I remember being awake at 5.30am the next day, a very weird experience. Our section of the ward had six beds, my bed was by the doors and Darrell was in the bed to my right. On my side of the ward, there was myself, Darrell and John. John was a builder and had fallen from a roof, it also happens that he is a amateur musician plays the violin for the Winchester Operatic Society, you have it, he is very own fiddler on the roof!
On the other side were three elderly gentlemen who all had or were having hip replacements. The guy opposite me also had dementia; he would sleep most of the day and then wonder around all night. How the night staff put up with him, well I take my hat off to them. He would swear at them, try to hit them when they tried to put him back to bed. It got me to thinking maybe the chemical cosh is not such a bad thing. One night he managed somehow to get a pair of scissors, and was roaming around the ward with them. It was quite scary particularly as I was trapped in bed. When a member of the night staff came in Ron that was his name hid the scissors, he wasn’t that demented. I got the care assistants attention and told him about the scissors, he retrieved them not making me Mr Popular with Ron. He was shipped out the following day thank god.
Anyway it was now 5.30am on my first full day at the hospital. Around 6am, I had a cup of tea, bliss, and the first of my daily blood pressure tests usually 4 in a day, and of course the painkillers. Breakfast came at 8am, an individual size box of cornflakes. I was so hungry anything would have done, even the box.
My friend Peter was there to greet me; he had agreed to move in for as long as it took. I wouldn’t have been able to come home if had not agreed to help me. He was a lifesaver. What the cost of private home care would have been I don’t know, but two hours a day at least, for 7 days a week you work it out.
Back Home (Welcome to Groundhog Day) 7th April 2014
April 8: It’s my first full day home, and it’s so good to be out of hospital. Yesterday was incredibly intense and frustrating; at one point I thought I would never get back home. The ambulance got lost on the M3, so I had to direct. Anyway I got home, and Bridges had delivered the equipment I needed to survive the next, how many so weeks. First thing to do is practise getting in and out of bed with my trusty Zimmer.
The bed at home is much lower than my hospital bed, if only I could have brought that home. But if you cannot get a chair or commode out of them, what chance the bed? Anyhow with the aid of a pile of pillows, I manage to do a Fosbury Flop backwards onto the bed then shuffle around till I’m comfy. That was stage one, stage two getting out of bed. Now this is a bit harder, especially as I had a novice to counterbalance the Zimmer. But eventually we did it. Then there was commode practice, once again shuffling over the bed till you can transfer onto the commode, and then back off. Well that’s ok, I’m now feeling hungry after my exertions.
Peter had earlier in the day been to Marks and Spencer to get me some shopping in for me, so I put an M&S Chicken Jalfrazi in the microwave and had my dinner. It was from the ‘Good for Me’ range so only 345 calories.
Third bit of advice, be hungry I am about to spend the next part of 12 to 16 weeks inactive. Hunger is your friend; a full tummy is going to be very quickly, a fat tummy. And an unwelcome friend, that’s going to be hard to shift. Especially as you’re never really going to be a gym bunny again, your tendons are only stitched to your kneecap remember.
It was now around 10pm, I was getting tired and decided to try and sleep. So with my trusty wee bottle, actually I have two, you need two, take it from me. Fourth bit of advice, one night you’re going to forget the wee bottle! Not a mistake to maker; so make sure there is always and empty by the bed. So off to bed I go; the problem with trying to sleep with the splints on is this, you can feel them around your legs, and they’re tight and your legs are hot and sweaty. And of course you cannot move in the night, so you wake up in exactly the same place as you fell asleep. You also tend to sleep more upright, which actually is no bad thing.
I wake at 6am and need the loo; I’ve used the bottle now its commode time. So bum shuffle across the bed and manoeuvre onto the commode, exhausted already.
Ok, here is another picture painted with words, which comes with that over 18 warning. So I get my bum on the seat, which seems to have a smallish aperture and swing my feet onto the chair that Peter has positioned opposite the commode. I still have my hospital issue open backed gown so nothing to get in the way. After five minutes I’m done, that was the easy part. Now it’s clean up time. This takes the best part of 30 minutes, and half a pack of Andrex moist toilet tissue. After trying and realising it is not going to work sitting on the dam thing, and as I cannot get up, roll over onto my side in a fashion and with great difficulty go to work. I’m 90% done; I’m going to need the flannel and soap for final 10%. I drag myself back to the middle to of the bed trying to not soil the sheet.
Most distasteful, now I wait for Peter to appear so I can finish off. 8am there is a knock on the door, would I like a cup of tea? Yes, but the rest of my arse needs cleaning first. So out comes the Zimmer and with Peter counterbalancing my weight, their is a 4 stone weight difference, I haul myself out of bed. While Peter goes and makes the tea, I finish up, it has taken an hour to do a number two’s…….. And I’m worn out. Trying to prop yourself up on a crutch, while trapped in the splints and bending to clean yourself is exhausting, and plays havoc with your lower back. I have to say I have had little to no pain from my knees, and I have stopped taking the painkillers. But my back is killing me. I do the splint shuffle back around to the bed, and do a Fosbury Flop back onto the bed and drink my tea, and do as I am told by my surgeon; rest.
It’s now 9.15am and Peter brings in my Bran flakes, piece of advice number five, nutrition is key to helping with a range of things. First and paramount is the fibre, you really do not want to become a no times a day man or girl again. Just digressing from this narrative for a moment, this injury in the main does not affect women that much, its mostly men over the age of 40. Female tendons must be more bendy and stretchy. Also, the operation for the repair didn’t exist until the first one in 1949. Does not dare to think about, before 1949 you would have been disabled for the rest of your life. I suppose on the upside you would have got a disabled parking permit, and a wide space at Sainsbury’s.
So going back to the nutrition, and advice number five, fibre and protein are two essentials, but there is a lot more to the healing process. Most of us never give a second thought to how we actually heal, you can get an injury and it just heals up; simple. What we neglect to appreciate is just how complex and well orchestrated our bodies and the healing process actually is. If any step along the way is ignored, missed or interrupted the healing process can become delayed and problems will occur. So to put it in lay terms you need to eat well to get well.
Tissue healing requires good nutrition. Bilateral Quadriceps Tendon Rupture needs all the help you can give it and more. Diet plays a vital role and needs to include enough calories, proteins and nutrients.
My good friend Sandra Kontos introduced me to a diet supplement called ST-Repair it’s formulated to supplement the diet of those recovering from injury or those preparing for surgery. It has worked well for me, and at the time of writing this some nine weeks after arriving home I am about a week to two weeks ahead of my recovery plan. Its ingredients have a long and well-documented key role to play in the healing process and used alongside a healthy diet ensures that all the basic repair materials are in adequate supply to support the bodies natural healing mechanisms. Promo Ad over. So eat well, get well.
Back to my first full day back home, after my breakfast it’s lazing in bed with those dam splints, most days for the next two weeks are to become ‘Groundhog Day.’ Breakfast is followed by ‘The Wright Stuff;’ that is surprisingly interesting in a daytime sort of way. If anyone thinks I have been watching Jeremy Kyle forget it, please where do those people come from? I obviously have led a sheltered life; mind you one of the protagonists looked like a chick I once knew!!!!!!! Fire Service has a lot to answer for; I used to be such a nice boy.
After ‘The Wright Stuff’, it’s time to work myself up to shuffle out of bed and have flannel wash. Nine weeks on and I’m still washing my bits with a flannel, oh and good news the bits are back, but you don’t want me to be going into that now do you….. Do I hear Tracey saying yes, pleaseeee, bad girl. After my wash, I dress in the only thing I have that I can wear with any decency…. Nurse Lynne bought me some granddad nightshirts, from Mark and Spencer, oh my god they are so sexy; I don’t think, but needs must.
So next, I do the splint shuffle with both crutches into the living room. I had been watching ‘Reach for the Sky’ starring Kenneth More, it’s about World War 2, fighter ace Douglas Bader. Well to cut a long story short he has a flying accident and loses his legs. They then fit him with a pair of tin legs, and the way he walks in the film is the way I’m walking now. Douglas would not be beaten by his disability, and went on to be a fighter ace in WW2. When he was shot down over France and captured, the Germans eventually took his tin legs away from him as he was always trying to escape. I am not going to let this injury beat me, and when my rehab is over I like Douglas will get back in the saddle.
It takes some time, and I eventually arrive at my new chair. See picture. I call it the OAP chair, for two reasons, one it’s like one of those chairs you see in a rest home with all the oldies sat round watching something they don’t really want to on the telly.
And of course it makes me feel like an OAP, before any comments like, oh yes you are, I’ve another 3 years. Anyhow I’m not becoming an OAP till I’m 75!
So I station myself in front of the chair, usually you would just bend your knees and sit. But I can not bend my knees, so you have to take a leap of faith, cast aside your sticks position yourself so you can plant your arse, take hold of the arms of the chair which are obviously behind you. Then slid your feet out hope you have got it right, if you have you’re end up with your bum on the edge of the chair, and your legs out in front of you. Stage two, Peter has been hovering just in case I miss the chair and end up on the floor, thank god this has never happened. To make stage two work you need something to rest our legs on, I have a large what my grandmother would have called a pouffe so Peter positions the pouf just in front of my legs, with a handy bit of rope I hike my legs up while Peter pushes the pouffe under. So now I’m set for the rest of the day, so to speak.
My heads, not in the right, place to do much, or anything that needs too much thinking. So for the next few hours I watch inane TV. In the next few weeks I’m going to get through five seasons of ‘Braking Bad’, and a number of other box sets on Netflix, Amazon or Sky. I also found on the Internet some fabulous educational and therapeutic websites. So now I have gained a much wider knowledge of such things like what is a milf, a creampie is not always something you eat, a pearl necklace is not always purchased in the jewelers and some people shave more than their face. It was most enlightening; I have definitely decided to become a masseuse.
So in the first two weeks that’s how my day goes. Wake up, commode, clean up, tea, breakfast, flannel wash, morning TV lying in bed. Mind you that’s where I’m supposed to be. Then shuffle out to my chair, more TV, dinner, more TV and bed. Then it’s Ground Hog day again. It’s frustrating, depressing and just plain boring. But it’s not forever. Well, I hope not………
I had my first visitor on 12 April, then over the past nine weeks many more, my friends Sandra and Paul from North London came down one Saturday, I thought originally to spend the weekend here. But no, they came just to see me; I was so touched.
Also, my friends Rob and Andrea came down from the Cotswold’s, I’m more popular than I realise. Visitor’s break up the ‘same old; same old cycle.’
The staples in my legs had to come out two weeks after the operation, I needed to get the District Nurse to call round and perform the task. This was not going to be straightforward. I am about to hit National Health Service bureaucracy again. Since I moved from Christchurch to Bournemouth some 5 years ago, I had still been registered at my doctor’s surgery in Christchurch. I had to agree to no home visits, but I didn’t think that was going to be a problem. Well, not until now. I phoned up the surgery to organise the District Nurse to call and remove my staples. It seems they use staples these days rather than stitches. Anyway they cannot arrange it for me as I need the Bournemouth District Nurse. So it now transpires I have to unregister with the surgery I have been with for 30 years and reregister with a doctor in my catchment area. Really!
So online I go to find a surgery, I eventually get through to The Westbourne Medical Practice. It coincidentally happens to be Peters. I have to download a registration form and take it back to them with ID! Well, obviously I cannot go up there, so this is the ridiculous part; Peter goes up there with the form and my photo ID!!!! So that’s ok then, what was that 1960’s film called ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.’ Well, it certainly is now. You know some bright spark with a bunch of GCSE’s gets paid a shed load of money to come up with these great ideas.
So now I am registered I can organise the district nurse, she is coming on the 16 April exactly two weeks from the operation. All’s well that ends well as the man said. So the day arrives and the district nurse appears. This is the first day I have had the splints off, since the operation, it feels so good. The nurse takes off the crepe bandages and peels off the dressings. I have 42 staples; they look like a zipper going down your thigh and over your knee. They also look like slightly larger office staples, and guess what the implement to remove them is very much like the staple remover on my desk. At this point, I think maybe I’m getting local anesthetic to ease the pain. Silly me National Health Service isn’t, out they come, one by painful one, giving a delightful ting as they drop into the metal bowl I am holding.
I am delighted to hear from the nurse I am healing well, so there is no need to redress the wounds. Just put the splints back on. I have to point out at this juncture the inside of the splints, which are mainly foam, stink and are damp. But they have to go back on, and now only very slightly irritating the wound. They really should give you two pairs, so you can wash one set and wear another. When we did get round to washing them as they did really hum, it took hours for them to dry. And while they are drying you are stuck where you lay. So bit of advice number six, before you wash the splints go to the toilet. Later that day Caroline my hairdresser, no laughing now, I might not have much hair I grant you, but enough to cut. Anyway Caroline is coming to make me feel human by cutting my hair.
The next four weeks slip by very slowly as I said visitors come and go, I have some paperwork to do for the office. A couple of days after I had the staples out, I had a eureka moment. I had been up to this point having to rely on Peter to help me out of bed with the trusty Zimmer. I desperately wanted to try and do this myself, but impossible with the splints on. Then lying on the bed one morning after thinking about all the possibilities, like tying a rope to the door handle and other equally insane stupidity, it came to me. Well, I could get out of the chair in the living room by pushing myself up and swinging my legs down as I pushed up. Could I use the same technique with the commode? I tried it straight away, shuffled my bum onto the seat from the bed, and pushed the chair for my legs away, which was actually the difficult part. Put the arm back on the commode, and then push up; it worked oh my god, a little more independence back. And also freed me from having to use the commode for what it really was there for. All I need it for now is to get in and out of bed. I’m on a roll; obviously my brain is perking up. If I tie a rope to the pouffe, I could pull the pouf to me eliminating the need for Peter to push it under me. I can by now raise my legs slightly on my own so two bits of independence in one day.
So now for bit of advice number seven, how to go to the toilet for a number two when you cannot bend your knees or sit legs bent. I call this the bomb run, in homage to my Father, god rest his soul. Why because during the war he was in bomber command.
So without going into too much lurid detail, with the toilet seat up you shuffle yourself up to the toilet bowl, with the backs of your legs just touching the bowl. Now is the tricky bit, radio down to the bomb aimer to take aim, balancing yourself place your hands on your bum cheeks and its bomb doors open (just hope it’s not a grand slam you have in there or napalm). Radio message from the bomb aimer ‘bombs away skipper.’ Direct hit. Make sure you have a wee bottle to hand just in case you body decides to let you down and starts to leak fuel so to speak. At the time, I am writing this some nine weeks after the operation I’m still on my twice-daily bomb run.
Now comes the clean up operation, your need moist toilet tissues and a flannel. There will be a residue, which your need a copious amount of toilet tissues for. When you feel, you have done an 80% clean up job you’re need the sink and a flannel. Always bear in mind you only have one hand free for the clean up, as your need the other to balance on a crutch.
Some more advice, with the splints on, you cannot wear your regular clothes, well at least the lower half. So what do you do, my visitors don’t want to see my nightshirt, well if they don’t mind, I do. So I had this idea of getting oversized three quarter length shorts, three sizes too big.
That would allow me to wear a shirt and the shorts. My recovery period is going to take up all of the summer so shorts will be ok; no one is going to see me apart from friends, as I’m not going anywhere soon. Most people that know me will also know, I only wear shorts in the South of France, then only for swimming mostly. Only small boys should wear shorts; don’t ask me my thoughts on jeans, you’re not like it if you’re a jean wearing forty year old. So you guys in the office and you know who you are, put your trousers back on. I had also thought of a kaftan as an option, something like the Sheik of Arabic, or maybe more Demis Roussos. But thought the better of it. So now I have my shorts, two pairs and virtually live in them, but at least I feel more human.
The daily routine is now fairly set for the next 6 weeks till I get the splints off and replace them with dial braces. Dial braces restrict your ROM (Range of Movement). The idea is during the day the braces are locked in extension, and be unlocked for physio. But I’m running ahead of myself.
So for the next 6 weeks here I am on house arrest, well that’s what it feels like. My appointment comes through for my 6-week check with my surgeon back at Winchester Hospital, or to give it its proper name The Royal Hampshire County Hospital. 12 May, is the day, so now how am I going to get there? Slight panic, I will need an ambulance as there is no way I’ll get into a car.
It’s time to big up some people, firstly there is obviously Peter without who knows what would have happened. I also have had and continue to have excellent support from my office, the company I work for have been fantastic. From the outset when they knew of my predicament they have been there for me. If I need anything, I only have to ask, I’m getting paid, and they are covering at least the first six sessions of my physio. If I need an ambulance they will provide it, I really cannot ask for more. But as luck would have it the hospital is going to provide transport to get me to my appointment with Mr Bailey. I am going to need someone to come with me, and Peter has his own appointment to go too. Once again the office offer to help, Helen says she will come with me, a weight off my mind. But in the end, Helen does not have to, but thank you the same Ms Byrne. Miracle of miracle’s my son Alex takes the day off to come with his old dad; it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. On talking to Mr Bailey’s secretary, discussing the transport situation it becomes clear they only have three wheelchairs with leg extensions, and it will not be possible to reserve one for me. So I’m forced into hiring one for the day. It ends up being an essential bit of kit; Alex and I would not have managed without it.
May 12: The ambulance arrives at 8.30, Alex pushes me down to the lift and out to the ambulance, and off we go. We arrive for my 10am appointment at 9.30. Alex and the ambulance guys push me up to the orthopedic clinic. We wait; they are running late around 45 minutes or so we are told. Alex goes off to the Costa, they are everywhere now, and comes back with the Medio Skinny Latte that I ordered, and a whole bunch of calories that he is stuffing in his mouth.
At this point I have to say I was expecting to have x-rays, scan or something. No nothing further from the truth. I go in to see Mr Bailey, he opens up the splints and examines my scars and say they look good, and then says if they are healing that well on the outside they will be on the inside. Now bearing in mind my quad tendons are just stitched to my kneecaps and will never actually physically or biologically reattach, it’s a tad disconcerting.
Now during the last past six weeks I had found out that one of our great thespians, Derek Jacobi had befallen the same injury I had, only a week before mine. I was in ‘Sutton Scotney,’ he ‘The Maldives.’ I would not wish this thing on anyone (one or two exceptions). I bet Mr Jacobi had x-rays and scans after six weeks. National Health Service or private, remember what Dave says were all in it together. Yeah right.
On searching the Internet, I found a blog by a guy in the U.S.A, by the name of Steven Gartner. He has had two bilateral quad ruptures. Poor guy, anyhow he has formed a club, and it is called ‘The Band of Ruptured Quadders.’ President Clinton is a member and so am I now. There is also a great blog by Jim Clawson who is the godfather of Quadders. Below I have inserted links the reader might find the content interesting.
Steve Gartner: http://www.quadtendontear.com/p/blog-page.html
Bill Philips: Interesting Watch after 1.32..
So back to Derek, I thought as another brother quadder I would see if I could send him a message of support. Well, I could not find a Twitter address for him, but it seems he had a Facebook Page. So I send a message of support from one temporary cripple to another. Well blow me down, did I get a message from Claudius; I didn’t. Why did I think he might send a fellow quadder a reply? Well, I’m glad The Praetorian Guard gets you in the end. And I never did like Cadfale.
So Mr Bailey says I’m doing so well I don’t need to use the dial braces, and when I get home just to discard the splints and use the crutches to ambulate. Wow, I’m now thinking Mr Bailey is Clark Kent, he obviously has x-ray vision. We discuss physio options, the National Health Service can provide one a month and there’s a waiting list. The physio at the hospital had already told me this. The company I work for have organised private physio for me, what can I say. Mr Bailey wants to see me in another 6 weeks; I hope to get there by car.
The ambulance takes Alex and I back home, this time we did not get lost and are back home in 40 minutes. Its time to take off the splints, so sitting in my chair with my legs up on the pouffe I undo the Velcro straps which I had done many times to let air to my legs, but now they didn’t have to go back on. It’s a bit scary, they have become a bit of a comfort blanket.
The first time I get up out of the chair is so weird, I feel so wobbly. Mr Bailey had said not to push myself, but just by walking about the apartment with my crutches, combined with the Physio, would produce the desired effect. By the time I go back to see him in 6, weeks I need to achieve 90 degrees of ROM. I phoned Hayley my physio to make my first appointment, obviously it has to be a home visit, and Friday 16 May is the day. In 4 days time rehab starts. By Wednesday 14, May, I began to feel more confident without the splints. I wasn’t wobbly anymore, and I could shuffle around the same as if I had them on. The splints were now redundant, I have since been told by Hayley, that rehab for my injury takes at least 4 months from the date you start, so I’m hoping I’m not redundant by September.
16 May: My first physio session today, after the assessment we start the treatment, first the massage to help the swelling dissipate. Hayley informs me the swelling is more akin to wallpaper paste as its been sitting there so long. Then it’s the ultrasound, this helps break up the scar tissue. Hayley gives me three exercises to do three times a day, see picture.
This coming Tuesday 3 June will be my sixth physio session and Hayley says I am ahead of schedule. The rupture in my left quad was much worse than the right, it was a ragged tear. As a consequence, my right is coming on faster than the left, but that said as of today 1 June I have 50 degrees of ROM in my right and 30 degrees in my left. So I am well on target for my appointment on 24 June with Mr Bailey, which I just received.
27 May: Over the past nine weeks and still to date I cannot wash my feet; apart from this I look at my toenails in dismay. Nurse Lynne when she has visited kindly washed my feet, so I’ve had my feet washed three times in nine weeks. But sadly nurse Lynne does not do the cutting. So today I have Kay coming from Feet Rescue to rescue my feet. And it transpires they need rescuing. Apart from great looking toenails, I also have great looking athletes foot! So now it Lamisil Cream and surgical spirit spray. The hidden cost of this accident is building up.
That really nearly brings us up to date, as I said in the first post, I have not had that bad a time of it. I have read some horror stories online. So I have to be grateful. The downs for me have been the boredom, tedium and my frustration, also the unknown.
Most people, who know me, know I have a strong positive mental attitude.
So this will not defeat me. I am determined to take something from this experience, and move on in life. The ups for me have been plentiful; the love I have received has touched me deeply is just one. So today is 1 June, it’s a ‘White Rabbit’ day exactly two months from my accident. My knees continue to repair. I am going to post my progress every week, so come to the blog on Fridays to see how I am getting on.
Putting your kit on and other stuff…….. 6 June 2014 (70th Anniversary D-Day Landings)
6 June: Its coming to the end of week 10, and progress is painfully slow. I thought I might have got out and about by now. Had an email from Jim Falvo in Dallas Texas last night, he’s another quad brother so to speak. He and Jim Clawson had been in contact since their Quad Ruptures in 2006. I read Jim Falvo’s experience and wished I hadn’t. But as he said in his email last night, it’s like watching grass grow.
Piece of advice number eight don’t go looking on the Internet, you may not like what you see.
Anyhow enough of the gloom, the subject of my blog this week is getting dressed. A relative simple process if you’re able bodied. When you have BQTR, it becomes more challenging. In the first few days I didn’t really have anything I could wear.
I lived in my dressing gown until Nurse Lynne got me some granddad nightshirts, they were adequate, but a challenge for the commode. The problem was the splints; most of my regular trousers were not big enough to go over them. That’s if I could ever get regular trousers anywhere near me. So I started thinking about those three-quarter length shorts. But would I not have the same problem with the shorts, and then the brain wave hit me; get them three sizes to big.
So I looked on the Marks & Spencer website and found something that would do. I then sent Peter off to M&S to obtain them. On his return I experimented on how to get them on. First your need your underpants, lay them on the floor making sure you have your helping hand (device for picking stuff off the floor), to hand so to speak. Then try to shuffle your feet into the leg holes. When your feet are in the appropriate right and left hole, remembering you’re held up on your crutches grab the helping hand and grasp the elastic of your underpants, now pull up. This is not as easy as it sounds, they get stuck around the bottom of the splints, eventually your get them up and round your privates. Bit of advice number nine, always wear your underpants, sweaty undercarriage is never a good thing.
Now for the shorts so basically it’s the same procedure, shorts on the floor, try to locate the leg holes and shuffle your way in. This is a bit harder and takes up more shuffle space. Pull them up using the helping hand and you’re halfway there. You’re have to wriggle them up past the splints. Now for a shirt and something for your feet. Bit of advice number 10, your need something comfortable for you feet, slippers are too fliperty flopperty to get your feet into, so I suggest a pair of leather Dingo’s.
You will have to buy on-line in the Uk, the only place I have ever found them on sale to actually try them on and buy, is in the market in St Tropez. You can wiggle your feet in this type of shoe, what also helps is one of those long shoe horns. And you’re dressed and ready for another Groundhog Day. So by the time you have done a bomb run, washed and dressed the best part of the morning has gone.
This week has been slow, Hayley came on Tuesday and is coming today Friday 6 June, physio is going well. Just not as fast as I want it to. I have another two weeks today before my next appointment in Winchester. I hope to be able to get into a car by then, but am hampered by the fact I do not have a car here to practice on. What a strange concept having to practice getting into a car.
My car is stuck in Eastleigh, the weekend before my accident I was driving to London and had engine problems just before junction 13 of the M3. I managed to get off the motorway, and found a convenient place to park. I got a bus to the station at Southampton Airport and continued my trip to London with the idea I’d get back later that week to have her recovered back home. I’m sure it’s a fuel management problem, easily fixed. But 10 weeks on and she is still there; I hope. So until I know I can get in and out of a car getting to the hospital is a little uncertain at the moment. What I don’t want is a taxi turning up, and me taking half an hour trying to get in. What will be will be.
Apart from that not much else has happened this week, no visitors, my friend Sandra sent me some more St Repair, oh and did you see that guys head explode on ‘The Game Of Thrones’, I did not expect that.
One other thing, there is a meeting going on not 200 yards from me, it’s a work meeting at a hotel; as I say not 200 yards from where I sit writing this. I would have liked to have gone along, but the hill down to the hotel is to challenging at the moment. How pathetic am I……….
I hope to report in next weeks post, better progress. Well I had better as next Saturday 14 June I am supposed to get into the office with Peter and supervise him moving gear from one spot in the finance department to our storeroom. You may never know I just might make it.
A thought for the day; today is the 70 anniversary of the D-Day landings, I have been watching some moving coverage from Ouisterham in Normandy. My father was part of the D-Day landings, he flew two sorties in his Lancaster on D-Day and later in life told he me, “That they heard the BBC announcement on the aircraft wireless, as the breaking news about the D-Day invasion was being transmitted all over the country. The bombing offensive that we’d taken part in, had been the start of the Allied landings in France. My heart began to beat somewhat faster….” Following the second sortie of the day, he wrote in his log, “We landed at Mildenhall for a second time that day…and then thanked our lucky stars for having survived such a memorable day.”
Today I remember my grandfather who was wounded on the ‘Somme’ rescuing two comrades from the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. After convalescing in Bournemouth he was sent back to the front and survived the fourth and fifth battles of ‘Ypres’, my father who flew 42 sorties over Germany between 1943 and 1945. At the start of their wars they were 16 and 18 respectively. a sobering thought.
It’s all coming along; Week 11 (Friday the 13th)
On Monday had another little win, I asked my friend Johnny Penistone if he would pop over with his car, to see if I had enough range of movement (ROM) in my legs to actually get into it. I had no luck with work sending one of our spare cars over, so was forced into begging favours. Anyhow after several attempts I made it. So now I can get out.
This is important for three reasons, one, I am now paying for my physio sessions, so home visits cost £76.00 and sessions at the physio centre £40 so it’s a no brainer, if I can get into a car I can get a cab and save myself £26.00. Twice a week for another month at least is a lot of money. Particularly if you’re a church mouse; like me.
The second reason I have to get to see my surgeon on the 20th June, it is a hundred mile round trip. So I need to get there by car, irony is I have the option of a car but no driver. So at this point it’s a worry. On Monday I’ll ring my consultants secretary to see if there is any chance of hospital transport. I’m not holding my breath. The third reason is work; we have an office reorganization going on over the next two weeks. I have been asked if my friend Peter can go in and move a lot of equipment stored in the finance department to our overcrowded store room. He cannot go in on his own in reality so I need to get in with him, as I have the key and security fob. Not to speak about the alarm system. It’s a mute point if I should, but as I have said in emails to the office needs must.
But now I find not only do they want the equipment move from the back of the finance office, but for my work area to be dismantled. They must be joking. One man and a cripple; really! Not only that it will be the first time in 11 years I have not had my own work area, and I am not happy. Its actually making me feel undervalued. This is all going on while I’m unfortunately off sick; well I’m not sick but severely injured. It really makes you feel that you don’t matter. Well tomorrow I’m going to do my bit, you get thanked in to most strangest way.
But in all this week has been a positive moving forward week. My OAP chair is now redundant, I can with the aid of two cushions sit on the sofa. That’s so good, the OAP chair was good, but uncomfortable. Also I can now sit in my office chair that I have here at home, so for the first time I’m writing this at my desk in the living room. I can manage about an hour at a time then have to walk about for a bit and rest my legs for an hour or so. But it’s coming on and in the next few days/weeks should maintain longer.
Thursday was my first physio at the clinic; got there by cab, all went well, have the required 90 degrees in my right leg, but only 70 degrees in my left. So I have a week to get the left to 90…. It’s doable. I keepmoving forward.
Next week I’ll tell you the reader how this weekend went, should be interesting.
Highs and Lows; Week12 (Its my Birthday and I’ll cry if I want to)
Just to hark back to the weekend, Peter and I got into the office, my first time since the accident on 1 April. All the work that needed doing got done over the Saturday and Sunday, thank you Peter for giving up your weekend to help me. Not that I could do anything, I just sat there and directed what needed to be done. Anyway alls well and all that stuff, well not really it transpires. I later found out on Monday that its got to go back the way it was……. words fail me. But at least that can wait. Oh of course then, there was England!
Monday was a good day, Had my fit note through. Fit note its more an unfit note, written and signed by a GP who has never met me or delt with my injury. The ways of the National Health Service are a mystery. I had physio session on Monday,so thought I would cab it round to the office after to drop my fit note in. I got to thinking it’s fairly flat from the Physio Clinic to the office, so I would give it a go at walking it. If I got stuck I could always call a cab. Well I made it, another step on the way to recovery. It was really nice to see everyone in the office.
Tuesday was a low day, I had been trying to get hold of the hospital, in particular my consultants coordinator. I spent all Tuesday morning trying to get hold of him, eventually after threatening to throw myself out a window, he calls me. The reason I had been trying to get hold of him was to enquire if I had any options on hospital transport. As this Friday 20th I should have gone for my 12 week check up, it now transpires as I am not eligible for hospital transport its going to be my 15 week check up. Its a 100 mile round trip to the hospital, the irony is there is a car I can use but no driver. Most of my friends who might be available are all on holiday. So because I could not guarantee getting to my appointment today Friday 2oth, it had to be changed to a date I know I can make, courtesy of Nurse Lynne. This has set my recovery back by three weeks, as I can not till I’ve seen my surgeon move on to the next phase of physio. Fuck!
Wednesday is a better day, well it was my Birthday…… And to celebrate its was another Groundhog Day. I share my birthday with a number of famous people, Paul McCartney, Alison Moyet, oh and Fabio Capello, god that brings me back to England. To my American friends reading this that’s a reference to our National soccer team, that’s if you can call them a team; more like 11 overpaid individuals. All with varying degrees of mediocrity.
Thursday is a high and a low day. Its Physio today and as it’s such a lovely day I thought I would try and walk it. Well it was not easy, the bit up St Peter Road is quite steep and was a challenge but I made it. A 10 minute walk took 40 minutes, but its a win. That was the high, you just know whats coming next. Yes the Low, England once again, I’m lost for words.
Friday 20th, its been a quite day today, reflective about our boys. I am really feeling for them, it must be so distressing for them. Did they really have to go all that way to Brazil, to prove what a bunch of overpaid, underperforming bunch of dates they really are. There combined weekly wage would pay off the national debt several times over. Rant over, see you next week.
It’s A Positive Week; Week 13, (My third 21st)
This week has been a week of positivity.
Saturday 21st: Was my Birthday lunch at Westbeach, to those who do not know the restaurant its a nice little eatery specialising in fish. See the link: http://west-beach.co.uk/ Got a cab down and walked back, I must be getting better. But as Hayley my physio says don’t push it Mark. Remember its watching the grass grow. It was my third 21st, last Wednesday the 18th. It was a great day, Lynne and Johnny came, and Andy Price bought me a really great bottle of wine, trouble is the ‘La Paz’ I normally have, wont cut the rug any more cheers Andy. It was in his plan to make me spend more when I’m there. And that’s most Saturdays. After lunch and as I had heard that the Uk ladies volleyball championships were on, I thought it only right and proper to go take a look. It was quite stimulating in a perverted sort of way.
Sunday 22nd: Was hangover day, or rather walking in treacle day. Too much wine and whisky.
Monday 23rd: Physio day, all is going well at week 13. I have the required range of movement (ROM) for this stage in my rehab. Walked there and back, did my first bit of shopping on my own. Only three things but its the small stuff that matters. A little bit more independence. They all add up, to eventually make a normal life again.
Tuesday 24th: Bit of a Groundhog day, went for a walk for two hours, mind you it would normally have taken me 15 minutes. Oh yes so many people have said I should take legal advice over my accident, so I have decided to do something about it. Well it’s not so easy as you might think. There are a hundred and one, Underdog.com’s, Accidents for U.co.uk, but in reality there just ambulance chasers. So I contacted a local highly recommended firm of Solicitors; Ellis Jones. Well to start with you have to do everything for them. I need pictures with measurements, do I have legal cover, I need to write a statement of fact. Oh and am I whom I say I am, well hello, whom the fuck do you think I am. Mark Darcy? Apparently I might want to launder money! What money would that be? I’m having a hard time laundering my clothes. So I’m going to cause myself a major trauma just so I can launder a few bob? Really! So now courtesy of a few of my friends in the office, who went on a 100 mile round trip to obtain the photos for me. That would be Louise and Megan thank you. I now have put to getter a 50 page A4 bound booklet on the whole incident, and you just know it’s not going to enough. So watch this space.
One other thing, bear this in mind, No Win No Fee really does not exist. There’s if we win there’s you don’t have to pay the fee. Well you do, it comes out of your settlement. And also remember you are only going to get what you have lost, so some of that is going to the solicitor, there not doing it for free and their costs are astronomic. So what happens if you lose, your solicitor does not get paid, but what about the other side. Of course, there will be costs and they can run into tens of thousands of pounds, and who is going to pay the others sides costs. You got it; me. So it’s not so cut and dried. So I’ve started down the road we see where it takes us. Up to now the injury has cost me directly about two thousand pounds, so I have no alternative to make a claim. See picture of the spot I went arse over tit on.
Wednesday 25th: End of my birthday week, yes I’m greedy always have a birthday week. Didn’t go out today not been feeling well.
Thursday 26th: Physio again today, 105 degrees of ROM in my right, and 94 in my left. Its coming on and only another two weeks till I see my consultant, then hopefully I can start doing some strength exercises. Walked there and back again. On my way back I picked up the bound booklet from the printer. Once I have a large enough envelope I can get it sent to them, you never know they may take me seriously. I bet Derek Jacobi is not having these problems.
Friday 27th: Its been a groundhog day today, weather is a bit dreary. One bit of good news, for the first time I managed to walk down Richmond Hill. That’s the hill I live at the top of, and its steep. I am so pleased with myself, its a real step forward. Well that’s all for this week. Have a good weekend and I’ll be posting next Friday.
Another bit of advice: Buy legal insurance it will save you in the end.
Week 14 and all still going well.
This week has been a good week, I can now get out and do all my shopping; that’s to say what I can get in my backpack. So its lots of trips to M&S. I can walk virtually anywhere, but at tortoise pace. Been to physio twice this week, hopefully should come down once a week soon. My range of movement is improving 110 degrees in my right and 100 in my left it’s catching up. Went to the office on Saturday to pick up my backpack, while I was there tried sitting in the car. Can get in ok, driving position ok, batteries nearly flat so need to sort that. Monday my OAP chair and Commode went of to charity, gave them to the red cross, hey they couldn’t help me, but I don’t hold a grudge.
It’s been a fairly quite week, been doing some online research for the office, trying to get a story finished for my other blog.
Got in to see my surgeon on Friday, he has given me the green light to start the physical work, which is great news. So at 14 to 15 weeks I think I am doing well. Went to the Captains Club to celebrate, it was a fine sunny afternoon. Also got a new Fit Note, apparently I can go back to work, but not to do what I’m employed to do? So that’s a bugger.
Dampened a bit by an email I got from my prospective solicitor. Remember last post I said I had sent them all that they had asked for in the form of a 50 page booklet. I said in the last post bet it would not be good enough, and I was right. The email asked if I could mark the spot where I fell with an X. See picture, apparently, what I put was that not good enough, its hard to tell yourself ‘I told you so.’ They went on to say could I remember the size of the defect in the pathway? Note to self, remember at all times to carry a tape measure, so when you’re writhing around in pain you’re able to measure the fucker that’s tripped you up.
Week finished on a positive note, had a great lunch Saturday at Westbeach, free wine again! Nice to be popular. And managed to get onto my cross trainer, so physical work can start in earnest. Its not me in the picture but it is my Cross Trainer, anyone got her number? Till next time…….
Week 15, The strengthening begins
This week has been an extremely positive moving forward week; but one full of frustrations. Monday was groundhog day, have to wait till Tuesday to see my Physio so we can get on with the strength work. Range of movement is coming along, but the strength in my quads has completely gone. And of course theirs those pesky little Proprioceptors, Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. It is provided by proprioceptors in muscles and in joints. It is distinguished from exteroceptive, by which one perceives the outside world, and interoception, by which one perceives pain, hunger, etc., and the movement of internal organs.
Proprioception is what allows someonee to learn to walk in complete darkness without losing balance. During the learning of any new skill, sport, or art, it is usually necessary to become familiar with some proprioceptive tasks specific to that activity. Without the appropriate integration of proprioceptive input, an artist would not be able to brush paint onto a canvas without looking at the hand as it moved the brush over the canvas; it would be impossible to drive a car because a motorist would not be able to steer or use the pedals while looking at the road ahead; a person could not touch type or perform ballet, and people would not even be able to walk without watching where they put their feet. So one of my big problems at the moment is my proprioceptors are shot, hence walking downhill even with crutches is difficult. My Proprioception exercise requires me to shut my eyes and stand on one leg, go on give it a go. I can manage 5 seconds and I have shot proprioception, whats going to be your excuse. Its similar to the sobriety test they use in the US of A.
So Tuesday came and Hayley my Physio gave me the ok to start my strength exercises. Shes coming over to supervise my first session on Friday. But I can start working on my cross trainer straight away. I have enough range of movement now to get on, I was worried I might get stuck. It went better than expected, Hayley said two ten minute sessions with no resistance. F………..ck, the first effort was pathetic.
I couldn’t get a reading from the control panel I was going so slow. But Wednesday was better, still no reading!!!! But Thursday red letter day for two different reasons. First and I imagine contributed to the second managed to register a distance for the 10 minute session not record breaking but 1.41 miles better than a slap in the face. I normally do 6 miles in 24 minutes. So Thursday 1.61 Miles, Friday 1.72 miles and today day of posting 1.9 miles, soon to break the two minute barrier. A small step for Mark a giant leap for my quads. The second red letter thing on Thursday, I had a shower; the first since I left on that fateful day at the beginning of April. I had enough strength to push myself up into the shower, I stood for half an hour with the water cascading over me, bliss. All I need to do now is to be able to sit on he toilet. But it will come. I thought you would not want to see me in the shower, so this is just an illustration. Anyone got her number?
Friday Hayley came and supervised my other strength exercises. I do them mainly out on the stairway of the apartment block. There’s a warm up of going up and down on step 10 times, walking up and down one flight twice with the aid of a crutch. The lunges 10 each leg, then the killer “The Crouch/Squwat’, that’s painful if you did it first you wouldn’t be able to do the others. So I’ve been doing them for three days and I can see a definite improvement. I can actually feel it.
Oh other thing that happened this week not related to my injury, my daughter brought the family to visit grumpy gramps. We had a great time, by the time they had gone grumpy gramps was worn out gramps. Ah there they are…. Saturday walked over to the office, the cover had blown off the car so decided to see if she would start. Its a 4 year old 7 series BMW so it should even though she not turned a wheel in three and a half months. She started, a bit lumpy, but what you expect after that amount of time. It was amazing there was any whack left in the battery at all, I had a little maneuver around the car park; all was ok. Sat in her for an hour watching TV got out not too stiff. I think things are looking up. So that was week 15, were in week 16 so I am expecting good things in the week to come.
Week 16: It’s Now Frustrating, 21 July 2014
This past week has been frustrating! I have started the strength part of my rehab and its going really well. From a fat zero on my cross trainer when I first started, I am managing 2 miles in 10 minutes. Not an Olympic record but not bad progress in a week. In fact, I am not that far off my normal pace for 45 minutes.
So the frustration is I’m getting on well and need to translate that into getting back to work. I can drive a car, walk 3 miles, with the aid of my crutches and feel like I have made good progress. My physio is going well, I am down to one session a week just for soft tissue work. So I am happy but frustrated. So this week has been very much groundhog day, with a heavy dose of exercise….. There is not much else to report this week apart from my frustration. Going to see my GP on 30th to see if I can get my Fit Note amended. So I can get my life back into some sort of normality.