Recovering from a massive smash like mine is nothing to do with rest and relaxation. It sets out to be bloody hard work. I got a gutter frame as I still couldn’t bear any weight on my right wrist. The plaster had been removed and I was just splinted now, but terrified of using my wrist at all. It ached like a bastard too. I also had a wheelchair because walking any distance wasn’t going to happen – and I had to go to the dining room for meals. I hate being pushed around in a wheelchair. The wheelchair I had didn’t have big wheels, because I couldn’t use one like that because of the wrist. Once I discovered where the brakes were, I escaped down the corridor, using a “special” one footed propulsion method. I didn’t get far before I got caught and escorted back to my room (where I was headed). Set the tone for my mischievous behaviour though.
I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I had really long hair. This had become really, really matted and knotted when I was on CCU/ITU, and by the time I got to rehab, it was horrific. We’re talking one massive dreadlock. I couldn’t sleep with my head on the right side at all. And given that I was restricted to sleeping on my back, this was a real pain. I started waking with awful neck pain to add to the pain of the ribs, the leg and the wrist. Two of the healthcare assistants came to help me with my hair, to see what we could do. Basically, there was nothing we could do to save it. I loved my hair long. It was down to my waist. I cried buckets as it was cut. It feels like a bad thing, but I cried nearly as much about my hair as I did about losing Martin. Nearly – not quite. That makes me seem really, really shallow. It’s only hair. It grows back. I finally had it styled by a hairdresser who came to the unit. He also makes wigs for the NHS….. It’s not too bad…
Each day, the physio or occupational therapy that you would be undertaking was put on to a board, letting you know the times. I finally got the hang of remembering to check the board before going to bed. Mostly, my physio and occupational therapy were done separately. This made for a busy time. Between breakfast, lunch being served at 12, and tea being served at 5, the day was taken up with very little rest. I needed naps in the afternoon. I also had continuing problems with the foot drop, which we needed to work on and counter otherwise I was going to have big problems walking. I’d developed a couple of pressure sores in hospital from trying to keep my foot closer to a 90 degree angle – firstly a bandage from when I came out of theatre with the ex fix on, then all other methods we tried added to the problem. Grim, and very, very painful. I went over to Whiston Hospital to have a foot splint specially made so that my foot could be pulled up without causing more problems. I was also seen by a tissue viability nurse due to the pressure sores, which were quite nasty.
I stunned physiotherapists with my pain threshold. Because I don’t feel pain like a “normal” person, I can push myself further than most. The worrying thing there is that I might push myself further than is healthy for the injury. The bonus is that I will always give it the maximum I can. At first, I couldn’t pull my leg back much at all, but this progressed quickly. My ribs were still mega ouchy and I couldn’t bend very well (who would with 10 smashed ribs??). We also discovered that I had stitches still in under a dressing from the compound tibia fracture. Not a pretty sight, to be honest! The stitches were removed about 4 weeks after the original stitching was done. I hate having stitches removed. It’s kind of funny. Pain-wise, I’m not really arsed. You can do pretty much anything you want to me, but the sensation of having stitches removed makes me boke!
The routine of rehab was good. Having therapy, physical, occupational, and psychological gave focus and something to work. Psychologically, we couldn’t really work on the trauma of the accident, as intervention too early can bollocks everything up. We worked on different stuff to help me with coping mechanisms. I obviously started this blog to work on the trauma side of things, and I intend to seek further counselling – not just for the trauma, but losing Martin in the accident. This is something I’m pretty sure I’m going to need help with. For now, I will stick with my blog and talking about things, and seek “proper” counselling further down the line.