Sunday, January 01, 2006

The rest of my hospital stay

The rest of my time in hospital seemed never ending although it only lasted less than 3 weeks.

I was fitted for a back brace which I had to wear any time I got out of bed. It is a fine creation of plastic and velcro but cannot really be regarded as comfortable. Having got the brace I was then "encouraged" to get out of bed and by the Monday I was expected to walk with a Zimmer frame.

I remain amazed that both my broken limbs are expected to be able to support my body weight, even though by now my weight had somewhat diminished. From the perspective of an Ilizarov wearer it is initially difficult to place your trust in the fixation device, but it really does allow you to weight bear and even walk. Of course it feels strange, especially as my device is fastened into my heel and my ankle is fixed, but even now I regard my left leg as my good leg compared to the right which, even with the femeral nail, is still weaker and less stable. As my left leg had been shortened, the Occupational Therapy team (Jill & Melissa) fixed me up with a customised sandle which pretty much balanced up my legs meaning that I didn't walk in circles all the time.

Daily physio courtesy of Jackie and her colleagues, and other support led me to progressing to crutches and, joy oh joy, the ability to get to the toilet unaided - no more bedpans! Unfortunately I have a large wound on my left leg where the flesh has yet to heal. This still bleeds when I walk and frequently leaves a distinctive trail, but more importantly is a potential site for infection which means no hydrotherapy.

Most of the rest of my stay was geared towards preparing me for going home. My injuries were carefully monitored and we were trained in the care of the frame and, most importantly, the cleaning of the pin sites. The pins which fix the frame onto the leg go directly through the flesh and the bone. This means that hygene is critical and infection common. We were trained to clean the pin sites and replace the dressings on a weekly basis. If we have any queries or concerns then the specialist nurses, Maria & Emma, are available to provide help.

Finally, the OT team fixed up the provision of medical aids for home and I was discharged on Thursday 22nd December being delivered home by Ambulance.


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