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.