Knitting Suspended

I have had a week recuperating at home after my ankle-pinning operation. As I have not had surgery before in my adult life, I did not realise the impact it would have. Firstly there is the inconvenience of keeping the injured limb elevated at all times. When standing, I am strictly not allowed to put any weight on it at all. When sitting or lying down, it must be elevated.

Secondly, I was hit by the sheer fatigue of recovery. Every day I begin to feel exhausted at some point in the afternoon, and I have to lie down and sleep for 2-3 hours. At first I thought this was a side-effect of the painkillers I was taking. So, with my doctor’s support, I reduced the dose and stopped it altogether, hoping to get my days back. But today, the second drug-free day, I lasted until 5 o’clock when I was overcome with fatigue and slept until 8pm.

My arms and upper body are strained from using crutches, and although I have a wonderful OH who has taken over all the chores, and who serves up wonderful lunches, dinners and cool drinks, I am determined to do what I can around the house to support him. I can carry small items in my hands whilst holding the crutches. Larger items I can carry in my backpack. I can carry the laundry slung around my neck. I can tidy up in the kitchen by going slowly and leaning on the counters. I can do the ironing sitting down.

Still, moving around the house takes a lot of time and effort. Just getting up, having breakfast, feeding the cats and doing some light chores takes me two whole hours. After a rest and a cup of tea it’s almost lunchtime. Then I have a 3-hour window in which I can get some work done before I start drooping and have to lie down.

Tomorrow, as it’s the weekend, I can use the 3-hour window to actually do some knitting. And on the plus side, all the sleeping must be doing me some good: the ankle pain is much reduced.

Nap time with Monty

Nap time with Monty

Till next time,

L x

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A Bit of a Shock

Not much knitting has been achieved this week. Sometimes the unexpected happens, and not always in a good way.  On Monday I managed to break my ankle by falling awkwardly in a dead faint. I thought it was a nasty sprain, having sprained my ankle before. By the end of Tuesday it was so painful, despite plenty of rest and icepacks, that next morning I went to the local hospital and got it x-rayed. The radiographer took one look at it and said ‘I think you’ve broken it, love’. As soon as he took the picture, he said, ‘Yes, it’s gone’. It was a spiral fracture of the fibula.

I’ve never fainted in my life, so the faint was the first shock. On top of that, it never occurred to me that I might have broken my ankle. That was shock no 2. How could it be broken when I walked on it, albeit painfully, for 2 days? Right after I fainted, I went to my doctor who was more concerned about the faint than the sprain. He didn’t even look at my ankle. If he had, he probably would have sent me straight to A&E.

Shock no 3 was Thursday morning at the Fracture Clinic in the main hospital, where the consultant looked at my x-rays. ‘This fracture needs pinning’, he said, ‘or you will get arthritis in the joint. We’ll do it today. When did you last eat?’ I couldn’t believe it. I had seen the x-ray and the bone wasn’t displaced, so I thought they would just re-plaster it and send me on my way.

Because I had eaten a banana at 9 o’clock, they would not operate until at least 3pm, so I was taken to a bed in a ward to wait my turn. I’m usually fit and well, so a hospital is an unfamiliar environment to me. Still reeling from the shock of my situation, I was a brave girl and waited patiently, trying to read the paper and swapping text messages with the OH. I had already seen 4 different doctors and 3 nurses, who were all terribly careful about taking my history and explaining the procedure. The anaesthetist marked a big black arrow on my knee pointing towards my ankle, which I found rather comical, since they could hardly do the wrong leg – as if the plaster and the black and blue swollen ankle underneath it wasn’t enough of a clue.  The battery on my phone was very low and 3 o’clock came and went and I was still waiting. My leg started to throb and I was suddenly very tired. I lay down on the bed and the tears came.

The nurse came to tell me it was time to get the dreaded gown on and found me a blubbering mess. Far from telling me to pull myself together, she kindly fetched me tissues. The theatre nurses were just as patient with me. ‘Are you feeling anxious sweetheart?’ But I wasn’t anxious about the procedure or the anaesthetic. I just couldn’t believe this was  happening. I didn’t much like the idea of pieces of metal being placed permanently in my leg, all because I had fainted – the very first shock of the week which still needs investigating.

I was processed very efficiently and very well looked after on the ward during the night. It helped that the lady in the next bed was friendly and talkative. She had just had her entire shoulder replaced. I realised that the other 4 women on the ward were also suffering much more than me, including a young mother who had broken both her legs and 3 ribs trying to reach her child. At least I had one fit leg to hobble on.

The surgeon came to see me and told me the operation had gone well. But it was essential that I rest with my leg elevated for 2 weeks. I was still under the impression that I could go to work on Monday, on crutches. He said absolutely not. If I put any weight on my injured ankle, I could undo all his good work. Get a sick note and stay at home. This was another blow. I work in a very small company and my absence for 2 weeks or more would be hugely inconvenient. I started to think about contingencies and how much work I could do from home.

Back at home, our entire routine has changed. I can’t walk very far, or stand for very long. I can’t carry things around as I don’t have free hands. I can’t drive. Getting up and down the stairs is tiring and I’m scared of losing my balance. OH has had to take over all of the shopping and housework. During my first night back at home, the hospital drugs wore off completely and I woke at 5am thinking I was being stabbed in the ankle. The pain was very frightening and I screamed at the OH to fetch my painkillers. No-one had warned me it would be this painful after the operation, but I’m glad they didn’t. Now I understood why they fed me painkillers every 4 hours and gave me a large stock to take home with me.

Writing this has helped me to process the shock. Thank goodness for blogging! Slowly I am getting stronger. The weather is beautiful and I am surrounded by my hot, sleepy, snuggly cats.

Herbie therapy

Herbie therapy

Till next time,

L x