Where am I

I managed to slip over on 6-November-2015 and fracture the femoral head of my right hip. This blog is just to keep friends and relatives up-to-date with my recovery. It also will show where the NHS is good and where there is opportunity to improve. If you click the images tab (above) there are a few images of the break before and after the repair.

Update 10-June-2016 - sadly the femoral head has avascular necrosis and a total hip replacement will be carried out on 15-June-2016

I am home in Stoke Bruerne

Friday, 4 November 2016

One year on

It is a year ago today that I broke my hip; a challenging year that is sorting itself out very well now following my total hip replacement in June.

I saw a consultant Orthopaedic man on last Friday; he is very pleased with my progress but does say it will probably take until approximately mid-2017 (a year on from the total hip replacement) to fully 'recover' and get all my strength back in my right leg but at the same time he does advise working (!) and playing normally.

However the purpose of this post is not to talk about my hip but to take the opportunity of saying 'thank you' (in reality two totally inadequate words in the circumstances) to all of you for all the kindness, help, support, taxi services, mothering, counselling and just being there and so on over the last year - it's been a huge help and something that makes me feel so very humble and is something I shall never forget.

On Wednesday (2-November) I helped crew Sculptor - the Canal & River Trust's historic, former working boat, based at the Canal Museum in Stoke Bruerne - back from Weedon where it had been undergoing some much needed maintenance.  It's a year since I crewed Sculptor; I was pleased to realise I hadn't forgotten how to bring her through the 2.8km of Blisworth Tunnel without touching the sides!

And what does the future hold?  Well the lovely Orthopaedic man said that in all probability my new hip will last some time but conversely it may fail without warning. He said it is man-made and we were never as good at putting things together as mother nature.  Live life (just the one life!) as if your hip hadn't been replaced but if it fails just let us know and we'll get the tools out to repair it - wise advice I think.

Thank you all so much and with special thanks to:
  • Liz Soames of Working Bodies in Towcester who has persevered with me over the last year.
  • Stephanie (Mother) Furniss
  • Vicky Martin - who was always 'there' for me in the early days
  • Rob & Helen Westlake who made sure I didn't spend last Christmas at home after being discharged from NGH on 23-December
  • José Blanco who repaired me (twice!)

Friday, 28 October 2016

It's almost a year since I broke my hip

I had an appointment with an Orthopaedic Consultant today - what a lovely man he is.

He says I am doing very well and that with any luck the new hip will see me out but to be aware that it also may not last - it's just one of those things because the hip is now man-made there is the possibility of it failing.

Well I suppose that's a risk we take in life and where would I be if the NHS hadn't replaced it (after trying so hard to repair it).

He did say that I should try and forget that I have had my hip replaced and just get on and enjoy life which is what I think I have been doing for the last few months so that's what I'll do and unless there is something important to say I'll not update this blog.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Time to close the blog?

Last time I decided to close this blog my hip 'collapsed' but I do feel I am doing so well (my friend Vicky said that I had made an industry of getting back to full fitness) that the chances of any complications are really very small.

The walking continues well - yesterday I accomplished over 4km without going more that 100m from home - it was Village at War weekend in Stoke Bruerne though and very busy!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

An odd phone call

My phone rang this morning and on the other end of the line was Northampton General Hospital. They asked me to confirm who I was and that I had recently had a hip replacement - no problem there!

It turns out they thought I had been discharged yesterday and were keen to offer me physio as soon as possible.  I explained that it was about 11.5 weeks since my hip replacement on 15-June. There was a deathly silence and then NGH said they would like to see me anyway!

Can't believe it has taken them that long to call me and even more dumbfounded to be told the earliest they can see me is 14-September!  No wonder the NHS is in trouble.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Still doing well

Sculptor returning David's coffin to Stoke Bruerne
after a trip into Blisworth Tunnel
I am going from strength-to-strength still although my back let me down a little yesterday (Saturday) but seems much better this morning thank goodness.  Liz, my physio, is very pleased with my progress but I suspect the exercises she now has me doing may have exacerbated the issues with my lower back - I'll take life more easily for the next few days!

A huge funeral in Stoke Bruerne this week for David Blagrove - the church, which I understands holds 200 people seated, was reputed to have a congregation of 500!  It was a lovely day all all respects - beautiful weather and a fitting send off for a man who has been at the heart of the waterways for such a long time.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Going from strength to strength

I noticed last Sunday that I no longer think about going up the stairs in my house - despite it being a Georgian design (Victorian built) with eight  inch risers on the treads I seem to be able to do it now without a backward look.  I am sure that is in the main due to my physio (still nothing provided by the NHS despite promises) and I think my walking helps a lot - see graph - the big spike is the day I spent in Woking for the 50th Anniversaries of the Basingstoke Canal Society and the Historic Narrowboat Club. My average is 3.4km (just over 2 miles) a day which I expect is greater than the average of the population.

I am not sure how accurate my iPhone is at recording my walking but I suppose the graph is recording like with like so that's a known quantity/quality.

Back to boating today too - we took Sculptor down to the A508 to wind her (only place we really can) and then I brought her back to Stoke Bruerne. Had the pleasure of passing Owl and Hampton at the top lock (after Jim on Owl had spent some time on the historic mooring in Stoke Bruerne removing a wedding dress from his propellor).

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Things still going well

Although I am not back to doing everything I used to do I am still making, what I consider, good progress.  The day in Woking didn't set me back at all and I continue my walking every day - not always a great distance but as often as possible at least just above the long term average if I possibly can.

My physio, Liz, has left it to me to make the next appointment as she feels I am making such good progress but of course she has given me some fairly strenuous exercises to undertake!

Part of me wishes so much that I had been given a new hip all those months ago in November-2015 but I am assured the right decision was made (for me and the NHS) to try and make the Dynamic Hip Screw work.  However there's not much to be gained from looking backwards and saying 'I wish' and the right way is to look forward and take advantage of the work that was done for me.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Grand Day Out

Went to Woking yesterday to help celebrate the 50th Anniversaries of Basingstoke Canal Society and Historic Narrow Boat Club, both of which I am a member of.

It was just a wonderful day - seeing people I had worked with (and formed long-standing relationships with) over 25 years of living alongside the Basingstoke Canal. Some, of course sadly no longer with us but I hope that wherever they are they too can look down and share the pride of a wonderful day which continues today as well.

I did take my crutches, mainly because I was concerned I may fall over on the rough ground (and of course to garner sympathy) but at the same time managed to walk, according to my iPhone some 8.89km - a record.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Progressing well

Updated 'walking' graph
I am using my iPhone to measure and not sure it is 100% accurate
I seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment.  I managed almost 6km yesterday according to my iPhone. Up very early to facilitate ITV's weather broadcast from Stoke Bruerne in conjunction with friends Steph and Mike. 04:00 starts don't seem to be my most favourite pastime these days!

No consultant appointments until April although I'll continue with my physio with Liz in the meantime as I think it brings huge benefits and has been a great help in my recovery; it's just over seven weeks since the new hip was put in.

I have today received the most positive letter from the registrar to the consultant I have - my friend José.  Although this is mainly for my sister, all those tens of thousands of miles away it just makes good reading.

This lady is doing incredibly well.  I am so pleased to see her running into the room and even able to perform a little dance.  She says that the hip was not particularly pleasant for the first three or four days and then has been gradually improving to the point where she was driving her sports car into hospital today and whilst she is still using a walking stick whilst outdoors her general function and mobility is greatly improved.

I am pleased to say she is Trendelenburg negative although she does feel some weakness and a bit of an ache around the hip abductors and the wound has healed very well.  There are no distal neurovascular deficits and she is very pleased with the outcome.

We had a long discussion as to the biomechanics of her total hip replacement and the longevity of her implant selection.  Overall she is very happy with the explanations given and I am pleased to say that she has a good understanding of what is happening.

She is very keen to get back to her narrowboat and I have explained that while there is a small chance of fracture specifically of peri-prosthetic fracture should she have any falls or tumbles this is low risk and as long as she takes adequate and sensible precautions I would be quite happy for her to get back to doing the activities she enjoys.

I have not arranged to see her any sooner than about 9 to 10 months but of course I would be happy to do so should she run into any problems or you become concerned.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Another Little Milestone

Owl starting up after coming down Buckby
breasted to Sculptor in June-15
This afternoon I walked all the way down to the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne flight of locks where I met friends Jim and Sue with their historic boat Owl and also their son Tim and daughter-in-law Jo with Hampton.

I walked all the way down and then back again - about 2 miles I should think but it is another little milestone on the road to full recovery. I do feel a little bit stiff this evening!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Blood Pressure

My blood,pressure has been all over the place recently from too low to too high.  I have been on some medication for that and today the practice nurse said that all was looking very good at 130/84 - not ideal but definately going in the right direction.

So what with a good report from the consultant on Tuesday and a good report on blood pressure today I feel as if I may be getting out of the (necessary I know) clutches of the medical profession who, on the whole, have done me proud.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Consultant Appointment

A record of my walking for 'physio' purposes
My consultant appointment originally scheduled for Monday was changed at the last minute to 14:00 today.  I saw José Blanco who undertook my original operation back in November 2015.  I walked in, spun around, and looked at him and he said that I could now go home as cured!

I had a lovely chat with José explaining in detail what had gone wrong with the original repair and how they had carried out their 'revision'; he showed me all the x-Rays and how the Dynamic Hip Screw had migrated vertically upwards - quite amazing to see.  We went into all sorts of detail about torsional, compression and shear loads; we seemed to have drawings everywhere of how things had been repaired (that's a revision); I am now very happy that I understand what has been done and the life expectancy of the replacement hip - José is rather hopeful that it may possibly see me into the long box - I don't suppose it will burn very well - but not to hesitate to shout if something doesn't seem to be right.
A Dynamic Hip Screw (bottom) in the
Fracture Clinic 'Museum'

José also explained why, in his opinion, it was right that I was prevented from weight-bearing for so long originally - 7-Nov to 21-Dec and it was all to do with the location of the original break.  He said that if I had been allowed to weight-bear earlier that repair would have failed earlier; preventing me from weight-bearing for the period they did gave, in his opinion, the repair the best possible chance. The fact that it failed was, with hindsight, almost inevitable.

I talked to José about the lack of physio.  He said that I should have been offered physio and a carer.  He kindly offered to arrange physio but as I had arranged my own and as I had made such good progress we decided fairly quickly that the moment had passed as it had for the need for a career.  I am so pleased I have Liz and can call on her to help when needed as it most certainly was when I was discharged from hospital on 21-June.

He finished up by giving me a big kiss and saying that seeing me so mobile after all these months made his job so very satisfying - that's good news. I must say in hindsight it has been a fairly tough eight and a half months.

My next appointment is not until sometime in April-2017 - I must say I am delighted at that because I am slightly heartily sick of being prodded, poked and interviewed by the medical profession.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Lots of walking

I have always had the view that once the surgeons have done their bit responsibility passes to me to ensure their work and expertise was worthwhile. To that end I have undertaken a lot of walking, much the same route here in Stoke Bruerne - up the towpath to the tunnel portal, a quick chat with Bob the Blacksmith, up the Boathorse Road to the intersection with the Woodland Walk, down the Woodland Walk, pausing for a sit down on one of the seats and then back down the towpath to home.  Occasionally I go south and walk down the line of the canal, with all its locks and then back again.

I have been averaging about 3k a day which I hope will meet with the consultant's approval when I see him on Tuesday.  I think I may have overdone it yesterday (4.5k) as I feel a little stiff this morning. I'll sort that out today with a shorter walk or perhaps ask my physio Liz to give my leg muscles a good massage when I see her on Monday.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A date for the fracture clinic

A phone call today whilst sheltering from the wonderful heat - 31c at 15:00 - to say I have a fracture clinic appointment for 14:00 on Tuesday. Another trip to the delights of Northampton and its hospital. I'll be interested to see the X-Rays and know what's been put in my hip!

Not too much walking yesterday as it was so hot but I still managed about 2.5km.

Wednesday is my friend Trevor's funeral - I have decided not to go as my doctor says driving that distance is currently 'crazy' and Trevor's mum agrees so it will be off to a local pub to raise a glass in his memory.

The heat is dissipating a bit now - it was stifling especially as there was virtually no wind to move any air.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Getting better still

Although I still get tired very quickly (my physio Liz says that's quite usual) I really do feel so much better every day.  The internal swelling seems to be going down which allows more movement in my hip.

My doc won't allow me to drive to Bristol (well halfway between Bristol and Bath) tomorrow for my friend Trevor's funeral and I can't find anyone who can 'reasonably' take me.  Hopefully my friend Steph and I will pop down to the pub at lunchtime and raise a glass in his memory.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

A lovely warm Saturday

When did we last have a lovely warm summer's day I wonder. Well we had one today and the next few days looks very promising.

I have walked quite some distance today - 5,565 steps according to my iPhone and I know that's at least two return trips to the tunnel portal. Total steps by the time I went to bed was 6,219 or about 4.35km - feeling it a bit stiff this morning so I expect it was too much so I'll take things a little less enthusiastically for the next few days!

My friends Mick & Suzanne and Chris & Terry are here so we all went to the Boat Inn last night. Today I saw a lovely front door 'bell' in the blacksmiths so after measuring up (it needed that) Bob the Blacksmith is going to come and install it next week.  Adam and Adrian popped in this afternoon and persuaded me to have an ice cream (against my better judgement of course!) so I have enjoyed a very busy day.

Tomorrow Rodney & Valerie, Mick & Suzanne and Chris & Terry and I are going to Woodward's restaurant and tonight my friend Tim Carter has William in the long pound so we are going to the Spice of Bruerne.  Too much enjoyment really!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Continuing Good Progress

My progress continues well - I can almost sleep on my right hand side but not quite.  It is four weeks today that my hip was replaced and just three weeks yesterday that I came home. I spoke to a lady on a boat going through Top Lock today and she thought I was weeks ahead of where she had been some three and a half years ago; long may that continue.

I saw my GP last night but he didn't seem too interested in the lack of post operative support I have (not) received so my decision to make a formal complaint direct to NGH seems to have been the right choice.

I went for a walk today with Pete Gray from Canal & River Trust to look at places a memorial bench could be sited - that really is getting back to normality. Today is also 'adoption day' in Stoke Bruerne when we try and maintain the land around the canal - I am not quite up to that yet but hopefully will be soon; I have been out to see 'the boys' and check on the work being done!

My iPhone says I have covered 2,243 steps today - not the most since my hip was replaced but it is only lunchtime! I haven't put many steps on this afternoon mainly because I fell asleep in front of the television - probably my mind was numbed by the media fawning over the change of Prime Minister.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Better and better

It seems I am getting better and better day-by-day - trying to take less in the way of medicines - still have to inject myself in the tummy with anti-DVT stuff every evening (it's looking very bruised) but there's only eight more days to go.

Still nothing from the NHS (I have copied in my MP - Andrea Leadsom - but I do think she probably has enough on her plate at the moment)! I am seeing my GP tomorrow evening for a 'post discharge follow up' but just remember that I was discharged on 21-June; the NHS really has to get its post operative care in a much better state than it is at the moment.  My friend Sam who lives just around the corner has had wonderful support from NGH (he sadly had a stroke) but my support is but nothing so perhaps it is not the NHS (or NGH) but it depends on what ailments one has.  Whatever the case I am not best impressed with the 'post discharge' support I have seen.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

A quiet day

Can you sew as well this?
We had a quiet day at home yesterday and a very naughty breakfast at the Navigation!

Lots going on a round here at the moment because it is British Grand Prix weekend just up the road at Silverstone so my neighbour James is very busy as he is a photographer and very involved in F1.  There are cars everywhere but as it is James' big weekend of the year whatever happens just happens!

Sue and I watched the semi-finals of the gentlemen's tennis; we are now set for a Murray v Raonic final on Sunday! Neither of us are that keen on women's tennis so today will be quiet.

I was 'doorstepped' by a man called Michael Crick who once lived in Stoke Bruerne who was seeking my views on Andrea Leadsom (my local MP) as a prime ministerial candidate for Channel 4 news.  I think she would be very good but I'd be slightly concerned that her duties may mean restricted access to her as my MP.

Hip doing well - the steri-strips are coming off now but the scar does look good and 'healthy' - assuming a scar can look healthy.

Just back from a walk - have covered just over 2.5km - about the length of Blisworth Tunnel (give or take).  Feeling my age at the moment but I really feel I do need to push at the boundaries a bit.  I was most fortunate in that my very good friend, Sue, who lives in Cardiff, is staying and could accompany me on the walk.

Friday, 8 July 2016

A day in Milton Keynes

My friend Sue and I decided that it was a reasonable (and mitigated) risk to go to Milton Keynes yesterday as I wanted to look into replacing my iPad, which has become a little slow as it was one of the original iPad Minis.  I had ideas of replacing it with a 'bigger and better' iPad but in fact replaced it with an iPad 4 Mini which in reality suits me just fine.

We had lunch at McDonalds and then Sue bought a couple things from the market and home again with no problems.  Driving the car feels fine and gives me just so much more opportunity and freedom.

We plan to pop down to the Navigation this morning for a 'proper' breakfast and then settle down to watch the men's semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Hip going well - I walked just short of 2km yesterday so progress goes well.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Post No 100

Well this is my 100th post since breaking my hip - goodness me have I really got that much to say?!

My friend Sue arrived from Cardiff yesterday - all the way by coach (bus for NZ readers).  She was kindly collected by my friend Vicky in Milton Keynes and we all have a lovely evening in the Spice of Bruerne.

Getting more and more flexible and mobility increasing day-by-day.  Off to see my Nurse Practitioner today to (hopefully) have the dressings removed.  It is important it is done my someone with medical knowledge as they can see if there is any chance of infection or something not quite right - the scar goes so far round my bum that I cannot see it properly!

Managed to drive the car to the doctor and back today - I won't do that too often but it does open the doors to freedom a bit wider.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Better again this morning

Yesterday I managed to go to Towcester and back on the bus - no problems at all and a good session with Liz my Physio. Got a bit sore in the evening but that was probably more to do with failing to remember to take the medication I have been prescribed than anything else.

Had lunch whilst I waited for the return bus (4 hours door-to-door by bus!) at 185 Watling Street. Very pleasant surroundings but hugely pretentious - £9:25 for a glass of coke (50% ice), a Brie sandwich and a few chips - no wonder it was almost empty.  I asked for the loo and was directed upstairs - I pointed out my crutches and was directed to the disabled loo which wouldn't flush - just needs a better manager in my view and one who will stop the staff spending most of their time on their phones.

Feeling much more flexible again this morning and have managed to sit in the car (easier than before) and practice an 'emergency' stop.  The car beckons very soon!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Leg moving a lot better

My leg (well the hip joint I suppose) seems to be moving a lot more freely this morning and hurts a lot less although I am taking the Paracetamol as directed - it seems an awful lot.

I am off to more private Physio this morning - still nothing arranged by the NHS as I think it should have been - how else will they understand my progress after 'investing' what my GP Practice Manager believes to be about £100K since I broke my hip. It does seem, to me, to be spoiling the ship for the halfpenny of tar.  Also no carer as was insisted upon - not a sign.

Update @ 18:15: No update from the GP Practice because NGH have not returned their phone calls!  That's symptomatic of a lot of organisations in this country I think.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Day 15

Well done to Wales for winning in Euro 2016 - not my favourite sport but the passion was amazing.

A lovely evening last night (good company and good food) with friends Anita and Tim on their little tug Milan which is moored in Stoke Bruerne at the moment. It is amazing how much just being in pleasant company helps the recovery process.

Big news of the day is that I had a shower this morning - first day I have been allowed one and it was so good - and I could wash my hair too - quite amazing how such small things make such a difference.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Another B&££dy shambles

I have been concerned over the last few days that the promised NHS Physio and a carer coming in twice daily to check things are OK hasn't happened.  It's always difficult to know when to ask why it hasn't happened; I decided that after the post was delivered by Dawn this morning with nothing about care or physio in it that the time was right.

I have just come off an hour's conversation with the Practice Manager at my GP Practice who is very sympathetic and utterly horrified at the treatment I have had.  He said that the discharge document from NGH had nothing about Physio or home care and after the operation I had it was imperative - it seems he has rattled a few cages in Fracture Clinic and Orthopaedics this afternoon. Physio is probably one of the most important things to undertake especially as the NHS have 'spent' £16,000 this time around to fix what went wrong. Not their fault that it went wrong of course. The Practice Manager has suggested that with all the care in Cliftonville before Christmas, the Dynamic Hip Screw fix and the subsequent 'revision' to give me a total hip replacement that the 'bill' to the NHS will not be far short of £100K - seems a shame to spoil all that work by not arranging the necessary help post operation which in cost terms is tiny!!

By the time the Practice Manager got through to the right person she had gone home for the weekend so I'll now have to wait until Monday to find out what the NHS (and specifically NGH) are going to do to help.

I am, of course, attending Physio privately because I think it is important but am still left to fend for myself at home in a Georgian designed house with a spiral staircase and 7" risers. Is anyone keeping an eye on me; well yes but only as they are able and they are not professional carers.

The NHS is wonderful with its clinical work but appalling with its after care - just remember it was like this the first time around in November/December-2015; I complained then and was promised it would never happen again - it's just not good enough!

Least we Forget

Despite all the issues of failing hips and the like today is about remembering my Uncle Tom, a 2nd Lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, who died at the Battle of the Somme. It must have been terrible - unthinkable.  Like the other 20,000 allies who gave their lives that day he did so that I (and if course countless millions of others) could enjoy our today's.  Thank you seems inadequate; I shall remember Uncle Tom every day.  Some records show that Uncle Tom died on 2-July but my belief is that it was 1-July.

See this recent account of his time in France.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Day 13

I very good session with my physio yesterday (actually she's technically a Musculo-skeletal therapist)  but when it comes to getting me mobile I don't think it matters what they are known as but rather what they do - I have the utmost faith in Liz and that helps but I came away feeling really good.

Today is staples out day - looking forward to that as they do irritate a little and I'll be able to have a shower rather than an up as far as possible and down as far as possible (without forgetting the possible)!

It's going to be a long slow road to recovery but speed is increasing and I feel a change from 1st gear to 2nd gear on the way.

Just back from the doctor (in fact it was Irene the practice nurse) who took all 35 staples out - they were not as I imagined them - tiny little W or M shaped spring steel things which I imagine relied on tension to pull things together - I feel much better without them.  I am further precluded from showering until Saturday in order to stop any infection getting into the little holes created by the staples.  Irene said that all was looking good but to keep an eye on it in case it oozes a bit.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Day 11

Well we are in to 'normal' recovery procedures now so I'll only update this as and when there is anything significant to report.

Recovery continues - managed to get to the museum and back (70m) yesterday with just a walking stick but I did feel slightly vulnerable.  Mobility is not my best subject at the moment.

Wimbledon starts today (weather not looking too promising) so that will entertain me for the coming fortnight and my very good friend Sue is coming to stay for the second week of Wimbledon.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Day 10

Not a good night last night; not sure quite what happened but I tossed and turned (as best I can!) most of the night.  I must say I am becoming heartily sick of the pontificators talking about Europe. The decision is made and we have to abide by that decision - now what do the prices of houses look like in New Zealand?!

Did go for a little walk yesterday - not far but far enough to make it worthwhile (the Museum) but most of the day spent watching rugby (NZ beating Wales, England beating Australia and South Africa beating Ireland) and bit of Euro 'soccer' stuff but that was just so boring I am afraid.

Hip continues to improve, albeit slowly; but it's probably better slowly and surely than a flash in the pan. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Diagnosis

This is the diagnosis sent to me following my appointment on 10-June.

AVN (Avascular Necrosis) of the right femoral head post DHS (Dynamic Hip Screw) and cannulated screw fixation done November 2105

We reviewed this lady again today in the clinic.  She was seen last time 6 weeks ago but she asked to be seen earlier than the expected appointment.  She complains of worsening right hip pain that shoots down to her knee.  Repeat radiographs today have demonstrated significant collapsing and flattening of the right femoral head with some kind of osteophyte on the lateral boarder of the femoral head and proximal migration of the cannulated screw with evidence of shortening of the femoral neck. Clinically and radiographically it seems that this has started to have some avascular necrosis of the femoral head.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Day 8

I managed to get myself in an odd position in bed sometime during the night and wondered if I'd ever get back to 'normal'. I did, very quickly, but it did concern me for a short time especially as my phone was out of reach.

Momentous events overnight - who knows what leaving Europe will bring - a new Prime Minister for a starter!

Hip doing really well - still 'sore' but I am making good progress with physio and staple removal already booked.

I am just not good at sitting about waiting for things (like hips to heal) to happen.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Day 7 of recovery

Back to NGH this morning, this time for an eye appointment (previously torn retina). I'll not be able to focus my eyes util about 15:00 today due to the drops they put in.

The hip is becoming more flexible and the stairs less of a psychological challenge.  I find sleeping on my back a bit of a challenge and would rather roll on to my side but I physically cannot do that at the moment.  Am sleeping well (really deep sleep during the day) and just biding my time as my stamina and flexibility return. Deep down I am sorry that the Dynamaic Hip Screw repair failed but, in the modern parlance, we are where we are so I have to make the best of the situation.  I'll have to miss going to the Braunston Historic Narrowboat weekend but there will always be next year but this year is a Grand Union year!

I am reminded of some advice my mother gave me many years ago - you are born with a hand of cards, I cannot change those cards but I can help you play them to your best advantage.  A bit of good old fashioned advice, still as valid today as it was when she mentioned it to me.  Bless her.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Day 6 of recovery

Ready to go to physio quite early which meant up, washed and dressed.  My friend from last time in NGH, Brian, came and collected me about 10:00 and off we went to physio.  I apologised to Sue who did so much to help me in November.

After the physio session I had an Occuptional Therapy session which involved making a cup,of coffee and a cup,of tea.  I was then signed of as fir to come home subject to medical approval! Medical approval came about 13:00 so I packed up and was wheeled from down to the discharge suite. I sat there until 18:00 when I asked why I was still there and everyone else was going home.  It turned out I had been dropped off the  transport list!  Not impressed.

Anyway home in a wheelchair taxi accompanied by Nurse Aid Claire who was delightful.  Claire took my suit case upstairs for me (that's sometime I just can't do at the moment) and then I walked (shuffled) up to the Museum Green for a BBQ and a performance by the Mikron Threatre.

On the whole a good day but a bit of a restless night - I thought I'd sleep much better.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Day 5 of recovery

A day of steady progress yesterday. I had a visit from Occupational Therapy (OT) and physio. Luckily all the remedial work I did in the house is standing me in good stead and, at the moment, it looks as if I may get home on Thursday this week, if not sooner.  OT need to be 'happy' that I can look after myself - no more talk of carers so I left that topic out of the discussions.

One of the issues I am going to have to face is that the muscles that were messed about with and cut to facilitate the dynamic hip screw repair in November did not recover fully (and in fact started to go 'backwards') before being cut again in a slightly different place to facilitate the total hip replacement. I think that means a lot of hard graft for me.

Lots of advice from friends and family who have had a new hip to follow the physio's instructions to the letter.  I think probably the most important thing is to take life quietly (what me?) and exercise plenty.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Day 4 of recovery

A day of highs and, sadly, an extreme low.

Night of 18-June I really didn't feel like eating so didn't bother, I had been feeling a bit odd and dizzy but thought I was over that.  Yesterday morning (Day 4) I felt quite awful, cold and clammy and sweaty.  The staff in the ward were wonderful and called the on duty doctor who took me away for a series of blood tests and ECGs - my heart was running at anything between 88 beats per minute and 140 which he was unhappy with.  He told me I must eat more and he would pop back and see me as he thought I may have a blood infection.  He did pop back at about 20:00 and said he thought it was an adverse reaction to one of the drugs I have been given; he would return about midnight to carry out some final tests - really excellent customer service I thought. I have had two more blood tests through the night with the last at 04:45!

I have a managed to go to the loo on my crutches and take my full weight on my new hip - great.

The extreme low concerns my very long standing friend Trevor Skoyles (lock keeper at Hanham on the K&A).  Trevor wanted to be my Next of Kin for the new hip and he was duly entered in all the hospital papwerwork.  I now have to remove him as NOK as Trevor, very sadly, committed suicide on Saturday evening.  I have spoken to Trevor's mother but there is little I can do from my hospital bed with her in Westbury - it is an unmitigated tragedy - Trevor came and stayed a fortnight ago.  I am lost for words.

Lovely vists from Helen Westlake and Trevor Morley this afternoon - it's amazing what a tonic such vists are. 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Day 3 of recovery

As the days go by things get better and better.  I don't particularly care having to be reliant on others I am afraid but I am getting better at accepting that I have to be, especially in the earlier stages of recovery.

The big thing today was not losing blood pressure when I stood up, caused I am told, by too many opiate substances being in my body; not surprising after the 'free' access to Morphine!

The nurses got me up at about 14:00 and I spent the next three hours sitting alongside my bed watching the world go by.  I have a catheter which at night is connected to a large bag but during the day is connected to a smaller bag attached to my leg.  I can watch it imperceptibly rise during the day. I imagine proper 'No2' will recommence shortly - it is really quite amazing that the body knows to temporarily shut that function down.

We had a lady admitted today who had sustained some cruciate ligament damage - I have never heard such a fuss (I assume it is painful) but the demands made on the nursing staff and the phone calls that went on into the wee small hours were a bit too much in my opinion.  At one stage we had an Indian family with their mother on my right scoffing Kentucky Fried Chicken and drinking large bottles of coke and I think someone spilt some 'poo' on the floor - really quite entertaining. One of the nurses came along and remonstrated which resolved the situation.

It's always quiet on the long term front at weekends but I am sure that after a quiet Sunday things will start to move on Monday - I think I am going to have to accept that I need a carer (for as short a time as possible).  I have an appointment with the Eye Department in NGH on Thursday (following my torn retina) so I'll see if it is possible to stay here until then to remove the need for someone to bring me in to NGH (and return again).

I decided not to apply for a postal vote for the Europe Referendum so I'll either not vote or need someone to take me up to the village hall on Thursday.

08:00 and a trip to the loo fully weight bearing (but very tiring) and 20 mins to produce almost nothing.  But it is something and we are making 'movement' as it were! I do however feel like a washed out, very used dirty dishrag!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Day 2 of recovery

A lovely, but brief, visit from Lynda and Sam at lunchtime. Sam, very sadly, had a stroke back in February and was at NGH for a follow up appointment.  In the evening my friend Helen broke off from preparations for Stoke Bruerne Family Festival to see me.

A fairly quiet and uneventful day except for the ongoing issues of the complete lack of blood pressure when standing.  This is very odd for me as I have always been prone to high blood pressure and that's a family history issue.  I understand the low blood pressure is as a result of the loss of quite a bit of blood during the hip replacement but not enough to require a transfusion and the use of morphine through the self-administered process available to me. The blood should have replenished itself by now and the morphine was switched off about 10:00 yesterday so I am hopeful that when we try again later this morning I should be OK.

I had a lovely visit mid-afternoon, from a doctor (Matt) to discuss my ongoing care.  He's very keen on a carer for a few weeks (months) but I find that, whilst a sensible approach, to be the first chink in my armour against getting older.  I suspect he is right and that I will need some help in the immediate future. Likewise he thinks an 'emergency' button around my neck/wrist would not be foolish - another 'capitulation' to getting older but the facts are quite clear:
  • In the immediate future not quite so mobile
  • A house that's not predisposed to infirmity 
  • The potential to do a lot of damage to myself should I slip and fall on the stairs
  • Peace of mind for friends/family
  • I live by myself
So here's to a standing test that doesn't leave me woozy and feeling sick and an acceptance that I may need to compromise on the levels of assistance I need going forward.

Update @14:15 - The good news is that I have just got up and stood on my two feet and sat down on my chair and have no signs of nausea or dizziness; well that is good news, another step forward on what is turning into a very long (226 days today) road to recovery.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Day 1 of recovery

A very quiet day here. I did get up at 10:30 but again felt very weak, sick and 'woosy' so it was back to bed within a few minutes. I don't think I have taken to this second operation at all well and perhaps that's because I have been going 'downhill' for a couple of months.  The operated leg really is amazingly sore.

I did manage to get some voluntary work done for Canal & River Trust - I know it is important work and it does keep me going a little.

In the late evening Binu (who seems to take care of me when she is on shift) found someone to authorise some more 'potent' painkillers and that worked very well in that within half an hour I felt much less pain and gave me the ability to 'exercise' the repaired leg.  I am also back on the self-administered morphine. I do wonder why I am experiencing all this 'pain' and can only put it down to the muscles being damaged in some way during the run up to the THR (Total Hip Replacement).

I'll just take each day as it comes and try and move forward as and when I can.

The Morphine was removed at 10:00 - huge amounts of paperwork to ensure the Morphine is accounted for.

Having trouble with my blood pressure - 115/86 when lying in my bed gut 86/50 when standing - we'll have to work out what to do - my BP has always erred on the high side so this is new ground for me.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

New Hip Done

Here we go again. Things were a bit chaotic yesterday. In here for 07:30 (thank you Helen) and then after registration and being moved on to my Ward (Cedar) I was sat down when the porters came at 15:15. The reason it was so late in the day was because Mr Maundy wished to do my operation personally.

It took two hours to complete but I now have a brand new hip joint and the responsibility for recovery now passes from the NHS to me.

The first thing was a sandwich and a cup of tea and then settling into ward life. No food or drink since the previous day.

Lovely, quite lovely, staff here. Lisa, who was looking after us overnight is a very special lady. About 02:00 I thought I needed a wee but could not produce anything. This went on until about 06:00 when a decision was to insert a catheter - I have produced a litre of wee in 30 mins.

I have been out of bed and borne weight on the new hip but I must admit to feeling a bit sick and dizzy.

I'll do my best to keep the blog up-to-date on a daily basis for a while.

Just had a visit from the Consultant - he thinks I'll be home in five days!

A one stage this morning:
  • My oxygen supply fell on the floor
  • The breakfast trolley missed me out (one sandwich since 20:00 on Tuesday)
  • My catheter fell out
  • My drip ran out
  • The consultant arrived
  • My (robe) had its supplies run through the arm holes so I couldn't take it off
  • I ended up sitting on my bed with nothing on

Not the most auspicious start to the day!

I had a lovely visit later today from the physio. They got me out of bed but I found I felt very 'woosy' and sick (probably too much morphine which is freely available to me) so it was back to bed. 

Also an equally lovely visit from Occupational Therapy to check what would happen when I am discharged. It seems, on the face of it, as if my discharge from here will not be until I am fully able to care for myself and that might be with a carer for some time. How things have changed from last time. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

In this world

My parents (I think it was my father) taught me a rhyme many many years ago:

In this world of froth and bubble
Two things stand like stone
Kindness in another's trouble
Courage in your own

Line three stands out for me at the moment because everyone who has heard of the challenges of my next few days has been unfailingly kind.  Likewise I hope I have shown courage in what lies ahead.

11:00 - Just back from the Doctor where I had to 'endure' yet another blood pressure check - it's was a bit high, inevitably and perhaps involuntarily, on Friday.  The doctor put me on tablets and this morning it is down to 150/90 which I think will help a lot to see that Wednesday goes ahead.

For some 'scary' images of femoral head necrosis click here

Friday, 10 June 2016

Oh Dear

A femoral head with AVN
Perhaps I could have been a little more forthright!  I attended Northampton General Hospital (NGH) after requesting an appointment.  The X-Rays, which were quite invasive, showed a badly degenerated right hip (well the ball part) which is crumbling like chalk - it is known as Avascular  Necrosis (AVN) and was one of the risks (1:10 chance) explained to me.

Sadly the femoral head has died but to give NGH their due they said it might, and they have me booked in for Wednesday 15-June as a trauma patient rather than an elective surgery patient.  Then another week or so in hospital and another six weeks of taking life easily - I think I'll just write 2016 off!

The document from which the above image came is here and is really worth reading - there's a number of causes of AVN - mine is due to trauma only!

Why do I have this problem?

There are many causes of AVN. Anything that damages the blood supply to the hip can cause AVN. Injury to the hip itself can damage the blood vessels. Fractures of the femoral neck (the area connecting the ball of the hip joint) can damage the blood vessels. A dislocation of the hip out of the socket can tear the blood vessels. It usually takes several months for AVN to show up, and it can even become a problem up to two years following this type of injury.

Some medications are known to cause AVN. C Corticosteroids (cortisone) such as prednisone or methylprednisolone are the most common drug known to lead to AVN. This is usually only a problem in patients who must take cortisone every day due to other diseases, such as advanced arthritis, or to prevent rejection of an organ transplant.

Sometimes there is no choice, and cortisone has to be prescribed to treat a condition, knowing full well that AVN could occur. AVN has not been proven to be caused by local injection with cortisone, such as one or two injections into joints to treat arthritis or bursitis. But some patients have developed AVN within the first month of taking these drugs orally (pills by mouth). Patients taking both corticosteroids and statin drugs (cholesterol-lowering medications) seem to have the greatest risk for developing femoral head osteonecrosis.

A clear link exists between AVN and lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol abuse . Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict or narrow thereby limiting the amount of blood flow to an area such as the hip with its already limited backup supply. Excessive alcohol intake somehow damages the blood vessels and leads to AVN. Deep sea divers and miners who work under great atmospheric pressures also are at risk for damage to the blood vessels. The pressure causes tiny bubbles to form in the blood stream which can block the blood vessels to the hip, damaging the blood supply.

Then there is a long list of other diseases and conditions that are associated with increased incidence of femoral head osteonecrosis. These are referred to as nontraumatic causes. For example, there is a link between osteonecrosis and more commonly known problems like leukemia, sickle cell diseases, and HIV infection and less well-known diseases such as Gaucher disease, hyperuricemia (a condi- tion commonly called “gout”), and Caisson's disease.

What does AVN feel like?

The first symptom of AVN is pain when weight is placed on the hip. The pain can be felt in the groin area, the buttock area, and down the front of the thigh. As the problem progresses, the symptoms include development of a limp when walking and stiffness in the hip joint. Eventually, the pain will also be present at rest and may even interfere with sleep. (I certainly am disturbed by the pain at night and when resting.)

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Is it reasonable?

Last Thursday (that's a week ago) I saw my GP about the lack of progress I consider I am making now; she agreed that I should be making quicker progress and further agreed to refer me back to my consultant urgently as, quite understandably, what's going on with my hip is outwith the range of issues a GP could reasonably be expected to deal with and she was concerned about my walking. So, in those circumstances, is it reasonable to expect that a week later a letter of referral would have been sent - well they do fax them? I already have a consultant so it isn't as if she has to find one for me. If I make my own private (at cost to me) appointment to see the same consultant the process is that I have to produce a letter of referral so the GP is the critical path.

The simple situation is that a week later, despite pressure from me earlier in the week, nothing has happened and the letter of referral has not been written and therefore not sent to the appropriate department within Northampton General Hospital (NGH). I really did think she was doing good things for me but I must say I am extremely disappointed given nothing has been done yet.  Is that a reasonable view to take I wonder?

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

It never rains but it pours

So there I was on Saturday, sitting quietly in the Canal & River Trust marquee at Crick Boatshow, helping blow up balloons with a helium canister when I noticed a number of 'floaters' in my right eye. I asked a number of people to take a look and nothing could be seen from the outside but from the 'inside' it was like a cobweb between me and the outside world.  I went to first aid who, like my friends, could see little out of order.

On the way home my friend Vicky decided that we should go via Northampton General Hospital as the sight out of my right eye was 'like looking through a frosted glass window'.  We discovered on arrival at NGH that they had an Eye Emergency department which we went to. It was just being locked up for the evening but they very kindly opened it up again for me and called in the 'on call' doctor.

The doctor's diagnosis was that I had a 'horseshoe' tear in the retina of my right eye.  He asked me to return on the Sunday morning. On the Sunday, try as he might, Dr Deol (who's mother I worked with in BA - what a small world) was unable to seal the tear so I was given an appointment at the Oxford University Hospital (John Radcliffe - OUH) Eye Emergency department for the Monday morning.

I was somewhat anxious when I arrived (courtesy of my friend Steve) but they were expecting me and made me feel less anxious and 'at home'.

During the next three hours I had the tear lasered but they couldn't do it all so I had a have a small operation (local injections in my eye) to freeze the remaining edges of the tear - I think the procedure is called Retinal Cryopexy.

My eye is now bright red (blood) and vision from it still somewhat blurred but am told that will improve slowly.  I have an appointment to return to NGH on Thursday 9-June for a review.

I must say the treatment I received both at NGH and OUH was nothing short of outstanding.

My friend Steph popped in this morning to administer my eye drops and says my eye looks much better this morning (Tuesday 31-May).

There's a very good video about Retinal Cryopexy here.

Why does it happen - well the simple answer is that it just does!  I am predisposed to it in my right eye because I am short sighted to the extent of -2.75 (anything above -2 is susceptible) and I am over 60 - not much I can do about either.  My vision, which is very blurry in my right eye at the moment, will, I am told, return to 'normal' over the coming weeks although I may lose a little peripheral vision when looking downwards - that means I won't see my tummy sticking out!  There's a very good explanation here.

Friday, 27 May 2016

No 6 of an occasional update

Back to my GP last night due to the pain in my right thigh (and because my physio insisted). I must say that my GP (Alison Otto) has been really helpful; she has referred me back to my consultant (not sure when) for him to investigate what is happening.  It really is most uncomfortable at the moment.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

No 5 of an occasional update

Had a session with my physio yesterday.  She says that the Ilotibial band (ITB) is so inflamed that normal muscle recovery is being affected.  Her advice to me is to revisit the GP (appointment made for 8 days time) and ask for a steroid injection to calm things down and thereby give the muscles a chance to repair themselves and possibly an MRI scan - what I am experiencing is not unheard of but is not common. The injection won't fix the issue but will give me the chance to let the muscles heal whilst the inflamation is held in check. I really struggled this morning and am feeling somewhat disappointed that my recovery has started to mark time.  Note to self - not break another hip!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Iliotibial Band issues

I have received a letter from my consultant today (Mr Northover) who mentions 'Iliotibial Band'.  I looked it up on Google (other search engines are, of course, available) and the 'diagnosis' I have read on Wikipedia is exactly the symptoms I am experiencing.

The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia on the lateral aspect of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, as it moves from behind the femur to the front of the femur during activity. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.

Mr Northover wishes to wait until October before deciding what the best thing is for me:

  • Do nothing
  • Injections to quieten down the Iliotibial band
  • Remove the Dynamic Hip Screw (it would make an interesting conversation piece!)
  • Remove the Dynamic Hip Screw and give me a new hip

Friday, 6 May 2016

No 4 of an occasional update

I went to see my GP last night (5-May) to ask for some anti inflammatory drugs as the hip was being troublesome.  I had been trying Ibuprofen bought from the likes of Lloyds and Boots but had not found them particularly helpful.  I also had used Diclofenic in the past and found that really good.  I asked for Diclofenic and kindly my GP had prescribed them and on a repeat type prescription. I do like doctors who listen and then act.

I have taken two Diclofenic pills so far and the change they have made is amazing.  I just hope I don't need to take them for too long.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

No 3 of an occasional update

A really good visit to my physio, Liz, this morning. She has an amazing, professional, knack of making me feel happier about how things are and sending me away not needing my walking stick!  But I suppose that's her job in life!

The muscle in my thigh which is causing the most trouble is the 'vastus lateralis' as it's causing issues mainly because it doesn't like running over the plate and the screws I have.  Liz says it may take another 18 months for things to settle down but that I should also see my GP (arranged for Thursday this week) to see if she will prescribe Diclofenic which, as long as it doesn't upset your stomach, is probably safer than Ibuprofen.  I shall discuss this on Thursday and see where we get to.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Update following visit to consultant

A very quick and efficient visit to Northampton General this morning mainly thanks to Steph Furniss of CRT who was kind enough to drive me there and back.

I saw the 'head honcho' Mr Northover this morning: 

  • The good news is the structure of my hip is very sound
  • He thinks I am way ahead in terms of recovery than he would have expected 6 months after the breakage and that I should continue to walk as much as I can
  • He could see the difficulty I was experiencing in bending around the joint which he thinks may be due to the big tendon running over the metalwork of the repair and being irritated by it. The options (in about 6 months) will be:
                              o Do nothing because everything is now OK
                              o Remove the metalwork
                              o Replace the hip
                              o Give a couple of steroid injections

  • None of this can be contemplated for about another six months at the earliest to give the hip more time to recover on its own
  • He said that I am quite unlikely to ever be without some form of very slight disability (e.g. a slight limp)
  • There is ‘damage’ associated with ‘anno domini’ which is more pronounced on my right (bad) hip and as ‘expected’

I popped into the ward is was on – ‘Abington’ and by chance spoke to the physio who thinks it will take between 12 and 18 months for me to get back to full fitness.

I feel much more settled now that I understand a bit more of what is going on.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

No 2 of an occasional update

Things, sadly, seem to be going downhill at the moment. Lots of pain in the big muscle in the area where the incision was made to fixate my hip.  The NHS physio has finished (I can dress, wash and feed myself) but I continue with my private physio, Liz without whom I would be lost.

Fracture Clinic appointment on Friday 29-April at which I hope they will give me some idea as to what is happening.

Not very pleased at the moment.

Friday, 15 April 2016

No 1 of an occasional update

I have spend the last couple of days staying with my friend Sue in a hotel in Kenilworth (a lovely market town with a great amateur theatre).  Sue is here to play bridge this weekend and we thought we'd meet for a couple of days.  We walked just over 7km (about 4.5 miles) yesterday which is the greatest distance I have walked in a day since breaking my hip.  

I still have a sharp pain sometimes in my groin area which is quite controllable with anti-inflamatories but I don't particularly wish to take drugs.  I see the consultant again on 29-April and recently spoke to his secretary to advise her of this little issue; she said the radiology team will take a close up image of that area!

Recovery is taking so much longer than I imagined but friends say how well I am doing - I see my progress every day so don't see the step changes that others do.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Day 141 (89) to Day 148 (96)

A fairly quiet week although I did go backwards (not unexpected I think) for about four days. There was a really sharp pain at the top of my thigh but as of the time of writing it seems to be going - thank goodness.

Most of the week I have been battling a chest infection - really quite tiring but I think I have that licked.

My last NHS physio this coming week. I have to be honest and say I don't think the NHS have delivered subsequent to the outstanding clinical care they provided.  I understand they are overwhelmed but to my mind they spoil the ship for that hap'worth of tar. I don't know where I'd be without the commitment and dedication of Liz at Working Bodies in Towcester. She has challenged me every time I have seen her event to the extent of calling me a waddling fat duck early on  - so I went home and thought 'She's not going to call me that again'!

Stamina is still the issue - some days it is good and others not quite so good.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Day 133 (82) to Day 140 (87)

Not bad bad week at all - still perishingly cold for March but had a very good session with Liz, my physio, who says I am doing very well.  She's given me what I call my 'ASBO' which is a 2lb weight I strap around my right ankle which in turn makes it quite difficult to walk - that's what it is meant to do and it is there really to try and increase my stamina.

I did make a formal complaint to NGH on 27-December because I thought they should be aware as to how they are perceived.   There's a link here to some information and some more here. We are now into a second period of extended time (10 working days each time) because it is (to quote) so complex to sort out. But in reality it is because the person handling my complaint is going on holiday for the second time - not good enough in my view.

I have a nasty head cold at the moment so the best thing is to stay away and let me get over it I think!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Day 125 (75) to Day 132 (81)

A pretty good week all-in-all.  Another visit to the Doc because they think my kidney function is not quite right. Why it is not quite right, why it wasn't picked up in hospital and is it connected to the broken hip is a mystery to me at the moment but the essence of it all is that they are concerned; all I can do at the moment is what they ask.  I'll need to get a bit serious with them soon. Results of the previous 'starvation' blood and urine test on Monday 14th.  14-March @ 20:50 - We have a result - all my blood and urine tests are 'normal' - what - me declared normal finally.  In all seriousness I am very relieved that everything has now returned to 'normal'.

A delightful call from 'Irish Pat' in the Ward (Abington) I was on asking how I was doing.  She seemed genuinely surprised how well I said I was doing - I can even now balance on my right leg alone now - it takes a bit of preparation and a lot of concentration but the old adage 'from little acorns oak trees grow' is probably worth remembering.

A number of people have asked me why I am not as quick to return to normal walking as someone is who has had a replacement hip - I have gleaned a few facts:

  • After four days of doing 'nothing' muscle wastage sets in
  • For every day of doing 'nothing' it takes 7 days to recover the muscle tone and strength
  • After a replacement hip you are up and walking either the same day or the day after so there's no opportunity for muscle wastage to set in and as it is usually a planned operation you can exercise before hand to build up muscle tone - if you fall over and stupidly break your hip there's no opportunity to 'plan'
  • I spent 7 weeks doing 'nothing' with my right leg so it's taking a bit of time to recover the muscle tone - my physio, Liz, says encouragingly that my thighs are now the same size again!

I have gone out a couple of times forgetting my walking stick (I don't even think of it around the house) which shows how well things are going - I do take it with me when going out because I don't think I could bear the shame of returning to A&E having fallen over and not having the walking stick with me. I imagine it will be my companion for a few more months.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Day 117 (70) to Day 124 (74)

It's the camera that's on the
slant not the bathroom!
Just a quick review of the week I think as things really are getting better with the occasional backward step. On Monday I checked the results of my blood test and was summoned to see the Doctor on Wednesday - something very complicated to do with kidney function (which I am taking seriously) and I now have another appointment for a 'starvation' blood and urine test next Wednesday - oh what fun.

The shower with the fold-down seat
Jim and Dave finished off the bathroom on Tuesday - it is great - I could dance in the shower but I am 100% sure that the underfloor heating isn't working as it should - time will tell.

Back to my private physio (Liz) on Friday - she says my thighs are back to almost the same size on each leg - I find it quite amazing how quickly one's muscles degenerate when not being used - there's a lesson there as we get older to keep going.

Still bitterly cold - well below March averages - let's hope it gets a bit warmer soon.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Day 109 (62) to Day 116 (69)

My friend Richard visited this morning and put a saucepan rack in my kitchen. Thank you Richard.  Bitterly cold again but with March around the corner I rather hope it will get warmer during the month especially as Easter is at the end of March. 

I see poor old Christchurch (in NZ) has endured yet another fairly strong earthquake over night (Sunday/Monday for them) - 4.3 on the Richter scale bit only a depth of 5km so a real shake poor souls.

Much better today. It was as if a good night's sleep fixed everything.  My consultant did warn me that days like yesterday would happen from time-to-time - he was right and they are not very pleasant when the do happen. Had a lovely shower this morning - there's still a bit of work to do but in the main things are finished.

The large piece of glass
disappearing into
my house
A really bad day today - I felt as if I had gone backwards down a really steep slope. Very tired and very sore.  I put it down to sitting for 2 and a half hours at a CRT meeting in a very cold (bitterly cold in my view) meeting over lunch.

Jim and Dave finished off most of the bathroom work today - they had to take a large piece of glass up the outside of the house - a bit scary but they managed it with ease.

A quiet day looking after the boys as the make great progress with the shower - it really looks good but we can't get the glass partition up the stairs (well they can't) so on Friday it will be hoisted up the outside of the house to the middle bedroom window - I'll get some photos to record what happens.

A busy day today.  Blood test at 09:30, tea and biscuits for the boys, a meeting with CRT in the Museum at 14:00 and an appointment with the NHS Physio in Towcester at 14:45.  Interestingly she advised me that for every week of no movement it will take seven (7) weeks to get full muscle tone back so that's the end of November for me!

Off to Westbury in Wilshire today for the funeral of of my very good friend Derek and to support his wife Georgie and sons Julian and Trevor. Mike P very kindly insisted on driving me there and back. If funerals can be good it was a very good one.  Poor Derek has been slowly going for about 11 years and finally succumbed to the inevitable on 9-February. I was very pleased to be able to go.  On the way back Mike and I stopped in Devizes for a cuppa. 

Awful smell in the house when we arrived home because the sewer was 'blowing' up the pipe - soon fixed with a piece of cling film!  All the tiles on one wall fell off when the first one was removed - it must have given the boys a fright.

Jim and Dave were meant to start work on my bathroom today but unfortunately Dave's daughter was ill so it will be tomorrow when they start - I'll be away in Westbury (Wilts) for the day. I had a session this morning with Liz (my private Physio) in which she had my leg in all sorts of positions - I understand the bone is very strong but the muscles are still in need of attention - and don't I know it after today!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Day 102 (54) to Day 108 (61)

Blowy and gusty again today but as with yesterday only scheduled to last a few hours. A busy week coming up with Jim and Dave doing the bathroom all week, Physio on Monday, Derek's funeral in Westbury on Tuesday, a blood test, a CRT meeting (in the museum) and further NHS Physio on Wednesday - relaxation on Thursday I hope and I'll maybe get to use my new shower by then.

Still a bit stiff this morning but almost no pain in the hip and 'quad' muscles - all very odd and unpredictable! Walking so well (a relative term!) today - very strange it all is.

The new bathroom cabinets
There will be mirrors in the doors
I have undertaken a little more research on Trendelenburg's this morning and found this. It seems quite common and a likely by-product of a hip repair.  I shall keep doing the exercises the Registrar suggested and check with 'my' Physio, Liz, when I see her on Monday. However quite stiff and sore today - I wonder why that is - most days are good with the odd one here and there a bit of a step backwards.

The bathroom cupboards - the curved
one is for the main bathroom
I popped over to Weedon this morning to see Jim (who is doing my bathroom and the little ensuite in the top bedroom) to see what the furniture looked like.  The larger 'cupboards' will have frosted glass basins let into the tops. There are more images of Jim's work here.

I did a day for CRT in Milton Keynes today and got struck in to what CRT think are winding holes and what independent map makers think are winding holes - there's quite a bit of difference!

A letter from the NHS when I got home reporting on my visit to the Fracture Clinic last Thursday - I was surprised to read I have a 'Slightly Positive Trendelenburg' stance which suggests an instability in my pelvis and something to do with either my muscles and/or nerves on the side my hip was broken.  The comment says I will not show this stance in three months - I hope that's correct.

A fairly quiet day - looking in my wardrobe for something decent to wear to Derek's funeral next week. I think I have found something at fits the occasion and adds a bit of colour to to the event in celebration of Derek's life.

My friend Mike delivered an excellent presentation (no PowerPoint thank goodness) last night at the monthly Friends of The Canal Museum meeting.  All about his 20, or so, years in Stoke Bruerne which was finished off by a bit of excellent mucking about on his trumpet - I wonder what Village at War will bring. I had a lovely evening meal with my friend David Daines in the Navigation prior to the FoCM meeting.  

Jim (the bathroom man) called me today to say he would start on Monday next (22-Feb) which is good news.  I shall be away for one day attending the funeral of my friend Derek in Westbury, Wilts.  My friend Mike has banned me from driving and will take me which is very kind of him.

Nothing like so stiff this morning although I did keep up on the exercises the consultant prescribed. A sharp frost overnight, but no more cold than I remember in the early 1980s - I get exasperated by the media who do go on and on and on about how cold it was last night. It is a typical winter's day today - bright, clear and frosty - just what a winter should be - my only change in lifestyle will be that I shall be a bit more careful when outside in case I slip - because I know only too well the consequences of slipping! I have a real fear of falling over - no more gin then!

Last night I started the exercises which my consultant had suggested would help. The longer term answer is that they do work, of that there is no doubt BUT I was so stiff this morning I could hardly move!  It took a walk to the tunnel portal and back to get things moving again but I do think the longer term result is good.  Maybe after a few 'consultant' exercises I won't be quite so stiff in the mornings!

Still bitterly cold with a biting NE wind.