Just an occasional whimper . . .

It’s now eight weeks—to the day—since I went base over apex and broke my leg.

I’m actually quite surprised, if not a little relieved, at just how fast one’s body can heal itself. Not that it has been all plain sailing.

IMG_1491

I’ve attended an outpatient fracture clinic three times since I discharged from hospital. On the first visit, a week later, the plaster cast was removed, and the scar checked for healing. It was replaced by my lovely purple cast. A week after that, in my second appointment, that cast was removed, the stitches taken out, and a new cast (red this time) fitted. My third appointment, after another three weeks, was quite momentous. I achieved such a lot in just over an hour. The red cast was removed, I had X-rays taken, spoke with the surgeon, had a ‘moon boot’ fitted, and saw a physiotherapist who gave me a pair of crutches and checked that I was safe to manoeuvre with them, especially going up and down stairs.

Since then I’ve been much more mobile, and have even been outside on a number of days for walks up and down the road we live in, and even slightly further afield. I actually managed over half a mile just a few days ago. But I only stray outside if the weather is fine. It has been frosty on a number of mornings recently. Frost and ice and me don’t go well together!

I’ve also had two physiotherapy sessions at the local Princess of Wales Community Hospital. This is very convenient as I don’t have to travel the nine miles or so to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch. The physiotherapist has checked that everything is healing as it should be, and has given me a set of exercises that I have to do several times a day.

IMG_1515This is an interesting exercise (left) using a contraption called a Theraband. Actually it’s just a length of elasticated rubber (could I develop a latex fetish it’s so nice and soft), that allows me to stretch and flex my ankle.

And of course I’m now expected to place an increasing amount of weight on the damaged leg as that will encourage the healing process. So while the breakage is held together by the steel plate, the ligaments and tendons in the ankle below the tibia will take some time to heal fully. Even after eight weeks my ankle and parts of my leg are still quite swollen, with some bruising visible.

But on the outer side of my leg I can now feel the metal plate and screws through the flesh, and it feels rather uncomfortable. So while I’m no longer in any great pain, some days there is quite a lot of discomfort, and on others hardly anything at all. A bag of peas (should I have chosen ‘petit pois’?) make an excellent ice pack, applied for about 20 minutes after an exercise session.

IMG_1493

But what is clearly progress is that the physiotherapist has got me walking around the house in bare feet—but supported on crutches—to add even more weight to my leg and to get all the muscles working together properly once more. In some ways it’s like learning to walk all over again.

IMG_1522

Onwards and upwards!

A wounded badger update . . .

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.

20160204001

Once and future bed in the living room.

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.

20160204006Hopefully 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.