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

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Day 82 (34) to Day 89 (41)

Still walking well this morning although a bit 'sore' overnight. I was going to watch the Murray v Djokovic match this morning but I see Murray is already 0-4 down as I write this so may be not at the moment. Went out for a walk today but was rather unpleasant weather-wise with a cold wind and constant very fine drizzle.

The lady who is kindly helping me keep the house in order, Jo, (there's a number of things I still find difficult) had me clearing out cupboards and the like; I have done another four this week so there's only my wardrobe left to do!

I woke up this morning and after about 10 mins found I could walk without any 'pain' at all - I haven't had very much pain during this whole 'episode' but today is was quite amazing that there was nothing uncomfortable at all - I just wonder if there is a nerve trapped somewhere that is slowly releasing itself - I'll need to keep up with the massage I think.  Apart from that a quiet day but there's a few ideas running around in my mind about making storage of 'things' in my house better - I'll need to discuss that with Jim Birch from Oakcraft Narrowboats I expect! 

I enjoyed the tennis from Melbourne this morning and the fact that a new person has won.  I wonder what will happen tomorrow when the 'old' protagonists Murray and Djokovic do battle.

A letter from the Fracture Clinic this morning saying I had an appointment for 11-February but I also have one for 5-February which doesn't seem to have been cancelled - I'll need to check with them on Monday.

A day when I felt very mobile - no problems coming down the stairs, no problems parking the car some 300m away from the Doctor's surgery when I needed to go and pick up some more Adcal-D3 (Vitamin D supplement) - it must be working because I haven't broken a fingernail for 3 months! I am sure all the stiffness and perceived lack of mobility is entirely muscular but I also suppose my visit to the Fracture Clinic on Friday next week will tell. A busy week next week as regards the hip - Physio on Monday, Blood test on Thursday and Fracture Clinic on Friday.

I spent today with Cand & River Trust in Milton Keynes working on their project about winding holes - I now have a list of  'official' winding holes in the South East (Stockers Lock to Kilby Lock Bridge, to Radford Semele and down to Oxford) and any issues that have been raised about them. The plan is to address any notified issues and, if at all possible, list the maximum length of boat that can be winded if not 72'. 

I went over to see Jim at Oakcraft Narrowboats in Weedon today - his workmanship is a sight to behold - beautiful - if we can do a deal on my bathroom it will look lovely. This was my first 'major' outing on my own and I managed to get in (and off) a couple of Narrowboats successfully.

I spent the morning helping clean exhibits in the Museum next door. I enjoyed my time doing that. In the afternoon Jo came to help keep the house in order and we spent a wonderful time cleaning out the cupboard under the stairs and getting rid of things I really don't need.  Very cathartic in my view.

A quietish day but also a visit to my (private) Physio; Liz says she is very pleased with my progress and that my upper leg muscles on my right leg are getting very much stronger. It is really very surprising how weak they become over a relatively short period. Some friends have said that it must be costly seeing Liz, it is, but I see it as an investment in my future.  The NHS Physio doesn't wish to see me again until 24-February; I think it is important to keep the pressure up to get back to full fitness as soon as I possibly can so I continue to see Liz.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Day 74 (26) to Day 81 (33)

24-Jan (32)
Able to come down the stairs this morning one foot after the other rather than always leading with one foot (leg); that's yet another little milestone. Physio tomorrow with my friend Liz at Working Bodies. I am surprised that the NHS have said I don't need to go back to them for 4 weeks but Liz thinks I need weekly work. I know I am paying for Liz and that the NHS is free (at the point of delivery) but still feel that seeing Liz is an investment in my future rather than a cost. I haven't used any form of walking aid since Friday; I am quite pleased about that.

I went for a walk this afternoon with my friend Mike; all the way to the tunnel portal and back - about as far as I would wish to walk at the moment but nonetheless a little milestone in my recovery I think. I did take my walking stick I am afraid.

23-Jan (31)
Saddened to read in the NZ papers today that Alec Whishart who had formed a band in the 1970s called Hogsnort Rupert had died.  They had two very memorable songs, Pretty Girl and Aunty Alice brought us this - typical Kiwi stuff but I do remember so well going to hear them in Oamaru in the very early 1970s; their songs still bring a smile to my face and oodles of memories. What made them more endearing to me was that my beloved parents didn't like them! But then I don't think they, like many parents, liked their offspring's choice of music in their teens!

Making slow but sure progress with the walking.  Friends who visit say they notice great improvement but of course I see it continuously and don't see the shifts in improvement. It's the 'quad' muscle that seems to have its nose out of joint.

My friends Ken and Sue (and their lovely Boarder Collie Holly) sent me a lovely jigsaw during the week but, although I knew something was coming I didn't know what so I completely forgot to say thank you until prompted by Sue when she asked if it had arrived - I am very embarrassed by my lack of manners.

22-Jan (30)
The improvement in my mobility seems to continue - no pain in the left leg overnight  so I can only assume that there has been some kind of inflammation in my upper right leg which is now under control - great!

A meeting this morning with CRT's Director of Marketing at the museum and a trip into the tunnel and back again.

Took myself into Milton Keynes in the afternoon and walked to a meeting (albeit with a walking stick) so that's another little milestone.

21-Jan (29)
Well I got up this morning and zoomed around the bedroom as usual.  However the odd thing is that I have continued to be able to 'zoom around' all morning. I took some anti-inflamatory drugs yesterday and again this morning; I can't think of anything else that may be the cause of me being able to walk so well. They weren't anything smart - just Lloyds Pharmacy own brand ones.

20-Jan (28)
Jim Birch from Oak Craft Narrowboats came to see me today. Mainly about a shower with a larger enclosure as I have always found the current one a little small. I think we'll do a little more than that so I await Jim's quotation with interest.

NHS Physio today - all went well and Joyti doesn't wish to see me for a month as she thinks I am making excellent progress which is good news - she said I must understand that the work to fix my hip was a big operation.

19-Jan (27)
All day with CRT in Milton Keynes - even got to write a little HTML - that takes me back to BA days! I was very surprised how tired I was last night - dragged myself upstairs but I did sleep very soundly!

A bitterly cold day but a wonderful frost and a sparklingly clear day - driving in to Milton Keynes with Lee King (Lee is charge of the maintenance engineers from Stockers Lock to Leicester, across to Hawkesbury Junction where the North Oxford and Coventry canals join, down to the Blue Lias on the Grand Union in the Stockton area, and then south to Oxford) was just a great experience as I had time to look over the wonderful countryside.

18-Jan (26)
A quiet day with a visit to my physio (Liz) in Towcester at midday. I enjoy going to see Liz as she pushes me to do thing I hadn't considered or do do things in a different way all of which help. I find, following Liz's advice that swinging my arms (however odd it may look) helps hugely with my walking!

Very cold overnight with the canal covered in a thin skin of ice this morning! I am sure it will melt very quickly with the forecast for rising temperatures and a some wind and rain on the way.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Day 66 (18) to Day 73 (25)

17-Jan (25)
A view from my front door this morning
Snow overnight as predicted. I haven't been outside as I am not quite sure how I'd explain things to A&E at NGH if I slipped and damaged my hip! It does look beautiful until someone walks along the towpath and it takes the 'virginity' of the snow away.   I am amazed how the snow has clung to the branches of the trees - normally it melts very quickly but I don't think the outside temperature has risen above 0 Celsius so far. A bit of a restless night but making my way around the house very well this morning.  My consultant did say that I would have times when progress seemed to be slow (a plateau he called it) - I think I may be past the most recent episode of that.

A lovely visit today from Steph and Steve Furniss and their one-year-old daughter Eliza - she climbed my kitchen stairs which I understand was a first for her.

I stumbled across this article on Vitamin D - makes interesting reading despite the attached video being just so American.

16-Jan (24)
Today is Sculptor day so am off to a meeting at 10:00 (luckily just next door at the museum) where we'll discuss things such as the programme for the year and the forthcoming Boat Safety Inspection (think MoT but every 4 years).

I have enjoyed such a good day today; I have not (hardly) needed the crutches and hardly needed the walking stick.  Things became a bit sore about 17:00 but I am not really surprised so it looks as if the walking corner may have been turned but I suppose I'll have to see how tomorrow goes.  I managed to take myself to Tesco at Mereway, get the car washed and do my little bit of shopping (a little bit of shopping always seems to cost a lot!) without the need for a wheelchair - one crutch and the Tesco trolley were quite sufficient this time.

15-Jan (23)
A quiet day today; it's still a bit sore to walk unaided - maybe I am expecting too much - I have noticed that I am fine when I first get up in the morning but as soon as I have sat down the soreness comes back.  I think it may be because my leg has lain flat for the night and as soon as I sit down I put pressure on it in a different way.  I am seeing my Physio on Monday so I'll ask Liz what it might be - it just could be I am expecting too much!

14-Jan (22)
A day for helping CRT in Milton Keynes - Sarah picked me up at just after nine and I spent the day in MK busying myself trying to do what I could to help.  I found it most interesting to have the shared e-mail open on one screen looking at issues being raised by the public and the discussion going on on the internet about exactly the same subject!

13-Jan (21)
Today was 'adoption day' in Stoke Bruerne - the day when, once a month we do our best to do all the little bits that need doing between the tunnel portal and the bottom lock. Sadly I can't at the moment join the team doing the physical, outside, stuff so I spent most of the morning with Steph in the museum doing what I could to help - mainly having a chat I think. I made myself a lovely (even if I say so myself) macaroni cheese for my evening meal and managed to freeze four additional portions for later in the week.

I think I may have discovered why, when I get up, the leg feels good but very shortly afterwards doesn't feel quite so good - it doesn't seem to like me sitting down; I'll discuss that with my Physio on Monday.

12-Jan (20)
I spent today volunteering for Canal & River Trust at their Milton Keynes office.  Sarah Brown kindly collected me and brought me home again.  It was so good to get out and have what my dear old dad would have called 'social intercourse'. I hope what I accomplished was useful.  Sarah, Amy and I had a lovely meal in the Navigation (thank you Amy).  I am going back on Thursday so I must have done some good or given someone a good laugh!

11-Jan (19)
Today is the first day of getting back in to 'normality' or whatever passes for that at the moment. We have Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership monthly meeting this morning and then I am off to Towcester to see my 'private' physio - that sounds so American - but I have been seeing Liz Soames at Working Bodies  for some time to help keep my lower back in order. I expect Liz will give the muscles on my upper right leg a good massage to help get them going again.

The visit to Liz was amazing - she seemed to massage almost everything and gave me plenty of good advice.  I was able to treat my friend Helen to lunch in Waitrose as she was kind enough to drive me to the appointment.

When I arrived home there was a letter from my GP advising that I needed another blood test in four weeks time - not sure why but I have made an appointment for 4-February - there must be a Vampire somewhere who likes my blood!

10-Jan (18)
Not such a good day today - very stiff for some reason which I shall put down to the exercises I have been doing that were given me by the physio at the Brook Health Centre.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Days 64 (16) to 65 (17)

Decided to publish this one as well because there was a milestone event today when I drove my car (Mazda MX-5) for the first time since breaking the hip.  That's going to give me a huge amount of additional freedom.

Nothing too much in the plan for today but I am going to the Spice of Bruerne with friends tonight;  I find being confined to home that going out for a meal is a really good tonic (if only the Government wouldn't keep telling us we should't drink - in 5 minutes time they'll find a reason - after protests from the licencing trade - that alcohol is good for us)! A bit more success today - I have managed to get in and out of the car and operate the clutch and brake with no problems so it looks as if James and I might go for a little drive tomorrow. Well James popped over and we've been to Milton Keynes (known as MK around here) and back with James and me driving (not at the same time you understand) and got the car going again (as it were) and topped it up with petrol.  All systems go now!

A lovely evening with friends in the Spice of Bruerne finished off a milestone day.

My friend Fred visited today - haven't seen Fred for a number of years but it was as if we had seen each other yesterday - reminiscing about all the fun we had enjoyed over the years. We had a lovely lunch at the Navigation, both choosing breaded plaice and chips - no need for an evening meal then! Fred picks up a brand new MX-5 on Saturday - seems MX-5s are the in thing to have these days!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Day 63 (15)

I thought today probably warranted a post of its own because there has been a lot of progress. I had an appointment at 11:45 this morning at the Brook Health Centre in Towcester with Joyti.  She had me walking about 30m without any crutches or walking sticks - that's great progress I think. She's the first physio I have encountered who was so positive about the progress I have made and who encouraged me to do things I hadn't considered.  She said that the bone repair, whilst weak still, is well on the way to being strong. She has sent me home with a walking stick which I am allowed to use around the house but it must be crutches outside - I can live with that. She's also given me exercises to do to improves the strength of my hip muscles so again (and large elastic bands to restrict movement so I have to work hard to move); we are back to the ball being in my court for progress.  She says I could try driving again but that she would prefer me to wait another week or so as the way one sits in the MX-5 one's knees are slightly above one's hips so it looks as if I shall be able to take myself to the next appointment with Joyti on 20-January.

What delighted me today was that when I arrived at the Brook Health Centre my friend Emi (who used to work at the Canal Museum next door but one) was waiting there to see me having read on my blog that I would be there.  Emi - thank you so much - it was a wonderful surprise and so kind of you. Emi had been in her native Japan during the time I was at NGH so it was the first opportunity she and I could meet.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Days 57 (9) to 62 (14)

Decided to publish after six days as a lot seems to have happened and a lot more probably will over the next few days as I swing into the NHS being back at work.

Today is GP day - it will be interesting to see how things go. 10:50 - Just back from the GP - I now have a prescription for Calcium and Vitamin D supplement and have had a blood test for which I should have the results by Monday or Tuesday next week. I did think they were very efficient considering the waiting room was full to bursting point and they were very kind in that they arranged for the GP to come downstairs rather than me struggle upstairs. The GP wouldn't commit himself on driving and said that was up to the Physio - I expect the Physio will say it is up to the Fracture Clinic and so we will go round and round!

A lovely day out with my friend Mike today; we went over to Braunston in order that Mike could pick up a very small part from Midland Chandlers (but of course they didn't have it).  We popped into The Plough for lunch - very disappointing and so cold - the fire was almost out and there was no atmosphere at all.  On the way back we stopped in Towcester and did a little shopping and had a visit to Waitrose.  In the afternoon I had a phone call from NGH and was able to make a Physio appointment for Thursday in Towcester; my friend Steph has kindly said she will take me.

The ache returned to my hips this morning for a short time - it must be the way I sleep! My friend Roger (as mentioned in entry for 02-Jan) is visiting today - that's very noble of him since he became a grandfather for the first time on 2-January - congratulations Maggie and Roger (and of course Claire and Lewis). Things must be returning to normal as I have a batch of cheese scones in the oven as I write this! I enjoyed a lovely time with Roger and a very nice lunch at the Navigation.

A small success this evening - my toenails have grown and grown but tonight (with a bit of a struggle) I have managed to cut them (and quite well too).  That's one thing the NHS will not do for you because they are cautious that they won't accidentally cut you and then you sue them for injury - do how silly that is!

Last night (well this morning really) was the first morning for ages I have woken up without a real ache in my hips - something must be improving somewhere - I am a bit stiffer this morning but that will wear off during the first part of the morning I am sure. Off to Woodwards again today with my good friend Lorna. A lovely lunch with Lorna to mark the end of the Christmas holiday period and a time when life tends to return to 'normal'.

A really miserable day outside today but on the positive side I am managing to 'scoot' around the kitchen ('scoot' being a relative word you understand) without any pain - well almost. There's been a couple of boats through Stoke Bruerne today - I think any self-respecting boater would be tucked up warm on their boat with the solid fuel fire going well.  The Basingstoke Canal Guide (left) was kindly sent to me by my friend Roger (who does so much for the Basingstoke Canal) and features my beloved Leo No2 on the front cover. The photo was taken at Arthur's Bridge on the Basingstoke directly outside the Bridge Barn Hotel. I sadly sold Leo 3 months ago but with my broken hip I suspect it was probably, with hindsight, a good thing as I could not have boated on her for quite some time.  I do hope the new owners are enjoying their time with her.

My right hip is feeling so much better this evening.

A quiet night last night - not really ready for dancing yet - have now found that I can walk across the kitchen without a crutch and without too much pain if I keep my knee just slightly bent. Off for lunch at Woodwards today.

A lovely lunch with lovely people and I managed to get there and back on my own!  Before lunch I popped in to see David and Jean Blagrove - David has not been at all well and has, I think, lost a lot of weight but despite the weight loss he looks well in the circumstances.  We are both concerned about the lack of Stoke Bruerne representation at NGH!