Escape

One week and one day after my operation Dr Al Muderis agreed to my release.

I thought I would go crazy being confined to a bed and stuck in hospital for a week but really it hasn’t been that bad at all.

If it wasn’t for my Mum visiting everyday and Dad as much as he can I am certain it would have been an entirely different story. I am filled with so much gratitude that they would drive and hour and a half each day to visit me. They were long days where they wouldn’t get home til 8.30pm and their effort meant the world to me.

Surprisingly I didn’t really even have any moments when I was bored. After the first couple of days where I just about slept the days away I settled into a routine. I would wake at 6am when the nurses came to give me an ECG, watch some TV and eat some breakfast. Then I would shower and do my make-up. By then Mum would arrive and we would chat, she would read to me or we might watch an episode of something. After dinner she would leave and I would chat to my friends or listen to some music.

All in all in wasn’t a bad week. The food wasn’t horrible and aside from the nausea and pain it wasn’t a bad little holiday.

But in saying that, I was more than happy to be packing my bags and getting out of there.

- Me and my fellow cyborgs

– Me and my fellow cyborgs

On the way out we stopped by Ali’s room for one last cup of tea and chat. One of the nurses popped her head in and asked if we were up for one more visitor. Daniel, an amputee from Grafton at had just arrived on the ward after being operated on a few days ago. I also got to met Jamie, the double amputee from the UK who had had just had the second stage completed.

I was both nervous and intrigued to see what a leg in the flesh would look after the operation.

It truly was a cyborg leg, something out of Terminator. The little piece of metal stuck out the end like a little machine gun that would start shooting at any moment.

I think it will take some getting used to my new appearance but I really will be a cyborg.

Both Jamie and Daniel had lost their legs in accidents a number of years ago. Hearing the three of them talk about their horrific accidents and the aftermath of being amputated I did feel quite lucky. While I still don’t think I have it easier having had one leg my entire life I still felt incredibly grateful for the hand life dealt me.

It was the first time as an adult I had really met other amputees. As a little kid Mum took me along to an organisation called Limb Kids where they would hold picnics for kids with artificial limbs. I never felt like I really belonged as there were many kids there with both physical and intellectual disabilities and the majority of them were more severely disabled then me. I never felt like there was anyone going through the same thing as me.

But with Jamie, Daniel and Ali, I felt like we were on the same level. They all had jobs, partners, families and were coping with what life had thrown them with positivity and just getting on with things.

The only difference was they chose not to wear their legs, opting instead to get around on crutches and in a wheelchair.

They all said they couldn’t wear their legs because of the pain, the rubbing, the heat and how uncomfortable the whole thing was.

“I don’t know how it is with girls but as a male you don’t need a big bulky thing digging into your groin and pushing against things. And I had two of them,” Jamie said with a laugh.

I can relate to their tales of pain and yet I always still chose to wear my leg. I can’t help but wonder if they are in more pain then me or whether it is the same, but I just put up with and get on with it.

Is it just as painful for me and simply that I want to live as normal life as possible so I just suck it up and deal with it?

I also wonder if it is because they have never known a more comfortable leg they haven’t persevered. They have known what it is like to walk with two legs so wearing a prosthetic one couldn’t possible compare. While I can’t say that any of my legs have been wonderfully comfortable there have been ones that are better than others. And anytime you get a new leg it is like breaking in a wild brumby or a new pair of shoes. It is incredibly uncomfortable and hard to walk at first but slowly you get used to it. They wouldn’t have known this so perhaps haven’t preserved as long as I have.

The nurses load me up with a cocktail of drugs and that is it, I’m free.

Sitting in the car I find it hard to sit comfortably. Any chair that my stump slightly hangs over the edge has been hard to sit in since the surgery. It’s fine for a few minutes then it starts to cramp and throb and become unbearable.

On the way home Mum and I stop by the mobility aid shop to buy a chair for the shower.

I’m still wearing my hospital nametag and Mum tells the lady in the shop that I just got out of hospital today.

“She had her leg amputated, a bit,” she tells her.

A bit? I can see her eyebrows raise.

Last stop before home is JB Hi Fi to pick up some TV series to watch during my recovery. Mum wheels me in in the wheelchair and again I am struck by how differently people treat me when I am in a wheelchair.

Mum accidently rams into the back of a guy’s heels. He spins around but instead of going off he apologises to us. He apolgises even though It was entirely our fault.

I ask about getting a new iPhone 5 while we are there. The guy can’t find my name on the waiting list but takes one look at the wheelchair and hands me the last one in the cupboard.

Score for the wheelchair.

That night I had my first hallucination.

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of something breathing in my room. I lay still and listen and there it goes again. I can feel a panic rising within me. I hear it a third time and call out to Mum. She can’t hear me and my calls become more and more frantic. My heart is hammering.

She rushes in a look of concern painted on her face. I tell her with my voice rising that there is something breathing in my room. She flicks the light on. There is nothing there.

“Shhhh shhh listen,” I say.

“There’s something breathing in here. Like a small animal or an alien.”

Silence. There is nothing. I feel like a fool as I look about the empty room.

It wasn’t spiders but there was my first hallucination.  I’m officially going mad.

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