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Arlo : Homeward Bound
Diary entry posted Thu 9:49am 20 October 2005

Wednesday 20th July 2005

A moving day for me lol in more than one sense. I'm going home, but I still find myself crying whilst saying goodbye to the great nursing team that have helped me in the last few weeks. Their selfless compassion and utter professionalism have helped me through a very dark chapter in my life. It seems to have been an age since I was first wheeled into this wonderful hospital, but has only been 3 weeks in reality.

I'm taken outside in a wheelchair and am presented with my first challenge - how to get out of the wheelchair and into the front seat of the taxi that is to take me home. I find myself sitting frozen, trying to work out what to do, and in what order etc. The most simple of acts, and I can't work it out - I cry again and then compose myself and focus hard. It is a challenge as I can only push myself up with one arm and it's not really an option to have someone support me under my left arm because of the surgery on the shoulder and the fact that it is still bloody painful around there. The bruising on the shoulder which was black throughout and the sizs of a saucer is now a wonderful

I eventually figure it out and with a combination of using the arm of the wheelchair and then nearly throwing my back at the doorframe of the taxi. Hardly elegant, but it works and the bonus is that once inside the car, because the external fixator on the leg is below the knee, I can bend the leg. I get paranoid when I look down and see that the fixator is about an inch away from the glovebox of the taxi and realise that if the taxi has to stop suddenly for whatever, then there's a good job that my fixator will become less than fixed lol. I brace the leg as best as I can which is not easy as I can't put any weight on it.

Despite a few close calls (well they appear to be that in my less than anxious state), I arrive outside my house and catch my breath for a minute having gasped and held my breath more than once on the journey here. I get out of the car carefully, which is a lot easier than getting in as I use the doorframe to grab onto and pull myself upright onto my one good leg. I use my single crutch to hop across the road with my mum behind me supporting me with her hands on either side of my hips. This should reassure me and make me feel stable but unfortunately I'm a bit bigger than my mum and think to myself that if I do stumble and fall then I'm gonna take her with me. I proceed (read: hop) carefully and arrive at what appears to be the base of Mount Everest. Ok, it's a curb, but it seems impossibly high and in my less than well balanced state, it might as well be the summit of Everest. With mum supporting me (lol), I hop up and just manage to put the one crutch down to stop me going over. With mum behind me hanging on for dear life, the freeze frame of this act would look absolutely comical but for the terrified look on both mine and undoubtedly my mums face too.

5 yards from my front door, but already I'm knackered. Having done next to no physical exercise for the past month, the physical effort I've exerted just getting out of the taxi and to the front door has taken it's toll. I hop indoors and it feels wonderful being in the house once more. There's no place like home, that's for sure.

Unfortunately, no sooner have I got myself settled on the sofa than I realise that I need to use the loo!! Now in the hospital, I had the use of a bottle to pee in, but I'm not due for a visit from the home help people until tomorrow and I therefore have no choice but to make it out to the loo on my one good leg and crutch. I manage to get out to the loo without incident but have to negotiate a small step down into the kitchen through which I have to pass to get to the toilet. This I manage fairly easily and after I've been to the loo, I start making my way back to the front room to lay down on the sofa.

I then meet the worlds second largest mountain K2 aka the kitchen step. All of a sudden I've developed goldfish syndrome i.e. a 7 second memory and I forget how I managed to negotiate the kerb outside the house and am stumped again as to how I'm going to get up the step. The frustration at not being able to think this through makes me have a panic attack and I start crying. This doesn't help I realise as I still need to get up the step as I'm still standing (hopping) on one leg. I lurch up the step badly in a fit of bravado and but for my mum grabbing my shorts (yes, THAT undignified), I would have had a faceful of carpet and god knows what other injuries to my mashed leg and shoulder.

I just have time to admire the new bed that has been set up in the room that I've just fallen into before I fall on it and sob uncontrollably. I feel so useless and handicapped. This is a totally new experience for me and the overwhelming sense of it all is suffocating. Eventually, after a little lay down and a nice cup of tea, I make my way carefully back into the front room and then proceed to watch TV and eat my dinner that my fantastic mum has prepared for me.

Bedtime soon comes around and I foolishly think that I will get a good nights sleep on my new comfy bed. WRONG!!! The bed IS comfortable as I paid extra for an orthopaedic mattress, but my freshly operated on shoulder decides that there isn't a single position I lay in where it will be happy and not give me aggro. I get about 45 minutes sleep that night, despite popping pills like candy.

So ends day 1 of being home. It has to get better than this, doesn't it? All wrapped up in pain and misery, I can't see beyond the clock that tells me when my next dose of painkillers is due. I have this notion in my head that I will be like this for ages and that silly notion hardly improves my mood.



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 Thu 9:49am 20 October 2005
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