Breaking one’s leg (see previous post) is only half a story.
Next, it has to be fixed.
Dropped quietly in at the end of the last blog post was the fact that my husband had to have an operation the next morning to pin the bone back in place. A straightforward procedure, even when the patient is an insulin-dependent diabetic (as my husband is). General anaesthetic required, and thus an overnight stay, but in all reality it is just a run-of-the-mill procedure for experienced orthopaedic surgeons.
And all would be well if the NHS wasn’t in the middle of a crisis: no space, no beds, no admissions. The doctor did describe the hospital as being in ‘black’ status… or even ‘worse than black’. I got his drift. My husband’s operation was put as an emergency (it had to be done relatively quickly or the bone would heal in the wrong place and be unable to be pinned correctly) and he’d be first on the list (that was a diabetic advantage).
So he fasted overnight: Saturday morning phone call at 8.30am – no beds.
So he fasted overnight: Sunday morning phone call at 8.30am – no beds.
So … are you getting the drift? First on the list, an emergency operation and after 5 days there was still no space to bring him in.
Meanwhile, the swelling in his ankle was getting more and more uncomfortable. By the Wednesday morning he could barely walk 5 metres without being in pain, so the lovely nurse (as frustrated as my husband and I!) told him to come in and they’d take a look at the cast to see if there was anything wrong.
In all reality, this was the back door in to get a bed. They took the cast off, assessed his swelling ankle (there was still crinkling, so they could still operate: if your skin is too tight, I learnt, they can’t operate as it’ll just splurge all over the place and can’t be sewn back together) and decided to admit him in order to lift the foot up and reduce the swelling. That decision was at about 10.30am. I left him there with the promise that I’d return at Visiting Time that evening.
When I walked in I was greeted by the receptionist with, “Oh, your husband? Is he the one who’s waiting on a bed? He’s in the waiting room…” Nine hours had passed and he was still sat in the outpatients’ waiting room, awaiting a bed to become available. Nine hours! He was quite bored, but a long way through his book…
Cutting a long story short, and omitting all the medical details (although I can’t believe I’ve told you about the splurging skin issue – sorry!) he did have the operation the following day, and was released back into the world with a pinned tibia (and two breaks to the fibula that they discovered as well…) the day after that.
Now he’s home – off work! – and resting the leg as much as possible. Meanwhile I’m practicing being a nurse/maid. Six weeks more of him being in a non-weightbearing cast: I think I might go mad!!
I told him he could write a book…