I recently broke my ankle. Here is what I have learned since I broke my ankle.
- Breaking your ankle hurts, not just a little bit but properly like giving birth. I have only gone into shock twice; giving birth and breaking my ankle.
- No amount of morphine will stop the pain of having your ankle manipulated into a temporary cast whilst awake.
- Staying in an NHS hospital can be great and can be awful.
- The student nurse who helped me have a shower and lifted my spirits.
- The other patients who develop a blitz-like mentality and keep each other going.
- Some of the nurses were awesome, caring and considerate.
- The delays (my operation was delayed 3 times, which meant I was nil by mouth for 3 days) and in a bed 3 days longer than I needed to be.
- The lack of empathy from some of the nurses, particularly those on night shift (I appreciate working at night is horrible, but this shouldn't be taken out on the patients).
- Having the wrong bed (this is definately a first world problem). I really could have done with an electric bed that had the remote control to lift the back and the bottom (my ankle was supposed to be elevated above my heart to reduce swelling). I had two beds in six days, neither were electric, and there were plenty of patients in the two wards who had electric beds but didn't need them (two patients offered me their beds but we weren't allowed to swap).
- The consultant; he had little time for me and didn't answer my questions. He was intimidating and I believe, he had me moved for one night, to another ward, so he would not have to go down one flight of stairs to see me, which is a waste of all sorts of resources. He also had a go at me because my leg wasn't elevated enough, but did nothing about the bed, or provided me with a way to elevate it.
- They have to draw an arrow on your leg so they don't get confused?
- I was told I had a bad break, both my tibia and fibia were broken, but that was it. After my operation I was told I had plates and pins. No one prepared me for this
I saw this for the first time 3 weeks after I broke it.
- The NHS is under funded, under staffed and badly organised (see point 7). This wasn't news but the first time I had really had first hand experience of it.
- Occupational Health were great, and kitted out my house with all the bits and pieces I would need prior to my return home.
- Shopmobility will provide you with a wheel chair to take home, if you give them a deposit and pay £2.00 a night for the first fortnight and £1.00 a night after that. I had no idea about this.
- The scaley crocodile footness is hideous. And when they take the plaster off you will find that your whole leg looks like this. *Vom*
- And when they take the plaster off the smell is quite...hmmm...tangible. Ick.
- I had funny turns (if I was Victorian, you might call it a fit of the vapours) both times they took my cast off, apparently this is quite common. Who knew.
- I had to inject myself in the stomach daily to stop blood clots, this causes severe bruising that is both painful and unsightly.
- Pulling yourself upstairs on your bottom does wonders for the old bingo wings. I have guns of steel at the moment.
- My leg that had the break is now half the size of the other one and has lost all muscle tone.
- It can take 3 months or more to recover from a bad break completely.
- Losing your independence is depressing at worst and boring at best.
- I miss driving my car and having the freedom to go anywhere, whenever I want.
- I miss walking, I miss my garden.
- Everything takes longer.
- I can not imagine what it must be like for someone who is never getting out of the wheelchair or off the crutches. I have had a small insight into what it is like to have a real physical disability and I am filled with admiration and respect for anyone who copes with this day in day out.
- I have discovered that some disabled toilets are a joke and clearly not adequet and that most pavements and ramps are jarring and bumpy.
- My balance is awful.
- I now have a fear of falling.