June 9th 1999
What a night!!!!! Pain or what? Suddenly at about 3am I'm wide awake and in agony. My whole lower right leg has gone into muscle spasms. I try to relax it but it's not having it and I have to resort to the nurse call system for the first real time since I've been in.
The nurse knows there's something wrong as I don't usually call them, but boy did I need pain killers.
In the end, I spent the night in the armchair by the bed, swathed in blankets. For some reason the leg felt better hanging down and I actually got some sleep.
Mr Groom came round this morning. He'd been told about my night pain and suggested that I stopped compressing until we'd had some more x-rays. I told him that some had been taken the day before and, after he'd checked them he asked me to come down to the fracture clinic after breakfast so he could have some more x-rays taken from a specific angle.
So I've finished brekky, typed this and I'll update it more when I get back.


I'M GOING HOME !!!!!

Yes! It's True. I'm going home tomorrow (Thursday 10th).
The x-rays showed something good. The bone ends have actually met at one point!!. Indeed there is a slight overlap, proving that I had definitely been producing new bone before the infection. Indeed it looks like, although my leg will be shorter than originally, it may be 10mm or so longer than I expected. Bit of a bonus.
All it's got to do now is heal properly.(Come on body, you can do it!)
Mr Groom has agreed that I can continue to dress the leg wound at home myself without the intervention of a district nurse. This suits me as I am fairly sure that the original MRSA infections came via that route.
I am going to miss everyone on Twining ward. I know this sounds strange but, I'll be a bit sad going home. However my dogs will be pleased to see me (Probably not, knowing them!. Studied attitudes of indifference all three!).
I've been told to be ready to go home at 11am tomorrow, that's when transport will come to collect me. I shan't hold my breath!.

June 10th 1999
Well, as I expected 11am finally turned out to be 16:30pm! Barbara had brought my rucksack up but I still had enough bags to make it look like I'd been on an extended world cruise, not a six week hospital stay!
I got to say goodbye to most of the staff on the ward and to thank them all for their professionalism and care. But one more time won't do any harm.
THANK YOU ALL ON TWINING WARD!

The journey home is a bit of a nightmare as I can't really fit my leg in the front seat and the back seat is out as it's taken up with other passengers. I end up sort of holding the right foot in place with the left foot and trying to ignore all the bumps, not altogether successfully.
When we arrived, the driver couldn't believe that I was actually going to climb the 18 concrete steps up to my front door by crutches, and was totally amazed when I did.
Having got in and sat down, the dogs came into greet me. Shunka, the biggest of the lot was so pleased to see me that he decided to jump right onto the frame. What a welcome home!
But home I am and after a good rest, I do my first wound dressing change and then a pin site clean. Bang goes another 2 hours of everyday, at least until the wound heals a bit more! Roll on tonight and a good sleep in my own bed!
June 11th 1999
Here I am back home.
Woke up this morning and couldn't remember where the hell I was! I've now got to get back into the routine of home life. What a drag!
I did my first wound dressing this evening. It was a bit fraught suddenly poking around inside a hole in your leg. Still I've done it before. The hole's continuing to look good (if a hole can of course!) and the pins are continuing to be infection free. My next appointment is the 16th so I'll update the story more then.
16th June 1999
Back to the clinic today. Mr Groom's happy with the x-rays and the state of the wound. Just to be certain Sister Phil took a swab for microbiology to check. So I should get the results next week hopefully.
Whilst I was there the hospital and Mr Groom were checking out a new piece of equipment called an AV impulse unit. It's designed to help people who are partially mobile maintain an adequate blood supply to the imobilised limb. Mr Groom asked if I'd like to let the representative try the machine on my damaged leg. Needless to say I was all for it.
The unit is basically an adjustable timed air pump which is connected to pneumatic cuffs. These can be placed around the extremities, in my case the feet and then, on each pulse from the machine, the cuff inflates and compresses the instep. This pushes the blood back toward the heart in the same manner as occurs when you're walking.
Now if I'm on my feet for more than a couple of hours, I start to notice some swelling in my right foot, ankle and lower leg. After about 45 minutes with the machine connected, the swelling was already noticably reduced.
I was then asked if I'd like to take the unit home for a week - WOULD I EVER!!!!!. All Mr Groom wanted was for me to make a note of the machine performed and bring it and the machine back next week. So I'll see you then.
23 June 1999
Well I finished my week with the AV impulse unit and had to return it (shame!). I found it really impressive and I'll be dedicating a bit on the site to my experiences with it very soon. When I do I'll link it from HERE (but not yet!)
This weeks x-rays were satisfactory in Mr Groom's opinion (good) and the results of the swab last week? - clear!!!!!!. No trace of infections!!!!
I also got my results from the bone density scan. Even though original x-rays suggested osteoporosis, the scan results proved negative. This is something else I'm well pleased about. Now all I need is the bones to join again........
Next week I'm back to King's for a (final hopefully) wound check on Wednesday and then to the Diabetic clinic on the Thursday. Stand by for more updates then.
30th June 1999
Didn't even get a chance for a cup of tea this morning as my hospital transport showed up at 7:40 AM!. A bit of a reunion at the clinic. Simon, one of the ex-Ilizarov men was in for a checkup. He's been keeping up the physiotherapy, well his wife's pregnant anyway! Best wishes to Helen and Simon for their firstborn (Possible birthdate - December 25th 1999).
I was in and out fairly sharpish as they just wanted to check the wound. It's continuing to heal well. I'll put a picture of it up when I next think of taking one! Back to hospital tomorrow to discuss my bone mass index scans which, -'m pleased to say I already know were OK. But we'll see if they've any other ideas about this apparent diabetes-which-isn't-diabetes.
More Updates Soon.
1st July 1999
Another early pickup. Got to the hospital in time to have a bite to eat before the clinic opened. But that was where the enjoyment ended. The clinic was so busy that I went in at 09:45 and finally saw the doctor at 12:45. I then had to wait until 14:45 for transport home and got back in at 16:00. I was knackered!.
As I mentioned earlier, the results of the bone mass index scans were ok, but that doesn't really answer the questions about the slow growth of new bone, the peripheral neuropathy and the arterial sclerosis.
So the concensus is that we wait until mid-August for the next appointment. By that time there might be a better indication as to how the (hoped for) union is going ahead. Ah well! - on it goes!
12th July 1999 Alert, Alert, Alert!
It's amazing how quickly things change and how little is needed to make it happen.
Monday morning I give a friend of mine a letter to post. She procedes to lose it somewhere on a 60 mile motorcycle ride.
Yes it was important.
No it wasn't irreplaceable.
but, Yes I lost it mentally, real big time.
Two years of stress and depression (Well quite a lot of it) decided to come out in a rush. Luckily I had two visitors who got my dogs and themselves out of the way, moved as much breakable stuff as possible and left me to burn it out.
About an hour later I stopped, went to bed and didn't move for 16 hours.
[I think I need to dedicate a page to dealing with the stress and depression of fixation orthopaedics.]
I had decided that enough was enough by the following morning and I was going to have the leg amputated. I was due at hospital on the Wednesday and would discuss it then.
14th July 1999
As I mentioned I had decided to have the leg removed; I'd had enough.
When I got to the hospital, I got talking to Lynsey, a guy who'd been in when I had my frame fitted. Much to my surprise, and I don't mean that badly, he was really upset to hear how everything had taken a bad turn, and I'd lost all my hard fought-for leg length.
I told him about my 'explosion' at home the previous Monday. He was surprised it hadn't happened before.
I went in to have my x-rays done. While talking to the radiographer, I told her about my depression and she was surprised that it hadn't happened before.
I sat talking to one of my previous nurses. I told her about my outburst. She also, was surprised that it hadn't happened earlier.
Finally I went in to see Mr Groom and Sister Phil. Mr Groom asked how I was and so I told him all about my feelings, what had happened, what other things were going on in my life, and how I really felt that I'd reached the end of my tether.
He wanted to know why I hadn't told them before about my feelings of depression. The simple answer was that, until Monday, I'd no idea how depressed I actually was.
Mr Groom and Sister Phil were, as I should have realised, really attentive as I told them my story. They, too expressed, almost surprise that it had taken this long for me to 'crack'. And as for the leg? - the x-rays appear to show growth, the wound has healed and is open to the air, and I'm off the antibiotics so, at this time, the things still attached and doing it's best to stay there.
As for my depression. Yes I'm still depressed but..............
My next appointment for Mr Groom is August 11th (Day of the Eclipse in the UK - Damn!) and my next appointment for Dr Edmunds is the following week, August 19th.
16th July 1999
Tonight I had the honour to be invited to sit in a medicine circle conducted by Lawrence, a member of the Cree people of North America.
As a believer in the Spirit that moves amongst us all, however you name that Spirit, I was pleased to be able to offer my help and receive that from the others present with the blessing of the Spirit.
I saw friends cast off years of hatred and fear tonight as they came into the understanding of the love of eachother and of the Spirit.
I still have my problems for an ultimate reason, I knew this anyway, but with the strain recently, I had lost my way somewhat. But now I know that I have to carry on. There are better things afoot.
31st July 1999
I received a visit from my GP last week and a visit from social services. Apparently Mr Groom had kindly contacted my Doctor as he was worried about my sudden state of depression. Also Social Services have become aware of my existence following a letter from a rehabillitaion manager dealing with my case. Hopefully I will be able to receive considerably more help than I presently get.
I am also going to receive visits from the community psychiatric nurse. This should help bring down my depression and let me deal with the stress of the injury, the frame and the rest of the situations in my life.
Check out my (incomplete) thoughts on the stress of a frame by clicking HERE.
12th August 1999
The Great English Eclipse occurred yesterday (11th). I didn't see it as I was sitting in the waiting area to see Mr Groom. Unfortunately my previous x-rays are still floating around in the system somewhere, but the new ones seem to show a slow but never the less progressive build up of callus where it's wanted. Indeed there was even talk of the frame coming off at some point in the near(ish) future, although it would most likely be replaced with another plaster cast. Damn! - I think I'd rather have the frame, it's cooler and more comfortable in my opinion.
So it continues, allbeit slowly. I'm back to King's next week to the diabetic clinic. They all a bit perplexed at the way my skin and muscle seems to heal, I've suffered no pin site infections but the bone takes soooooooo long to grow. Ah well, may be it's because I'm from another planet really!


My story continued (August '99 onwards)

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