hibernation for the duration of your recovery.
  19. You will realise what’s really important in life.
  20. This will change you.

I’m sure, being at week 5 myself, I will continue to be able to add to that list as the weeks go on.  It’s really important that you know that you’re not alone.  There are others in exactly the same position.  And most importantly you’re not alone in how you feel.  Your feelings are normal.  You will recover.  That last point is what I’m hanging onto myself right now.

11452179254_7e44cc5fc6_b

Reality Check

Week 2.  And a kick up the bum

I really am going to have to do this another way.  I went to the hospital yesterday for my check up. Ankle was found to be in a non-satisfactory position.  Cast was whipped off (well, sawn off with that vibrating circular saw from hell) and my ankle was then moved into a totally new position.  I didn’t swear, I just stuck my top in my mouth and bit down.  After 5 minutes of my foot being held in the new position I didn’t feel the pain anymore….so it’s official….I’m hardcore.  In the grand scheme of things I’m not.  The folks who have hardware in their ankle are hardcore.  I am just so grateful I never had to endure that. I had a new cast to hold my foot, and another x-ray and sent home for another 4 weeks.  The Consultant said that when I go back hopefully the cast can come off and I can go into a boot.

However.  The swelling I have is not good.  And the Nurse picked up on this straight away.  I got a telling off.  And yep, she was right on everything she said, so I’m abandoning my to-do list because this isn’t a race.  I escaped pins and plates by the skin of my teeth and there is nothing to say that in 4 weeks, if my ankle hasn’t repaired well, the decision won’t be made to put pins in then!  And that really would be the end of the world for me.  The bottom line is I’m trying to do too much and I’m not resting enough.  Attempting to load washing machines or trying to live as I did before in any way is not an option as things stand at the moment.  I am still going to attempt to get around the house a bit more BUT in short bursts, and actually not for the next few days at least as I need to get this swelling down.  I’m at the stage evidently (2 weeks in) where the swelling is at its worst, so I really need to behave and be kind to myself.  And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

 

 

 

 

Homeward Bound

Bright and early my nurse arrived to get me up and ready for surgery.

I believe it was somewhere between 5.30 – 6am.  I figured perhaps I was on the morning list, but when they woke all the other ladies too I realised this was the norm.  Monique told the nurse to go away and turn the light out – which cheered me up no end.

No breakfast for me – nil by mouth, so I sat and watched the shenanigans with Monique unfold in the opposite bed.  I decided that if was going to be there, then I may as well pick up some tips to add to my ever-expanding portfolio of being a pain in the backside to those that I really don’t want to deal with but have to.   However as it turned out my stay was short-lived as the consultant arrived, and with a big grin on his face declared that at this moment in time he was happy with my x-rays and that I could go home on the condition I was on strict bed rest with my leg elevated.  If I didn’t behave then I would end up having plates and pins in my foot, and that he’d see me in clinic the following week.  “Get this woman some breakfast” was his parting command as he breezed off out of the bay.  Tea and toast had never tasted so good.  A good mental picture of me with that breakfast would be to vision the Cookie Monster with a big plate of cookies.

sesame-street-party-cookie-monster-lunch-napkins-bx-90776A visit from the physio with a pair of crutches, and a whole bag full of drugs to take home later, I was free to go!

I had never been so relieved to see my house.  But I had one thing preventing me from dashing up the front steps and in through the door.  My busted ankle.  This was my first trip on crutches….hereby known as The Sticks of Satan.  I had two choices of entrance; up a hill and along my long back garden into the back door, or up three steps into the front door.  It took me about five seconds to decide that yes the front might be more tricky – but it was quicker.  One problem though – the physio hadn’t shown me how to tackle steps….or if he had I’d forgotten all about it in my morphine induced delirium at being able to go home!  I’m not really sure how to put into words how I got in through the front door, but it is a wonder I didn’t end up straight back in hospital!

First stop was a toilet break.  That was another baptism of fire as I lost my balance fell backwards and ended up down the sideways of the loo.  Grim reality started to sink in.  This wasn’t going to as easy as I thought.  I contemplated the future for about 3 seconds and decided I had a clear choice between bursting into tears (again) or taking a nap.  I chose the nap.  Which lasted for the rest of the day.

 

 

“Oh I’ve never broken a bone”

The sentence above was my personal claim of glory.  I’ve been through lots in my life – but I was made of strong stuff!

And then I met my fate, whilst carrying a big basket of washing down the stairs on Thursday 26th January 2017.

Life was going really well for a change. My eldest son Jack was doing really well at college, despite all the daily challenges he faces, and I had just managed to get my first job since his birth. Emotionally I was flying high.

About halfway down the stairs, I felt my right foot slide out from under me, my left foot go under me, and my left ankle in the opposite direction.  And then I heard a good solid snapping sound which will actually haunt me forever.  I slid down the rest of the stairs gasping with pain, and then I heard screaming.  That screaming came from me as it turned out.

My husband, once he’d very quickly established that I’d broken my ankle, picked me up over his shoulder (no mean feat as I’m no lightweight) and laid me on the back seat of the car and drove as quickly as he could to hospital.  By this time I think I must’ve been in a bit of shock as I just remember seeing street lights going past and me trying to block out the pain by going to the “Happy Place” in my mind.  Once we’d reached A&E I was seen really quickly, given pain relief, x-rayed.  Just as I thought I would be heading home with crutches and a cast, an orthopaedic doctor appeared and informed me that, no only had I broken a bone on the left side of my ankle, I’d manage to move another bone out-of-place, and that I’d be requiring surgery the next morning and was being admitted to a ward.  A big arrow was drawn on my leg, a canula was put in my right arm, bloods were taken and I was given some morphine.  And then I was put into a temporary cast.  However, prior to the cast, my ankle bone was manipulated back into place by the doctor.  Again, I don’t remember much, except threatening to place my big toe inside her nostril if she didn’t pack it in!  The doctor laughed.  I cried for what felt like the 50th time that evening.

The warm feel of the cast brought some relief, or maybe that was the morphine, but I was wheeled up to the trauma ward.  The story of my time there, which was thankfully brief, is one for another time.  But I met a lady I will never forget.  Her name was Monique, and she was dutch, and in her 70’s.  This lady took no prisoners, and whilst I don’t advocate being a thorn in the side of any healthcare staff, she expressed her wishes in a very forthright manner, told staff off for not treating the other patients how they deserved, and somehow got her 12 pieces of toast for breakfast the following day in a very crafty manner.  If you hear me every use the term that I’m “channelling my Inner Monique” then you will know what I’m talking about!

I was dreading surgery.  I’m no emotional lightweight, but I think the reality of being in the hospital alone was a really scary prospect.  But then I’d look around at the other ladies on the ward (all elderly) and pulled myself together and tried to get some sleep.