Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Year Ago

This time last year I was sitting in Grantham A&E, still unaware of the extent of the damage I had done to my ankle. Soon I would be told that not only had I broken it, but that I had broken and dislodged both bones in my lower leg and would need an operation to fix it. It sounds dramatic for a broken ankle but I felt a little bit of my world had ended. This was my second break in a short period of time and realistically, I already knew this could spell the end of my skating career. So I got wheeled off to a ward where I was to wait for my surgery. The worst part was being in a private hospital room on my own with no home comforts, not even my own pyjamas, to try and soften the blow of what I had just been told. The next day I had a few visitors in the form of Gaz, his mum and my mum who had brought everything I had needed the night before. Y’know apart from a new ankle!! It didn't make anything better. I was starving, having been on standby for my surgery, and still felt sick hearing the echoes of my ankle falling apart in my head. I was soon told my surgery was delayed until the next day. In one way this sucked because I was still in considerable pain whenever I attempted to move my heavily plastered leg. However, I could eat and take painkillers so it wasn't all bad.

When my visitors left, I was still alone but I had my laptop and some DVDs to take my mind off things. I also purchased some extortionate hospital issue wifi and found my Facebook page was inundated with messages of love and support. I cried again for a whole host of reasons. Exhaustion, I was still in a bit of shock and most of all I never realised how many people cared. I made sure I replied to as many as I could before it all got too much to type any more. I put on a DVD and then fell asleep somewhere during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Anyway, I was moved to the orthopaedic ward at around midnight, which was a bit random, but meant that my surgery would definitely be tomorrow. I soon settled back into sleep and woke up at around 6:30 the next morning. I was terrified. I had never had an operation before and there’s always risks. The anaesthetist came back round to check my canula and described what he was going to do. An epidural. I was going to be awake. Obviously less risk but just possibly even more scary! So, we went to the theatre at around 8:00. The theatre staff couldn't have been lovlier, they could see I was nervous which was confirmed when they hooked me up to the heart rate monitor. One of the nurses held my hand while the anaesthetist administered the epidural – that’s not a fun experience in itself but the effects are pretty strange!! I was given a small amount of sedation to relax me and given a CD player with headphones so I didn't hear what was about to happen. I drifted in and out but seemed to wake up for the more drill centred parts of the surgery – lovely!! After an hour and a half it was done. They re-plastered my leg and sent me back up to the ward. I felt very nauseous but put it down to the fact that I hadn't eaten in about 16 hours. I was wrong. Enough said.

The next day was so much better. It was Monday by now, I had got my appetite back and it was time to get my sleek, lightweight fibre glass cast. I couldn't resist asking the trainee assistant to take a photo of my newly acquired staples. I hadn't expected to see so many of them!! As such, I named my leg Frankenleg as he looked a bit of a monster at this time!! She asked how I did it and I embarrassingly explained the whole stupid story. It actually helped a bit to talk it through in a strange way. Gaz had a presentation at uni that morning so I didn't hear from him until the afternoon. I explained all that had happened and that I would be sent home that evening. I was going to go to my Mum’s bungalow for a little while just to make things a bit easier (adapted shower and whatnot) initially. But I had to make an important detour on the way. It had been Millsy’s birthday shortly before and I had baked her some peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes that were meant to be given to her on the Saturday at the bout that I had to miss. So we went to make the delivery and I've never been so happy to see an LBRG member in my life!! It felt like I was returning to normality and that I wasn't forgotten just because I had broken myself again. My wife Bekkie visited me while I was at Mama Custard’s and between them and my sisters they took wonderful care of me, I couldn't have asked for more. But it wasn't home.

A week later I returned to my home, after shuffling up the two full flights of stairs, an excellent tricep workout by the way, and sat on my sofa with a brew in my favourite mug. I felt complete again. Of course, most of the healing was still yet to happen but I felt like I was on my way now. I slept on the sofa as it’s surprisingly difficult to get comfortable when you've got a plastered leg, never mind if there’s a risk of it being kicked in the night!! I slept so soundly for the first time in what felt like an eternity. For the first time I felt like everything was going to be OK. My mind soon drifted to the inevitable second operation.

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