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Arlo : Frustration
Diary entry posted Sun 9:29am 23 October 2005

Thursday 21st July 2005 through to Friday 12th August 2005

Eat, sleep, watch TV, play on my laptop, go through daily routine of PT mainly on my arm and have the dressings changed on my arm and my leg.

And boy am I BORED and FRUSTRATED!!

The same routine day in day out starts to play mind tricks on me and I get to view my house as a prison. I can still only get about on one crutch but I've had some help in the form of a visit from what are called the Rapid Response Team - this is a group of health care professionals who provide a free service and come to your home to carry out tasks such as wound dressing, PT and also occupational therapy - they provide aids to help you e.g. a raised toilet seat, a bottle to pee in (YEEE HAAA!), so at this early stage in my recovery, trips to the loo are now needed less often. Ok, it's not very dignified to pee into a bottle, but then moving about on one crutch and one leg is hardly easy and I opt for the easy approach.

The PT on the arm is so painful, but I know that unless I endure and push myself through the pain barrier, it won't get any better and in the long run, I will end up with restricted movement and function in the arm and shoulder. So I cradle my injured limb and try to coax some movement out of the stubborn block of granite that is my shoulder. It is one of the hardest tasks I have ever undertaken in my life and I cry buckets.

Strangely, my leg has hardly bothered me, even since the accident and has remained largely pain free (except if I try to put it down on the floor and weight bear - then I flinch!). I get shooting pains down the length of the leg at night from time to time, but the main thing that keeps me from getting a decent nights sleep is my shoulder - as soon as I lay down, the sharp stabbing pain begins and I just can't get into a position where it will go away. I think the last full nights sleep I got was before the accident, so I've forgotten what it's like to feel refreshed after a good solid sleep. So when I am awake, I feel even more grumpy than usual because of the lack of sleep. This clearly doesn't help.

I speak to my OS about the lack of sleep and he changes my pain medication to give me something a bit stronger to take at night - this helps - a bit. I manage to get 3-4 hours a night which is loads more than I was getting.

I'm given an appointment of 12th August which is my first follow-up as an out patient. I see my OS and he takes x-rays. At this early stage he warns me not to expect much progress and guess what? He's right! The clear line of the fracture in my leg is still there as clear as day with no sign of any callus. Better news is that my shoulder is healing very well and the IM nail in my humerus looks good and in an excellent position. 1 out of 2 aint bad I suppose. Just when I think it's time to feel a bit calmer and relax, my OS says that he wants to adjust my external fixator!!

He wants to collapse the two sections down to force the two bone fragments closer together. This is done by simply adjusting the nuts on the fixator and pulling the two sections together with a spanner!! My OS suggests that I might feel some discomfort and pain while this is being done and I brace myself for LOADS of pain - when an OS says you *might* feel some pain, it usually means you will feel LOTS. I'm glad to say that my anticipation of fear proves to be unfounded and I only experience a strange sort of pressure around the fracture sight, but that's it. My OS then takes more x-rays and then tells me happily that the fracture line is now much less obvious and will stand a better chance of healing. I leave the clinic feeling fairly happy under the circumstances and am given a return date of September 23rd to be reassessed again.

So I phone a taxi to take me home and that's when things take a slight temporary turn for the worst. The taxi ride home goes without incident, but as I get out of the taxi, I do a really stupid thing - I try and close the door of the car that I've just got out of, whilst standing on one leg with one crutch. In hindsight I will think how stupid I was. The inevitable happens - I lose my balance. But instinct being what it is, guess what? Yep. I put my bad leg out to stop me falling. Well, the good news is that I don't fall over! The bad news is I come down FULL WEIGHT on my bad leg - the pain feels like the pain of the original fracture multiplied by 100. It feels like the leg has been doused in petrol and set alight. I scream LOUD! I just about manage to get inside, limping badly on my good leg because the pain is so bad. I lie down on the sofa and already I can see the leg swelling up. I take some painkillers and have some ice applied and rest. Fortunately, after about an hour, the swelling, pain and throbbing start to ease. I decide that I won't call my OS about it but speak to the PT guy who comes in the following day - he looks at the leg and assures me that it looks ok and not to worry.

So I face ANOTHER six weeks of frustration and more of the same routine. I don't know what upsets me more - the thought of that repeated routine, or my leg mending. Either way, my mood takes turns for the worst, with more down patches than up.

There's still a part of me that keeps the flame of hope burning. The continued support and good wishes of my friends and family who constantly reassure me and try and lift my spirits. God Bless them - I don't know how I would have coped without them.

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 Sun 9:29am 23 October 2005
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