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

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.