Friday, May 26, 2006

Cleaner & Taller

I'm now almost finished with the stretching and have got rid of any "lifts" from my shoes so that I can tell when the legs feel the right length. Last night was dressing change night so took the opportunity for some pictures. You can see how, as the ring gets pushed down by the screw threads the wires have to find a way through the leg. At this particular site you can see the flesh pushed up in front of the wires just waiting for the skin to part so the wires can move through. Also the scars left by the passage of the wires. This effect is known as cheese-wiring and is responsible for some of the pain of stretching. I'm told it also leaves some very fetching scars when the frame comes off. Those will enhance the beauty of the incision scar from the osteotomy when they had to go looking for the leaking blood vessel. The stitches are now gone but the scar remains as you can see.

The real highlight of last night was my first shower. No longer will visitors need to carry a pomander and handkerchief. At last I feel stable enough to stand in the shower without falling over. I practised this first by doing some grass strimming in the front garden. All in all I'm feeling less of a passenger now despite still needing both crutches to walk with.

Monday, May 22, 2006

To sleep, perchance .............

I think I may have finally cracked the sleeping enigma.
I was getting really fed up, especially recently with the stretching activity, waking up loads of times at night and taking hours to get to sleep in the first place.
Last week I decided to take action and tried 3 initiatives. I've no idea which had the best effect and I've no plans to experiment just in case, but this works for me:
1. Get rid of some pillows. Since my back injury I have been sleeping in a more upright position with a pillow under my upper back. This made lying on my side almost impossible. It is difficult anyway with the frame on my leg, but by going back to two pillows and being careful and I now lie on my left side reasonably comfortably.
2. Painkillers. I discovered that one of my painkillers can cause insomnia so I've halved the dose and supplemented it with another drug. Sadly, this second drug can cause constipation, but a small price to pay for better sleep
3. Melatonin. Some other lizzie wearers suggested using Melatonin so I thought I'd try it. I had to order it via the internet and it was shipped from the USA despite the UK web address, but it arrived and seems to help.
Like I say, can't say these will work for everyone, but they have for me. So far.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Slow down

This last week has been hard work as the lengthening has been quite painful. The painkillers have worn off too quickly and my sleep has been badly disrupted. Once I got to the point where I couldn't straighten my leg the physio started to get more painful too.
Yesterdays clinic session was perfectly timed as I was ready to discuss things. The X-Ray showed that the bone is growing but the gap is not filling quite as well as hoped so we have slowed down the stretching back to 1/2mm per day which might also reduce the pain levels a bit. I certainly slept better last night.
I am about 10mm short of equal length, so that will now take the best part of 3 weeks to complete. Then a long wait while the bone grows back and consolidates. On average that takes twice as long as the stretching time so we'll wait and see.
The original healing at the base of the leg, and also my right femur, are still looking OK which is good.
I've had some nice walks recently in the warmer sunshine. There's a local park where I can do 50 yards and then sit down and rest while looking at the plants and listening to the birds. A real treat after spending so much time indoors. I've also started my french classes again which is a real treat after such a long lay off.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


It seems the longer you stretch it the more it hurts. My leg is now starting to be a real pain (excuse the pun), especially at night when the painkillers wear off about 3am. The bone feels like I've been kicked severely in the shin (actually it was a hammer and chisel but that's just being picky) and the muscles and tendons have obviously given up any slack they possesed. My kneecap feels like it belongs somewhere else on my leg.
To counteract this I'm trying to get back into some enjoyable routines.
We went to a concert last Friday - having carefully booked seats with extra legroom we were shown to seats which you had to squeeze through a narrow gap to get to. The manager found us suitable seats to change to in the interval.
I also returned to my French class last night. Two hours of conversation was a good workout for the brain. It's a taxi ride into Manchester as the nearest bus stop is too far for me to walk from/to, but well worth the money.
Only another 3 weeks or so to go with the spanners then perhaps we can settle down a bit.