Sean's Stories

Posted by sean on January 11, 2020 at 10:23 pm in Health with No Comments

I had another joyous hospital outpatient appointment yesterday. As you may know, I attend various clinics for a variety of different ailments. Friday’s visit was to the orthopaedic department, to discover how well or poorly my broken bones have been healing.

Luckily, the number of x rays taken were considerably less than my previous visit. While the radiographers were keen to take images of my left arm, which remains in a sling, my other arm and right leg managed to dodge having their photo taken.

The decision to avoid paying attention to my right arm and leg is a positive one. It means that the doctors are no longer concerned about these particular limbs, as they are healing well. Either that, or they’re so beyond repair, that medics consider them a write off.

I had the usual battle with the x ray plates (see my blog post from December, to read about past run-ins with these horrible things). I am puzzled by the reason to force a plate behind my back, in order to capture an image of my arm.

After the generally smooth visit to the x ray team, I was returned to the Fracture Clinic waiting room – although not before I had to explain to a member of staff that I did not need to be taken to a ward. Claire and I battled hard to get me discharged home in November, and now the hospital want to make me an inpatient again! No fecking way!

My x ray images showed some interesting results

After arriving back in the clinic, I didn’t have to wait long before meeting a doctor. Having reviewed the latest image of my left arm, he was able to bring me good news. My left arm is making good progress and is recovering well from the complex break I suffered two months earlier.

The bone has not begun to rebuild itself to a safe level. It was therefore suggested that I remove my left arm from the sling, which will allow me to move my arm more freely, allowing my arm to perform the necessary bits to recover further. What a clever arm!

The doctor finished his consultation just before 10.50am. I know this, because Claire had sent a message using WhatsApp at 10.51am. It wasn’t long after this, that we were told that patient transport had been booked to take us home.

Things were going well. I had made it to the appointment with no problems. The x rays were taken with very little stress to me. The results of the x rays were positive and now my wife and I would be taken home. We just had to wait for the ambulance to turn.

We waited…

and waited…

We waited some more…

and a bit more…

You get the idea.

At around one o’clock – over two hours since the doctor had finished with me – we were starting to get a little frustrated about the delay.

Showing patience, we persisted with the wait. As we approached the three hour mark, it was time to take action. I jumped off the hospital bed and into my wheelchair.

By ‘jumped’, I, of course, mean got Claire to help me onto my feet, before gingerly hobbling a few steps to the wheelchair. Not one hop, skip or jump took place. Don’t worry – my disability benefits, which your taxes fund, are justified!

Now that I was in my chair, it was time to execute our plan. It was simple. Claire would push me home. It was just a pity that we hadn’t done this three hours earlier!

Claire wheeled me to the clinic reception, where we planned to tell whoever was there, “thanks, but no thanks”, and that we would be making our own way home.

A friendly lady behind the desk informed us that transport will arrive very soon and that we should stay, as a packed lunch had been prepared for the two of us.

We agreed to stay in the unit a little longer, having been enticed by the promise of something that apparently doesn’t exist. No, not a driver willing to take me home, but a free lunch. Surprisingly, despite what we have always been told, there is such a thing!

As we continued to wait for our ride home, the packed lunches were opened and devoured. We were both very hungry, having not eaten since breakfast – unless you count the miniature packets of Love Hearts and Parma Violets we shared. Never mind giving away your last Rolo – splitting a tube of Love Hearts with your other half, is the mere definition of romance.

Unfortunately, not all of the lunch could be eaten, considering that one of the sandwiches was tuna fish and the other chicken mayonnaise. 18 months ago, I would have made short work of the latter, but not since becoming a tree-hugging veggie.

On hindsight, it was probably a good thing that I did not have a sandwich to eat, otherwise I would have probably choked on a bit of chicken beak in shock… from out of nowhere, the hospital transport turned up!

After being pushed through the hospital and into the ambulance, I was given the choice of transferring to a trolley, or remaining in my wheelchair.

Considering that we only live around the corner from the hospital, I thought staying where I was would be the best option. I didn’t fancy wasting any further time, by moving onto the trolley.

The last time that I was placed on an ambulance trolley, my arms, legs and torso were strapped down to such an extent, that I felt like a raging rabies victim.

Presumably, this cautious approach was to prevent me from falling onto the vehicle floor, and not to because the paramedics had watched Silence of the Lambs too many times…

The ambulance ride home went with very few hiccups. I managed to avoid falling off the trolley or eating any paramedic livers.

The paramedics even wheeled me off the ambulance and up the garden path, safely delivering me home – unlike Hermes couriers who, during the hospital appointment, threw my parcel over the back gate.

Posted by sean on December 21, 2019 at 11:50 pm in Health with No Comments

I was back in hospital yesterday.

Don’t worry – I haven’t suffered another injury and returned to a ward. I thought that I should make that clear, just in case you were thinking that I fancied staying in a hospital bed over the festive period and sampling the vegetarian Christmas dinner.

The reason for my return, was to attend a photoshoot – and by ‘photoshoot’, I mean lie on a bed, to have a series of x rays. I broke a leg and both of my arms, don’t you know…

I’ve probably moaned about this before, so if this complaint sounds familiar, I apologise – however, my grievance is a fecking pain in the arse, or rather, a pain in the back…

I am, of course, referring to x ray plates. For those of you lucky enough to have not personally encountered these awful things, I can assure you that these are not the kind of plates you would eat your lunch off. In fact, a dinner plate would be more preferable to have rammed down your back.

It would be more appropriate if the x ray plates were named ‘x ray paving stones’, as a slab of concrete pavement is the closest comparison to what the plate feels like, as it is forced under the base of your spine, by an apologetic radiographer.

As a child, I visited a medieval museum, while on holiday in Italy. A section of the museum featured torture equipment from the era.

Much of the devices were horrific. It was sickening to think that humans were capable of inflicting such violence upon each other.

The pain generated by these cruel tools of torture must have been unbearable. My trip to the radiology department made me think that had the x ray plate been invented hundreds of years ago, that too would no doubt be a regular feature in the torture chambers.

Posted by sean on December 9, 2019 at 11:46 pm in Health with 1 Comment

Eleven days have passed since I was discharged from hospital. Since my scooter accident, 28 days ago, I have tried to keep my blog updated with my recovery process.

Not many posts regarding my health have been made recently, mainly because there hasn’t been a great deal to report.

I continue to spend almost all of my time in bed – although do manage to get into a wheelchair most days, for roughly 45 minutes, before a combination of exhaustion and discomfort force me to lie down again.

This is very frustrating for me. I know the reasons why I am unable to sit out for longer than three quarters of an hour. I also know that things will improve over time, although it is often difficult to convince myself of this fact.

Firstly, due to the large amount of bed rest which I am receiving, I am massively out of condition, which makes standing, transferring into my wheelchair and even sitting down, a tiring ordeal.

I was going to post a picture of a bed, to represent the time I currently spend in mine. However, I found that to be dull and depressing. I am therefore using a seabed instead! Genius?

More importantly, though, is the fact I have two broken arms and the unfortunate impact this has on me, when combined with my pre-existing medical condition, scoliosis.

For the last few years, I have been unable to sit straight and upright in a chair, like an able-bodied individual would expect to. If I was to try, I would experience pain and even breathing difficulties. This is because my back would be taking too much pressure from being seated.

I have learnt to adapt to this problem, by learning on one of my arms, usually the left. This allows my arm or elbow to take a large part of the strain, instead of my back and curved spine.

Now that both of my arms are broken, this self-discovered workaround can no longer be used. The good news is that I am noticing very small improvements to my fractured limbs, with each day.

I feel less physically strained while sat outside of the bed and believe that my posture is better than it was, compared to when I first left hospital. I am sure that this is because my arms are gradually healing. I have noticed that I have started to lean on them, as I did in the past, albeit only exerting a small amount of pressure.

Progress is still maddeningly slow and I remain equally as frustrated at home as I did in hospital – although must stress that I am infinitely happier and less bored where I am now, compared to Bay 1, Bed 3.

There are so many reasons why home is better than hospital, and in writing this, I have given myself an idea for a ‘feel good’ blog post, listing all of them. Expect that post in the next couple of days.

Two final bits of positivity to round off this post…

Since I started writing, I stopped midway through in order to eat my tea. It was during this break, that I discovered it is now possible to link my right and left hands together, as if I was praying. Totally impossible up until today. I am also able to rotate my left hand, so I can see the palm.

You can tell my leftie has been out of order for so long – it was covered in dead, dry skin. Remember in school, you would cover your hands in glue and pick it off once it had dried? That’s what it was like removing the old skin from my left hand. This has revealed a smooth, clean and soft palm. Don’t worry – my evening meal had long since finished, by the time I started peeling my hand off.

As a ten year old, I had more fun with this stuff than anything else * – and I owned Sonic the Hedgehog 2

I was a middle-class ten year old, living in the Georgian city of Bath. I know the 1980s had only recently come to an end, but the “fun” I had did NOT involve any glue-sniffing!

My second piece of good news concerns those bloody injections, I have been receiving each day.

Guess what? Tonight was the final jab of the course. Yipeee! My tummy may look like a pin cushion, but there will be no more nightly needles for me.

I know how you feel, mate

Posted by sean on December 5, 2019 at 1:29 pm in Health with No Comments

I am not needle phobic. Many years ago, I was. However, after being injected more times than a junkie, I have been forced to get used to ‘assault by needle’. This kind of proves that exposure therapy works, but certainly doesn’t mean that I’ll be attending any spider handling classes, anytime soon.

Despite not running for the hills, whenever I spot a long, sharp metal object, I can’t admit to needles being one of my favourite things. I don’t recall Julie Andrews singing about them in a positive light either.

Following my operation three weeks ago, I was ordered to receive daily injections. I was given the same treatment after January’s surgery, but was able to stop the course, upon getting discharged home. The thought of coming off the things, allowed me to tolerate every stab, prod and “short, sharp scratch”, inflicted upon my stomach – yes, my STOMACH – throughout my most recent stay.

The jabs stung a tad.

You can therefore imagine my horror, when, upon being sent home, I was ordered to continue the things for 14 days!

Apparently, this is all necessary to prevent blood clots. That did make me wonder… I received very similar surgery at the start of the year. Considering that I was not told to keep injecting myself, was I at risk of turning into a giant clot of blood? If not, is the latest clinician, who I have named Dr Stabby – just a meanie, who likes inflicting pain?

I’m willing to say yes; which is why I hope he somehow ends up standing barefoot on a rusty nail.

Posted by sean on December 1, 2019 at 9:19 am in Health with No Comments

Friday was my first full day at home, after being discharged from hospital on Thursday evening.

Naturally, after having been stuck inactive, in the safety of a hospital bed, for two and a half weeks, any movement was going to be difficult.

Even before the accident, walking was impossible, unless I was holding onto an item of nearby furniture or my frame. Due to having both of my arms in a sling, this method of getting around would not be possible.

I therefore had to rely upon Claire to hold onto me tight and help me shuffle from bed to chair, to stair lift, back onto chair and finally onto the sofa – before repeating the process in reverse, once I was ready to return to bed.

These transfers were tough, but that was always going to be the case, for the reasons mentioned already – not to mention the fact that being held onto by my wife, while trying to move, felt very unnatural.

Due to Claire taking a much-deserved break on Saturday afternoon, I remained in bed all day: where I planned my exercise regime.

On Friday, I felt as if I had inadvertently pushed myself a little too far, in transferring to the sofa, an entire floor below. I had to remind myself, that all of this activity was following 17 days of practically no activity, lying flat in a hospital bed.

I also felt like by positioning myself on the sofa, I wasn’t giving myself the best possible chance of recovery – not to mention the fact, it was rather uncomfortable! I found myself slouched to one side. I was half led down on the sofa, when one of the benefits of getting out of bed is to train your body to sit upright again.

Today will therefore be different. I will not be burning myself out by going downstairs. I plan to sit on my wheelchair, made comfortable by cushions and pillows, from our extensive collection. I’ll be sat correctly and won’t have exhausted myself before I’ve even positioned myself.

Assuming today goes without any hiccups, I’ll repeat the same on Monday, but may even be brave and go downstairs!

My workout DVD will be on sale in time for Christmas.

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