Tuesday, 31 August 2010

31st August............

Friday was an ...... "interesting day............."  looking back now, I can laugh, but at the time, a whole different ball game............

Sharon got home from work and was doing stuff in the Kitchen........... I was accused of taking the piss, even though there was no mickey taking intended - I guess the fuses had burnt out - from both of us, and I heard, well I thought I heard... "It's ok for you. you've just been sitting on your arse all day!!"  .. so I went off on one, Sharon went off on one and stormed off...........

I took the "oh whatever" approach and went outside to read a book........   10 mins later she returned and I was getting the silent / short snappy reponse treatment, so thought f### this, i am off for a bit myself............

So, full pelt, up to the back gate, down the back alleyway - at this point, I was thinking... "this is a bloody stupid idea - you haven't got any gloves - you are wheeling yourself, so this will hurt, it's cold, you have nowhere to go really, why not go back?" - then the Y chromosomes immediately took over and it was decision made - we're off (well round the block at least - about 1/2 mile) - no way could I back down...

About half way round, head down going full speed - well as full as I could -there's a little bit for cars to get up and down - a dropped kerb - which.... kind of caught me out - the slightest camber can throw you, but when really annoyed and on a mission they seem to magnify 10 fold...................

anyhow - chances are we were going to end up on the road - not a problem - few cars around - however, as we went down the inch kerb the front wheels, seemed to have twisted round 90 degrees so when they landed, stopped instantly............... the effects were something akin to riding a bike and jamming on the front brake - yep - i was hurled out of the chair onto tarmac - fortunately no cuts or bruises.

swallowing my pride - spent about 5 mins trying to get back in the chair and returning home at a much more sedate pace............ then had to confess up - though still in a bad mood.......

"Did you knock your legs?"
"Of course I bloody did, what do you think? How can you fall out of a wheelchair and not do so?"
"Did you hurt yourself?"
"Of course I bloody did!"

so a large portion of ice-cream with the humble pie please!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

26th August

Very little to update from a wheelchair users point of view................ some pleasant, some not so pleasant sights at my temporary eye level.........

Whats happened - since my last update?

Had the car bashed up in Tesco's car park by the 9 yr old child from hell, and a crappy attitude from her equally dysfunctional mother.  "It's private property, I don't have to give you any details so you can f### off can't you."
Oh the wonders of a cameraphone to take lots of pics , a call to the DVLA and fill in a form with a cheque for £2.50 and hey presto I have your details, Lady, so expect a letter soon!

Made the 50 mile round trip pilgrammage to the "local" butchers.......  much good natured micky taking as to how I ended up in a temporary wheelchair......

Was supposed to be going out on the broads on Saturday with a bunch of fellow reprobates.. photographers......... however had to settle on meeting them for lunch....... at leas t I got to have a play with some "posh glass"

Saturday evening was "crazy IƱigo's" party. Was a good very entertaining evening and "scatty Emma" just cracks me up with her more and more bizarre and surreal tales........ I would love to spend just an hour in her head - for she is far madder than a skip of frogs let alone a box of them!

This week - out and about with a golfing friend to Sandringham and North Norfolk Monday,  Sharon had Tuesday off, so nice to spend some time with her, a trip around Bawburgh on a golf buggy on Wednesday and off to hospital today for the casts to be changed and the wounds inspected.

Good news - no infection - which is a bonus! and 3 more weeks in casts. A new pair of kneeboots today as well - again shiny titanium silver!  Seems like I am making good progress and of the 6-8 weeks in a cast I am at the 6 week end....... which means today is half way there!!!!! -- and then comes the learning to walk again phase, crutches, etc and the physio lady said "Oh , that will be the most painful part........." - thanks!

So potentially only 3 more weeks in a wheelchair...whoohoo......... which is good from my point of view - feels a lot more than 3 weeks since I have been home (bet it feels like 3 months to Sharon - only a couple of strops thrown by either of us so far!!!) - but in a weird way getting quite attached to the wheelchair - i can do mega wheelies now, and no crashed ladybirds. (Don't ask!)  All I need is some dreadlocks and a basketball and I can more or less be a stunt double for Ade Adepitan!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

update needed

I know I need to do an update soon, and I will, I promise, tomorrow, after I have been to the hospital and they have deciced I am riddled with MRSA or flesh eating bacteria................and therefore have to amputate from waist down..........

A few funny things have happened ove the last few days........ noting really wheelchair orientaited.......... other than Chav II has been taken out with the right leg support......... that's a 100% strike rate so far........ need the hatrick this weekend!

I am, also,  apparently becoming more grumpy........ (I will take that as a compliment!)

Update soon!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

17th August - time for an update

Thankfully Sharon hasn't been reading this of late - so am still to receive my bollicking for my upstairs antics of nearly a week ago.......... lol.

 Well a reasonably busy weekend -

golf club for lunch on Saturday - and worked out how exactly I CAN get into a golf buggy so a trip round the golf course tomorrow.......dead easy!

Then round to a friends in the afternoon where their 9 year old daughter wrote on my cast........ "Why did you have to go break both your legs, you fool." Cannot argue with the reasoning and logic on that one......

Sunday out and about again to some more friends for Lunch and an enjoyable afternoon - but today was cast change day --------- felt so good to have the casts off for just 15 mins......... even though there is a suspected infection..........not good, and not at all happy about that one!

Anyhow new casts on today, and I am sporting a pair of titanium / steel effect silvery fibreglass casts......woohoo.

Physio lady this afternoon. Very pleasant - but I have to do lots of "bum clenches"???????

Will hopefully post a bigger update tomorrow once I get my backside in gear and will post up lots of pictures...........

(am working on getting the pre and post op x-rays..... why does post -op conjure up such a different thought instead of after the leg surgery???????)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

11th August - a small victory

I know I am going to get a massive telling off from the better half when she reads this but to me the following is a huge achievement, if ever so slightly naughty.........

Basically, since I got back on Thursday have been confined to downstairs with a bucket on wheels to perform the necessary bodily functions that we face on a daily basis..............

For all you able bodies people (and for me most of the time, popping upstairs is an easy task isn't it..........

Well I was determined to get upstairs and use a "proper loo" - the first time in 10 days, and if I am honest it was worth the effort and hassle - just purely to say that i could do it.

The route - chair to settee, let self down to floor using upper body and crawl to the stairs. Up the stairs on knees one at a time, using the handrail and when at the top flip over to on my bum. Shuffle so back to bath and pull self up using strength of shoulders and flip round to the loo.

In reverse, down onto the bathroom floor - down stairs on bum one at a time and shuffle across hallway and front room, ontop settee, use banana board and back to the chair.


A minor triviality in the grand scheme of things I am normally capable of doing, but for today that is a huge bonus!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

8th August - weekend catch up.......pics to follow soon.....


What a busy weekend and so many things i have learned...........

Out in the chair around Wroxham and friends on Saturday (and tesco's), today in Norwich and Golf Club for a snack lunch.

What have I learned.

# There's plenty of inconsiderate arses who park in disabled spaces without actually being disabled. You know who you are Mr 03 plate Vectra, but you seemed Eastern European so I guess you are absolved from all UK law!
# Lots of people ignore you or will step straight in front of you (currrently scouring Ebay for Boudicea scythes to put on the chariot.) which is particularly annoying when just having built up a decent pace!
# If you make eye contact with someone there is a much higher chance of getting a smile from them, than if you are on foot. (Bizarre!)
# Lots of random comments of "oh that looks painful........."
# Other people in wheelchairs / on crutches will generally speak to you and often initiate a conversation.
# Paths that seem to be flat do have a camber on them.
# Pushing yourself uphill is a struggle.
# Some views from wheelchair level are much more pleasing on the eye than others!!!"
# A sales assistant / salesman will often address the able bodied person, ignoring the one in the chair as obviously chair = braindead!  Until I piped up with lots of questions!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

6th August - Frustration

Writing this at 8.10am on Saturday morning. Any other Saturday morning, and I'd probably be on my way to golf now - well that's out of the window for the rest of this year more or less (well certainly in a playing capacity.) Instead this Saturday morning I am laying on the sofa bed in the front room with the cat asleep on the wheelchair.

Yesterday was a pretty frustrating day.

Frustrating in that Sharon (the better half) was at work all day, then came home and had to do tea, had to pretty much do everything including rearrange the front room late at night, to turn the sofa into a bed - and all I could really do was sit and watch and not help. Frustrating in the effort it took to move from the settee to the chair (the extended arse shuffle.) Frustrating at the department of f**kwittedry at Norfolk County Council.

"Hello. Norfolk County Council - Blue badge team."
"Hi there, I'd like a temporary blue badge please for about 2 - 3 months."
"Would you? You know you have to be disabled to have a blue badge."
"Yes, I kind of gatherered thats how the scheme works."
"Are you disabled then?"
"I'd say so but albeit temporarily."
"What makes you think you are disabled?"
"Well can you walk at the moment?"
"Yes why? It's not about what I can do."
"Well I cannot. Both ankles were dislocated, both fibulae are fractured. Legs are in casts from ankles to knees. I cannot walk on them, nor bear any weight on them and am confined to a wheelchair / shuffling round."
"Oh. Well we don't do temporary blue badges." (Can just imagine her sitting there.... computer says....no.)
"So if you cannot help, why ask me all those stupid bloody questions?"
"Please, Mr Smith, there's no need to swear at me, is there, I'm only doing my job. It takes 6-8 weeks to process a full blue badge anyway."

No. That's my whole point, you're not doing your job, unless your job description, is follow processes like a sheep and never question anything......an ex colleague of mine, who is very switched on called it sheepwallking.

6 to 8 weeks to process a blue badge? I can understand that 30 years ago - but today I can type an email and it can be on someone's screen (be they next to me or in Brisbane) in seconds........surely a huge chunk of 6 weeks (such as 5 weeks 5 days) could now be removed by improved technology / improved processes / having people working in a department capable of free thought and wanting to improve / progress???

Fortnately a quick call to tesco's - as we are off there later - explain the predicamant and "no problem at all. Just let the security guy know your car registration when you come in the store."

More later..............

Friday, 6 August 2010

5th August - Homeward bound........

6.30 pm....... we are green lights to go, and the Chariot is cleared for departure.......

Apparantly wheelchairs are like tanks (with less guns and less armour)

- to go forwards - push both wheels forward
- to go right  - stop the right wheel and push the left wheel - or for tighter turns pull the right wheel back as well
- to go left - stop the left wheel and push the right wheel - or for tighter turns pull the left wheel back as well
- to go backwards - pull both wheels backwards


I soon learned that doesn't take too much to propel yourself on the flat and narrow - given could pop a wheelie quite easily on the ward..........
So down to the car - bit of experimentation in getting in the passenger seat and that was reasonably simple as well.
Drive home was fairly uneventful and getting out of the car I found a bit trickier than getting in but still manageable.....

Getting in the house, again quite simple - but this was only because Dad, Uncle and Dad's neighbour had spent a day and a half creating a ramp with a flat top to enable me to get in. (pics to follow)

Quite honestly a few tears of I don't know what - happiness to be home in a familiar surrounding, relief that had managed this far without a mishap - hey it will be ok in the end, anger at the stupidity of how something as innocuous as a bouncy slide could reduce me from a healthy fit and able bodied photographer / golfer to a bloke relying so much on others to do basic stuff.

Manouverability - downstairs indoors - a bit tight indoors , esp through doors but nothing we couldn't manage - so transfer from the wheelchair to the sofa - hmm this is a slightly bigger gap, but lets build a mountain of cushions onto that and then remove the cushions - simple.........

Getting back from the sofa to the chair however - hmm a rise of 6 - 8 inches - (without bearing any weight on the ankles) - a bit trickier - 10 mins later, shouting swearing and the use of some ancient anglo saxon vernacular, I was still in the same place - so that wasn't going to work.

Plan B - the arse shuffle up on to the arm of the sofa and a simple transfer across to the chair. It's all about adapting to the environment you are in, but a lot easier with working ankles to stand up turn and sit.

Having no downstairs toilet there is always one thing I am going to struggle with throughout my time in a chair and that is crapping in a bucket, or to put it more eloquently for those of a quaint disposition, using a commode. I don't know what it is about it, but to me, in a civilised society, completely humiliating and I know I am going to have to fight against this thought. I also feel incredibly sorry for Sharon who has the job of emptying it......lol.  If i know you, and you live nearby and you have a downstairs loo that is accessible by a wheelchair, I may be paying you a social visit soon!!!!

The rest of the night was doing things by trial and error - whats the best way into / out of bed............  how many of you sat and cleaned your teeth in the front room last night using a pyrex bowl instead of running water from a sink.

Hopefully things will progress and I will continue this blog, and if anything will gain a good understanding of what is simple for one person is difficult for another.

Plenty of pics and updates to follow..........

5th August - This is the bit I am looking forward to..........

Prior to this, was the setting the scene as to how I ended up albeit hopefully (short term) in a chair. Things I took for granted, easy everyday activities that a child can do simply, I will surely soon be struggling with............ Hopefully over the following 8 weeks I can share some of these stories with you, and you'll take a moment to stop , reflect and think about how difficult simple things can be for some others........... I have certainly experienced a few so far, and in future will certainly look on those who have to use chairs all day every day with a different view.........

5th August - Freedom at last.........

8.15am. Mr Cutts (good name for a surgeon) deems me fit to be discharged later that day, to return on x, y and z for updates.......

All i need is dressings changed, casts to be put on, physio assessment , a banana board and am on my way.........
sounds easy?

Essentially, communications between different parties are at best pants. If I had been told that casts do not happen until mid-late afternoon, I probably wouldn't have asked at 1.30pm, so when am I getting my casts then, or "Sister, 5 hours ago you said I would be getting new dressings. Where are they?"

Eventually I have dressings changed and casts on and set, so it's the banana board test - hich is really quite simple in the hospital ward - even more so when yuo turn the board round the correct way, as opposed to the way I was initially shown, but shock, horror, there are no banana boards in stock. One has been ordered to be delivered to my house tomorrow, but I will have to stay in overnight............toys were thrown from prams somewhat, and eventually Tony the physio stepped in with "Sister, yuo are seriously thinking of keeping this patient in for the sake of a piece of plywood. Let him use ours and when his turns up tomorrow we'll get ours back." +1 for common sense, si I have the green light to fire up the....er..... er........chariot.

4th August - Wednesday

New set of nurses and HCA's not met before - all seem nice. Conversation is somwwhat limited with T, D & H. Father Hackett got discharged today and Tom makes a bed for Freedom by hurtling down the corridor at full pelt (in only the kind of hurtling way an 89 year old aided with two sticks in pyjamas that are too big for him can. Not surprisingly his bid for freedom is curtailed rather shortly by Dale and Rommel. (HCA and nurse)

Tom, then spends every 15 minutes going to the combined loo / shower. I am beginning to think if you lift the shower drain, there's going to be a shaft sunk in there and then a tunnel as he continues his bid for freedom. Maybe I'll have to rename him, Danny, the Tunnel King and keep an eye on the local news for 50 patient's being rounded up and shot in a field somewhere near Hopton holiday village.

3rd August - Tuesday

pretty much same old same old........... thankfully i have books, a netbook and a wireless dongle to relieve the boredom.

T, D & H in bed asleep by 8pm, H moaning about the lights, I get the HCA to pull the curtains round my bed and read lots.

2nd August - moving day

Ok, the ward I was on, was for scheduled Orthopaedics - hip replacements, knee replacements, that kind of thing - gent's in their advanced years................ I was being moved to Ward 7 - Orthopaedic Trauma - thought this is more like it, people of a similar age, more bouncy slide idiots / bike crashes etc.etc.........

How wrong I was. got wheeled in to a bay of 6. Double my age - would still be the youngest there - the one most with it, was being discharged that day - and just reminded me of "Major" out of Fawlty Towers - thin kI even called him Major once.........

Tom, Dick and Harry (not their real names) opposite - all nudging 80, one blind, one deaf as a post, and one wallowing in his own self pity who had nothing good to say about anyone or anything...........and lastly down the end, Father Hackett from Father Ted (based purely on hairstyle.)

This wasn't exactly laugh a minute territory, BBC1 daytime on TV on volume 46 out of 50, so started to make friends with the healthcare assistants and nurses - a cunning plan that would work out very well in days to come, however there wasn't a huge queue forming outside the cubicle once I announced I was a willing guinea pig to all female student nurses and HCA's for bed baths.........

Then it was time for the last moment of dignity I was clinging proudly to, go. I needed the loo, desperately. There was no way I was going to use a bedpan....... no way. No bloody way.  So myself , Dale (HCA) and Tony (Head Physio - who I liked a lot, but other patients feared) hatched a plan which would involve something along the lines of a paraplegic bed to chair transfer.......... plank of wood between chair and commode, swivel round on bed and slide down the plank of wood into the chair / commode.......... others were saying couldn't be done, so all we could do was prove them wrong. Then wheeled into the loo on the commode, over the loo, and well you can gues the rest......... then reverse the process on the way back. Simple but somewhat undignified.  It was then I hatched the plan of eat as little as possible, poo as little as possible!

Fortunately a bit of sane company arrived in the afternoon - in the form of mum and dad, and then mate who had the slide Damien - armed with McDonalds - a very nice gesture and was appreciated but just didn't want to eat that much as that would mean the dreaded bed pan or at best commode..........
however being a big northern wuss who didn't like hospitals or needles he did a runner (went to his next client appointment) when the physio came with what looked like bolt croppers to remove the temporary casts........and found these lurking underneath. I did tell him it looked like it had been bleeding.........

Given a list of excercises t do before arrival of Dinner - a bowl of I think soup........)

I think that evening I convinced Dick (opposite) that I was a purveyor of witchcraft by the fact that I was watching top gear on Monday evening through iPlayer and not a wire in sight..........

Lights off, and ear plugs in to shut out the sounds of Harry wanting a wee, and a table moved and the lights off, and the lights in Gorleston off as they were too bright, and that butterfly that now flapped it's wings in China was making it draughty.

1st August - Operation Fix ankles.

Despite Morphine, Cocodamol and god knows what else on Saturday night / Sunday  morning I woke on Sunday morning to this sight.

This photo has been posted on Talk Photography and Golfmagic, and I would like to clarify once and for all, that on my right thigh is plaster from the casts - nothing else - no light relief from hotty nurses.

About 9.30am Consultants and Anaesthetists came to visit - explained what they would have to do........

Left leg: Dislocated ankle would need to be reset with screws and pins. Left fibula would need to be plated and pinned.

Right leg: Dislocated ankle would need to be reset with screws and pins. Right fibula may need to be plated and pinned, but they were hoping the fracture wasn't that serious. We'd only know that once down in theatre......

So off we trundle to theatre, and in the pre theatre room, remember being told what would happen, and then a needle in my arm, waking up a few hours later in recovery feeling very ver groggy - absolutely no recollection of anything - which can only be a good thing!

Parent's and Sharon came to visit that evening but don't really remember much of it,  Morphine, Cocodamol and a pair of earplugs were my friends for the night........

Thursday, 5 August 2010

31st July - A day that would change my life in the short term........

Blogs, blogs blogs, seem 2 a penny nowadays.. so what's the point of this one? 

Well if you want the one paragraph summary.

I went on a bouncy castle. I had an accident. I arrived at A&E. I spent some time in hospital and for the next 8 weeks I am in casts and wheelchair. This blog is about that time, how it has affected me, and hopes to show how much I have taken for granted - even the simple things in life, such as stairs, steps, taking a crap on a proper flush toilet.

31st July 2010.

My friend's daughter was 6 on 30th July. Saturday 31st July we went around, for a few drinks in the evening with friends as it was their wedding Anniversary the next day.........

For the kids birthday party there was a 20ft high inflatable slide - looked fun, and it wasn't long before I was being dragged on it to have a go - all was well, so had another go........

Third time unlucky.........

Something went horribly wrong on the way down the slide - still not really sure, as some things remain crystal clear, others are a dark deep murky mystery........clouded by well, lots of things........

Anyhow I hit the inflated crash mat incredibly hard, managing to dislocate both ankles and fracture both fibulae. For a couple of seconds, people thought I was messing about, however it soon became apparent that the screams of pain and anguish were not yet another of my childish jokes and this time it was serious. So 999 was called and paramedics on their way........The only positive thing I could think at this moment was, hey at least I have a big comfy airbed to lay on, whilst I wait for professional medical help.

I am guessing about 20 mins later a couple of Ambulance Technicians arrived (Mike and Chrissy you were both brilliant - thankyou loads for all your help, assistance, professionalism, humour, quick thinking and making the judgements and calls you made at the scene!) - after a quick initial assessment, one got me on the gas and air, which i was saying at the time didn't work - "it's supposed to make you feel lightheaded........." - i guess it was working but just didn't feel it was...........

Legs in splints......

Then came the decision as to how I was getting through the house to the ambulance on the ambulance stretcher, which i am sure someone mentioned weighed a lot on its own............. then I remember people (ambulance guys??) talking about well maybe a helicopter and thinking hey not been in one of those before......by this time i wasn't really 100% with it......

Both myself and friend are very keen photographer's and I DO remember saying to him, make sure you get some pics of this......... "you bet I will "was the reply..........(will get some pics from him to update later)

Laying there seeing stars, I think some of them were real,  heard a whumpf whumpf whumpf of helicopter rotors and over the houses and what comes roaring over the horizon - an RAF Sea King............

Couple of circuits of the area and they put down in the school playing field. Along come the RAF Seaking crew for further assessment. After a few more tests, some morphine, confirmation that we were going to James Paget and not the N&N (Helipad is too small for a Seaking - such is the size of the beast) and firmly strapped into the Seaking's stretcher we were off.

Bit of an obstacle course through the house, down the drive, past half of the village thinking "what's that big yellow whirlybird doing here at this time of night?"

Into the school playing field round the front of the helicopter, onboard and away we go, into the night sky whumpfing our way over Acle and Breydon Water to the James Paget at Gorleston. No matter how much pain you are in, scared whether you will walk again, wonder how long yuo will walk again, the adrenaline was rushing, flying over Breydon water, looking out into the eerie night sky with the load door partially open to keep the fuselage cool - and are those things loud in the back.

All in all from take off to touchdown was about an 7 - 8 minute flight, and then a transfer by ambulance from the helipad to A&E which for 10.45pm'ish on a Saturday night seemed remarkably quiet - though I think the style of arrival may have jumped the queues of the walking wounded somewhat.

A HUGE thankyou to the RAF Rescue Helicopter from Wattisham and a HUGE thankyou to Mike and Chrissy from East Anglian Ambulance Services. Would love to meet you again to convey my thanks to each and every one of you but would prefer it when you are off duty!


"Put him in the resuscitation room...."
"..eh? It's not going to be that bad is it I asked. As a casualty watcher, Sharon will faint what they tell her he's in resus."
"no, it's just it's the biggest room, nothing to worry about........."

Various nurses, doctors, student doctors, and then consultants perform different tests - off to xray and then back to A&E, then the consultant explains what will need to happen to get me on the road to recovery...... The first thing is to reorientate my ankles, which will resolve in me being given a strong sedative and then physically manipulated, twisted and cracked back into place...

One sedative and 2 1/2 hours later i am awake, legs bandaged with heel splints and off to Ward 6 for an operation Sunday morning.........