Easter Sunday

Happy Easter.  Unfortunately due to my caffeine ban no easter eggs will be passing my lips, just hospital grub, and lots of water!

The doctors came on their ward round today and didn’t want to change my dressing, even though the surgeon had stipulated it has to be done every other day.  Luckily for me, the nurses know my surgeon well and ignored the morning doctors.  I guess you learn who to listen to.

Heres what it looked like today:

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Looks pretty disgusting to me.  All the yellow stuff is the oozing fluid that comes out.  its worse at the bottom, they tend to have to pad my dressing up on the outside at this area due to the amount of oozing, but they dont seem concerned about it.

I managed to leg dangle for 15 minutes, 4 times today…..and agreed with the nurses that when i need the toilet they would wheel me to the bathroom and put my leg up on a foot stool, just to make things a little more normal.

Mum managed to come and see me today after being unwell all week.  Ive managed to start getting a little more rest the past few days as things have started to calm down.

Mary- the lady with the bitten fingers, has now tried paying doctors to operate on her privately….to which they declined.  they have agreed to wash her fingers out and stitch her up, but wouldnt be able to do the full procedure they were wanting to as she just wants to go home, and basically signed consent for this.  So she got done at the end of the day, and got to go home.  Back to me and barbs again.

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19th april

So its easter weekend, and its really nice weather outside, luckily there is a small garden where my bay is.  Alls i want to do is go outside, go for a walk, sit in a beer garden sipping cosmopolitans, enjoying time with friends and family.  Everyone seems to have lots of plans for the weekend which is great, but its so difficult not being able to do anything, or be involved.

Ive worked my leg dangling up to 10 minutes, 4 times today….i am determined to get my crutches on Tuesday, and as soon as im safe, im free.   I’m getting used to this.  They told me to slowly swing my leg a little whilst i do it, to try to get my knee moving.  Barbara seems to think she also needs to do these exercises, and joins in.  barbara has kept me very amused, and keeps the nurses on their toes.  Shes quite unsteady on her feet and has a zimmer frame, but insists on buzzing the nurse to go to the bathroom, but not waiting for them to assist her.  Instead she jumps up and starts running with her zimmer, and then does the same coming back but challenges the nurse to a race.

The nurses let the hubby stay from 2pm to 7pm today.  the ward was quiet, only me and Barbs left as the other lady was let free this morning.  I remember this evening well for the food i had.  On the menu was absolutely nothing that sounded edible.  I chose a chickpea and potato curry with rice, concerned about how it would be since hospital food isn’t all that great.  It turned out to be the best meal so far.  I was hoping it would help with toileting, since i hadnt been since the accident properly 😦  So during hubbys visit today, Barbs threatened him to a dance off….but only once he shaved his beard. Back off Barbs! 🙂

This evening a new lady joined our crew- Mary.  She had been out posting voting cards through letter boxes, when a dog behind one bit 2 of her fingers.  She was petrified of staying in hospital, and was due to go on holiday on tuesday.  But due to it being the holidays, only 2 theatres were open for surgery, instead of the usual 5, and so only urgent cases could go down.  She amused me somewhat as she deemed her 2 fingers as a life or death situation.  As she could walk she went off finding out what everyone else had wrong with them on the ward….the men across from us….one had a axe or something thrown at his head…it missed his head and went into his leg.  She soon realised that there were people in more serious situations, and quietened down.

18th April …

Happy Good Friday.

Yesterday a new lady came onto the bay, she had cellulitus up her arm, she thinks something got in her skin when gardening.  They have had to cut her hand open, and leave it that way in the bandage.  I’d say shes late 70’s.  She seemed quite anxious about being in hospital, so i tried to reassure her that its not so bad, the nurses are lovely.  There was only one nurse that i wasn’t keen on- Jackie- she only worked 2 nights per week, but just seemed quite lazy….i didn’t get my IV antibiotics done until 12:30am when she was on, and if you needed the toilet….well expect that you will still need it in 30 minutes.

So i got to have my dressing changed again today.  i have to say even though the feeling in my leg is somewhat impaired, it feels so good when your leg is free from the dressing.

I made sure i leg dangled for 5 minutes again today, 4 times.  I tried to fit it in with when hubby visited to help me.  And he could help with my knee bending exercises.

The past 2 days, i’ve started trying to wash myself now….still in bed, but the nurses are trying to let me be as independent as possible.  The only thing i cant do is my back.

17th April 2014..

So today is one week post accident.

So much has happened in a week- 2 major operations at 2 different hospitals, 2 days in a sauna, 5 days under a heated lilo, lots of morphine, pain killers, and 2 blood transfusions.  Yes today i got unit number 2.

The surgeon agreed seeing as tomorrow is the start of the easter weekend, he would allow the physio to start my “leg dangling” one day earlier, so i’m not left to my own devices.

So today he wanted me to dangle my leg off the side of the bed for 5 minutes, 4 times.

The first leg dangle was pretty nasty, my leg has been elevated on a few pillows for the past week.  As soon as you let it dangle all of the blood rushes down.  It is the most peculiar feeling.  I managed about 2 minutes before it got too painful.  Try to get it back up into bed….not going to happen, lucky the physio was there to lift it back in.  The other 3 attempts i had a nurse with me, just to help with my confidence, and get me back into bed.

As i said in a previous post my surgeon is very precise.  He stipulated 5 minutes, 4 times.  not 4 minutes, not 6 minutes… 5!!!!!!

He was taking the weekend off, along with a lot of staff….physios, OT’s, and some nurses.  But he made sure if i needed the other staff to contact him about any aspect of my care they had his permission to do so.  very nice i thought.

So yesterday the lady next to me went home, she was very nice. Barbara was still opposite.  She started talking to me a little yesterday, but to be fair i slept most of it.  Today she wanted to know why i have one black foot and one white foot.  PANIC….Barbara its my DVT stocking that you see.  She also thought my hubby was my father due to his beard, which amused me somewhat. Hes clearly been too busy travelling back and fourth to the hospital to bother shaving.

16th April…

This post is going to be graphic, so for those squeamish folk, i’d skip it.  Its dressing change day, and with dressing change comes photos.  For me i like to keep a photo album so to speak of the progress of my leg.  The only photo i dont have is the one at the very start.

So due to the fact i am now actually struggling to stay awake, they decided to take my bloods.  My bloods were pretty low, so they gave me a transfusion.  I didnt realise it takes so long to take 1 unit of blood.  It took 3 hours.  I have given blood in the past, and need to thank whoever provided this for me.  I dont think im actually allowed to give blood again now because of the transfusion.

I requested that the only visitors i see now on are my hubby and mum.  Since the accident i have hardly seen the hubby, because only 2 are allowed to the bed at a time.  Its so nice seeing friends and family, as the day passes quickly, however its also equally exhausting, and since i slept through the whole of the hubbys visit, i decided it would be better that everyone visits once i’m home, when i will probably be awake and appreciate it more, since i expect a pretty long recovery.

So the surgeon came around and took the dressing down on my leg.  Once again i did my hide behind the blankets technique before getting the courage to look.  Im not the squeamish type, however this seemed to change when it was my body involved.

These photos are the first i’ve seen of my leg since the plastic surgery on the saturday…

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My thoughts- i cried.  what a mess my leg looks like.  Up close it looks like the top of a lattice cherry pie.  Due to the way they stretch the skin through a machine to cover the area, it has lots of little diamond shapes.  As you can see i also have 3 scars at the top and 3 at the bottom.  these are from where they inserted the IM rod and screws.  Mr W ( the surgeon) did his best to reassure me that it was actually looking good….i guess he knows best, because to me it just looks horrific. so he cleaned it up and re-dressed it. I have to say my leg still felt like a ton weight, when they lifted it to redress it, it hurt so much.

My brother lives in america, and so he also got a message with the photos.  He has been brilliant since the accident.  Due to the time difference, he spent a lot of my nights ( his days) messaging me, checking up on me, reassuring me, and strangely enough keeping me company from a distance.

The physio also came to see me this day, to get me bending and straightening my leg…..it hurt so much but felt so good. It hadnt been moved properly for nearly a week.

15th April 2014

So heres how days in hospital tend to go.

6.30am- hook me up to my IV antibiotics and check BP etc

7:30am- Breakfast…..toast is the easiest thing to eat when move is difficult.

8:30am- ward round- this consists of the over night DR, the day Dr, nurses, physio, OT, trainee Drs, and sometimes the pharmacist. They go to every person on the ward and everyone gets an update.  With me, they check the observation area, they are satisfied, tomorrow will be the first day the dressing comes down.

10:30 to 12:00 noon- the nurses do their rounds of bed wash, bed change.  This is when dry shampoo comes into play.  It is my new best friend.

12.00 noon- hook me up to some more IV antibiotics

12:30pm- lunch time.  I tended to order what was the easiest thing to eat.  This tended to be a sandwich.  Not great for someone who rarely eats bread.  For dessert i always got ice cream….since im under the bear hugger still….its so nice and cold, and cools me down.  To be honest these early days, i felt queazy a lot so i didnt actually eat much at all, but i always had my ice cream.  I think it amused the nurses.

2pm- its visiting time.  Some of the girls came today. They were very much amused by the huge chart at the bottom of my bed.  everyone else had a small folder in its holder, i got a massive chart on a board titled “FLAP OBSERVATIONS”.  It was now the centre of many a joke!  So from now on we are going to call the muscle/ skin graft area…the flap.

4pm- visiting finishes.

5pm- dinner time.  Again order what ever is easiest to eat.  ICE CREAM!!!

5:30pm- hook me up to more iv antibiotics

6pm- visiting time again.  More friends came….again very amused by flap observations. ohhh HAHAHAHA !

8pm – visiting finished.

9pm- the night staff start work, and come to do their checks.

10pm- its late night coffee and cake time.  Yes you can have cake at bedtime.  This was barbaras favourite time.  she tended to sleep the majority of the time, but as soon as it came to that time, she used to shoot up in bed and have not 1, but 2 pieces of cake.

11pm – lights out…..which means go to sleep.  On the bay to the other side of ours were the men.  They were so noisy. Snoring etc.

11:30pm- hook me up to yet more iv antibiotics.

this day i was pretty wiped out, i think finally everything had taken its toll on me, the accident, the 2 operations, the lack of sleep, the heat, and the visitors.  As much as i loved seeing everyone, you can see from above you get very little time to actually rest in hospital.  In between those main times, you also had your regular checks.  On one of the checks today, i decided to take a picture of the flap.

for those of you who are squeamish….look away now………..

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Monday 14th April…

so at about 3am the on call DR from AnE had to come and change the cannula in my arm, as they are not supposed to hurt and mine did.  My arm is now black and blue from the accident and all the needles.  Doesnt look great!

As im writing this blog, im looking back on messages that i have sent and received, which reminds of things that happened, since the majority of my diary has been kept on paper….Im actually 6 months post accident and now getting it into this electronic blog.

So the 14th of April, started with a text to my hubby at 12:08am basically telling him i still have bad wind!  I think it must have been a combination of operations, drugs, and not going to the toilet since the accident.  It was uncontrollable, loud, and embarrassing.  I guess the only thing you can do is laugh….otherwise you would just cry.

After another night of pretty much no sleep, i had some breakfast, and then it is time for the ward round.  Today my surgeon came to see me, and looked through the observation area.  I really like my plastic surgeon, its clear from my time i spent in hospital how much he loves his job, and cares about what he does, and how his patient is.  His treatment plan is very precise and has to be followed….but i like that, its how i work.  He was happy with my progress. He wanted to move me to a bay, as they needed the side room for someone else, and wanted to change my dressing on Wednesday.  i think this is good progress.

Before i moved, i got my daily wash down and bed change.

The bay i was put on was nice enough, there were 4 beds, and big glass windows with a garden area.  There was a lady in the bed next to me.  She had been in hospital for about 8 weeks, and had been very very ill, but was now on the way to recovering, and opposite me was Barbara.  I will never forget Barbara.  It turned out she was there for the rest of my stay.  She was about 84 years old, shouldnt have really been on the plastics ward as she hadnt come in for that, it just happened they had a bed for her.  The first 2 days here she didnt speak to me.  But she was a character as you will come to read over my future posts.  the fourth bed was empty.

During visiting today my other cousins came, i found out that one who is a police officer in the town i live, was actually on duty when the accident happened.  Apparently its the norm for cops to want the gory details of whats happened, so his colleagues explained how horrific the accident was….blood and flesh everywhere, the state of my injuries etc etc…..little did he know at this point it was me who was the victim of the accident.  My cousin a week earlier had given me away at my wedding.

Well thats another day done and dusted!

13th April 2014….

It was about 12:30am, and the nurse was doing her checks.  The muscle didnt feel as hot as it did on the last check.  She needed a doctor to come and look.  She says dont panic, but the only thing you do is panic, and pray!  An hour went by and the on call doctor from AnE showed up.  He checked, and made it bleed.  He was happy and said its fine.  You still panic and worry for the duration of these constant checks.

This was the first day of no operations.  And the first day i could properly have visitors.  So many family and friends had sent messages, and tried contacting, and still do now.  I have to thank everyone for this so much.

There was no change during the day, the nurses continued their strict monitoring of me and my leg.  Doctors came to see me in the morning, they were happy with my progress.  I got to have a wash.  You dont realise just how much you take things for granted until you are unable to do them.

For me to have a wash it meant 2 nurses came with the necessary soap, water and flannels.  Whilst they prepped everything, i was told to use the morphine pump a few times as this was going to hurt.  Do i really want to have a wash if its going to hurt????!!!! After moving all of my drips and drain to one side, one nurse lifted my bad leg and rolled me to one side, as the other nurse washed and dried my back, stripped that half of the bed and pushed it under me, replacing it with new sheets.  They then moved everything to the other side, and pulled the bedding through.  DId it hurt……YES!!!!

2pm came, which meant visiting time….Due to a lot of people travelling from abroad from the wedding they were due to return home….so i had visitors from Portugal, Ireland and Germany.  Very multi cultural! As visitors entered the room….they seemed to remove layers of clothes.  Welcome to my sauna! Everyone said i looked well.

My Aunt took photos of me to show mum that i looked better than when they saw me on Friday.  IMG_2011 IMG_2013

I would say i look sweatier than i did 2 days ago.

Once visiting finished, its dinner time.  Its surprising just how quick days pass in hospital….there is always something happening.  I got what someone else ordered for dinner as i missed out on ordering the previous day.  It was a sunday roast….roast pork, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy.  I was left to attempt to eat this alone.  Now bearing in mind i had a tube stuck in the side of my back, tubes into my arms, i felt like id been beaten up, and could hardly move.  It was difficult.  Everything you try to do, even the simplest of tasks becomes a huge challenge.

6pm- means only one thing…..its visiting time again.  This time was my aunt, cousins, and friend.  I Laughed….they brought chocolates….not sure they will survive the sauna….and the doctor had put me on a caffeine ban.  Well at least i have something to look forward to when i’m allowed to eat them. i love chocolate.  Hubby came to every visiting session.

My nurse observations and muscle checks continued very regularly.  I think this night they went to every 20 minutes…..still no sleep.

12th April…..A new day….a new hospital

So this day should have been the day of our wedding reception, i should have been setting the function room up, having my hair and make up done, getting into my beautiful dress again, and having the time of my life with my family and friends.

This is how my day actual went….At 12:30am i arrived at the new hospital, and spent the next 2 hours in a room in AnE, waiting for a bed on a ward.  It was a Friday night, in Manchester, and there were a lot of drunken people around, lots of shouting.  It was actually quite unnerving being there on my own, in a very vulnerable situation with only a curtain to the room protecting me.  A doctor came to see me…..and i saw him a few times over my stay at hospital…..i think he was the plastic on call doctor.  He explained that a surgeon would come to see me once i was on a ward and would decide on the surgery as there were several options….including fitting a vacuum for a few days and then operating.

I got transferred to A5, i was in a bay with 3 other empty beds.  Like my own huge private room.  3 nurses greeted me and checked me in.  By this point i felt i’d been checked, double checked and triple checked.  Finally at about 3:30am they said they would let me sleep for 2 hours, before they would wake me for an early breakfast.  I didnt sleep….but i did get early breakfast.

8am came, and yet another team of surgeons are at the end of my bed.  They wanted to cut my bandage off to see the damage…..yeah like you will be doing that in theatre when im asleep right, because you cant possibly do that now…its going to hurt and look bad.  WRONG……the bandage came off. i looked eventually after hiding behind the blanket, but i actually dont remember that now. They explained that they would take muscle from my other thigh, but if they needed a larger muscle it would be from my back.  They would then take a skin graft from my good thigh to cover the muscle flap.

A lovely spanish nurse re-dressed my leg, and drew a heart on it and as you can see from the next photo…when you go in hospital you tend to get covered in felt tip arrows that dont tend to wash off for a while.  I did have more than those two.

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so 12:30pm came, and they took me down to theatres, My lovely hubby came with me.  Once again i was told my knickers would probably be cut off in surgery because i get to have a catheter!!!! WHHHATTTT????!!!!!!!! this is just great….. surely i should be getting ready to have my hair and make up done for the wedding.

So i wake up again in recovery, and this time i actually remember them removing the tube from my throat….GAG!! Not great.

I get back to F1 ward about 7:30pm, my own private room, or should i say sauna.  My hubby and mother in law greet me.  Mum unfortunately got sick with the shock, and lost her voice and seemed to have a throat infection, so now couldnt visit for the next week.

Due to the size of the hole they had to take muscle from my back, so i had a dressing down my side from my armpit to the bottom of my ribs, with a drain coming from it to collect blood.  I had a dressing and pain where they took the skin graft ( Donor site), and a huge dressing with observation window on my poorly leg…..my leg was huge.  I had cannulas in each arm, to give me antibiotics, morphine, and fluids.  Luckily i kept the morphine pump.  I had oxygen through nose tubes.  I had a bear hugger, which i can only describe as an inflated swimming pool lilo, that is pumped with hot air. An extra radiator in the room.  A pump on my good leg for circulation, and a huge observation chart.  The room was so so hot to keep my blood vessels open to ensure the muscle in my leg would stay alive, and graft would take.  The nurses now had to check my leg every 10-15 minutes throughout the next 24 hours, and i had to drink as much water as possible.

Sleep is supposed to be a great healer, but in those conditions it is very difficult to get any sleep when your :

1. sleeping in a sauna

2. mind is racing about the accident, the wedding, what happens next, what if the muscle dies, when will i be better, when can i go home etc etc

3. the nurse comes in every 10 minutes, to take the bear hugger off, lift the observation window, feel the area of skin, poke it, look at it, use the torch to look at it, and then cover you back up….for it to happen all over again very very soon.

4. the nurse also every 30 minutes takes your blood pressure, checks your oxygen, pain levels, and not to forget….measures how much i’ve wee’d!!!!!

it was a long night

11th April….. day one of the journey

I literally had no sleep since the accident, from arriving on the ward, a nurse came to take my details,  Mum and Hubby left me, and then my mind was racing.  What had happened, how it happened, what would happen next.

They had talked of various things during my hours at AnE, frames, internal fixation, possible plastic surgery.  They told me to forget the rest of the year.

I remember thinking…..oh i better tell my manager at work, since i had been on leave and wasn’t due back until the 16th, i didnt want him finding out threw my colleagues or facebook.  So he got a middle of the night text message.  Sorry!!!  i doubt it made much sense either with the amount of drugs my body had received.

i have never stayed overnight in hospital, and had always dreaded it, but you know what, its actually not that bad.  The nurses were great, they tried to reassure me, and help me the best way they could.

Now i’m a very private person, but in hospital you have to just forget that…..you need the toilet and you cant get out of bed, the nurse has to help you.

7.30am came and another team of doctors, & nurses were at the bottom of my bed.  The consultant introduced himself, and explained they were going to try and insert an intra-medullary nail into my tibia, and secure it with screws, as well as remove any bad tissue to the area. If when they got into theatre the bone couldn’t take the nail, then i could end up with an external frame fitted.  i was the first one down to surgery….i needed to let the hubby know, i had no phone, and my telephone at the bed wasn’t working.  On the way to theatre they stopped my bed at every telephone…..the nurses station….was busy, the next office didn’t work.  Finally my last attempt was another office leading off the ward.  They had to stretch the phone cord over, for me to get a brief message to the hubby.

Down to theatre i went.

The next i knew, i was waking up in recovery, my leg felt like a ton weight, they took me back to the ward, it was about 1:30pm..  Once i came around, the nurse explained that i had a morphine pump….i could basically press a button every 5 minutes for a shot of morphine.  Also that i was being transferred to another hospital for plastic surgery ASAP.  They were waiting for a bed, but the surgeon there wanted me there by the end of the day.

I had a lot of visitors, my Aunt – so great to see her, just wish the circumstances were different.  My mum, hubby, grandma, In laws.  My Aunt took a photo of me…theres only one word….ROUGH!IMG_1975

The next few hours passed surprisingly quickly.  I chatted to the women on the bay who were all lovely, and had lots of checks from the nurse.  I was allowed to use a commode by the bed for toileting…..better than doing it in bed right…..even if it meant the nurse still had to sort my knickers out.

As the afternoon passed, the one nurse i will never forget….his name was Ian.  He came to do my regular blood pressure, oxygen levels etc, he took one look at me and disconnected the morphine.  Apparently my eyes had gone….i guess i had been making sure i got as much pain relief as possible.  He got the evil Stare from me.  DONT take the morphine away, its currently my best friend.

FInally at 11:30pm the paramedics arrived, transferred me to their ambulance bed, and took me to the next hospital.  Since the accident apart from during surgery i had still not slept….