Saturday 29 January 2011

Full Circle, Part 3:The Repair

At home I felt pretty rubbish. There was a spiky bit of bone poking up a little, my ribs were all clicky and bruised and worst of all, my sore throat had returned. I spent an unpleasant few days on the sofa, pretty much 24 hours a day, as there was no way I could get in and out of bed. The ribs were the big issue with mobility, but I was pretty sure it was just bruising.

Elaine took a couple of days off to nurse me, and a very pregnant Liz came over on the Tuesday. Thankfully she didn't go into labour and I'd have been useless. I've no idea where we keep our clean towels.

On the Wednesday, six days after the fall, I visited the fracture clinic in Basingstoke. After another x-ray they put me in one of the consulting rooms, where I could hear the shouts of incredulity from the office outside where they were looking at the x-ray. "How did he do it?", "Nasty, what's that bit there" and "clearly a high-energy impact" were a few key phrases. As the consultant came into the room I was expecting to be rushed to surgery immediately.

Actually, it was quite a reasoned discussion. I got the impression that they really recommended surgery, but didn't want to push me into it. I could see myself that if it healed in its current position I had a future as a sideshow geek, so with the immortal words "sharpen the scalpel and get out the Meccano" I was told to be "nil by mouth" from midnight and report by 0730 the next day. I then had a pre-op once over by a very pleasant doctor, including my first ever blood test, and was sent home to get my affairs in order.

The next morning I was up, called to confirm things were still going ahead, and driven to Basingstoke by Dave. He even walked me to the ward, where we were both sure the nurses assumed he was my "partner". A shout of "give the contact information to Elaine!" hopefully pursuaded them otherwise...

Then... the waiting. They weren't really sure when I was to be sliced, so I spent the morning reading until they confirmed the op time of 13:30. I saw the consultant and the anaesthetist, nothing exciting happened, then I was wheeled down into a pre-theatre area. A few drugs, a bit of a chat ("how did you do it?" "Ooo, nasty"), then it was tim...............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Urgh. I'm alive. Um, OK, on oxygen. I can see. I can't see loads of scary machines around so I'm probably in recovery rather than ICU. Time... time... they said it would take about an hour for the op, might be about 16:30. Clock. Ah. 19:30. Hang on. Try again. 19:30. WTF? Move a bit. OK, things move. Definitely in recovery, they are talking to me. I'll make some vague noise back. Oxygen mask replaced by little tubes in the nose. Relax. Oh, I'm moving. In the lift, back to the original ward. Cool. Wave at the other bloke who was in for hand surgery. He's got dinner! Bastard. Mine isn't here - too late I guess.

Drink. Get that poxy glass and straw away from me, fill up my Camelbak Podium bottle! I'm a cyclist! Glug glug glug. Glug. Ooo, need to burp. Can't. Fuck, they had to take out my burp muscle! Or maybe it's the anesthetic. Cough a bit. Burp.

Ask for a small slice of toast. They only have one size, so I had that. Can I have some biscuits too, as clearly dinner isn't coming. Glug more. Hurrah! Burp muscle working.

The nurse comes round. Do you need to pee? It's important to pee. I know that. Glug.

Midnight. I reckon I can pee. Get patrolling nurse to pull the curtains so I can stand up and try to go in a cardboard bottle. Squeeze. Dribble. Flow. Uh oh. I'm going to need a bigger bottle.

Try to sleep. Lots of staff around, one poor lady in a lot of pain from fractured vertebrae. Doctors and consultants are called, she stops screaming after a while. I can really sympathise.

Doze. Sleep. Wake up. Breakfast! Bread and jam. Yum.

The next few hours brought a visit from the consultant - he explained it was more complicated than expected, hence the extra time needed. The loose bone fragment had rotated through 180 degrees, so things were a little confusing inside initially. The jigsaw puzzle was back together though, with a plate and some screws. I was sent to x-ray, had a quick chat with a physio, then was more or less kicked out the door.

So here I am - much more comfortable, bone in the correct position, taking things very easy. I've had my first follow up physio and have a post op check at the fracture clinic scheduled for 8th Feb. Boredom is really kicking in now, so I might even do a little "working from home" next week.

I've still got a slight sore throat though.

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