So, I was home. Everything on one level, everything close to hand. Just as well really. A 25 stone man on crutches with one useable leg is NOT a sight to behold. Let me tell you, I did not sweep through my house like a lithe and trained ballet dancer. I hopped and thumped and clutched to door frames. I was like a drunk Big Ted. Co-ordination escaped me. I fell into walls, I slid my leg in front of me, I dragged it behind me, at times I even slid along on my bum, you cannot imagine the issue that caused when trying to get up!
A cup of tea? Forget it, unless I stood by the kettle and drank it. Meal times? Well, I found if the bowl is deep enough then pretty much anything can be carried. I don’t mean a washing up bowl, I mean I’m big and I like my food but come on, even a fat bloke couldn’t eat out of a washing up bowl, could he? (note to self – DO NOT attempt to discover the vagaries of dinning with kitchen sink apparatus). The early days were NOT the best.
Thankfully with time all of the issues and challenges eased, I did learn to use the crutches, I learnt that when carrying a cup of tea, its best done whilst using just the one crutch and moving VERY slowly lest the contents of the cup not make it to my chosen destination. The wooden floors survived but the carpet took a bit of a beating, just like the horse in the 3.30 at Kempton, Dusty Carpet, will it win? Well it will certainly take some beating….. Boom Boom! Still the carpet was remedied with a quick clean and my house was once again ship-shape and Bristol fashion along with my ever (at the time) improved knee.
So after six weeks of enforced boredom staying in my flat everyday with my foot elevated and my….Hold on Hold on, thats NOT what happened. After about a week, I thought I must be the Bionic Man because I was able to put weight on the leg, so I was able to move around the flat a little more freely. Well I thought, if I can move around the house like this, I reckon I could move around the car I was repairing at my mother’s house. So I did; And it worked.
Within no time at all, I was under the car, I was over the car, I was in the car, changing suspension, applying decals, changing wheels, removing subframes and replacing bushes, I was like a man possessed. I became that active that I actually broke the heavy strapping knee protector they fitted me with, I even bent the metal rods in the side supports (now don’t tell anyone, but I had to ask for another and I just said the first one failed as the Velcro had packed in – how very bad of me!)
When I look back now, I must have been in pain but I suppose it could be reasoned that having managed terrific back pain for the past 13 years so maybe it might be considered that I was given to a higher pain tolerance due to my years of practise. Whatever it was, I really didn’t feel that bad in the knee department, so I kept up my activities. To be honest with you, I stopped wearing the knee brace all the time and I actually walked to the door of what would be my final check up 6 weeks after the breaks occurred.
So I am sitting in the cubicle with the consultant and in his hands he has two X-rays. One from the day I performed my disastrous aerobatics and one from that very morning. He has a surprised look on his face along with a furrowed brow. He checks the names on the X-ray file, looks at my knee and shakes his head.
“Well my friend, it looks like you have had lucky escape” was his opening gambit. “All of the bones that were scattered to the four winds only six weeks ago, now appear back in place, all bar one small spike of bone”
He continued “I see no need to operate”
“I think we leave it as it is, you will have weakness in your knee and inflammation will remain. We will arrange the physiotherapy for your recovery. However, the bone will be bruised for a long while to come so walking will still be painful. I am prepared to let you leave today with no further action, if you have pain in the next year that does not go after one week, come back to this Trauma department, there will be no need for referral”
“You are free to go”
I left the cubicle. In my head I was doing a dance like a Cockney clicking his heels, in reality I was more Crock Knee’d than anything.
I’m not sure if that is exactly how the conversation went (in fact, I’m sure that it didn’t go like that at all because to be honest I can’t even remember a conversation from yesterday let alone 20 months ago), but I am sure he was Turkish or Greek or something similar. Regardless, to my mind, he was quite brilliant!
Anyway, suffice to say, I was a free man. I walked out of the hospital with the velcro knee thing in my hand like a shield and the crutches under my arm like a knight of old on horseback with a lance at a jousting conte…….What am I talking about? Sorry.
I left them in the foyer of the building and went home.
So time passed and time as I said before, heals all wounds, or so I thought.
I was never right again. I limped after a few steps, I could no longer bear weight on the knee and some days it just plain hurt like a b@5t@rd.
I found the exercise very difficult. I could maybe do a day or two but then was useless for several plus more days as the leg spat its dummy out at every opportunity. I struggled to walk my dog. I could no longer continue with my Audio Visual Installation business as I could not walk up a ladder (an everyday occurrence) without huge pain, if I could even walk up it at all.
I was honestly struggling to find the end to all of this. I was overweight, I could not exercise, I was completely fed up, I wasn’t necessarily eating too much, just too much of the wrong things and something had to give. I was struggling to cope with the issues and then BAM! It was as if a light went on in my head. I read an article about how Oxford University Hospitals were increasing their Bariatric procedures. This had been at the back of my mind for sometime now, it had been dormant in the old Medulla, laying in wait, as common to my thoughts as breathing but never in my conscious mind, but now it was pushed firmly to the front and the rest is history.
As great as it was getting accepted onto the Bariatric program, it wasn’t helping with the pain in the knee, so I called them up. Had a second MRI, X-Ray, CT, GTi, CSI scan and the found that now the swelling was down all those months on, I had ligament and cartilage damage and that little piece of bone probably wasn’t helping, pinging around the joint like a whisky crazed apache!
We arranged the appointment with the Surgeon for last September, he in turn advised me what would happen during the operation, what he hoped to achieve and how much relief I could expect from the procedure. It all sounded good so I was sent for the pre op (again with the pre op. I really think they need to change that terminology or at least let one meaning take ownership!) and all was going well until I was told I was to overweight (thats why we’re here folks) to have the procedure! I could have told them that at the beginning in a phone call! I was quite annoyed. I was informed that my BMI needed to reduce to under 40 somethings (whatever BMI’s are measured in) and until such times the operation would not go ahead.
I was really annoyed
I probably went to the pub
But I no doubt didn’t drink as I wanted to carry on my weight loss in preparation for the Bariatric Surgery.
Obviously all the while the saga of my leg was carrying on, I was also becoming more involved with the events leading up to the bariatric procedure. Next I will go back to this part of the story and give you my first instalment of the road to the rest of my life which along the way will eventually pass by an operation on my knee.
For now, I will just limp a bit awkwardly, smile , grin and bear it 🙂