Day 37 – I’m in stitches! (or out of them as the case may be today!)

Thursday 28th April

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I should get Thursdays off and a nice long lie in but this early I had to be up bright and early for the dressings clinic. Mum did her classic thing of getting me there with two minutes to spare but then the traffic had ben horrendous – typical!

At the dressings clinic, the nurse Lina decide that the suture lines needed another week with the stitches still in but said she was impressed with it and it all looked good. I was glad that we had still stayed away from the I word. Aplogies for the appaling pun for a title – I couldn’t help myself! She redressed it and after I went to physio for an hour when Dad picked me up. In the rush and stress of getting me into the car, which is a really stressful job, the coffees I bought were caught in the cross fire so we now have a seat that smells as yummy as coffee creams.

You heard a lot about my Mum but not so much about my Dad. I think that’s because I take him for granted a bit and don’t appreciate him enough. While my mum was with me, he was walking the demanding mad dog at home, doing things round the house, working, tidying my new bedroom and painting its walls. I love my dad very much and am proud that the Tuesday after next he’s going to become Deputy Mayor of Ealing and I only hope he realises. I definitely enjoy having lazy days with him though.

I had a very quick nap while Dad hoovered and cleared up because my old violin teacher, Claire, and her beautiful baby, Max, were coming to visit. Max was the wonderful painter who painted the “Spring Eruption” card destined for the Louvre that I posed a couple of weeks ago. Mum also got home early to meet her which was really nice. I hadn’t seen Claire in a while but she looked so well and happy. Her happiness really did overflow so I couldn’t help but feel so happy. Max is so smiley and such a happy baby and I loved having him on my lap. I haven’t actually held many babies so I was a little nervous though I hope I didn’t let it show but it actually felt quite natural to hold him. We did try to protect my leg from his enthusiastic arms using pillows which just about worked. I did this thing where I increased my voice in pitch a bit just saying “aaaaa” and then “pop!” and it drove him wild! His mum even stopped her conversation with my mum and said that he didn’t usually giggle and what did I do. It quickly turned out though that his favourite game was dropping things on the floor including his mum’s iphone.

After Claire left us, I did what I do best, which is fall asleep.

Day 35 and Day 36

Tuesday 26th April and Wednesday 27th April

Because I’m back home and actually spend most of the time asleep, I thought I would post a few outlines of the days together. I think snappy and sweet posts are better from here on in except when I have a particularly exciting day. In this post, you get two for the price of one. I’m so far behind on posts and can only apologise! My just giving page has now expired so I have replaced the link with the just giving page Mountain Rescue Torridon and Kinlochewe already has. On the page I set up, we managed to raise £3573 which is a fantastic amount so thank you so much!!! Special mention to the Manchester Medic’s Orchestra and Choir for raising £281.20 from their wonderful Spring concert last Friday and The Univeristy of Manchester Dance Society for raising £400 from their fantastic dance show a couple of weeks ago. So to sum up, you can still donate and it goes straight to Mountain Rescue Torridon and Kinlochewe.

 

Day 36

Susanna’s actual birthday today!!!! Mega happy birthdays little sis – love you so much!!! Sad you’re in Surrey but hope you enjoy your night in with your housemates and Dominoes!!!

Today was my second physio session but the first physio session where I knew what I was going to expect so, it might sound weird, I actually felt more excited to go. I did the same exercises but just a little bit longer and chatted to another lady who is a double amputee. It was nice to go into the Transport Lounge and be recognised by the ladies working at the desk straight away so all I needed to do was park up. I was well chuffed except that there wasn’t anyone in the transport lounge to talk to so I read War and Peace and, because of the drugs I’m on, I read the same page over and over again I think for an entire hour.

When I got back, Helen met me outside and made me a cup of tea. I don’t know whether I’ve said but tea is genuinely the best medicine. I was so sleepy after physio – I’d already had a nap in the ambulance. It wasn’t very comfortable though as whenever I dropped off, my head would lull back into nothing as my wheelchair just doesn’t have a high enough back to nap (design flaw!) so I would wake up again – disaster! Back at home and drinking our teas, at the end of April going on May after a bit of a sunny spot, it started snowing! We genuinely couldn’t believe it! Weather what is going on?? It didn’t even last that long as if Olaf (from Frozen) had walked by with his own personal snow flurry. Dad also had the afternoon off to look after me.

At 3pm, Lucy came round, followed by an old friend Ellie a little later. I felt like a little girl showing off my new bedroom to two of my oldest mates, gorging on chocolates, giggling and sharing stories of hospital wards and the patients you can find on them (Lucy and Ellie are nurses and then I guess I was one of those helpless patients on the ward not that long ago). Lucy has donated a ridiculous amount of money to my Just Giving page so thank you so much!

I had to unfortunately kick them out (very politely of course since it’s me) but I was beginning not to see straight I was so tired. Literally as soon as I left, I fell straight to sleep and didn’t wake up until 8pm. Our neighbour, Maureen came round for a nice chat afterwards to see how I was and brought a lovely turquoise picture frame with a pink heart in the middle to match my room.

The only other thing that happened that day was it was the day after the day that the Hillsborough victims got their justice finally. At 10pm, the BBC news came on and it started with relatives of the poor victims telling their story – how loved the victim had been, what they had last said to them and the impact of their deaths. I realised that mum could have been like them on the telly telling everybody that she loved me and trying to remember the last thing she had said to me. I could have done so much worse to her than 4 weeks in hospital and an amputation – I could have done so much worse to all of my family and friends, especially Mum, Dad and Susanna. It was terribly unlucky but it could have been worse. Mum wouldn’t want me to stay away from the hills but all I can say is I will be so much more careful next time.

 

Day 37

The doctors were striking today and we took a detour into physio to pick up a sticker. We even saw one of the junior doctors on the plastic team who had treated me! After Mum had dropped me off, I realised I’d lost the sticker somewhere so I thought I’d go back and get one but I didn’t realise just how hard it would be to get to the gate of Charing Cross. My wheelchair isn’t standard and it’s really quite heavy so just little drop curbs were so hard to negotiate. In addition, the outside of Charing Cross is paved with a pavement that isn’t all that smooth so it was quite an achievement to finally get to the junior doctors I support greatly. My efforts were rewarded with not just a sticker but a badge! I was well chuffed.

I did a bit more in physio today – a few different exercises. On the ball, Laura got me to do some pelvic and lower back exercises which were effectively crunches and Ben got me to try and touch his hand above so I had to crunch and reach to do that. It’ actually all really fun and I’m really enjoying it, especially the hand-touching one.

I met a couple of ladies in the transport lounge. I realised that all of us had the same amputation and pointed out that we could be the new Charlie’s Angels. One lady kindly showed me her gruesome pictures of her leg before it was infected and then when it was very infected. The I word still fills me with absolute fear. She had been about to get out of her car when a speeding car drove down her road and her car door slammed shut on her lower leg. She told me it had all been very clean. Her matter-of-fact and almost jovial way she joked about it all did surprise me so I understand how you all feel when I joke about this but then again what else can you do? The other lady had diabetes but she had had to stay in hospital for 16 months which sounds awful! I could barely cope with 4 weeks!

Another lady also joined us who had simply broken her ankle on holiday in Spain. After getting back home, she contracted an infection in hospital and had then had to have her leg amputated. The I word flares up so quickly and is so devastating, that’s why I don’t joke when I say that I am always vigilant and afraid of it. The lady with diabetes fell asleep on her ham and cheese toasty and I followed her not long after (without toasty) as we waited over two hours for patient transport.

I have been told by Sally that I’m not allowed to call the carers carers – they are personal assistants (PAs) – and also what I had been calling disabled toilets should be called accessible toilets so I am very sorry and will try to pick up the lingo quickly. If Sally or anyone else has any tips or pointers for calling things something else, it would all be greatly appreciated as I’ve only really just been thrown into this world but then it’s the same world as before and I’m coming to realise that there is just not enough awareness in society about disability in general and especially just how much room a wheelchair needs!

Anyways, I say this because a new PA, Ribeena, turned up but I had forgotten that Dad was home on Wednesday afternoons, Mum unexpectedly had the afternoon off and to top it all off my grandparents turned up too. I’m really really grateful for all the support I luckily have at home which means that I actually don’t need a PA except on Mondays really but it was very awkward for Ribeena and for me because there was nothing she could do for me. We had a chat about what to expect from the service in a bit more depth which was actually quite good and she left after about 10 or 20 minutes. I phoned up the ‘reablement’ team leader, Tina, to clarify which days I really needed help on and which days I didn’t. I just really wasn’t sure what to expect in the first week and I was all a bit overwhelming but I was ever so sorry to Ribeena for wasting her time really.

There was a really epic storm at home at about 7pm. The rolling drugs of thunder accompanied the lightning that danced violently overhead like a scarily passionate expressive dance through the clouds. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed and Emily slept. I can’t believe I slept through it and I love storms! I was born in a storm and I really do love watching storms! I slept through the storm but I woke up watching Eastenders, one of the banes of my life. I just went back to sleep.

Day 34 – winter is coming!

Monday 25th April

I thought I would have a lazy day today with just Dad – hopefully catching up on my blog like I’m sure you would have wanted and waiting for Mum to come home to watch Game of Thrones but no! Who would have thought that the first weekday out of hospital that I would have so many agencies needing to arrange things for me? If I had thought about it, I would have realised.

Firstly, at 7am there was a knock on the door. Mum panicked and assumed it was a carer but it turned out to be a large mysterious package – for me! Well it would have been mysterious had it not had “If not sent, return to Lucy” so I knew it was very lovey goodies from her and my another dancing friend, Laura, which included a whole load of beauty pampering treats, two dance movies and a notebook – very nice indeed! Thank you!

Mum went back to work today which was really sad but, as I said before, I was looking forward to a lazy day with Dad like I’ve enjoyed many times before. Dad had kindly taken the day off to make sure I was alright and, after all the visits I had, I was really glad he was here as it was all a bit overwhelming. Both my parents’ work places have been really good with letting them have time off and Mum has gone back to her school on a half time table. Especially as I was still getting settled into living at home, it was really nice having Dad to help me and essentially feed me.

We heard a knock on the day in the late morning and again we assumed it was the carer again but it turned out to be the district nurse, Joseph, who had come to check my bandages. There ended up a really awkward bit where Joseph was just starting to dress my… wounds? They’re not really wounds though as they are all healed so I supposed they are suture lines or stitches – ah doesn’t matter, you get me anyways. Anyway, Joseph was setting up the dressings and then the carers phoned me on my mobile and thankfully he didn’t mind me taking the phone call. Whilst as I was taking that call with Joseph next to me, Dad brought in the home phone and said the Home Ward therapist was on the phone wo thankfully agreed to phone back later – which was 5 minutes later, leading to another awkward phone call in front of this poor district nurse. In the end, everything as resolved: the carer would be with me shortly and the Home Ward therapist later on.

Eventually, everything dressed and also Joseph said he would get a pressure cushion for my chair, a pressure overlay mattress for my bed and a heel protector – what I call a “space boot” for my stump because I was beginning to get redness on the right side. The right side has less swelling so my leg tends to rest on that side more but this has caused redness on the fragile skin. Writing this from 5 days in the future, the space boot is amazing – it makes my leg feel more protected from ordinary bumps and knocks, it’s quite comfy for it and psychologically makes it look better for other people or at least makes them aware of it.

The next visitor was the carer, Edna, a really lovely and jolly lady. I think I forgot to mention it but a carer, who happened to be Edna as well, from Ealing social services turned up on Saturday to wash me, etc, but we’d told the hospital we didn’t need any help until Monday. We didn’t even have a bowl yet so that I could have a bed bath. This led to a bit of an awkward introduction but she was really helpful and told us all about what we could expect from them and what to prepare for them (like importantly a bowl!).

Edna washed my back for me, which I think is the only problematic bit for me. On an ordinary Monday for me, I would need breakfast made for me and maybe a coffee if I bat my eyelids because I just can’t get to the kitchen and then a bowl of warm water in order to wash. To be honest, I can wash myself completely and otherwise I think I’m now (on Saturday) adapted to everything.

My uncle Kevin came over around Lunch to see how I was, which was a lot better than being sick on him! I think or at least hope that it was nice for him to see me happy and settled at home. The lucky man and his lovely wife, Hilary, had been in Dorset for the two weeks prior so he had quite a good colour on him – brown not red! And he was looking very trendy in a grey flat cap – quite the hipster! Helen also came over so it was a really lovely lunchtime.

A little later, the last visitor – I swear it was like buses all day – knocked on the door. This was Victoria, the Home Ward therapist, who was working out the equipment I would need to make me more comfortable. As I’ve said, Dad had managed to borrow a ramp but Victoria said she could order one for us as well as a key safe and a more standard wheelchair so that I would be able to get around a bit more.

The most exciting part of the day was cuddling up with Mum in the fluffy wolf-looking blanket (features in the picture – pic taken on Friday after my haircut where I had my hair blown straight if anybody wonders) and watching Game of Thrones together. She bought the blanket because she thought I would be cold in hospital but we quickly discovered that Valentine-Ellis Ward is transforming itself into a tropical rainforest without the greenery except in the trousers of the occupational therapists. Game of Thrones didn’t disappoint especially the end and I won’t spoil except to say that, in the end scene, I reckon she’s Shiera Seastar.

Anyways, nothing gets more exciting after that and definitely nothing to note. There’s my first proper physio session to look forward to tomorrow but that’ll it for tonight so see you tomorrow!

Day 33 – enjoying being home

Sunday 24th April

You know when you go out and the soles of your feet always hurt, well mine does except it’s up by my knee! I think I over did it last night but it was so worth it!

It’s passed midday and I haven’t got out of bed yet. My parents are frantically looking for the presents that have got displaced in my move back home and then wrapping them up. I feel so bad for putting so much stress on my family and all I can do is sit in bed. I can wash myself but I can’t get the water ready. I can eat my toast and drink my coffee but I can’t make them myself yet. I hate being so dependent again. Mum has bought me a little picker though so the floor isn’t quite as inaccessible. I also feel bad that all my equipment has scared the dog.

In other news, I have literally just found my parents secret stash of liqueurs and it’s literally just above my head. I kind of wish I’d found this yesterday but anyways woohoo! There’s a diddy bottle of Kahlua and some limoncello that may not be there for very long.

I’ve been watching the marathon and the fantastic efforts of all those people who are enduring such a great running challenge to raise money for all of their amazing charities. Perhaps I will be there next year raising money for Mountain Rescue Torridon and Kinlochewe – joke I don’t run for the bus! Perhaps I’ll raise money by climbing mountains instead – far more up my street!

I feel like after all the excitement of things happening at hospital, getting to know and be known by the staff at the hospital, posting on Facebook with lots of people commenting, etc, is coming to an end. I’m not much of an attention seeker but it was quite nice while it lasted. Writing my blog, I feel like I almost can’t remember what it was like in hospital, like a dream. It all just seem like dream or a movie I wasn’t part of. It all feels now like a bit of an anti-climax. Hmmm, I now need to find a new goal to achieve. Also, in hospital it was really easy to remember when to take your meds because they were plonked right in front of you and now I have to not only remember when but how much of each – oh dear!

Nan, Grandad and I decorated a plain, decorate-yourself birthday cake whilst Susanna and Mum were walking the dog which was a bit of a laugh. Nan couldn’t see a cake in Waitrose that she liked so decided to buy a plain cake and then decorate it herself which was actually such a touching and fun idea. The packaging for the decorations was hard to open so sugar flowers sprayed everywhere and then there was a debate about whether to put the “happy” in front of the “birthday” or behind (we chose in front in the end) but then we had to be exactly precise with where the letters went. Precision is not my forte. I think we pulled it off in the end though as Susanna was very happy with our efforts and, even better, the cake was really really yummy.

Susanna also got some lovely presents, most of them sparkly of course! I can’t believe she’s 21 on Tuesday – my baby sister is going to be 21! She’s going to be in Surrey for her birthday unfortunately and she’s going home tonight. She’s packing – she’s always last minute! I can’t believe she’s leaving me and I know I’m going to miss her, even more than I usually do.

Crystal Palace unfortunately beat Watford so poor Dad didn’t get the result he wanted and then heroically had to drive all the way to Surrey and back with Blondie Bear. She forgot quite a few things including her presents – silly thing! I think everything’s been so rushed and stressful that it was inevitable she’d leave something. Oh well, it will just mean she’ll just have to come back home soon – what a shame!

Sorry (or maybe you’re grateful and I wouldn’t blame you) that today isn’t as lengthly as usual. I spent at least half the day asleep! In summary, it’s just nice to be home with Mum’s good food, watching the Marathon with Dad but sad that Susanna has left me. She promises to call everyday though.

 

Day 32 – Annual Dinner Mark 2

Saturday 23rd April

TEMPORARY UPDATE: I’m currently really behind on blog posts – I’m really sorry. Last week was so hectic but I’m trying to catch up now. I’m at home though now and doing physio which is really good but so tiring! I’ll try to catch up this week so the blog is live and then to fill in the blanks from Day 7 in tandem with a live update but please bear with me especially as physio makes me sleep a lot! I am currently writing from Thursday 28th April.

 

Day 32:

I thought I would get a good night’s sleep but my bladder was trained to wake up at 4am, which would have been when someone in the ward would be screaming for something or another – the witching hour! You see hospital had quickly transformed me into a small child with my colouring but was also simultaneously slowly being transformed into an old lady with my early morning wake up calls – something a bit like a Benjamin Button complex!

I did get a good night’s sleep though anyway, underneath a proper duvet instead of a bed sheet, on a really comfortable mattress and in a room that wasn’t the temperature and humidity of the Amazon Rainforest. I also got to do my favourite activity in the whole wide world – lie in past 10am. I also really how my mum and dad joined me for breakfast in the back room. Breakfast in bed!

My room is gorgeous, painted with this lovely green colour, and all my soft toys I’ve collected over the last four weeks are above me on the mantel piece. My dad and then my uncle and mum did so much to tidy the room and the hallway so I could get to it. My dad painted all the walls and my mum and grandad even did the ceiling! Mum said though how hard it was to want to be in hospital but also needing to finish the room. I can’t express how grateful I am to them all for the fantastic job they did.

Unfortunately, I was working them to the bone again. As I have mentioned before, I really wanted to go to the annual dinner I had organised for the Hiking Club but decided my leg was too fragile to go so Laura, Megan, Jonny, Dave and Colin made their ways from Manchester or Coventry to have an annual dinner mark 2.

Though I’d suggested we’d go to the nice Chinese restaurant, I wasn’t really supposed to know that we were dressing up nice so what a shock when they turned up and I was dressed up fancy too! My nan had helped me choose a navy blue sweetheart dress with purple sequin bits down the front and the waist band. They also had bought me a white scarf with silver feathers that went very well with dress and covered up the bruises on my arms that the anti-coagulant injections had caused. Everyone was so fancy, especially Colin and Dave who turned up in tuxedos!

We had such a good time! Dave brought really good brownies and some lovely flowers and Megan, Jonny and Laura had a bunch of yellow tulips for me and a bunch of white tulips for Susanna, as it was her birthday weekend, which she loved. We started off just chatting and laughing in my room for a couple of hours, had a cheeky little of bucks fizz! I then got stressed that the alcohol might affect my drugs which I hadn’t even thought about before! Megan said it would be fine since it was such a small amount of alcohol but then got excited telling us about drugs (it seems a first year medic’s penchant is for paracetamol) that one of my mum’s wine glasses couldn’t handle the enthusiasm and snapped it’s stalk. Megan was so sorry but it was fine and my mum said “it was in the sale anyway.” I should note that I wasn’t quite legless – I’ve still got one!

Laura, Susanna, Dave, Colin and Jonny walked to the restaurant whereas Dad drove me and Megan, who is on crutches after an operation on her knee from a Skiing accident – a good advert the pair of us make for the University of Manchester Hiking Club!

Dad has borrowed a ramp from his friend for a couple of days until we get our own but there is still the lip over the door to the ramp which Mum found quite hard. My wheelchair is really really anti-tipping with the wheels set really far back. We heaved a sigh of relief as Mum got me over the lip but then we just kept going backwards and backwards faster and backwards faster. I screamed and Mum yelled but we manged to stop thankfully– Mum physically stopped the chair and I stopped the wheels. Absolutely terrifying!

We got to Maxim’s, the Chinese restaurant we love and have been to over and over again throughout the years, without any more trouble – at least for the 5 minutes’ drive – and my leg was actually ok in the car. I just have never thought how awkward steps are before. Getting into Maxim’s, there were just two steps but they could have been two Snowdons. A thankfully movable cupboard had to be moved in order for me to get to the table too and there aren’t any disabled toilets unfortunately.

However, when we were settled down, it was all really lovely and I didn’t feel like I was treated differently which was really nice. I don’t know if I thought I would be treated differently but I did just feel normal. The tables were high so I could put my legs under which again I hadn’t thought about before. We all had our own things and then shared when we got too full. For main, I got a really interesting king prawn with egg white which I assumed would be mainly vegetables for some reason but it really was a puddle of white with some prawns. Honestly, I thought it looked pretty revolting – slimy white stuff that stripped from the spoon but it was genuinely very yummy! I was glad to share noodles with Susanna though otherwise it would have been very odd to eat on its own no matter how yummy.

The food was so good and so was the company and the restaurant was so warm that I just felt so happy and begun to fall asleep. Susanna phoned Dad but they weren’t quite home yet as they’d gone to IKEA to buy a wash station for me – the poor wonderful loves – so Jonny pushed me home which isn’t too far but is just far enough on bumpy pavements to justify going by car. He actually did really well and noticed that the wheelchair veers right when you leave it to its own accord because of the weight imbalance from the missing leg –pretty sad really but I’m fine as long as in my whole life I only ever need to turn right.

We all skyped Annual Dinner Mark 1 when we got back home. I received (technically from Dave but from the committee who were at the other party) a beautiful silver neckless with mountains on. We got to say hello to everyone there who looked like they were already having a merry time but I was so glad it all worked out. Apparently the food was good and so was the atmosphere so I was a very happy bunny even though I couldn’t be there with them. Jamie, who was running the trip I was on when the accident happened and is notorious for having his trousers round his knees, was actually wearing a belt! I could not believe my eyes!

Dave heroically drove everyone home and got them all back safely though I have no idea what ridiculous time in the morning he must have got back. I was shattered by half ten which was when they left and went to bed immediately after the door closed.

(Picture – clockwise from right: Laura, Dave, Jonny, Megan, Colin and me, with Susanna taking the photo, in Maxim’s Chinese restaurant)

Day 31 – home!

Today was understandably a bit of a whirlwind as we got ready to go home. Bits of the day went really slowly, waiting around, whereas other bits were so rushed I felt like I’d been whipped up in a tornado I couldn’t stop. Mum came early and left Susanna and Dad getting the last bits ready – I ind of needed her today. I was really glad Stephanie was working on my last day. She probably wasn’t but I was grateful to say good bye as, like Alma and Natalie who were also working that day, she’d looked after me probably the most.

Before I had breakfast, mum made me write out cards for the plastics team, orthopaedics team (me and mum had a debate how to spell orthopaedics but turns out with spell check that I was right!), the ward team, the occupational therapists and the young lady who was opposite me. It took ages as I wanted to write quite a long message to them each and a pharmacy assistant approached me later who didn’t actually know me but said he was really touched by the message in one of them which was really lovely to hear. I just told them that they had given me the opportunity to live an extraordinary life and that I would be back to visit next year but they wouldn’t recognise me with my two perfect legs. I had ward round for the last time – first plastics came and then orthopaedics and I got to give them their cards and chocolates.

We hung around sort of waiting for the vascular team before going for a shower and of course Lindsey came whilst we were in the shower! Sod’s law! The shower wasn’t that hot either because we were having it later than usual. So to bear in mind: if you’re staying in hospital, have a shower earlier just like a school/ hiking club trip!

There was much joy and relief as Lindsey said her lovingly placed PICC line could be removed as I was on oral, rather than iv, antibiotics. I hadn’t managed to get the line wet though with the shower- a minor success! The removal was really quick and painless and afterwards I showed Lindsey the view from the ward, pointing out the Albert War Memorial, the BT tower, the Shard, etc whilst the doctors were in her way to get out. She was effectively trapped with me poor love!

I hung around waiting for patient transport and my medication with the young lad I needed to see not that far off my mind but his mum and I kept missing each other with texts. Alma came over and we had a tearful but happy sort of goodbye and she said that she was proud of me and my positivity. However, an old busy body, who was visiting a patient who’s I’d had a long chat with the night before and always waved at, decided to stick her rather long nose into our little chat. She came over and I thought she was going to give me words I can’t quite remember what she said but she implied that I was reckless, inexperienced and didn’t know what I was doing because I was between 18 and 25 after she asked what my age was. She wondered off as I tried to fight back angry tears ad explain that I was experienced and that it was an accident. Alma, who was just as shocked as me but also really embarrassed, hugged me and comforted me. Mum came up quite quickly and said that we could go for a walk and I was quite glad as I didn’t have to cry in front of the mean lady.

We went to the small day room and I just cried it out – again. Mum was trying to explain to me that she was oddly trying to sympathise with her and Alma but wasn’t treating me like I was my own individual person. I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t at my most empathetic and understanding at that time. I did not have many pretty words for her. Thankfully, nobody was able to hear the profanities being spouted about her. When we came back into the ward, I didn’t talk to her and couldn’t bear to see her, I think understandably – and especially since she was sitting so close, so I asked Mum to draw the curtain that cut them off from us. I think that made my feelings perfectly clear. Thankfully, the lady she was visiting was moved the rehab ward anyway.

Briefly I got to see Nina and gave her the card and chocolates. It really cheered me up as well and I got to say yet again how grateful I was to her that I could go home. To me, she has been the face of the team who has worked tirelessly to get me home which has been fantastic.

Eventually you get a large green bag dumped on the end of your bag with all the medication you take home. It hit me that I would no longer have ket to keep me comfortable and was a bit nervous about how the pain would be the next day. Of course they wouldn’t let me home with ketamine! With the bag, I had the appointment sheets and the discharge form. I then, boringly, booked patient transport for myself for the next week for rehab to home (it had already been booked for today).

I took myself to the toilet as I usually at about 1.30pm, psyched to meet the boy downstairs straight after. I was moving back into bed to get sorted to go downstairs when disaster struck – I fell over. I was probably a bit far from the bed and the bed is filled with air so not the best handrail. As I became a bit unbalanced, I put my hand on the bed that just didn’t help. I fell. I banged my stump. Thankfully, I fell mainly on my left side so I didn’t put all my weight through the stump but I was so worried. It’s such a fragile surgery. I felt so stupid. Visions of staying in hospital another week flew through my head – I knew it had been too good to be true!

The matron and a couple of nurses and my mum all swooped over. My mum blamed herself, of course! Mum assured me that if I had done something to the bones, I would be screaming in agony. I wasn’t even particularly sore or bruised; I was just quite shaken. I felt so so stupid, especially since it was the day I was going home! The dressings were redone and one of the plastics team inspected the stump (after we waited quite a while) and said everything looked ok. I was so relieved and just wanted to see this poor boy I had had to put off!

Caitlin going back to California

After everything was given the all clear, my mum could finally push me to see the boy downstairs. He was such a gorgeous, brave boy but the poor thing had lost one leg below the knee and the other above the knee and also his arms but I don’t know to what extent except that he has a “magic thumb”. He’s such a sweet young man but such a terrible thing had happened that is completely unavoidable and unpredictable. It would be hard to reconcile this at an older age let alone at so young but I assured him that he does have youth on his side and he’ll adapt better than even me. He said, “But you’ve got both,” meaning my legs. I told him about my accident, briefly and obviously with a lot omitted, but also told him about a girl at my primary school who had the same outcome as him and who did fantastically and I assume is still doing fantastically. What he really wanted to hear is that he would get back to school and his friends and to football, which is what she did. I hope I said the right words or said enough but his mum assured me that just him saying my leg and that I was ok was really good for him. I can’t imagine what he’s going through though. He’s still him though and I’m still me and neither illness nor injury has changed that yet so at least we can thank our lucky stars for that.

I know there’s quite a few people who read this blog – does anyone know a friend, etc, who was in a similar position as this lovely boy but is further down the road to recovery? If so, it would be really lovey if you could get in touch.

As soon as I got back on the ward, I was quickly allowed to gather my things and then was practically rushed out by patient transport to go home. I couldn’t believe it! I quickly managed to give my card and a Paddington bear to the young lady opposite me – she had great news as well today that she would be flown home to California on Monday!

We were in the cool taxi thing again but picked up another patient this time who sat in the front. He seemed like a cool guy but was rating left, right and centre about all sorts of things. It is an inconvenience being in hospital and all the things you have to go to but this guy just did not have the patience for it. He apparently tried to escape in a taxi from the ward once the day after hi surgery to go to the shops and was angry that the Matron was annoyed at him when he got caught. He was annoyed at patient transport being early/ late – it is a notoriously unreliable service. He was annoyed with an outpatient’s appointment that had been cancelled but he wouldn’t have known if there had been an emergency where somebody could actually have died. I think Mum almost fainted when he said the I word though – infection. I have been so lucky thus far, touch wood, that all my blood cultures (except one maybe) have come back negative, which everybody, including the consultants, were surprised by. I’ve been on ridiculously strong antibiotics, my friends kept my leg out of muck right at the beginning and Raigmore hospital did such a good job cleaning my leg so that infection has not been a problem. I’ve always been so cautious of anything that might cause infection though, for example, not putting creams that I use everywhere else anywhere else.

We dropped off the man with the I word that fills Mum with terror but on our way home, Mum got the patient transport ever so slightly lost around an estate of houses we both should have known really well. Dad picked me up in the road as our lovely driver drove off and I began one of the most traumatic experiences of my entire incident. I was absolutely terrified as my dad tipped me back, especially since he encountered difficulty because it’s a weird chair. We just about got onto the curb but we had three other steps about 4 steps to deal with. Dad decided the best way to get up would be with him pulling me backwards so I would effectively be facing downwards. We tried it until I screamed at the top of my voice that we wouldn’t be doing it and to put me down! I wasn’t sure whether Dad would put me down so I carried on screaming until he put me down and we turned around so I facing the door. I still couldn’t do it. He tilted the chair onto the first step and I declared I was getting out and unbuckled myself. As soon as I got out, I thought – oops, I should have thought have about this! To be honest, oops was not the exact word I thought.

Mum helped me hop onto the first and I could grip onto the door frame to help with the second one and we were finally inside! Finally home! I’ve got to admit that home was a little tainted by the trauma and Bailey (our dog who’s snuggled in the picture with me) didn’t know what to make of me in my chair but it was so nice to get a Bailey hug. It was also a bit of struggle to get in and out of the back and front room which were the only two I could access.

My room was so beautiful! They’d painted it this lovely green colour which was exactly what I imagined. I had my own single bed with a proper duvet! I had a commode that looked like it could be owned by James Bond because it was disguised in black faux leather. MediEquip also sent a perching stall and a proper chair for me to sit on. I wanted to collapse on my sofa but when I got on it, it actually wasn’t that supportive which was sad.

I’d broken Mum though – properly and thoroughly broken the poor lovely women. Because it was Susanna’s birthday coming up, she really wanted a Chinese takeaway with Mum, Dad, us and Helen. Mum wasn’t really impressed because she was so shattered and ill but we all enjoyed the take away anyway and just being together at home.

Sorry today wasn’t as funny as usual – I think it was just such a whirlwind that I didn’t have time to be silly. Hope you enjoyed it anyway and that you have a good night!