Saturday, 1 December 2012

This Week's X-rays etc.

This week has been a bit major to say the least. I had three appointments: one with the consultant at Preston on Wednesday, one with a specialist in Sheffield on Thursday, and my physio appointment on Friday. One of the things that's kind of annoying is all the time something like this can take out of your life - I mean, each of those appointments took at least half a working day out. This is time I won't get back....

Anyway, on Wednesday I went to see my consultant in Preston - it's actually a paediatric clinic but he said I could pretend to be a child for the day.. This is to fit in with my lecturing, normally I'd go on Monday to the fracture clinic, but they've always been quite nice and flexible with me to let me have it affect my job as little as possible. The nurse in the clinic said she wanted no tantrums from me when I said I was going to pretend to be a child! Pretend! As if - I am a child. Mostly. 
So over the last few weeks I've been convincing myself alternately that my leg wasn't bending again, and that it was. This x-ray would provide the proof one way or the other. Thankfully, it shows that my tibia is straight as an arrow! This is good! I've been fully weight-bearing as much as possible on it for 3 weeks since the frame was removed. Of course the struts were unlocked for something like 6 weeks already, so really it's more like 9 weeks when it could've bent. But this shows it hasn't.
Top view. No bend in tibia.Yippee!
Side view - the angle in this plane is not as important, but it's still pretty straight anyway.

OK, so, it looks like it worked :) What a relief! Now I can push as much as I want / can. I don't have to go back to see my consultant now for 3 months - until March 4 2013. This is a bit like a semi-discharge compared to what I've been used to for the last 29 months!

You can see from the top view that there is an illusion now of it being bent - there is much more of a taper of the soft tissue on the outside than the inside. It looks bent. It isn't.

I asked about driving. No problem, he said, if I feel like I can do an emergency stop, everything's OK. I do. So I will have a little practice in Mum's car next weekend, and then we're all good for renting a car at Christmas. This will make Rebecca's life then much more enjoyable - and mine too :) Freedom!
When I wake up, it looks a lot less swollen :)
Possibly it's shorter too, but hey. You can't have it all (so I'm told).
I also got some tubi-grip to put around it so that maybe the swelling will go down quicker. That's good too. When my consultant said 3 months, I think I knew that deep down, but still, it meant saying thank you for the time being and that is a bit hard because thank you just doesn't seem to cover it. He said he thought it was good that in the end they had fixed it so that I hadn't lost my leg, and that it looked like from that point of view it was a success. I know it's their jobs, but really, how can you repay something like that?

Next, Sheffield on Thursday. There is a whole side of this accident that I haven't spoken about in my blog - the claim against the insurance company. For obvious reasons I don't want to go too much into it yet because it's ongoing, but my visit to the specialist in Sheffield was at the behest of the insurance company. It passed off without incident - the guy was nice, possibly a (retired?) orthopaedic consultant. He asked a lot of the usual questions which I don't really like going over again but I've been over it so many times now with so many people I could practically do it in my sleep. He measured up all of my scars, asked about pain etc. and how it's affected my life. My file is massive! No doubt that's copies of all my medical records. One day I will write up my thoughts on all this side of it.

On Friday I had physiotherapy at Stepping Hill. My physio was pleased to see me amble in almost without crutch. I explained I was showing off because I was there, but he said you have to be able to do it to show off. I guess that's right. We went through my stretches and step exercises, which have got easier over the last fortnight to be fair, especially stepping up backwards leading with my left leg. Now I have sideways step ups to do, and heel dips and raises over the edge of the step. They are hard on my calves.

We talked about the motion in my ankle. He said realistically it was unlikely I'll recover much more than I've got at the moment. I have no fibula anymore (you can see the wreckage of it in my first x-ray above) so he thinks it is possible that my ankle has fused to compensate for the lack of stability that brings. I do have some plantar flexion, but hardly any dorsi flexion. Cycling wise it shouldn't matter too much - I am mildly concerned about balance on the mountain bike since some of that comes from dropping your heels a bit, but we'll see about that later on. Of course, I can keep working on it to see if it will loosen up a bit, but I guess he was telling me not to be too hopeful. Maybe I knew that deep down already, it wasn't a surprise but still a disappointment. He said (as have others) that I have to look at it as a leg saved. But I suppose I want to believe it'll be back to normal eventually, mechanically. What matters I guess is what I can do with it. I intend for that to surpass what was normal before, eventually. Walking barefoot is never going to be easy now though. You don't walk around outside with no shoes on was his reply. :)

I told him that I was intending to go out on my bike on Saturday - there hadn't yet been the right combination of light, dry roads and time.

Finally, he gave me a target - off crutches completely by New Year. Now that seems ambitious to me, but what is certainly true is that I could do a lot more without. Just carry the one and use it when necessary - in two weeks when I go back, I have to be at 50% crutch usage.

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