30 Nov 1998
I had my hospital appointment last week. Happily everything is going according to plan. Mr Groom is more than happy with the x-rays. I can clearly see union occuring at the site of the original injury and remedial surgery. It's quite amazing to see the huge gap that the distraction has opened up in my tibia as well. Also I'm still not suffering any infections in the pin sites (touch wood).
It has meant however, that I haven't visited another friend of mine who's now in hospital following a motorcycle accident. This is because she's where I had my original treatment . This is where I possibly contracted the MRSA infection first time and I don't want that again. However she is about to undergo bone grafting as a precursor to possible fixation. If that is required for her then I will risk a visit so that she can see that life, whilst it may slow down a bit, doesn't come to a complete stop.
Indeed, now the distraction has stopped and the pain has died down, next week I'm aiming to start back at the local recovery gym to try to shed some of the weight I've managed to re-acquire and keep the cardio-vascular system pumping as much oxygen as possible. I shall add updates as things progress.

10 Jan 1999
Well I've just had my appoinment with Mr Groom, some six weeks since my last one. Whilst the outside of the leg continues to look excellent, unfortunately the ends of the distraction region seem to have other thoughts. There is hardly any visible growth across the gap. Although a simple test shows that I am not diabetic, there is suspicion that I may be since this can lead to slow bone growth. There is also some signs of calcification in the blood vessels which can also indicate diabetes. So the next thing is an appoinment for the diabetic clinic. Ho-hum, life goes on. Mind you, the pin sites are STILL infection free so that's a bonus anyway!.

29 Jan 1999
I went to the diabetic clinic yesterday. They took enough blood to fill a small bowl (or so it seemed) and about 10 xrays of both the left and right ankle. Provisionally - I'm not diabetic BUT both legs are showing heavy calcification of the blood vessels (veins/arteries). Apparently this is not connected with the original leg injury but more with the possibility that I have some neuropathic problem. (I always knew I was some sort of -pathic most people said psycho!).
Early tests have shown a degree of loss of nerve senses in both feet and a bit in the hands. (A previous injury to my right wrist some 18 years ago never healed properly either). Apparently neuropathic problems can lead to this calcification problem. There's also a suggestion that I may be suffering from osteoporosis (Note This is NOT just a female complaint, so you men take heed!).
I've just had another appointment for the clinic confirmed for next week so - as they say -

Watch This Space !

2 Feb 1999
A medically retired man!. unfortunately my employers really couldn't be expected to keep my job open for me indefinitely. So I've been retired on medical grounds. I've taken around a 66% CUT in wages now so things are going to be rather tight until the other guy's insurance come up with some further interim payments. Still things continue as ever!

4 Feb 1999
Another appointment at the diabetic foot clinic for further tests. These involved testing the nerve responses of both my hands and feet. These revealed some strange responses that were indicative of diabetes which, so far, they are sure I dont have.
These tests showed that, in fact I have no problem with the hands at all. However while I can feel a drop in temperature on both feet of less than 1 degree, it takes a rise in excess of 9 degrees before I can feel a change. Other tests however have shown a better than expected respose to nerve stimulation. Had to give another armful of blood for further analysis. This is to include tests for a problem with vitamin B12. I'm also now on the waiting list for neuropathic testing (Whatever that involves!)

8 Feb 1999
Diabetic foot clinic again.Yet more tests. A repeat of the hot/cold tests on the feet just to be sure. This time one test got to 45 degrees from 30 degrees before I noticed the heat!. Checks on my blood pressure, heart responses, lung responses, all check out good. No results on the B12 blood test yet. Next week I'm back for some special diabetic tests as there is still an underlying feeling that I do indeed have some form of this complaint.
I'm also back to the fracture clinic so I will get to see if there has been any growth across the distraction site yet. Bloody cold today 'cos it's been snowing. So no way can I even get out of the house. 18 concrete steps covered in snow & ice are a definite no-no!. And so it continues.

17 Feb 1999


At long last there's growth visible on the distraction site. Even I can see it on the x-rays. I'm still making bone at a much slower rate than is normal, but atleast I'm making it now. Mr Groom's a much happier man as am I. However the tests to find out why I'm having these problems still continue. I'm back to King's this Friday. Finger's crossed.

19 Feb 1999
Here we are again, back at the diabetic clinic. This time for a glucose tolerance test. I've not been allowed to eat or drink (other than water) since 10pm last night.
They took a blood and urine test first and then gave me this cup of syrupy liquid to drink. I then sat around reading my JavaScript stuff (Sad geek that I am) for an hour when they took another blood test. Back to reading for an hour followed by a final blood test and another urine sample.
And the results? - at first glance they still appear negative. Ah well I'm back to the clinic on the 25th so we'll see then.

25 Feb 1999
Back to the diabetic clinic today for my results. Good news & bad news.

I had to try to trace what's happened to my doctor's request for EMG (whatever that is) tests, but true to the British NHS, I'm on a waiting list. This did not impress my doctor. So all I can do is wait.
Back home I got a call from the fracture clinic asking if they could alter my appointment for my next visit. Apparently they have a patient who will be undergoing having an Ilizarov fitted and they wondered if I'd mind talking to him about it. No problem!. This will take place on April 9th this year.

9 April 1999
Back to hospital for two lots of clinics today. Firstly the Ilizarov clinic. X-rays are showing more bone growth and a definite closing of the gap in my tibia. THREE CHEERS!
My consultant and his staff are very pleased with the progress albeit slower than expected. Infact they managed, in the height of my euphoria to get me to agree to taking part in the WISHBONE TRUST's Great Hip & Knee Walk in London on June 6th 1999. [ Click on WISHBONE for their web site]. It's a mile walk but a 'do what you can' walk as well. I'm hoping that a couple of other disabled friends of mine are going to take part (It'll get me a free lift up to London as well!)
Anyway, the hospital feel that there's no need for me to re-attend for another 8 weeks. So that's that for the fracture clinic for a while.
I had also agreed to meet a new patient on my visit. He is going to have a frame fitted to sort out a long term injury like mine. When I was intorduced to him, we recognised each other as we had both happened to be in the Bromley Hospital Xray department on the same day back in 1998.
I gave him a full run down on the metalwork. We talked for about 40 minutes, I didn't make it glossy and I pointed out the potential problems being metal clad.However he went away much more at ease than he had been. Infact he can't wait to get the treatment started.
Next I had to go to the EMG (Electromyogram) clinic. This was to try to find just how damaged my nervous system is, and why I've got the slow bone growth.
Suffice it to say that, after 20 minutes of shoving electric shocks up and down my arms and (good) leg, making me leap all over the place and nearly decking the doctor when my arm jolted sideways, the answer was that they couldn't find anything really wrong and have no idea why;

  1. I have arterial sclerosis.
  2. I exhibit symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in my feet on both legs.
  3. What's making the bone growth so slow.
I'm very glad that my frame-clad leg was slightly swollen following being on my feet all day and that the doctor couldn't get a good contact for his electrodes. Seeing the way my uninjured leg jumped four inches off the bed when he tested that, I hate to think how the other leg would have responded if my muscles had tried to heave the frame vertically at a similar rate!.
So now I have to wait until April 22nd when I have another appointment to discuss the results of the EMG to see what the next phase is. Laugh - I never thought I'd start. WATCH THIS SPACE!

22 April 1999
An appointment at the diabetic foot clinic today to get my EMG results officially. As I expected they show nothing particularly abnormal in the neural pathways for a (late) middle aged man. Dr Edmunds is most intrigued by me, my condition and my results. He asked if there was, to my knowledge, any precedant within my family as he is starting to wonder if it is an inherited condition. As I'm the only one to have ever broken any bones, there's no info I can help him with. The next stage for me was a hobble to the nuclear medicine department. There I had to register for an appointment for a body scan on my bone mass index. According to my friend Barbara, who's 'been there, done that', no metal can go through the scanner. So this should prove interesting when it happens!. I'll keep you all informed.

My story continued (May 1999 onwards)

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