The Final Night With Nicholas (and the fear)

So we are down to just one sleep. One last night with Nicholas.
The last week has really dragged and I have felt every second tick by painfully slowly.
We’ve had three birthdays to celebrate, Charleigh’s 11th, my Mum’s 50th and my 31st. I really tried hard to get into the spirit and for the most part I did enjoy myself, shared many laughs with my family and friends, lunches, dinners and nights out. There were moments of despair, crying to my Mum on her birthday that I looked awful, had nothing to wear and just felt exhausted from trying. I hated myself at that moment, I don’t like laying my feelings on other people.

It has felt as though this moment would never come, actually knowing that Nicholas is going to be removed. I have been so excited filling my mind with the things that I will finally be able to do again. Enjoy a bath, wear my jeans, feel the bed sheets around my leg as I curl up to sleep. I want to be able to sit crossed legged on the floor with my boys and once again be a part of their make believe world.
There will also be a point where I need to drive. It’s a funny thing, I wasn’t injured because of my driving ability or anyone that I often get into a car with. However, cars and driving in general fill me with fear. I hate it. I didn’t realise just how much until I started the therapy for my PTSD. The questions asked have a clever way of bringing the thoughts out that you didn’t realise were there, just hovering on the surface. On every journey I go on be it short or long I wonder if we will be involved in an accident. I hate roundabouts, the uncertainty of the drivers. Driving through a town with pedestrians, the unpredictability of what they might do. It’s become apparent that it wasn’t just my bones that were broken, something in my subconscious has been shaken and I need to straighten it out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the thousands of people that must go through accidents every day, the majority presumably a lot worse than mine. How do they cope? Do they have the same fears as me? Is it normal to feel so desperate afterwards? I do feel incredibly ridiculous sometimes when I look at myself and how this whole thing has affected me. I don’t feel strong at all, I feel like a weak duckling struggling to stay afloat.

The early excitement of being cage free has slowly been replaced with with trepidation. The five pins I am quite prepared for after having one removed with no pain relief. I am confident that with gas and air taking me to another place I can get through that with dignity. However, I have two screws imbedded in my bone, they are not going to come out happily. I am dreading the removal of these. It isn’t going to pretty, the removal or my coping.
I am anxious about walking on my leg, actually putting weight through my newly mended bones. What if I can’t do it? I’m not naive to believe that the cage will come off and I will walk out of the hospital on air. I don’t expect it to be pain free but I am nervous about how much pain I can take.
I got through a lot during the aftermath of the accident, having my broken bones straightened twice, the spasms, feeling my bones moving.
So surely I can do this?

If I could remove the fear that is enveloping me perhaps I could feel a little bit more optimistic at my own capabilities.

2 Sleeps Down …… 12 To Go!!

It’s coming off on October 1st!!!!
The X-rays on Monday showed that the bones are doing really well and new bone growth is there! Two more weeks or loosening it to keep the slack there and we ‘should’ be good to say goodbye to Nicholas 😀
Despite my obvious excitement it is not a given so I am trying not to build my hopes up. Butnlets be honest, I have been waiting almost four and a half months to get a date for removal, it’s only natural to hold a little belief that things go as planned.
I will still need another X-ray to make sure that the bones look nicely repaired and the new bone growth has continued and then my surgeon needs to make sure that I can put weight through my leg.
I have long bolts that run down between the rings and it’s these that take the weight. He will remove the ones either side of where the fractures were and that’s where the true test will be. Very nervous about this as it will have been 19 weeks since I walked on the leg without support.
I know my surgeon wouldn’t take the frame off before he believed I was ready but in the back of my mind I have the burning question, ‘what if my bones break?’
What if I can’t walk on it?
I have lived with this for so long it is going to be extremely nerve wracking to be allowed to walk without it.

Once we get over the hurdles of weight bearing and walking we need to actually remove the two screws and five pins holding my leg together.
After having one pin removed in clinic I said there was no way I was going to let my surgeon near me with wire cutters again whilst awake.
Well …… I’m going to give it a go :/ I am SO desperate to have the cage removed and knowing that on October 1st it will more than likely be ready I cannot walk out of that hospital to sit and wait for an appointment for day surgery to have a general anaesthetic. He has said I can have gas and air and there are ‘other things’ I can have for the pain (handful of Valium?!).
I can do this! I will be cage free!! Just five pins am two screws between me and freedom ……..

I’ve decided that surgeons are all a little bit crazy. Whilst at the hospital on Monday waiting for my surgeon to stroll in (and he very much just strolls around in a leisurely way) another, rather larger than life, surgeon walks past in scrubs and leather shoes with tassels on. He looks at my leg, smiles and produces a sound that can only be described as an ‘ooooooop’ and then walks off. A few minutes later he walks back and has another peek only this time he stopped to have a proper look and enquires as to the reason for the Ilizarov. Apparently, according to him, my leg looks extremely healthy for one being encased in one of these contraptions. He then congratulates my surgeon with a smile and ‘Good job Bob!’
Nice to know I suppose!

A little note to anyone who might read this who has an Ilizarov ….. If trying to catch a toddler who obviously needs the toilet, don’t catch your frame on the door frame because it REALLY hurts and will probably make you cry ………

The Night Before ….. Again

So I’m back to the ‘night before the next check up’ and feeling as anxious as hell as always.
Although this time it’s mixed with trepidation. I honestly feel as though I have come to the end of the road with Nicholas, it’s no more a love hate, it’s quite simply hate. My bones may or may not have finished fixing but I cannot live any longer with this contraption attached to me.
I just to work out how to ask my surgeon as nicely and politely as possible to remove the damn thing!

I haven’t had a pain free day since May 12th and I’ve never felt so out of control of my life as I do right. I need to gain a little control back of my life.
I’m not being melodramatic, just honest with my feelings.
Obviously I don’t want to make things worse for myself but at the same time I need to ask myself at what cost do these fully heeled bones need to come at?
I’m in constant pain, I can’t sleep, I’m plagued with anxiousness and worry and it’s all just too suffocating.

Yesterday was Charleigh’s 11th birthday and we had a family day out to Chessington. I had umm-ed and arr-ed all week about whether I should go or not and in the end I did. It was heart warming to see her so excited. It’s the first time in a long time that I remember seeing her so happy (and my treasure hunt for her to find the One Direction concert tickets was a huge success!!).
However it’s come at a price for my legs. The swelling is unbelievably uncomfortable and I’ve given up on the pain meds, they’re not even touching it tonight. I’m not holding out for a peaceful night ahead.
The weekend was spent at my Mum’s as we have family visiting from New Zealand. My three cousins are the same age as Charleigh give or take a year or two and they all get on fantastically. It’s been busy and noisy to say the least! My Mum’s house won’t be my quiet haven for the next four weeks that’s for sure (Rach, you’d better stock up on tea bags, tuna, cheese and donuts!).

Sometimes in life certain happenings make you realise what kind of person you are or person you’d like to be. I would like to think that I’ve grown up into a good person. I’m a loving, caring Mum, my children are happy and polite and mean everything to me and I hope my parents think I’m a good daughter!
Being an only child from separated parents, both of whom met other people (and one remarrying), I have extended family coming out of my ears. Aunts, Uncles, cousins, even four of my grandparents are still alive and very much kicking. I have family in abundance and have always been surrounded by them.
I’m sure that every family has it’s fair share of problems and arguments. I just always seem to be at fault in mine. I feel like the black sheep and, no matter how many years I gain,am always left feeling like a naughty schoolgirl. I’m too out spoken and will let it be known if something has upset me and I will always stand by what I believe in. Stobborn? Probably a little. Maybe some think I should ‘respect my elders’, I actually think respect is something that is earnt and being a specific age in life does not give you the right to be spiteful and cruel. I wont be quiet just because others think I should, especially if it involves the feelings of my children. Nobody has the right to upset my children with their thoughts.
I always speak out for the ones I love and always will, it’s the way I’ve been built.
But just once it would be nice for someone to speak up for me. Just the once.
Being an only child can be a very lonely existence.

Slightly off the beaten track there tonight. Nothing like being too upset to think about the constant throb and burn that is my right leg ………

Looking Up, Not Down

The hospital visit was biter sweet. The remaining fractures are finally starting to heal which is great news. It just means that Nicholas and I will be friends for a whole longer. They can’t say how long, how long is a piece of string? The only thing that can dictate the time remaining are the bones themselves. If they carry on repairing then eventually Nicholas will be removed and I will be on my very merry way. If they stop responding then depending on how they have fixed I may or may not need an operation. Only time will tell.
It’s this that I find the hardest – the simply not knowing. The tunnel I am travelling down is never ending and just drowns me with anxiety as to what will appear around the next corner.

However, after a few dark days and a spout of insomnia keeping me awake for over 30 hours I have my happy feet on again. They’ve taken me to family and friends who have shown me just how much I have to be thankful for (and to the fridge for a few much needed cold beers!)

Life is ever evolving, nothing stays the same forever. We grow from children into adults, we create new families of our own. Sometimes things can happen that can disrupt the normality of the lives that we have created for ourselves and this can have a huge impact on the way in which you look at things. I definitely don’t look at my life in the same way that I did before. I have come to realise how much love I have and, how subsequently, how much love I also have to give.

I have been so angry and fed up with the limitations that have been unwillingly set upon me but I really want to stop mourning what I can no longer do and starting recognising the things that I am able to do. I can still enjoy and love my gorgeous children, I can still be a loving wife and I can still be a good friend.

Looking back over the past 16 weeks I wished at times I had been a better patient for James. I wish I could be more laid back and not let things get to me so much. But I am just the worst person that this sort of trauma could happen to. I’m not good at sitting around not doing anything and watching everyone else do things (and more often than not quite the way I would do them, what can I say, it’s the Monica in me 😉 ). I am constantly battling with the inner person wanting to scream out.

But I am really going to try and focus on the good things in my life. (and with the help of the lovely sleeping tablets from the GP actually enjoy some real sleep!)
My counselling starts this week so hopefully I’ll be able to fight off the daemons attacking my thoughts and dreams.

As Professor Hawkins said ‘Look up at the stars and not your feet’

Hope For Tomorrow

So tomorrow I am back at the hospital and to say I am dreading it is an understatement. Perhaps the underlying worry is the cause of my inability to sleep. I am lucky to get two hours sleep before the remainder of the night is spent watching the sky turn from dark to light. My mornings are spent dozing resulting in feeling entirely wiped out and almost jet lagged. Unfortunately the world doesn’t slow down for sleep deprivation and I struggle to keep up.
It isn’t just me that this has an impact on, James and the children suffer. They feel the end of my short temper and the boys just don’t understand. Why isn’t Mummy coming down to play? Why can’t we go and wake Mummy up?
Tomorrow I just want to know that the rest of the bones are fixing. If they are still broken I don’t know how I will deal with that. Every day is becoming harder to get through, I am so tired mentally from trying to be happy but at the moment I feel I am failing. I need to know that the end is actually in sight, rather than it it appearing and then moving further away.
Will I get a date for removal? I really hope so.

The Paralympics have been keeping me entertained. Totally amazing. Some of the things that these athletes achieve is totally brilliant. I will be Ilizarov free yet these people live their lives with their disabilities with such strength and courage, it really does put my my worries to shame!

On Saturday I went to town with Mum as she had a hairdressers appointment and I had a few bits and bobs to do. It was the first time that I have walked around town by myself. I found myself walking much slower than I normally would and the stares and comments seemed all the more obvious. Did I just notice them more as I was on my own? Or are people quicker to comment if you don’t have the support of someone else? I don’t think I’ll be taking to town on my own again soon.

Since being treated at the Trauma Unit I have wanted to give something back. Last time I was at the JR I saw a leaflet for ‘It’s Not Just A Walk In The Park’. It’s a 3 mile sponsored walk to raise vital funds for the Oxford University Hospitals – and best of all you can specify which department you would like your sponsorship money to go. This seems like a very apt challenge, so along with James and my wonderful friend Rachel, together we are the ‘Wonky Walkers’ and we will be participating on 21st October.
Please sponsor us!
http://my.artezglobal.com/TeamPage.aspx?teamID=52001&langPref=en-CA&Referrer=direct%2fnone