Picture this if you will: the date is 24th June 2005, and 3 days earlier, my life was "normal". Well, as normal as a life
can be without a badly broken leg and a shattered shoulder at least!!
3 days later on, and life is anything but normal. I have a shoulder that is currently turning black and my right leg makes me look like an extra from a Robocop movie.
Just to make life more interesting, I am surrounded by a variety of tubes that are plugged into various parts of my arm which
looks like a plumbers worst nightmare. I am on a saline drip, IV antibiotics and a morphine pain pump. To while away the
hours, I count the drips that fall down the tubes that will eventually hook up with my obliging bloodstream. Ho hum. Beats
counting sheep which is a pointless exercise as trying to get some sleep in a busy NHS hospital ward is about as likely as
trying to get to sleep with your bed parked at the end of runway 1 of Heathrow Airport. Oh, that and the crippling pain keeps
me awake too!
So my leg has now had two operations and the consensus of the surgeon is that he is "really pleased" with the repair job he's
done. I asked him if he'd passed his metalwork exam at school and he said "What do you think?". I just asked if it was
possible to clean off the dried blood on the external fixator in the hope that it's my blood and not someone elses!
Now comes the bad news - I need an operation on my shoulder and there's no surgeon available to do it for over a week!! At
this point, I realise that my firm offers me private medical care and now that I know I face a wait for the shoulder op, I
make arrangements via the handy phone that is by my bedside to get myself transferred to the private hospital which also
happens to be a LOT closer to where I live which means it's a lot easier for friends and family to get to.
I'm given a transfer date of Wednesday 29th June 2005 with the op on my shoulder scheduled for the following Monday
(Independence Day!!!). So at least I have the prospect of quieter surroundings and edible food to look forward to.
Over the coming days I get to know the other people who are in the shared ward with me. What a mixture of people and
personalties!!! All united by one common thread - some ailment, pain, illness or accident. Let me give you an insight.
There's an Eastern European guy who's name I've forgotten who'd been in hospital for nearly four months - he'd sustained bad
crush injuries to his arms and legs courtesy of a runaway steam roller - nice (not). Poor guy was in so much pain and had
had so many skin grafts, even he'd lost count. There's Urvish, an Indian lad who fell 20ft off of a ladder whilst painting a
ceiling of a disused church being converted into flats. He keeps us entertained as he has a talent for rapping and is
actually very good at it. One of his best friends is in the band "So Solid Crew". He's also asthmatic and a chain smoker -
not a good combination, especially when the fall has injured his spine and his smoking triggers off prolonged coughing fits
which cripple him with pain. There's Darren, a self-employed panel beater who has been off work because a knackered back as
well. He's being assessed for treatment as the pain is taking over his life and preventing him from working. I feel really
sorry for this guy, as he's obviously very hard working and being self employed has left his work partner in the lurch with
all the work to do. So he spends half his time wracked in guilt and the other half wracked in pain. And finally there's
Tony who is in the bed directly next to me. He's a really nice guy and does all sorts for me when the nurses are too busy
like getting me a bottle to wee in or passing my phone over to me when it starts ringing. This guy is being assessed as he
keeps having fits and fainting spells and is being assessed for epilepsy or similar. The saddest thing here is that he's
been in hospital for nearly 3 weeks and hasn't had a single visitor. Poor, poor guy.
So this group of disjoint individuals who surround me in their own sick beds give me some sort of perspective as to my own
predicament and preserve my sanity as we all have a good laugh together.
Roll on Wednesday when I can get some sleep and better food tho ....