The Past Week

Since last week it’s been a struggle to get my head around the not so good news. As instructed James has adjusted the cage four times a day, anti clockwise to loosen the frame and stretch the broken bones out. Once again when I walk the bones feel broken. My leg is painful to touch in that area and a bulge has appeared. I now have a week to wait for the next X-rays and the next plan. I have no pre-conceptions on what my surgeon will see or say. I am not guessing at any dates and it’s impossible to give an exact time frame. I have already become a victim of my own naivety in thinking that the initial 16 weeks was a certain. At the time I needed to believe that after 16 weeks the nightmare would be over, without that dream it would have been a harder road to travel. But the result has been disappointment and a huge knock to my optimism.

Over the weekend I achieved very little sleep, insomnia well and truly invaded my body. It has been increasingly hard to get comfortable as the pain has been slowly increasing. By Monday I was zombie like, I went to bed at 10pm and woke up the next morning at 11.30! I can’t go on like this though so am going to ask my GP for some sleeping tablets just for when I have these episodes of insomnia.

Despite the lack of sleep and growing annoyance at my leg being encased in metal, I have tried to get out and make the most of the sunshine we’ve had. We had a lovely day at Cotswold Wildlife Park, the boys were so cute! I am really enjoying them at the moment, their personalities are really starting to shine. I also braved Witney on Bank Holiday Sunday evening which was brilliant. Gin, good friends and good fun! I have however got yet another maxi dress with a hole in it thanks to the bolts on the frame. I feel a shopping trip coming on when I am frame free!

The boys aren’t sleeping particularly well at the moment, well Henry mainly. He wakes up every night screaming and it takes a while to settle him. He is my sensitive little soul and he doesn’t like change. I think he feels very vulnerable as everything around him, where he should feel secure, keeps changing. First I was bed bound downstairs, then I was bum shuffling upstairs, now I am walking around. Even though I am more mobile I still can’t do as much as I could before and I don’t think he understands that. He is in need of extra cuddles and reassurance. it’s taking its toll on James with broken sleep and a toddler out of sorts. I wish I could take it all away.

I still find it hard to see when friends and family tell me how much I am doing as I feel I am actually doing very little. They have watched as I have progressed to some form of normality and mobility and often tell me how amazing it is that I have come so far.
But the truth is all I try and do is get through one day at a time. I simply do the best I can. Some days my best is simply to not cry. Some days it’s to just endure the pain and discomfort.
I don’t know if my pain levels are any better or whether they have become such a way of life I don’t notice them.
Right now, my best is to just smile and try and get through the remainder of this journey somehow.

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A Little Bit Longer

I’ve been trying to write this blog since yesterday but haven’t been able to. I have felt a lot of things on this journey so far but yesterday was the first time that I felt disappointment mixed with despair. I haven’t been sure how to write about it.

I had my check up at the hospital and this time instead of an X-ray I had a CT scan so that my surgeon could get an in-depth look at my bones. It was a mixture of good and not so good. (I don’t like to use the word ‘bad’ as this whole situation is bad). The fractures in the lower part of the leg have healed well and fused together. Unfortunately the fractures near the top haven’t. In order for bones to heal you need the outer layer to fuse thus creating a strong structure for the inside to heal. My bones are still broken. This means that I will have have Nicholas for at least another four weeks, two weeks longer than first thought.
For the past few weeks James has been tightening the cage 1mm per week to squeeze the bones together to try and encourage fusion. As this hasn’t had the desired affect and the bones aren’t in line we are now stretching the bones back out. Yesterday we had to loosen by 3mm and for the next seven days, four times a day we have to loosen by a quarter each time (so 1mm in total per day). The feeling is horrendous when the cage is adjusted. Once again I can feel my bones moving and am having to consume copious amounts of pain killers.
If in the weeks to come the bones still don’t heal the frame will be removed and replaced with a non weight bearing cast to allow the bones to settle. I will then have an operation to pin the fractures together.

I feel I have taken a huge step backwards and am having real trouble getting my head around it and my ability to see the positives has taken a knock. I tried so incredibly hard yesterday to hold it together and even though I succeeded in not falling apart and kept the tears at bay, the disappointment simply buried itself just below the surface and I just became irritable and unbearable.
Maybe there is something to said for just letting your emotions out.

I have been so focused on getting through 16 weeks and to be told it’s going to be longer now is very hard to accept. Living with an Ilizarov doesn’t get easier as time passes by. The weight of carrying it around gets harder, the frustration grows and the desperation becomes unbearable. I am getting less eager to go out in public with it on show. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed or worried, however the looks of pity, the whispered comments and the probing questions, it never ends.

So today I woke up with a heavy heart, I am so tired.
I know I need to keep fighting for a while longer, I just need to work out how.

I Might Be Mad, But I Don’t Want To Die

The cage and I have had a busy week since having the aggravating pin unceremoniously removed.

Even though it was just one pin it really seemed to help get me up and start feeling positive again. I’ve have waked around more this week than any other since the accident.
James and I went shopping in Oxford, we took the children to Millets Farm with Rachel and Theo. The weather has been perfect and it was magical to see the children running around and being so incredibly happy. I felt like a real part of the family again and am feeling less of a burden with each passing day.

Friday saw my first counselling session. I was anxious going there as I didn’t know what to expect. The building inside was eerily quiet, neutral colours in the decor, lots of closed doors and it was impeccably clean and tidy, almost to the point of being sanitary. None of these factors helped with putting me at ease.
However when my therapist introduced herself and we began the session I felt immediately at ease. She has a very calming nature and I found it very easy to talk to her. The back wall of her office houses a huge window that overlooks the idilyic Oxfordshire countryside. Quite often between questions and her taking furious notes I found myself mesmerised by it and just watching the trees.
The session basically entailed looking back over the questionnaires I had had to complete prior to the meeting and going into more depth in certain areas. I find it very hard to talk about my inner most feelings and the in depth memories of the accident, but she managed to draw everything out of me with such ease. She concluded by telling me that I do indeed have PTSD and am borderline depressed. How lovely!
At least I will get the right treatment and I know that this isn’t forever, I will get better.
One section of questions they have to cover are all based around suicide and do I feel as though I would be better off dead? I can quite categorically say that no, I don’t feel this way. However, I still stumbled when she asked the question ‘So, why don’t you want to kill yourself?’ …….. you’d think it was a pretty easy question to answer but my mind went totally blank. After what felt like an eternity I mumbled something along the lines of ‘Because I don’t want to be dead, I love my family’.
She didn’t call for a straight jacket so I must have passed as acceptably sane, enough to be sent back into society to wait for my next appointment.

Ending a busy week with another weekend at Mummy’s and a night out in Windsor has taken the last little bit of energy from me. It’s a good feeling though to be actually tired. Not lethargic or just a bit sleepy, but real physical tiredness. My left ankle is aching something rotten having not been used properly for weeks. The Physio exercises are excellent but they don’t beat real walking and use of the joint.
Hospital tomorrow for a CT scan to see how these bones are really doing. Hopefully mine and Nicholas’ relationship is coming to an end. I can’t say I will miss it but it certainly isn’t the end of this journey. It is purely the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.

Some of my closest friends are going through their own personal hell at the moment. Divorce, miscarriage and birthing premature babies, I want to be as good a friend to them as they have been to me during my time of need. Without each and every one of them I would have been lost. As I come out of my dark place, it feels as though it will be my turn to take their hand and help them.

I’m a true believer that you get out of life what you put in. I have been dealt an ugly hand that could have swallowed me up. But I am determined to use it to make me a stronger and a better person.

One Down …… Five (and two bolts) to go!

Last night I sat and watched as James had to struggle to get two little monkeys to bed (them falling asleep for an hour at 5pm on the way home from Mum’s was not a good idea!) and then tidy the house. It was complete agony every time I moved and I tried for so long to keep it together but inevitably I lost the battle and crumbled. James held me tight as I sobbed myself into exhaustion. As I predicted very little sleep was accomplished last night. Too many emotions running through me to relax enough despite being so incredibly tired. The inability to find a position that wasn’t painful.

Some days I am just too tired to fight.

We went to the hospital today to get the offending pins looked at. After looking at them my surgeon went off to look at my xrays and was weighing up the possibility of removing the frame. The bones have healed well but they need some extra support for another couple of weeks. The frame could be replaced with a cast however the frame provides better results in the long run. Instead he made the decision to just remove the pin causing me grief.
Up until now I was adamant that I would have a general anaesthetic to have the frame removed. After today I even more adamant!
Even though I have 12 pin sites, there are only six pins as they go straight into the leg and bone and out the other side. So, to remove a pin the doctor starts off by uncurling both ends of the pin from the metal ring and then loosens the bolts holding it tight and in place. Then using wire cutters he cuts one end so there is less length to pull through the leg. And finally he swiftly pulls the pin out.
I have never experienced anything so horrific and it is not something I am willing to go through again. I am happy to go to sleep and have it gone when I wake up.
When we got home I couldn’t even walk from the car to the house as it was just too sore. I tried to stand which resulted in screaming and tears so James carried me in. Painkillers are now doing their job and another course of antibiotics will kill off anything attacking me inside.

(a huge thank you to Rachel for being one of the best friends I could ask for. We are lucky to have you in our lives, always there to help without a second thought and a hug just when I need it. Love you xx)

Pain is a strange thing. I haven’t had a pain free day since May 12th. Obviously there have been different degrees but it has always been there. Sometimes I wonder if it actually lessens or if I am getting better at dealing with it. The human body is truly amazing.
Living with an Ilizarov has been the most painful experience of my life and the memories will never leave me. Not just carrying the physical weight around every day or the scars it will leave, but the pain, fear and anguish it brings.
It really is ingenious invention and I am in awe of how it has allowed my body to repair itself so perfectly. Using someone else’s words, but summing it up perfectly, it is ‘hideously wonderful’

Despite the horror of the pin removal today it has given me a sense of relief that finally I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that I am on the home straight. Although it has also been a big reminder that when the frame is removed, it isn’t the end, it is simply then start of the next chapter.

This Blog Is For Me ….. if you don’t like it don’t read it

I didn’t start this blog for sympathy or to make out as though I am hard done by. I started it because something traumatic happened to me and I needed a way to deal with it and the emotions that it bought. Before the age of word processing and Internet I would have gone to the shop and bought a pad and pen. But as this is 2012 here I am on my iPad using WordPress. I haven’t asked anybody to read it, I haven’t asked for comments or words of advice. Last year I watched my step father die of Cancer so I am fully aware that there are bigger problems in the world than my broken legs. However that doesn’t take away from what I am going through. This diary is personal to me, I was run over, my legs were broken and I am in pain. I don’t feel sorry for myself in the slightest, I wake up every morning with a strength I didn’t know I had and fight my way through the day. I have a gorgeous family who I am strong for every day. I smile, I laugh and help create happy memories for my children. I use this as my place to let out my anger, pain and fears. I am not ashamed of that.
If you don’t agree with it, or you don’t like it, please, just don’t read it.

Since court last Wednesday there have been ups and downs. I was so immensely angry (and as it would seem so were a large proportion of our family and friends). The support I have been shown has been truly amazing. It’s a relief to know that the anger I felt wasn’t born out of self pity but rather the injustice of the decisions made.
(I made front page of the Oxford Mail for their follow up story, my claim to fame!)
After their article, written in my favour, the CPS responded standing by their desicions stating
“The most important aspect of cases like this for victims is for the defendant to acknowledge responsibility for the injuries caused.”
Yes, is absolutely true. However, I would have expected the fact that she was in control of a motor vehicle and ran someone over without (apparently) realising she’d done it quite disturbing. And then leaving the scene and not even trying to help rather serious. I mean, she just left me there. How can she be found not guilty of that? She did it!
But what is done is done. I will always be angry and carry the feeling of being let down but I need to focus my energy on healing and direct my anger there. I won’t let her take over my life, I need to try and move on from the accident. I start counselling next week, I need to look forward.

We went to my Mum’s this weekend and had a night out with my Aunt for dinner and a family Sunday lunch out at the garden centre. It felt good to go out and do normal things. I was a little nervous before going out for dinner but it vanished as soon as we got there. It was heading to be a good weekend until this afternoon …….

I seem to be entering a second pin site infection. The pain is excruciating and the weariness is brings is almost unbearable. It creates many unwanted tears but that just seems to be the course. James deals with my episodes of continuing sobbing so well. He just opens his arms and scoops me up. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you are loved. I might have been dealt a bad hand but it has made me realise how lucky I am.
Right now I cannot put any weight on my leg without wanting to scream and even resting it hurts. I cannot get comfortable and and am so anxious I am almost shaking. Tonight I know will be a hard one and I won’t be counting on a lot of sleep. If I can just get through it relatively calmly without too many tears I will be happy. I will be calling the Trauma unit first thing and it’ll be another trip to hospital no doubt.

Closing ceremony of the Olympics tonight. I’m absolutely gutted that I only got to be part of London 2012 from my sofa 😦 I have felt extremely proud to be British over the last fortnight. Go Team GB!

‘Justice’ Is Done

Today was the day that we had been waiting for. The time had come for her to come up against our legal system, face what she had done and hear what her actions have caused my family and I.
Unfortunately things did not go our way.

Sitting in the waiting area, after a complete sleepless night for us both, James and I were exhausted. We kept ourselves busy with reading, music, iPads and phones.
There was a mixture of nervousness and anticipation.
This was a whole new experience and I had no idea what the outcome would be. I kept expecting to see her appear from somewhere but as the case was called after a two hour wait it became apparent that she was hidden away in a side room.
Seeing her there, in front of me, didn’t bring the reaction in me that I thought it would. I wasn’t scared, angry or upset. I felt totally numb. This was the woman who had turned my life upside down and I felt absolutely nothing. I couldn’t see her face as she was facing the Judges. I could however see the faces of her relatives. Her son looked smug throughout the entire hearing. Occasionally he exchanged words with his partner that resulted in chuckles. What could they have to laugh about? Me sitting there nervously waiting? The fact that my leg was encased in a metal cage? Whatever their reasons it filled me with disgust. Do they have no shame?

The CPS read out their argument first, failing entirely to read my victim impact statement (for which I am going to complain) and then her solicitor had his time.
Apparently, at the time she didn’t realise that it was actually her that had run me over. It has only been since the evidence has been presented to her that she realises that it must have been her. According her solicitor she is ‘deeply sorry and full of regret’. Well, how nice of her. Who exactly is she sorry to because I sure haven’t received any of her apologies.

She pleaded guilty to driving with undue care and attention.
Hearing her say those words bought a blanket of relief. I breathed easy for the fist time sitting there.
My ease was short lived though.
Because of early guilty plea they dropped the charges for failing to stop and failing to report an accident.
She was fined £90 plus costs and given six penalty points.
That’s it. Our legal system has performed ‘justice’.

I don’t want to rant about how the system has let me down. I do believe that we are lucky to have a legal system in which everyone has the right to a proper defence and trial.
However I do feel incredibly let down. Sitting there in court today and listening to what was said, I don’t feel that a true account of what happened on that day was given at all. All they’ve heard is that she ran me over accidentally and is apparently really sorry. They didn’t hear about the true extent of the injuries, the hours of pain I have suffered, the anguish my children have been through as a result.
How is that justice? Someone, please explain it to me as I am totally and utterly lost.

My head cannot process the fact that you can be charged with three offences, and just because you plead guilty to one of them (as though you are being the helpful one) you can just be let off of the others. It doesn’t make you any less guilty of them so why shouldn’t you be punished for them?

On reflection, the CPS solicitor was utter rubbish. He mumbled his way through, wasn’t sure of his facts and acted as though he’d rather be anywhere but there.
Should I have employed my own solicitor? I wasn’t even told if that was an option?
I feel totally and utterly cheated.
Through no fault of my own I was run over, both of my legs broken leaving me and my family distraught and lost. She has received no punishment that will have any affect on her.
How is this fair?
You can run someone over and callously leave them there and all you face is six points and a pathetic fine.
I will be left with this for the rest of my life and the memories will always haunt me. The nightmares, the panic attacks, the pain, the fear ……

I think she sleeps soundly at night.

I am trying really hard not to be angry as I know it will do no good however I am failing. I have never known what true anger is until now. It is running through my bones and I cannot stop it. I am fighting back the tears as I am too scared that they won’t stop.
Until now I didn’t, but right now I actually despise her.
What kind of vile human being is she?

How do I move on from this with the knowledge that she has suffered nothing yet I am still suffering today, almost 13 weeks later and still have a long journey ahead?

I feel so unbearably distraught.

A&E, Police and Life In A Chair

This week my right leg has become increasingly sore and with it I have been feeling very poorly and run down. After a sleepless night on Tuesday I noticed that one of my pin sites wasn’t looking very healthy so I called my GP. As they aren’t experts in Fixators he had to call the Trauma Unit who advised that I go to the hospital to have it checked out. Apparently depending on of there is an infection and the severity of it depends on how it is treated. When we got to A&E we noticed that my surgeon was the on call Trauma doctor so we told the triage nurse who, despite asking me what the problem was, didn’t listen to a word I said and totally dismissed us. After a four hour wait to have blood tests and X-rays and then another two hours for the results someone finally decided to tell my surgeon that I was there! He couldn’t understand why they had waited so long to tell him but said that the blood tests and X-rays all looked fine and I just needed a course of antibiotics for the infection. After leaving home at 1pm we got back at almost 10pm.
To say I was exhausted is an understatement. Every bit of me ached and my leg was excruciating after being prodded, pulled and moved from one place to another. It was also extremely swollen after being sat around for so long.

The statistics show that one in ten people with an external Fixator will get an infection. It’s understandable really as you have a constant open wound where each pin enters your leg. I thought I was going to be a lucky one as I have managed 11 weeks without any problems. But alas is was not meant to be.
Having an infection is more painful that the broken bones, it is horrific. And it’s not just the pain in the leg, it affects all you, increased tiredness, sickness. Emotionally it’s torture. I am battling every day and this adds to it. Everything is harder and takes a little bit more from you.
Even as I am sitting here, not moving it hurts. My leg feels like it is on fire, burning me from the inside. It feels so heavy walking is a effort. When I put weight through it the pain spreads and it turns my stomach. At any moment it feels as though my leg will explode.
My antibiotics have been added to the huge list of tablets that I consume daily. What’s another pill to swallow?

Our police officer came to the house today to write my victim impact statement. This is my chance to tell her how this has affected me and it’s something that I think about all the time. But when it came to it I found it really difficult to put it into words. Because of the legal case we can’t talk about the actually collision, just the affect because of it.
I don’t hate her yet I am so angry. I’m so desperately upset and confused as to how she could just leave me there on the floor. How do you put into words to explain to someone that they haven’t just broken your bones but they have broken a bit of you?
We spoke about the affect it’s had on the children and on James. It breaks my heart to explain that the boys look at me in a different way. The whole aspect of our relationship has changed and at the moment I am not able to fix it.
How has it affected James, us? Apart from having to have unpaid leave/sabbatical from work, the stress and pressure of not only being thrown into the role of house husband, full time Dad but also a carer. How do you explain that it’s sole destroying to watch someone take over your life because you simply can’t do it anymore?
Do you talk about the endless hours of hugging and crying? The arguments because I just get so frustrated and cannot express it?
It has bought us closer together but I also think it’s driving a wedge too. The frustration is just building up in me and I can’t explain it to anyone. If I try it would appear that it just comes out wrong and I end up unintenionally offending.
How can you talk when you cannot find the words?

Living life at home being sat in a chair for the majority of the time isn’t as much fun as you may think. It’s strange that for so long I was desperate for close contact with my children but now I feel as though I am coldly rejecting them. The boys want to sit on my lap constantly but I simply cannot take it. Not only does it put pressure on my leg and pull the pin sites but I feel incredibly trapped. How ridiculous does that sound? If I won’t let them sit on me they will stand next to the chair and cry and there is nothing that I can do. I cannot change their focus and sit on the floor and play with them, I cannot stand up and cuddle them. The whole sitation is totally out of my control and I feel totally inadequate. All I can do is add yet another request to my ever growing list and frustrate those around me even more.
I don’t think anyone understands how I feel, this world I find myself in is a difficult and lonely place.
The constant battle to find the balance between resting and doing as much as I can so that I am not such a burden is hard. A burden is how I am feeling more and more.