It’s now four weeks since I had my mishap. And while there has obviously been a lot of healing going on, I’m getting impatient to be back to normal, sleeping in my own (new) bed again, and be able to get out and about and enjoy some fresh air. It’s ironic that we had ordered the new bed from Dreams in Redditch on 3 January. The store is located about half a mile further down the road from the Alexandra Hospital, a district in Redditch we’d never visited before. I never had the slightest inkling that I’d be back there five days later, under rather different circumstances.
Since leaving hospital four days later, I’ve been confined to the ground floor of our home. Fortunately, with a three-seater sofa at my disposal, we were able to make a comfortable bed there. The downstairs toilet/washroom is just a few hops away (with the support of my Zimmer frame), as is our kitchen diner. So there’s been no need to even face the challenge of going upstairs.
The surgeon has been quite clear in his instructions to me: no weight whatsoever on the damaged ankle and leg for at least another two weeks.
A week after leaving hospital I returned to the Alex to attend the Redditch Orthopedic Clinic. Although we had a specific appointment, there was still a delay of more than 90 minutes before I saw anyone, and I beginning to become somewhat frustrated. When returned to the clinic a week later I anticipated there would again be a delay, but was pleasantly surprised when we were called to see the surgeon after only about 30 minutes. The plaster cast was removed, and the surgeon checked that everything was healing as it should be.
I was quite surprised to see the extent of the ‘damage’, with a scar down the outside of my right leg (held together by 17 stitches) through which a 10 inch steel plate had been screwed to the fibula. The surgeon showed me the X-rays taken when I was first admitted to hospital. I hadn’t realized then that the fibula had completely snapped, a displaced fracture with a 1 inch break. Yikes! The 10 hole steel plate looked pretty impressive on the X-ray, as did the ‘tie’ between the tibia and fibula adding additional strength in that part of my ankle where I’d done all the damage to the tendons and ligaments.
On that first outpatient appointment my plaster cast was replaced with a lightweight one made of fiber glass bandages that react to air and harden. Much more comfortable than the old plaster one. What surprised me is the choice of colors I was offered: white, black, blue, red, purple or pink. I chose purple that time, and a week later when I returned to the clinic to have the stitches removed I wanted the blue, but had to settle for red. Pink was a color too far!
So here I sit in my chair, with my leg in the air. It still hurts more than I’d expected by this time, but at least I can move it around and find more comfortable positions. I return to the clinic on 16 February. This red cast will be removed, and it’s likely that a ‘boot’ will be fitted after which I should be able progressively to put some weight on the leg.
Hopefully I’ll be approaching normality by the middle of April, but the surgeon did warn me it would be a long, slow recuperation as it had been a nasty fracture. Patience is not one of my better virtues, but I’m learning.