Sunday, 14 April 2013


Frank with staples, just after the first surgery
Two weeks after the first operation, it was time to have Frank’s staples removed. I spoke to a nurse friend of mine who assured me it wouldn't hurt at all and I would be fine. She lied. It was the kind of pain that goes straight to your stomach and makes you want to vomit a bit. Thankfully, the nurse was somewhat of an expert and it was over mercifully quickly. Once again, Frank was re-plastered and I left with a brand new blank canvas for my team mates to doodle on to their hearts content. Of course it was bomber blue – that goes without saying!!

Staples out... ouchee!!

I noticed after another two weeks or so that there was a warm sensation accompanied by pain coming from my calf. I suspected a pressure sore from my cast being slightly too tight, although I hadn’t realised this at the time it was being applied. I proceeded to hop down the stairs and Gaz drove me to Lincoln A&E which is always a fun trip! The doctor proceeded to tell me I had a possible DVT. Having experienced this less than a year before, I tried to argue that it wasn’t but what do I know eh? I was brought back the following day for tests where it was, shockingly, confirmed that I did not have a DVT, who’d have thought?! I, again, asked them to take off my cast and check for pressure sores. Eventually they did and found, you guessed it, a pressure sore!! Easily fixed, antibiotics and a new cast were administered – done!! Well almost, with only four weeks until my second operation, it needed to heal before then. If not, the operation could be postponed and I quite wanted to get back to that walking business. That and the job I had worked 4 days in before this whole thing happened. Yup, even my timing was impeccable!! 

I was lucky enough to have an orthopaedic nurse at my local GP surgery and she kept an eye on me as often as I could get into the surgery. For the last two weeks before the operation, I was cast-less which frankly only made me want to walk like a normal person even more!! She checked on my sore regularly and even smuggled me some special prescription issue dressings which had honey in them, they not only smelt amazing but they also healed me up a treat!! We had a frank conversation during one of my visits (she’s a straight shooter – another reason to love her!!). We discussed what could happen if I skated again and another injury happened. I didn't like what was said but I needed to hear it. I won’t bore you with it but the moral of the story was that if I break it again, there was a good chance the damage would be irreversible. As long as I had a plate in my leg, there was no way I should be skating again. I said I would discuss it with my surgeon, hoping he would give me a different answer.

Before the second surgery...
Operation day!! Up at the crack of dawn and off to Grantham. The pressure sore was fixed up enough and it was all cleared to go ahead. I braced myself for another epidural and the hassle that I had gone through last time. Fortunately, no such fate awaited me. A drop of sedation and a good dose of local anaesthetic was all this one would take!! They pulled up a little screen which confused me a little, until I saw my ankle on it. Turns out it was some version of an x-ray machine I hadn't yet encountered, I thought I had seen them all on my broken travels! There was my ankle, and next to it, the surgeon’s scalpel. He was cleverly looking where to make the incision so it could be as tiny as possible. “Genius” I thought, in my slightly drowsy state. Anyway, next thing I knew, I could feel a strange (sorry about this) scraping sort of feeling on my ankle bone. That was a screw leaving my ankle – most peculiar. Some steri-strips to close it up and we were all done. Brilliant!!

... and after.
I slept off the last of the sedation while Gaz sat next to me patiently reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Eventually I woke up and decided that the only way to celebrate the success of the operation was to go to that OK Diner we had passed so many times on various journeys. It was epic but I wasn't sure whether this was the quality of the food or the fact that I hadn't eaten all day in preparation for the surgery. Frankly I didn't care! When we got home, I walked up the stairs to the flat. It’s the little things.

I managed to put off the skating discussion with the surgeon this time. After all, I would be back in a few months and definitely wouldn't be skating before then!! I knew I couldn't avoid it forever though.

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