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Arlo : The Second Operation
Diary entry posted Mon 11:48am 10 October 2005

So I spend the next three days staring at this metal bar on my leg, still trying to accept that it goes right through my skin and flesh into the bone itself!! It's a weird thing to try and understand, but the weirdest thing of it all is that there's no pain at all from it!! It's my shoulder that's giving the major grief and the surgeons have seen fit to attach a plaster of paris "hanging" cast to my shoulder. It weighs a ton and it's sole purpose is to drag my shoulder down to keep the fracture in my arm stable. It certainly does that, but pushes my pain barrier through the roof!! I'm hooked up to a morphine PCA (Patient Controlled Anaesthesia) pump to dispense timely doses of morphine to keep the pain wolf from the door. Thankfully, it helps.

I am also relieved to hear from the consultant 24 hours after the operation that a nice healthy pulse has returned to my foot and he casually tells me that I now do not need an operation to amputate the foot! I don't know whether or not to laugh or cry, so I simply fall asleep on him!!

So, three days on from my accident, and three days after I've begrudgingly adopted a metal friend who has become very attached to me lol, I'm surrounded once more by my friendly orthopedic surgical team.

I don't know whether to feel honoured or scared out of my wits.

I decide to feel scared stupid and look at each of them in turn with my "rabbit caught in the car headlights" eyes.

My fear quickly turns to relief as I don't exactly hear everything that the doctor says but I hear the words "good", "excellent" and "satisfactory" enough times to know that I'm out of immediate danger.

I later learn from the nurses that my first operation was a complete success and there's no sign of infection, compartment syndrome or any other nasty business, although the absence of infection may have a lot to do with the horse pills that the nurses are dishing out to me at regular intervals which are powerful antibiotics. They may well keep any infection in check, but they also keep my appetite in check too.

Now, in the UK, we are lucky enough to enjoy free health care (the NHS - National Health Service) but like any free state run service, like the saying goes, "somethings gotta give!". In our case, the first casualty of state funded hospitals is the food. There's one simple word to sum up the hospital food served up in UK NHS hospitals - inedible. Like Pavlov's dogs used to salivate when they heard the bell, hospital patients hide under their bedsheets or pretend to be asleep at 12 noon and 6pm as the "food" trolley makes it's rounds.

If you're unlucky enough to get collared by the food staff, most people tend to opt for soup and ice cream which are the only dishes close to being digestible. So this becomes my staple diet for the next eight days.

Anyhow, enough about the food! Well, it IS a subject close to my heart - ask any of my friends. Moving on ....

So I've just got used to the news that my first operation was a success to then be greeted by yet ANOTHER consent form. "What's this for?", I asked. Well, it turns out that I've still got a large chunk of bone sticking out of my leg at an angle that it wasn't designed for, so simply put, I've got to be "closed up". I quickly sign the form, and a few hours later, I'm back on the ward with the same bandages on my leg, but now the lower leg looks decidely less lumpy. Result.

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 Mon 11:48am 10 October 2005
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