Thursday, February 23, 2006

Office visit

Spent a very enjoyable couple of hours in the office today just catching up with people and seeing what the problems might be when I can get back to work. Frankly, I can't see any major issues and strange as it may seem I really miss work and can't wait to get back at least part time.
Maggie has been on half term this week so was able to give me a lift. She squeezed this in between 2 days at school and piles of marking. So much for holidays.
The wound continues to heal and the bone is well covered now, the hole appears to be less than half it's original depth. Rachael did the vacuum dressing yesterday and made it so airtight that the pump has hardly made a nois since. I think it must have been the silence that stopped me sleeping last night.
Looking forward to going back to Sheffield on Monday to find out how close we are to fixing up the skin graft. As best I can tell the MRSA is still alive and well in my foot, so we can cjat about that on Monday too.
I'm reducing my painkiller dosage slowly. Initially I cut down on the DF118 (dihydrocodeine) and am now reducing the paracetamol. I was never comfortable taking the maximum daily dose because so many other preparations contain paracetamol and the effects of an overdose are very unpleasant.
Walking with a single crutch going well, but it makes the muscles in my side ache so I think I may need to look at my posture and the length of the crutch. Still, plenty of time for that.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dem bones, dem bones

the thigh bone's connected to the knee bone
the knee bone's connected to the shin bone
the shin bone's connected to the ankle bone

Well, not quite, but things are starting to take shape.
X Rays on Thursday showed that my back is now OK to get rid of the brace over the next few days. I'll probably always be prone to backache but that's a small price to pay.
My right femur has now pretty much bridged the break in the bone and seems to be healing OK.
The great news though is that my left leg has started to grow new bone at the point where we need it to join so we are starting to get optimistic. I get the impression that this is well ahead of expectation for such a traumatic injury. The race is on now to get the wound healed and grafted so that my leg can be broken and stretched. It might even be possible to free up my ankle while the leg bones are still healing so I can start some physio and get a bit of movement back into it.
Thursday was a long day, and my broadband has broken so I couldn't even share my excitement that evening, but I slept far better than usual. It's amazing what a bit of good news can do for you.
And finally, obviously some of the team in Sheffield have been looking at this blog. The first (and I believe only) comment that Simon Royston made to me on Thursday was to point out a typo!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday update

The wound continues to heal nicely as the latest photos show. The current plan now is to allow the "hole" to fill in and then do a skin graft to the whole lot to cover it up quickly. It sounds like this won't be too far away now which is good.

I have a new batch of antibiotics (tetracycline and fucidin) which apparantly my strain of MRSA is sensitive to. A two week course which will hopefully kill off the current infection although the bacteria hang around on the metalwork so this might be a regular treatment.

Confused everyone today by walking from the car to the clinic rather than using a wheelchair. A bit slower but much more satisfying.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weekend musings

Following the disappointment of finding out about the MRSA on Friday I got some useful feedback from other wearers who had overcome the same infection. There do seem to be a couple of antibiotic options so we'll see what is suggested. I really don't fancy a treatment which would mean hospitalisation.
Just to confirm that progress is being made elsewhere I decided to try a few experiments and found that I can now walk a few steps without crutches. This is a big deal for me and I was really chuffed to achieve it. More practice and it will continue to strengthen the muscles which I need to walk properly.
I also managed to stand up out of a chair using my legs alone - no arms!
I am also trying to go the whole day without my back brace. So far so good, as long as I don't fall over going up stairs I shall feel that I have had a great weekend.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Another week passes

Just had the dressing changed again. As you can see from the picture it continues to heal well, but you can still see bone down the hole. At least the machine has run for over a week without breaking - that's a record for me. We are now using only white foam as the main wound is now quite shallow and unsuitable for the black foam.
The nurses were commenting on how well the wound was healing, but confided in me that I was likely to have a scar! I was so surprised.
Not much other activity this week to report, but they have found out what infection I picked up in my pin sites. Yes, it's MRSA. Just waiting now to find out what antibiotic they fancy trying as the Erythromycin clearly isn't going to shift it.
C'est la vie.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sucking harder now

Saturday afternoon and another dressing change. You can see that the wound is healing well, but the bone is still visible down the hole.
Sam, the KCI rep came to advise and we are now working at 150mmHg rather than 125 or even 100 which is what we have used before.
She also suggested we might go to white foam all around rather than use black and also perhaps go to intermittant therapy which would improve the healing. I'll check with Sheffield on Monday.
What's more, I didn't miss the rugby!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Reflections on a hectic week

It's now Friday pm. The doctor has just popped round to prescribe some more antibiotics, obviously a 10 day course is not enough to kill the infection in my heel as it started to flare up again as soon as the course finished. Perhaps another 2 weeks will be enough.
The vacuum pump (number 3) is working so far. The local expert, Julia, came round yesterday with a district nurse to try her luck at putting the dressing on. Credit where it's due, in an hour she got the best airtight seal I've had so far.
Mind you, the dressing needs changing every 48 hours so they've arranged for the local rep for the suppliers to come around Saturday at 3:30 and show another one of the district nurses how it is done. Perfect timing, that's the kick-off of the England-Wales match!
Following the dressings clinic (Sheffield) on Monday and physio (local) on Tuesday, it was back to Sheffield on Wednesday to get my nose looked at. No point in doing any more now so review in 6 months and possibly take me in to do some work then.
I'm really not sure how all of this gets fitted in. I was seriously shattered by Weds night and my leg was aching quite badly. It really saps your stamina and that's when even simple tasks become risky.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Weds 1st Feb, 2:15am - woken by alarm on VAC pump unit. "Internal Device Error".
Can't get nurse to change dressing at this hour so hope that morning will be soon enough.
Nurse arrives at 9am and replaces with conventional dressing.
Replacement pump arrives at 11am.
Excellent service all round but I do wish they wouldn't break down. Perhaps we live on a ley line or something equally spooky