Monday, 7 November 2016

Operation 15/15b/16

Operation 15, to sort out my heel and ankle, and put the frame on and break my tibia, was a complete success. My ankle and heel are now held together by pins and a big nail going up from the sole of my foot (lovely), or something. And the frame is on ahead of the leg-lengthening. BUT, they didn't actually do the break of my tibia, so that is going to happen this week, on Tuesday 8 November. Apparently when I came around after op 15 I was a bit disappointed about this, this being 'plan B' not 'plan A', but they explained to me that it was best for me and for them, they were tired after 6 hours of operating on me, and they want to get this last bit exactly right. So fair enough. Look, I'm never going to complain am I?! They've all been brilliant.

In fact the level of care at Broadgreen Hospital is pretty amazing. Everybody seems to know exactly what they're doing and just gets on with it. It seems like a good place to work. My 5 day visit was really good in that respect. Even the food is nice! It's a new unit, maybe 18 months old, and it shows at least in the sense of organisation - everything is quite close, like the physiotherapy gym is just at the end of the ward, opposite where you go before your operation. 

There's no A&E at the hospital, and I think that helps to give it a calm feel. Anyway, I'll be spending another night there this week which I don't mind at all.

After (left) and before (right) operation 15.

The way of dressing the pin sites is something I've never seen before - you can barely see the pins afterwards. They use syringe drivers to hold the dressing against the pin site (clever!) and then wrap each group of 2 or 3 pins in a bandage which has them ending up looking like garlics you get in the supermarket, or meringues possibly. It's really clever because none of the pin is exposed. It makes me realise how exposed I've had them in the past - I mean, I was showering and then putting a gauze over and cutting a dressing to slot around the pin, meaning only the bit near my skin was covered. This is much better. They also last 10 days dressed like this so when I come to do it myself, much less work and hassle to maintain them! Excellent.

I can't weight-bear on my left leg for 3 months. I should have realised this, but it did come as a slight eyebrow-raise, not a complete surprise. The other times I've been able to touch weight-bear, so this is different, and will be more of a challenge. I'll end up with an even stronger right leg and upper body! But it adds an extra element of nerves, because I really can't afford a mishap now. It's because the ankle and heel fusion has to heal before I can put weight through it. Fair enough. I like a challenge.

I've spent most of this last week since I was discharged readjusting to life on crutches; how to transport a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the living room; how to have a shower (bin bag over leg, bath board); how to find a comfortable position to sit for extended periods with my leg elevated, etc. A lot of moving involves balancing on my right leg, but I'm pretty good at that. Outside I've only been as far as the supermarket, coming back up the hill was OK but a bit tiring. If I go to work on the train it'll be tough at the moment, so I'll probably have to rely on a lift for a while.

Anyway, back to this week, operation 15b or 16 (let's just call it 16) will be a short one to cut my tibia near my knee (on a healthy bit) and then after a week or so for it to settle down, the lengthening process will begin. I should be in for 24 hours this week. The consultant who spoke to me said they weren't going to "just burn through it with a saw" but rather they'll "use chisels to get a nice controlled cut". Lovely. Glad I'll be asleep.

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