Up And About

Day three last the first time round was my worst. I was in a lot of pain and they pumped me so full of drugs that I was overcome with nausea and couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Not this time. I wake up at 5am for the morning ECG and I am stunned at how well I slept and how little pain I am in.

The night nurses don’t bother to properly wake you up for the ECG you just suddenly find your gown being pulled down and cables attached to your chest. It’s a strange thing how nurses barely seem to register your body and that maybe you might feel embarrassed to have your whole chest on display.

Tangled in cords I look down and notice liquid bugling and pooling under the skin where the cannula is inserted. It starts to throb and the bulge of fluid gets bigger. It is immediately pulled out when they discover the fluid is no longer going into my vein but just into the muscle. The skin is bruised and a hard lump of fluid remains. This creeps me out. I hope it goes down soon.

- This arm is seeing some serious drug action

– This arm is seeing some serious drug action

I have to have one more cannula of antibiotics before I can take them orally. I dread this knowing my history with cannulas.

Today the ketamine is coming down which as well as farewell zombie dreams, it also means I will be able to get up and have a proper shower.

I’m nervous how the water will feel on the open wound. I later discover how horrified the nurses in the orthopaedic ward would have been had they known I had been told it was fine to shower without putting the leg in a plastic bag.

Luckily I keep it mostly out of the water, as had it gotten wet it could have been quite disastrous.

After two days of sponge baths, each droplet of water feels like explosions of ecstasy on my skin.

My leg still feels heavy as I do my leg raises and I can feel the metal part pressing against my skin inside me. It is a rather unsettling feeling but I try to not let it deter me.

It’s only day three but the nurses are so happy with how I am going that it’s time to move to the orthopedic ward.

While I am excited about the prospect of no more 5am ECG wake-up calls, I will miss the nurses up here.

Sarah and Jordan have been looking after me who two young and fun nurses always up for a chat in-between chart checks.

Jordan is fascinated by my operation and the wound. I tell her I still find it a bit creepy looking but she says she lives for this stuff.

As a child she was in and out of hospital multiple times and it was then she fell in love with nursing. Not in hospital due to illness but rather a series of accidents I soon learn she has an extremely high pain threshold.

The first time she injured herself she was riding her bike without a helmet. She fell off and hit her head hard on the concrete. She knew she would be in trouble for not wearing the helmet her parents insisted she wore when riding so she simply didn’t say anything. It was only that night when her dad tucked her in and kissed her goodnight he noticed the huge lump on her head.

The second time she was riding her bike while carrying some stones she wasn’t supposed to.  When she fell off and broke her arm, again in an effort to avoid getting into trouble she kept it from her parents. It was the next day when her misshaped arm had turned black and blue that her parents rushed her to hospital.

The third was at school when she was climbing a tree out of bounds when she fell and badly hurt her leg. Soldiering on she returned to class where they were her class mates were preparing for a swimming lesson. Putting her cossie on she noticed her leg was wet with blood from a large open gash on the back of her leg. Her teacher came to see why she wasn’t in the pool already. When she told the teacher she couldn’t swim because she had hurt her leg and showed her teacher, the teacher fainted.

Her stories are crazy and entertaining.

I am sad to say goodbye and they beg me to come back to show off my new leg once I am walking.

I’m sent for a bone scan in the afternoon and once in the room the girl asks me if I can walk to get to the machine. I look at her puzzled. Does she not know what I am in hospital for?

I tell her I can’t without my crutches and she berates me like a naughty school girl for not bringing them.

Once on the machine she is confused about my hip.

Here we go again, I think.

She explains that part of the test is to check the density of my right femur head but I don’t have one so she doesn’t know what to do.

I look up at the screen and am slightly taken aback. I had heard it many times from Dr Al Muderis and all the x-ray staff but seeing it on the screen next to my normal left hip really drove it home. I really don’t have a right hip. At all.

She then asks me if I have had surgery on my spine.

Again puzzled, I tell her no.

“You sure you don’t have any metal in your back?”

My heart sinks. Is this another thing I am unaware of? What could possibly be wrong with my spine?

“The scan picks up anything metal and there is definitely something there,” she says.

Suddenly it dawns on me.

“Oh that’s just my belly-button ring,” I say rather sheepishly.

‘Thank god’, I think.

The wardsmen who takes me back up to my room is a dead ringer for the geeky character Robbie who used to be on Home and Away.

I think of Mum’s dream of me meeting my future husband whilst in hospital and embarking on a love story that rivals a cheesy rom-com.

We chat and laugh as he wheels me along.

“The thing I love most about these shifts,” he says.

‘Yes,’ I think.

‘Go on,’ I say to myself as I stare into his blue eyes.

“Is I get to spend the morning with my wife and newborn son.”

Damn.

Dinner arrives at 5pm and by six I am tucked into bed

“Just like in a nursing home,” Mum says with a smile.

It’s only day three and already I feel bedridden, caged and over this whole being in hospital thing.

I don’t remember feeling like this last time, I must have been too sick to notice.

Dr Chow comes to examine me and announces despite what we had been told earlier, that she is unsure what the plan is regarding rehab and whether I will need to be in there to weight load. She says she hopes I will be out by Christmas. The plan was to be out the week before so I am panicked. Plus I don’t think I can handle another two weeks here.

She is happy with the wound. I take some photos and pore over them later. It is fascinatingly weird looking. It doesn’t hurt but does feel a little itchy and uncomfortable. Again I wonder how long till it feels normal.

Sleeping, the blankets feel heavy and awkward on my stump and the sheet gets a little caught on the part that sticks out.

I am learning a huge lesson in patience.

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