Sunday, 16 January 2011

Oh dear, what I have I done now - part 2

It's the morning after now, Monday morning, bank holiday Monday the day before I'm due back in work and I'm on my back with my left arm in a half cast and my left leg immobile and unmovable with lightning bolts of pain shooting up at the slightest of movements. I have had 2 more cannula's inserted into my right arm, it's a good job I'm a skinny git with veins like railway tracks, it makes the whole job of taking blood and inserting cannula's so much easier and less painful.

A physio pays me a visit with a little plastic disc and shows me a few exercises she wants me to do. Stick it under my heel and move my leg around on the bed, draw my knees up as far as I can towards my stomach, extend it back so it's flat again, push my leg out to the edge of the bed, bring it back to the other leg, all easier demonstrated than done as the pain only allows me to move it a couple of inches either way and not at all back towards my other leg, I could move my leg out towards the edge of the bed very slowly for a couple of inches but no way could I move it back in again...

The pain is continuous, I'm off the vein fed morphine and on the oral morphine which IMO is no-where near as good, I'm lying on my back for hours at a time in-between visitors giving me plenty of thinking time, negative thoughts such as will I walk again, will I regain the use of my left arm and will I ever get back on a bike again? walk and use my arm, yes I'm sure I will but it will take time, but will I ever get back on a bike? That's not so clear cut, everyone is so positive about getting me back on the bike, my wife brings me cycling mags, she dismisses my thoughts of ditching the bike, shes already washed all my cycling gear I was wearing on the day of the fall but I'm not so positive, what if I fall again, I'm not wanting to go through all this again it's just not worth it. My back is glued to the bed and I can't move, I'm itchy and uncomfortable, all I want to do is get some fresh air on my back and I can't even sit up, I'm getting a little panicky letting it all get to me but thank goodness for for my wife my mother and son Adam who visit me twice a day taking my mind of my predicament for hours at a time and guys from the club who visited over the week, Giles, John, Geoff, Ste, Phil, Martin and Jim with his big bottle of Malt and of course theres Racheal my daughter who helped with the wee bottles once I was home.

I'm still unsure as to what's been done to me but then my consultant who is also my surgeon visits me and informs me that my elbow was shattered, that he's put lots of metal work in to hold it all together and that he did a good job, some bone is missing but it will regrow; my hip also has a lot of metal work in it but he's sure the blood supply to the ball of the femur was uninterrupted so less likely of the need for a hip replacement. I will not be able to put any weight onto my left leg for 6 weeks and it's going to be difficult for me getting around as normally the use of crutches is employed but you need two good arms to do that...

As the week progresses I'm getting more movement out of my leg, I can draw it up and out further but sliding it back in towards my other leg is still really difficult, it's getting there but it's slow and painful. My elbow is locked in the cast so no movement there, all I can do is lift the whole lot over my shoulder and move my fingers. Friday comes along and I've manged during the week with the help of the physios to get into my chair a couple of times but I can only manage 10 minutes or so as the pain gets too much. They tell me I can go home the next day and I'm elated, I can go home just as long as I've got constant help, that I've got a bed that's 19 inches from floor to the top of the mattress and that I've got a chair I can slide into that is also approx 19 inches high and that both are on the ground floor oh and a commode which is delivered on Friday. Saturday comes along and I'm ready for 11am the earliest time for shipping me out and I'm fuming by the time they do eventually come for me at near 7 pm. Just my luck I'm on the last Ambulance of the day in fact I'm the very last patient of the day...

Over the next weekend I'm enjoying being at home with my family around me but of course I can't do a tap so Mel my wife does everything for me. I'm totally reliant upon someone else for the first time in my life since childhood, even when I had surgery for my peritoneal dialyses and later kidney transplant I still two legs and two arms that worked so all of this is unique and a real eye opener as to what it's like for those that rely on carers, it's scary.

The week progresses and I'm moving better, I have an appointment to see my consultant on Friday the 14th. It's here for the first time that I get to see my x-rays 12 days after the event. My smashed elbow was in lots of pieces and the after OP x-ray shows the plate and screws that's been put in to bring all those bits of bone back into the correct place

Next was the hip x-rays, the crash x-ray showed a clean break across the broadest part of the bone (Intertrochanteric) and you can just see it here as a darker shadow of a line running through the two bolts. I've been fitted with a 'dynamic hip screw' which is made up of the plate that's screwed onto the side of the bone with 3 screws and two big bolts.

You can see from the x-ray that alongside the big bolt that actually pulls the bones together is another bolt - a 'torque' bolt iirc. My surgeon said that he had much more than the usual problems when it came to operating on me, firstly he said my leg is built like an ox, lots of muscle to cut through then when it came to drilling and tapping he said that there was lots of white strong ivory in there and that when tapping the broken loose part, the 'ball', it was far too tough and was just turning so he had to put the other rod in first so the 'ball' wouldn't just spin when it was being tapped. So glad I well out of it when he was doing all this...

Normally I was told, a person with this operation is encouraged to put weight on the leg within a few days but ironically because I have big strong bones and needed that extra rod, I have to wait the full 6 weeks because apparently if I put too much weight on my leg before it's sufficiently healed there is a risk of a crack developing in the bone running between the two rods because they are so closely drilled...

PS Yes the pelvis x-ray has been edited to hide my modesty just in case you are wondering ;-)


  1. I was sorry to read about your fall. Those breaks do seem pretty bad now but I am sure that given time you will recover OK.
    I have had times over the past couple of years when I doubted that I would ever get back on my bike again - but I have and I am sure that you will too.

  2. This is a tough read. gone through lots of pain and more pain for the recovery.

    Best wishes on your recovery. Good to see you got a good team for support around you

  3. Thanks guys for your comments, I'm sure I will get back on my bike it's just a matter of when...

    pmcd20, you're right I have got a great team around me, makes all the difference ;-)