Second Stage Check-Up

The water washed over me as I glanced down at my open wound. Involuntarily I screwed up my face a little. It was still quite raw, open and slightly oozy. Not the most appealing sight but it’s still early days, I console myself.

It’s the first time since the second operation that I have showered without covering my leg in a plastic bag and the water feels strange on the skin that has been hidden for so long. It is a relief to wash away some of the tape residue that has remained stuck steadfast from the twice daily dressings.

Toothbrush wasteland

Toothbrush wasteland

I look at the toothbrush in my hand and grit my teeth. It’s what the doctor wants,  I remind myself. And so my twice daily routine of my brushing my wound like I would my teeth begins.

This morning Mum and I headed down to the SAN hospital to meet with Dr Al Muderis for the post-second stage check-up. While everything seems to be going well I was a little nervous as to what bombshells or roadblocks might spring out in front of me at this visit as with each previous visit that has been the case.

Mum wants to wheel me in the wheelchair as we don’t know how far the clinic is from the car park but I refuse. I hate feeling stuck and helpless in the chair and long for a sense of independence. I don’t care how far it is, crutches will be my companions.

The lady at x-ray asks me if I am wearing a leg brace as I crutch towards the x-ray room and lift myself onto the platform.

I think this is a slightly odd question but I have come to expect oddity from those in the x-ray department.

“Oh I see,” she says with surprise as I position myself on the machine.

“I didn’t even notice. That’s a great dress, you can’t even tell you don’t have a leg!”

Ah the beauty of maxi dresses.

She asks me about the surgery and having never encountered a cyborg like me, she is fascinated.

I feel like I have to feign excitement for her. It’s not that I’m not excited about the prospect of walking, believe me I am but right now during this middle waiting stage it all seems so far away and truthfully a little hard at times. I just want her to take the picture but I put on my best radio gossip voice and give her the excitement she is looking for. At least for a moment.

I feel like Krusty the Clown in The Simpsons; upbeat and faking it during the performance than completely transforming backstage once the attention is over.

Out the front of the clinic are a dozen or so people waiting for their appointment. It’s a small waiting room with only a handful of chairs so people are perched in all manner of positions on the floor inside and outside.

It strikes me as odd that an orthopedic clinic wouldn’t have enough chairs. There are a sea of crutches, braces, slings and wheelchairs all looking slightly uncomfortable.

Dr Al Muderis places the x-rays on the screen and gives some satisfied sounding ‘hmmms’.

He says he is happy with the progress of the new bone growth and my weight loading status.

“You will be fitted with a leg very soon,” he says with a nod.

I wait for the bad news but it never comes. My heart soars.

He is happy with the way the wound is granulating but tells me it is time to start washing it and to only wrap a small piece of ribbon gauze around the wound to allow it to breathe.

And so I find myself brushing my wound with a toothbrush.

“Just don’t use the same brush as you would your teeth,” Dr Mulderis’ words run through my brain.

I smile. There is no chance of that happening.




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