Stopped by the police and an ankle update

This morning, while taking Michael to the hospital, I got pulled up by the police at the bottom of the main road. Not that I was doing anything wrong I hasten to add, they were just doing random vehicle checks and the guy who stopped me directed me to pull into a coned-off lay-by round the corner – just what I didn’t  need when Michael had an important appointment so I asked the second policeman if it would take long as we were going to the hospital. Fortunately it didn’t, and after being asked my name and address for a PNC check, and having to put on my indicators and various lights, they checked the tyres, advised me that one just needs a bit of air in it, and I was free to go.
We made it to the designated hospital department with a good five minutes to spare, and we were surprised to find that rather than the full waiting area we were expecting there was no-one there at all, so once Michael had given his name in at reception it wasn’t long before he was called into the plaster room. His plaster cast was cut off and after a couple of x-rays were taken he went in to see the consultant; the good news is that he no longer needs his ankle in plaster but the bad news is that it’s still got a way to go before it’s anything like healed as the new bone is only growing slowly. He’s now been fitted with another supporting boot and has to go back to see the consultant in a month’s time – so any hope he had of getting back to work sooner rather than later has just gone right out of the window.
On a lighter note though, when the consultant said they would give him a supporting boot he purposely didn’t mention that he still has the previous one, so now he’s got a matching pair he can do his own version of Robocop – watch this space for eventual photos!

I’ve got the dreaded lurgy!

Or in other words, the recently much-talked-about-in-the-news Aussie flu. Back in early January, only a few days after Michael had the operation on his ankle, it was reported in our local paper that the hospital had cancelled all routine operations and day cases to free up beds for those badly affected by the virus so it seemed he’d had his operation just at the right time. Health-wise I’ve been absolutely fine with not so much as even a sniffle but on Monday evening last week, while sorting through some paperwork, a wave of incredible tiredness washed over me and I just had to stop what I was doing and go to bed. Thinking it was just a one-off I went to work the following day but then the pounding headache started, made worse by the dry hacking cough which had also developed along with a constant feeling of nausea. I struggled on and got through the Wednesday but by early Thursday morning I felt so ill I had to admit defeat and stay off work.
Now I’ve never ever had flu in my life, not of any sort, so this Aussie flu thing had never occurred to me, but while bringing the dogs in from the garden on Saturday evening I spoke briefly to my next door neighbour and she suggested I might have it, so on Monday morning this week I went to the doctor’s and it was confirmed – I have indeed got Aussie flu. Now I can cope with the cough and the cold, and the nausea subsided a few days ago although I still have no appetite, but the constant exhaustion has been the worst – just walking the dogs to the field at the end of the street is an effort and I feel like I’ve just run a marathon at sixty miles an hour, but it’s an effort I have to make as they need to go out at least once each day. As I write this I am beginning to feel a bit better though, so hopefully by next Monday I’ll be over it and fit enough to go back to work – I hope so as I’m bored out of my skull doing nothing here at home.
There is one advantage to all this though, if you can call it that – my loss of appetite means I’ve hardly eaten anything and I’ve been living on fruit juice and water for over a week so it’s been a great way to lose weight, although admittedly it’s a bit of a drastic way of doing it!

Completely plastered and a bit more progress

This morning Michael went back to the hospital for a check-up and follow-up treatment on his ankle and so far things are going okay. His appointment was for 10am so I dropped him off at the main entrance and went to park the van; on past experiences I was expecting to see him sitting in a crowded waiting area when I joined him but when I got there his name had already been called and he was just hopping his way into the plaster room. We didn’t have long to wait before a nurse came to remove the temporary cast and take the staples out of his wounds – not a particularly pleasant experience. He hardly felt a thing when they were taken out of the side which had been broken but the other side was a different matter – it was extremely painful for him and he only just managed to get through it without swearing or passing out. After a few minutes to recover a doctor checked that the wounds had healed properly, which they have, then a second nurse arrived and his ankle and leg were encased in a proper plaster cast from just above his toes to just below his knee. She said that for being brave he could have a coloured cast so he chose a blue one then he could put a yellow sock over the top as blue and yellow are the Tipperary hurling team colours  🙂
From the plaster room he had to go in a wheelchair to x-ray; I wasn’t sure if it was a wise idea to leave me in charge of the large hospital chair but I got him there without banging into anything or running anyone over and he was in and out in ten minutes. From there he had to see the doctor again and when we got to the main waiting area my heart sank when I saw how crowded it was and ‘Waiting time 50 minutes’ written up on the board, however we’d only been there ten minutes when his name was called. The doctor showed us the x-rays on the screen and with everything screwed together the bones are now where they should be and the break is healing nicely. He’s been given a supporting shoe to wear and although he still has to rely on his crutches he’s been told he can now start to put a little bit of weight on his foot, though when he’s sitting or lying down he has to keep it elevated.
The next hospital appointment is in exactly four weeks time when Michael will have another x-ray, and all being well this new cast will come off for good and he can start getting back to something like normality. To be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to today as his previous hospital appointments have always meant a lot of waiting around so I was quite surprised and happy that this time we were in, sorted, and out again in less than two hours – we’re keeping our fingers crossed now that the next appointment runs just as smoothly.

Still in pain but coping

Today (Friday) I took Michael to see the district nurse at the health centre to get the dressings changed on his ankle. Although his wounds had leaked a little she said there was no cause for concern and she was happy with the way they looked; the dressings were changed and she made the cast a bit more comfortable for him before putting it back on, then once it was all bandaged up again she put a thin stocking-like cover over the whole lot including his toes so they would be a bit warmer.
Although the pain in the right side of his ankle where the break has been fixed has subsided somewhat to more of a constant ache the left side where the piece of bone was taken from is still extremely painful. He’d actually run out of painkillers so while we were in the health centre he asked at reception if they could squeeze him in to see the doctor and get another prescription – he was lucky as they’d had a cancellation for 3.50pm. It meant waiting for almost an hour, which was no real problem, but just before 3.30 the doctor called him in as he knew what Michael would be there for. The doctor did say that the extreme pain in the left side of his ankle is unfortunately to be expected though it will ease off eventually; although it’s obviously not very pleasant we’re just glad to know that it’s only a side effect of what’s been done rather than something more to worry about.
Today was the first time Michael has been outside the house since he came home from hospital on Monday – even if he wanted to he would be incapable of going anywhere so he’s staying in his room for now. He can’t really go out anyway as with the cast on his foot and leg he can’t get any trousers on of any sort – he even went to the health centre with the hospital gown and his dressing gown on. I wasn’t aware of anyone giving us any strange looks at the time but he must have looked a bit odd to say the least!

Back home

I’m very happy to report that Michael came home from hospital yesterday, but not without having a long wait to actually be discharged. I’d sent him a text at 11am asking if there was any news and he’d replied “none yet” then at 1.30pm he rang me and said he was being discharged. I was going up there for visiting at 2 o’clock anyway and expected to see him waiting with his coat on but when I got there he was still in bed waiting for his dressing to be changed, various medications to be sorted out and the necessary paperwork completed. At 3pm one of the nurses came and said he would be seen ‘after break’ – fair enough we thought, they were entitled to an afternoon tea break, but by almost 4pm he still hadn’t been seen. Then the same nurse came back and said again that he would be seen ‘after break’ – I don’t know how long their tea breaks normally are but assuming this was  a tea break it was turning out to be quite a long one!
It was 4.45pm before they actually got round to seeing him. The cast was cut off, the dressings changed and a new cast put on with several yards of bandage, he was given an injection to help prevent DVT and presented with a large bag containing half the contents of the pharmacy, then the paperwork was completed and finally at 5.30pm he was free to go. He didn’t even bother getting dressed – he couldn’t get his jeans on anyway, or even his pj’s – so they allowed him to keep the hospital gown he had on and he came home wrapped up in his dressing gown with his jacket on top. Getting upstairs wasn’t exactly easy but he managed it and just went straight to bed, where he’s been ever since.
On Friday he has to see the district nurse at his own health centre to get his dressings changed again then he goes back to see the specialist on the 24th of the month, when presumably the staples will be taken out and a proper cast put on. On a scale of 1 to 10 the current pain factor is round about the 20 mark, far worse than when he first broke the ankle, so other than seeing the district nurse on Friday he won’t be going anywhere else for a while. It’s obviously not very pleasant for him so I just hope the cocktail of painkillers he has to take will do the job and make things a lot more bearable for him.

Moving swiftly on

Events here in the Mouse House have moved on quite rapidly since my previous post about Michael’s broken ankle. After seeing the specialist last Wednesday and being told he would be put on the emergency list for an operation within five to seven days he was contacted on Thursday afternoon and told there was a bed on stand-by for him for yesterday (Saturday). On Friday morning he was contacted again to say he had to be there at 7.30am yesterday and to have nothing to eat or drink from midnight Friday, however he was contacted again late that same afternoon and told his op had been cancelled due to an emergency, but he still had follow the instructions regarding the food and drink as he could be called in at any time. Needless to say, having geared himself up for the op to take place he was more than a little disappointed at the cancellation, as was I, but there was nothing we could do except wait for another call.
That call came at 10am yesterday when he was told to get there as soon as he could; he was actually still in bed but he’d packed his bag in readiness the night before so it was just a matter of ‘up, washed, dressed and out!’ I stayed with him on the ward while a nurse took all his details and he got settled in bed then the specialist came to see him, explained what was going to be done and said he would be straight in theatre after lunch. I left him then and told him to text me once he was back from the op and reasonably compos mentis – I’d only just got back home when he sent me a text  “I get put to sleep in 20 mins” so obviously this specialist wasn’t hanging about. I was just ready for leaving home at 5.30pm to go back to the hospital when I got another text  “I’m back on the ward and I’ve had some tea” – at least that sounded like he was reasonably okay. When I got back there he was sitting up in bed with his foot propped up on a pillow and he’d just demolished a bowl of soup, a plate of beef stew with veg and dumplings, two lots of pudding and custard and two mugs of tea – after 17 hours without food there was obviously nothing wrong with his appetite!
As far as the ankle repair is concerned (and don’t read this if you’re squeamish!) a piece of bone has been cut from the good side of his ankle and put into the gap where the original bone hasn’t mended, then the whole lot has been pulled together and fastened with a plate and some screws; the incisions have been stapled rather than stitched and the foot and half his leg are now in a cast. That will stay on for two weeks then it will be taken off for the staples to be removed and a new cast put on for another four weeks; he’ll need physiotherapy as well so we don’t expect him to be back at work for quite some time. I did joke that I could have done the job myself weeks ago – a hammer and chisel, a cupboard door hinge, a few screws from B & Q and an office stapler would have sorted it all out nicely!
He was supposed to come home today but I got a text from him late morning to say he was staying in for another night; when I went to see him later on he said the physiotherapist had been to check that he would be okay getting about round the house using his crutches but he’s in so much pain they decided not to discharge him until tomorrow. I just hope he’ll be okay once he’s back home; needless to say, he’s under strict instructions from me that unless he needs the bathroom he doesn’t move out of his room if I’m not in – there’s enough damage been done to this ankle without him damaging anything else!

Progress at long last

After months of being passed from one hospital department to another and back again without the problem of his broken ankle being resolved, and presumably because three weeks ago he said he wanted to make an official complaint, today Michael finally got to see the specialist he should have seen over four months ago. After looking at his case notes and then looking at his ankle this guy said just one word – ‘operation’. Apparently he has ligament damage as well as the ‘floating’ bone so there’s more than one problem which needs to be fixed and only an operation can do it – he’s been put on the ’emergency list’ for this to be done as soon as possible and has been told that it should be within five to seven days or possibly even sooner.
After seeing the specialist he had to see another doctor and some blood samples were taken; he’s not sure yet if his ankle will be pinned or will have a plate put in but whichever option is taken he’ll be in plaster for about six weeks afterwards. Obviously as neither of us are doctors ourselves we’re only surmising but we can’t help thinking that if his ankle had been put in plaster when he first broke it he wouldn’t now need to have this operation and he would have been back at work long ago, however for the moment we’re just glad that he’s finally, at long last, been seen by the right specialist and a proper treatment plan is in place – fingers crossed that he gets the operation within the next few days and we can hopefully see a light at the end of the tunnel.