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Arlo : Settling In
Diary entry posted Thu 8:25am 13 October 2005

Thursday 30th June 2005

I've just learnt a new definition of the term "torture". Here's the deal.

Every morning, a smartly dressed lady comes into my room with a clipboard and gives me a menu, yes a MENU of choices for the food I'm going to want.

Ordinarily, my taste buds would be doing a tango at the long lovely list of edibles that are presented to me.

However, the shock and trauma to my body since the accident has knocked out one of my most precious assets. I sustained a broken leg, broken shoulder, and now I have a broken appetite. OMGGG!!! So many choices, all of which I know will taste fantastic, and I don't want a single one of them.

I have to force myself to choose soup and ice cream for the first few days as that is all my suppressed appetite can manage. I feel gutted in every sense of the word.

To add insult to injury, I'm also getting very depressed at the loss of dignity which I basically left by the roadside when I came off the bike. This revolves around peeing into a bottle, and doing number twos into a steel pan wedged under my butt. This is a first for me, and after awhile I have to give in because the urge to pass a few rock pellets which is what comes out overtakes any dignity I'm struggling to retain.

The indignity continues when I have to roll onto one side so that one of the very understanding nurses can wipe me after I've finished. This simple act of kindness and professionalism on their part reduces me to tears.

I soon get used to this procedure, but more and more often I cry for no apparent reason. After the whirlwind stay of 8 days in the NHS hospital, I now have the time to reflect on everything that has happened to me and so I begin the cycle of ups and downs which in the course of a day makes me laugh like a loon in one minute and cry like a baby the next. I feel so helpless and useless.

My Mum phones me every day to speak to me, but the shock of the accident is preventing her from coming to visit me. I understand up to a point, but I implore her to come and visit me. Bottom line is she doesn't - she's too scared.

I settle into my new surroundings over the next 4 days and have plenty of time to get really scared about the operation that I'm due to have on my shoulder, especially as my consultant comes in and explains in graphic detail exactly what he has planned for me. He does throw me one lifeline which is to say that he thinks the heavy plaster of paris cast on my arm is doing no good at all and makes arrangements for it to be cut off (the plaster, not my arm lol).

I go through a wave of pain I've not felt since the accident when the cast is removed. I feel like passing out when the nurse tries to move my arm out slightly to get the back of the cast off. Eventually, after what seems like an age, the cast is off and the arm and shoulder immediately feel a lot better (as well they can lol). The first thing I notice when the cast is off is the horrible smell coming from under my armpit. Because of the accident, I've not been able to get so much as a wet tissue under my arm to clean it. The smell gets to me so much that I pick up a box of tissues, wedge a piece of wood in my mouth to bite down on and proceed to carefully and gently wipe as much of my under-arm area that I can get to. The smell is disgusting but after I've gone through about a dozen tissues, the smell starts to improve.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm particularly keen on keeping personal hygeine at the top of my daily list of "essentials". Being in a crippled state removes the basic abilities to bath, shower or even wash yourself over a sink. I'm totally reliant on the nurses who come in daily to give me a body wash. This is a daily event that I look forward to with relish each morning. The refreshed feeling I get after they've finished is fantastic and makes me feel more like my old self again.

So the next few days lay down a new regime for me and I settle into a routine of bed washes, bed toiletry habits, soup and ice cream, massive doses of antibiotics that make my wee smell funny, daytime television (OMG I never realised it was so BAD!), tears and laughter and no sleep at night (despite the quiet of the hospital and it IS SOOOO quiet at night) due to the pain in my shoulder - I just can't get comfortable, even though I've got so many fluffy pillows and an adjustable electric bed.

Strange is at may seem, I'm actually looking forward to Monday 4th July 2005 which is when my shoulder operation is due.

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 Thu 8:25am 13 October 2005
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