11th August 1999
Hospital appointment with Mr Groom today. Not much to report really. The x-rays show that then bones seem to be healing but still very slowly. Mr Groom's happy though so that's good enough for me. Words are being said about possible removal of the frame a bit later this year so I'll keep my fingers crossed and see what happens at my next appoinment in September.
There was a long wait in X-ray today, seemed like the world and it's wife were in either for clinics or had had accidents.
On the other hand maybe they were all sheltering from the total eclipse of the sun today. The English media had gone berserk about it. The doom-mongers were pushing the end of the world again. I set up a camera at home to video the eclipse as it 'swept majestically' across the fields.
However I forgot to set the lens auto-iris to Off so that, as it got darker, the camera automatically compensated as normal and when I watched the video back I had nearly two hours of not a lot happening at all. Even the sheep in the field didn't move about much!. Ah well - so much for being a techo-nerd then!
19th August 1999
Another hospital appointment today. This time at the diabetic Clinic.
A bit of an administrative 'cock-up' meant that Dr Edmund's wasn't there to see me after all. But, true to form he phoned in, while I was there to apologise for the oversight. You can't knock that can you?. Anyway one of the other staff had a quick chat and I appraised them on the situation.
My next appointment's in September so I'll report back them.
27th August '99.
I had an appointment today with the local community mental health team. My designated doctor was Dr Ali. We chatted for about an hour or so, covering the way I felt towards everything that had occurred in the last two years.
He felt that I could benefit from visits from the community psychiatric nurse and also an additional medication which was Melleril 25mg, up to three a day, as required.
These did not work for me!!!
I was supposed to use them if I was starting to feel the way I can do if I'm supposed to be going anywhere that's not a medical appointment. It's a sort of panic attack where I find all sorts of excuses and reasons not to go. This is not the true me. I've always liked getting out there!.
So I tried them on the next day when I had been asked out. Suffice it to say that I have no clear memory of the day at all, suffered severe trembling hands, I didn't go out anyway and was quite objectionable to all and sundry who came near me.
By the end of the day, my eyesight was so shot that I couldn't read the paper, and I was so exhausted that I slept for 13 hours solid that night.
The next day I still felt rough and was still suffering from trembling hands!
On the Monday, I rang round the people that I had a vague recollection of talking to just to apologise if I'd said anything out of order.
I don't think I'll be taking those pills again for a while!
8th September '99.
I had another check out with Mr Groom today. The x-rays show continuing growth of bone but, as usuall, still very slowly.
The present state of play is that, in October, at my next appointment, if the x-rays look as promising as they presently do, the frame will be loosened and some force applied to my leg to check the stability of the unions. SCARY STUFF TIME!!!
If they're good then there's a possibility that the frame will come off! I'll almost certainly go back into plaster for a while to let the unions heal completely. But it's all up to my body and next months x-rays.
9th September '99.
Back to Kings again today. This time for the diabetic clinic. Dr Edmunds is increasingly sure that my slow bone growth is directly due to the peripheral neuropathy which I have been discovered to suffer from.
Apparently my extremely dry, almost scaly skin on my legs is another indicator of this. So I'm now trying another type of cream to try to help the skin's overall health.
Unfortunately there's still no reason for this neuropathy so nothing can be done about it at present.
Whilst I was waiting for the dispensary to come up with my prescription, I went up to Twining Ward to see if any of the nurses I knew were on duty.
And of course they were. So I spent a time harrassing them just in case they'd forgotten what a ratbag I really am. (Only joking, they're always busy enough, so I didn't take up too much of their time)
I also saw my physio and had a quick chat with her. She wants to get some pictures of the frame and my footwear before it's loosened in October (Fingers crossed!). Mind you whether I remember is a bit doubtful, so I'll probably do a load of pictures myself and send them to her.
Just an aside
Sister Phil rang me and asked if I'd be prepared to go up to King's and talk to a prospective patient for the Ilizarov procedure. Like myself he was a single man, living basically on his own, and who'd been somewhat 'crunched' in a motorcycle accident.
Like many of us, he was worried about the potential trauma of having the thing fitted. He had an infected, un-united tibial fracture, but was fairly mobile although also suffering a brachial plexus which had robbed him of the use of his right arm.
We chatted for probably about an hour. I painted no rosy picture of life with the frame, but for him, like myself, the only other option was really amputation.
However, he had what most frame-wearers I've met seem to have. An incredible desire to beat the odds.
We all get depressed, down, angry, truly pissed off but, there always seems to be something within human nature that makes us want to win, even if normally we happen to be people who don't have much self esteem or feelings of self worth. (Believe me I speak from personal experience here).
I'm pleased to say that the guy has decided to give it a try.
Like me, he has nothing to lose but his leg, and with out the fixtor, he'd lose it anyway.
Seems to me the only way is up!
The main point of this long ramble was for me to suggest that all of us who are wearing or have worn external fixation should offer our services to our hospitals. It doesn't take much out of a day to talk to someone.
And you shouldn't think that you should only relate to good bits, remember the rough times as well.
If some one had given me a clue as to how the depression can creep up, maybe I would have noticed it earlier.
Telling someone else can only be a good move.
OK sermon over, everyone back to their coffee!
19th October '99
Had a visit today from the community mental healthcare therapist. I explained about this and that and the other as to how I felt and how I'd reacted to the last lot of medication that they'd given me.
The result being to agree with me that I shouldn't take any more Melleril, and to suggest that I set myself attainable targets.
Whilst I feel this is good in theory, if you're on your own, sticking to what may seem 'attainable' targets is damn nigh impossible [Well it is in my case anyway!]. Still she's coming back in a few weeks so we'll have to see I suppose.
20th October '99
I had an appointment today with Mr Groom. The x-rays looked excellent, even I could see the amazing closing of the gap beneath the knee. So, if all goes well, the date now set for the removal of the frame is December the first.
I never build my hopes up too much as I know how difficult my body is when it comes to normal healing.
Nicky, my physiotherapist came to my appointment as well. She has asked, along with Sister Phil if I'd be prepared to go to King's on 11th of November to act as a 'demonstration model' of a fitted frame.
Phil will be demonstrating how the frame is assembled and Nicky will be showing the types of physiotherapy that a frame wearer is expected to do. They hope that the sight of the frame, quite literally 'in the flesh' will be of assistance to the medical staff who will be attending.
I've asked if I can take my camera and hopefully I'll be able to get some interesting pictures for the site.
The Fresh Start gym that I attend have also agreed that I can take a camera in and get some pictures of myself excercising the leg which may be of use to others.

My story continued (November '99 onwards)

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