I can hardly believe it. Today is exactly one year since I slipped on black ice and broke my leg. So how did things pan out over the subsequent 12 months?
It all happened in the blink of an eye, at 08:35 on Friday 8 January, and was taken to Redditch’s Alexandria Hospital, where I received excellent attention and treatment (in contrast apparently to this year in Worcestershire hospitals). Late on the following night, I had an operation to repair the displaced fracture in my right fibula, and strengthen the ankle. I was allowed home late on the following Monday afternoon.
Over the course of the next three months I made three more outpatient visits to the Alex, and had several physiotherapy sessions at the local Princess of Wales community hospital here in Bromsgrove.
For a couple of months I was not allowed to put any weight on my leg whatsoever, and I spent all that time downstairs, sleeping on the sofa. Fortunately we have a downstairs toilet and washroom, and our kitchen was close by as well. I got around using a walking or Zimmer frame.
Once my third cast was removed and replaced with a support boot, I was able to get around using crutches, and started to get out and about on a short walk each day. Once the boot came off, at the end of March, I was given the all clear to drive once again. I had expected to be given some sort of certificate. All the surgeon said was that if felt confident and able to brake the car in an emergency (since that would use my damaged leg), then I could get behind the wheel again.
Freedom! And also to start walking more positively using a walking stick, which I used for the next eight months. Since mid-November, more or less, I have been stick-less, although I have occasionally resorted to my stick when I thought conditions outside might be a little precarious. Another fall is the last thing on my agenda!
It will still take time for my leg to heal ‘completely’. Actually I doubt it will ever get back to normal. Although it doesn’t swell as if did a few months back after every walk, it has felt quite heavy and uncomfortable; not really painful, but not entirely pain free. When I was having physiotherapy sessions last March I mentioned to my therapist that the scar tissue was itching quite fiercely, and persistently, almost like an allergic reaction. The surgeon had warned me that, in a minority of cases, there was sometimes an allergic reaction to the bone plate and screws and if it persisted, then the plate would have to be removed in another operation. But not for at least two years when the bones would be much stronger and healed. I began to fear that would also be my fate. The physiotherapist advised me to take some antihistamine tablets (for hay fever), so I consulted my local pharmacist. The tablets did the job, and quickly. Itching subsided. But there was a down side, which made me stop taking the tablets.
Within an hour of taking a tablet I fell into a deep depression which lasted about 24 hours. Talk about black dog. So I quickly decided to give those pills the heave-ho.
Anyway, one year on, I feel really quite optimistic about the progress made. If you have read my blog during 2016, you will have seen that I have not been constrained from travelling widely, to Germany, Italy (twice), France, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Australia as part of my genebanks consultancy, as well as the USA for our annual vacation with Hannah and family.
Now I’d also like to take this opportunity of thanking all those friends and colleagues who have followed my progress and wished me well. Much appreciated.