Yes today's GET IT OFF day. I'm actually more scared about losing the frame than I ever was about it being fitted. I'm not worried about it hurting or anything like that, it's just that, after 19 months in the frame, suddenly depending on my leg again is a mite scary.
And of course just to start the day of the wrong way, I was woken at 06:30 by a ring at the door. It was the hospital transport arriving to take me for my 09:15 appointment. I pointed out, rather diplomatically in the circumstances that I considered this was perhaps a touch early to expect me to be ready. As far as he was concerned, as he had another patient to collect about 8 miles away further out from London, who had to be in to hospital at eight, then it was quite reasonable to collect me at this God forsaken time of the day.
I guessed it was more a case of "I'm up, so why isn't the rest of the world!.
I explained that it would take me a good 30 minutes to get ready. This cut no ice with him. He wouldn't wait or come back. I expressed, again rather diplomatically I thought, I desire for him to vacate my premises forthwith and that I would make my own way to hospital.
And thus, taking a cab at 08:15 I arrived at 09:10, right in time for my appointment. However I was £21 lighter in pocket than I should have been!.
And apparently, even after all his early rising, he didn't get his other patient in until 08:30 anyway.
I walked straight into sister Phil on my arrival and then sat talking to a chap whose name I sadly have forgotten who's about to undergo the Ilizarov procedure again to finally sort out his ankle.
Phil then told me that they had decided to take the frame off first and then do some x-rays so would I like to make my self ready in the plaster room.
I actually had a twinge of fear at this point. But, hey, I'm a rufty-tuffty biker ain't I?. I could hack it ! (Gulp!)
Any how in a few minutes, there I am, sat on a table in the plaster room, spanners in hand, ready to attack my frame. I'd set my camcorder up to record the event and off I went.
Several people have stated that I had to be a trifle mad to want to be concious for the removal but who am I to argue with the majority?
Other's didn't believe that I would be loosening the frame myself, hence the camera and camcorder.
It did seem rather strange to be sitting there, removing the very thing that I had depended on for so long to hold me together. But as I loosened and removed each bolt and fixing, I gradually became more excited to see how it had all worked.
Eventually, barring one nut I couldn't get a grip on, I'd undone and removed everything except the rings themselves. These now just hung there looking rather out of place.
And there had been no pain, twinges, clicks, clacks or cracks. So that reassured me somewhat.
Then Sister Phil arrived with her tool kit and the removal of the seven wires began. Three of them slipped out with no trouble. One was a bit difficult, but three were absolute sods!.
My bones had got a vice like grip on them and wasn't about to relinquish them either.
Poor Phil looked like she'd run the London Marathon by the time she'd finished.
I will still say that none of them were terribly painful. The final one did take three real good attempts before it shifted, but as the video recording showed I didn't utter a single swear word! [A first for everything I suppose.]
Phil then applied some dressings to the sites, a couple of which had almost vanished immediately the pins were removed. Then, because I was a brave little soldier (Ahhh how sweet), the staff of the plaster room presented me with a cup of coffee and a cream cake. Who says the NHS don't know how to treat their patients!.
Then it was off to x-ray.
It did feel strange walking as I was still wearing the trousers I had modified to fit over the frame. They were flapping about making me look like an escapee from Starsky and Hutch!. Whilst I was waiting to collect the x-rays, I met Paul, a chap who'd been in Twining when I was there back in 1999. He'd had a massivebike accident where he'd lost most of the back of his leg. He'd had muscle flaps, skin grafts and fixation. And he was doing really well. The leg, whilst no beauty prize winner, was looking good and, best of all, it was functional.
And finally, x-rays clutched in my sweaty hand, I was back off to see Mr Groom. The pictures looked fine and the fibula has also decided to grow a lot more as well.
And so now the next phase begins. Hoping that everything's OK with the new bone and that I have no repeat of my 1998 problems with them slipping apart.
Only time will tell about that and Mr Groom wants me back in clinic next week to check some more x-rays. So just carry on watching this space, fixator wearers of the world.
All the adjusters and wire clamping nuts and bolts are removed.
Now it's cut and pull time!
Everything's removed except for the three wires nearest my foot.
And they really didn't want to leave! And that dark stuff everywhere isn't blood, it's Iodine fluid.
Because of the length of time taken to download the original moving photo album, I have changed it to one where;
The frame is removed!