As for my leg, I have noticed a definite increase in the degree of movement of the ankle. There's also an increase in the number of times I hit the damn frame on the wall, stairs, chair, table, dog etc. Obviously I'm becoming too damn blasť about it all.
The muscles in the leg are building up but this means that some of the pin sites are a bit sore as I'm asking the leg to do more and more.
I took my courage in my hands last weekend and went to my motorbike club's Winter rally. This is held on an equestrian centre local to me which has a large series of muddy fields for the catering, camping and bonfire and an indoor arena for traders, disco and bands.
Due to the size of the arena, it was actually colder than standing around in the fields near the bonfire, even with the wind blowing.
By the end of the day my arms and upper body felt like I'd been at the gym for 24 hours solid. This was due to the arena having a sand floor, which was about 12 inches deep and a hastily erected pair of (wobbly) steps directly beneath a large metal beam, less than 5.5 feet above them.
As a humourous aside, someone [Good old Fred!] decided that it would be a good idea to paint the beam with white paint so that people wouldn't bang their heads. This he did, and satisfied of a good job done walked away to the bar. When coming back to the arena he became the first person to walk smack into the freshly painted thing!
The sand floor was tough going. In some areas it was hard whilst in others, soft, and in yet others a mixture of each. I needed the odd beer in the bar after a while on that I can tell you.
Still at least it was a foray into the more 'normal' way of life. There were also a couple of other handicapped bikers up there. One hopping about on crutches minus an entire leg and another confined to a wheel chair with a broken spine. And I thought I had troubles moving around on the sand...........!
Still the 9th of February approaches! I'm trying not to count my poultry before it's natal so to speak, but..........
Hi Slim,And so I gave Stephanie a call. The first time she was having the pin sites cleaned [Haven't we all been there!]. So I told the nurse who I was but not to tell Stephanie as I'd call back later.
this is S & M's mother.
I've just seen your note and I will pass it on to Stephanie at the weekend. She is staying up at Gosh most of next week I think as she is still locked solid.
They have her in hydro 2 times a day. She is in XXXXXXX Ward, although they sometimes move them at weekends.
The direct line is XXXXXXXXXXXX. The nurses are more than delighted to bring her to the phone.
She would be over the moon if you did give her a quick call as she is quite down in the dumps - Mel is having it much easier which is making it harder for her.
I can't thank you enough for taking an interest and running such a brilliant support group particularly since you have a huge ordeal to go through yourself.
Several times she been screaming in pain and I've found a note from you and it has really helped to calm her down. I wish you lots of luck with your own leg.
With many, many thanks from a very grateful Mum....Lee
Ah well, so be it. Got to Kings quite early today. Waited for the x-rays to be done for the last time in the old clinic. King's Hospital is having a major rebuild and the fracture clinic is moving over the road into an old school, would you believe.
Apparently the diabetic foot clinic has moved as well. And where's the best place to move it to for people who have trouble walking?
Obviously as near the entrance as possible
The administrative powers that be have decided to stick it in the bowels of the hospital, miles from the entrance hall and even further from the transport area which is now in another building entirely on the otherside of a road!
Still far be it from me etc etc etc.
Anyway back to the story. The xrays are looking really good and Mr Groom is very pleased. The callus formation is looking very strong at the back of the tibia but a bit less dense at the front.
So it's the frame for a bit longer. Obviously I don't want the thing to come off and the fractures to start slipping apart like they did back in 97/98 when I came out of plaster.
I've been in the frame nearly 18 months so what's a bit longer in the great scheme of things.
I told Mr Groom that I'd tried the treadmill at the gym. He pulled an odd face and I expected to be given a bit of a telling off. Instead he just said.
I admitted that it was a bit tiring and that my ankle tended to ache a bit afterwards but as he said to me, that's the sort of exercise that builds bone. And looking at the change in the most recent xrays, it certainly seems to be the case.
He asked if I'd got any pictures on the site yet and when I said no, he was most insistent that I should do. So part in seriousness and part in jest, I said I'd take the camcorder to the gym next time and send him a copy of the tape.
Well I've done part of it anyway. That is taken the video at least. As soon as time permits I'll stick a couple of pictures on the site. Most of the week's spare time was taken up by me discovering that since my upgrade to Windows 98 a few weeks back, neither of my TV / Video capture cards wanted to work anymore.
Suffice it to say that for most of the last week I've been stripping down three PC's, transferring cards and re-installing software. And, for now atleast everything working again. Perhaps actually better than it used to even.
I went up to the ward as a couple of chaps I know were inpatients. Both of them have had to lose lower legs by amputation.
One chap had opted for this since his other injuries meant that he has only the use of one arm and a prosthetic limb would get him up and about quicker.
The other guy had been in the Ilizarov a few times. Then by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was attacked and beaten up. The attackers made a mess of his already weakened leg, and although he tried with the frame once more, he eventually decided that he'd go for an amptuation so that, he too could get back on his feet and back into his life.
As I said, I went up to see them and they were both off the ward practicing and doing physiotherapy. They'll both be back home by the time I next visit so best of luck to them both.
Still the next hoped for and proposed date of my frame's removal is March 22nd. As I said before; if it comes off, it comes off. If it doesn't - what's a few more weeks anyway?
I am due at the mental health clinic at 10:30 AM. At 09:40 I am telephoned by Mr ZZZZZ's secretary to be told that they are going to change my appointment time until later. Note that I am TOLD, not asked if it would be convienient or whatever. I point out that I have no problem with this but ask what the situation is regarding their re-allocation of the patient transport.
There is a pause followed by "What patient transport?".
I point out that I had been called two days previous by another person who also identified themselves as Mr ZZZZZ's secratary but who was patently not the person to whom I was presently speaking, who confirmed that transport was indeed arranged.
The present Mr ZZZZZ's secretary said "Oh, I'll phone you back". This she did and said that everything stood as it was.
And so, when the transport arrived (A nifty London Black cab but now in Ambulance service white) off I went.
On arrival things started to become more, shall we say, confused.
At first the receptionist cannot find me on the list. I give the name of the Doctor I'm booked to see and rather than clarify matters it seems to make them even murkier.
Previously I had seen Dr AAAAA who was part of Mr ZZZZZ's team
Dr AAAAA has now left and I'm now under Dr BBBBB also part of Mr ZZZZZ's team.
I take a seat and wait to be called and eventually a man I assume to be Dr BBBBB calls me into his office, a depressingly bare, empty shelved and uninhabited edifice, which it latterly transpired was exactly what it was.
He picks out the right case notes and proceeds to read them. He then says " So you are under Mr ZZZZZ?"
I reply that I believe so although I have never seen him, having been referred to Dr AAAAA and thence to himself, Dr BBBBB.
"Oh no" he replies, "I'm Dr CCCCC, Dr BBBBB is ill today and is leaving anyway in a couple of weeks. I'm retired but they've called me in to try to help out for a while."
He continued to relate a story which I've included briefly below.
Apparently Mr ZZZZZ had Dr AAAAA on his team. There was also a Mr XXXXX who had Dr BBBBB on his team and there was Dr CCCCC. [The retired gentleman before me]
Dr AAAAA has left as has Mr XXXXX.
Mr ZZZZZ is also apparently leaving shortly. Mr CCCCC didn't really see that there was much point in delving too deeply into my case right now as he'd not see me again and neither would Dr BBBBB.
I then pointed out that I would have imagined that, in many cases of psychological and mental health problems, a continuity of medical careperson would be of paramount importance. Dr CCCCC agreed. He then asked me what my solictor desired in a report that they had requested. I replied that as the client I had no idea.
He then telephoned my solicitor and left a message asking for a return call.
He wished me well and advised me that when the new practitioners were in situ, I would be given an appointment with one of them.
This of course means starting at square one and left me thinking how lucky I was that I wasn't suffering totally debillitating depression.
Indeed during the brief consultation the only question levelled at me of a medical nature was "How is the leg?"
God alone knows how much this has cost the NHS in wasted time, for that is surely what it is.
Praise be to King's College and my local Doctor!
As a side note to this, the disabled access to the building I had to visit was, shall we say, somewhat awkward!
The main door itself had a sign on it advising callers with pushchairs or wheel chairs to continue past this entrance, beyond that of the building next door, a building society, to the far wall where an intercom could be found by which assistance could be summoned.
There was indeed an intercom, and it was indeed on a wall but;
Let's not play at disability access facilities just to be P.C. these days.
This is expecially true of government and local government buildings who seem to delight in making it some sort of steeplechase for the disabled.
Ah well, maybe it's time for me to take my pills again!!!
After he'd finished and I'd booked the next appointment, I went across to the old school building which now houses the orthopaedic outpatients department and x-ray departments, the place I am due to go to next week, to ensure I knew where I was going.
During the major rebuilding project at King's College Hospital, these services have been moved across the road into what was, quite literally an old school.
Obviously no expense has been spared on making this old building a flagship of modern clinical services.
Sorry I got that wrong, what I meant to say was
Obviously no expense has allowed in making this old building bear any resemblance to a hospital but to ensure it stays looking like a battered, old pre-WW11 school of the ILEA era.
It really is exactly as I remember schools from my childhood. The only things missing were screaming kids, obnoxious teachers and that disgusting, all pervading smell of boiled cabbage that somehow contrived to be ever present.
And as for patient comfort, well
Gone was the large, friendly waiting area with the Friends of King's tea bar. Replacing it was the converted school hall, a myriad plastic, uncomfortable chairs and in the far corner, what appeared to be a small closet, pressed grudgingly into service, holding a dozen or so sandwiches, a few biscuits and cans of drink and an old kettle.
And worse was to come.
Previously the patient transport waiting area had been a single unified room with around forty chairs, some tables and waiting areas for some stretcher cases. Now it has been relegated to the old school caretakers house (Honestly!). The waiting room is smaller than my bedroom, ill-equipped with 12 chairs. This means that most patients now have to wait at their respective clinics until collected for transport, requiring a massive increase in internal telephone conversations trying to track down patients, drivers and wheelchairs. The only addition to the bare walls being two gross prints of the ' Furniture Superstore' variety, a small notice about transport facilities and a hastily corrected A4 poster concerning the new location of the Friends of King's Tea rooms (see above)
And if you want a toilet, tough!. You've got to leave the building walk down the street back to the outpatients and find one there.
This is going on for some four years I gather! And the doctors and nurses have to try to work in this environment as well.
Boy was I glad to get home?
Of course my body decided to throw yet another curve ball into the game.
When the x-rays were reviewed, the unions of the tibia looked even better than last time. However, the fibula, basically having been out of the game since 1997, and having had nearly two inches completely removed from the ankle end, has decided it wants to play again.
Out of the blue and in an almost unfeasably short period, my fibula has decided to regrow. Indeed the amount of growth in six weeks since the last x-rays were taken, is, to me at least, quite amazing.
There was nothing between the bone ends, there never having been any intention to get them to regrow. But suddenly, the xrays clearly show a full two inches of infilling bone growth. Out of no where this has happened. It MUST be the extra exercise and pressure that I have been placing down the leg. The bone has been kickstarted somehow.
This bodes well should I have another go at regrowing the tibia in the future. It would seem that I really need to apply as much pressure as possible down the leg, and then the bone will grow.
Any way as of right now, I am due to go back to see Mr Groom on April the 12th when I have opted to have the frame removed in the clinic. I had taken assorted cameras with me this time to record the removal. On mentioning this I was told to bring a tripod next time to get the best shot. So I will.
I ask you, could I have a more helpful and enthusiastic medical consultant? - I think not!