Solipsism and Me

Idle reports from an idle fellow

How I spent the festive season

with 6 comments

So what happened was this: Thursday before Xmas, I started my shopping by buying Lilette a present, and then had a coffee and sandwich in Cafe Nero on the High to celebrate. As I was walking out, I almost collided with someone else walking in, havered around a bit on the steps, lost my footing, and landed on the pavement, with my left leg twisted into a non-sustainable position. I then found I couldn’t get up, and went through an increasingly surreal sequence of events, being rushed off to A&E at the JR in an ambulance. What larks. A sequence of people came and looked at me, and prodded me. and then wheeled me off to another room to wait for expert opinion which, in the event didnt come. So that evening, eventually, I was wrapped up tight in bandages and sent home. The next day I checked into the aptly named “trauma unit” for more inspection by the experts. Who decided they weren’t quite sure whether or not I needed an operation until I’d been scanned by ultrasound so they gave me a rather fancy metal and velcro splint affair to wear and told me to come back the next day. Which I duly did, (at 0845 in the morning, gulp: fortunately Belinda was visiting and willing to ferry me). The Ultrasound man, when he finally appeared the next morning, on the basis of several screens of what looked to me like meaningless static said *he* couldn’t see any serious damage. But the Real Clinician, a no-nonsense avuncular character, said that was nonsense, and stuck his fist into my knee producing an alarmingly large hole to prove the point. Your quadriceps is ruptured, he said firmly, and we have to repair it. Go home now and we will call you in after Xmas. So I went home, still sporting my rather fine splint, and had a rather subdued but still very nice family Xmas and boxing day, pottering about on my crutches and not having to do any washing up. On the afternoon of the 27th they called me into the JR so off I went with a change of underwear and shirt, and a nice book to read. I will not drone on about hospital life on this occasion, since I think there’s rather more I would like to say about it than anyone probably wants to know, but just remark that it’s not unlike sitting around airports waiting for planes which are always being cancelled for unexplained reasons, having to go through equally inexplicable arcane procedures, and generally feeling completely powerless within an enormously complex system, probably intended for your long term benefit but which you’re not completely sure about. I was labelled on both wrists, drawn on with a pen to show which leg was to be sliced up and pronounced nil by mouth. The next day (28th) I sat around in this state until lunchtime, when they decided they wouldn’t be able to get round to me that day, so rescinded the “nil by mouth” bit, which meant I got to eat some cauliflower cheese and another evening’s hospital entertainment.
Finally, on the 29th, I was trundled off, knocked out, sliced up, repaired, and trundled back, at some time between 11 and 15h. Then I had two days in recovery, which was an emotional see-saw from deepest gloom at having to depend on harassed nursing orderlies for help with the most minor personal ablutions to elation at the point that the nice physio lady showed me I could actually walk if I just tried it a bit harder. New Years Eve I was given a new dressing for my wound (“very nicely healed — no ooze at all” — I haven’t looked) and offered a choice of colours for the plaster cast. The last time I saw a plaster cast it was actually made of plaster of paris and it was white, but that was circa 1959, and nowadays you can have it any one of a number of bright colours and it is made of fibreglass: amazing. I chose royal purple.
The next day, being 1 Jan, they said I could go home, which was a great relief, even though there are too many stairs in my house and the heating is erratic — but there is only one dotty old cripple here and it’s me. So yes I am at home now and for the foreseeable future. I have to wear this enormous purple cast for the next *six weeks* apparently, and do some strange exercises that will eventually make it possible to flex my knee again. I don’t know when I’m going to be in the office again, but I am hoping I’ll be able to give my BNC workshop on the 15th, though probably from a wheelchair assuming I can lay my hands on one by then. (No, all of this was not carefully planned so that I could assess OUCS current provisions for wheelchair access!) I’ll know more after my follow-up appt at the traumatic clinic on the 10th.

Written by Lou

January 4, 2008 at 22:16

Posted in Biographical

6 Responses

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  1. I suppose the purple cast is a positive.

    Get well soon!


    January 5, 2008 at 6:40

  2. Hi Lou

    At least you’re not missing out on any weather worth having.


    Stuart Yeates

    January 5, 2008 at 14:26

  3. You poor thing Lou!

    Thanks for sharing your story – looking forward to seeing purple plaster-cast soon!

    I wonder what ‘options’ there are on the theme of ‘nil by mouth’ – I mean, why not just ‘nil’ … unless they suspect one might consume something in some other interesting way!


    January 5, 2008 at 15:01

  4. On other occasions and in other hospitals I have met folks named “Nil by Mouth” — and always thought it unfortunate that the names of both parents were not given (“Nil by Mouth out of Accident”) — but never observed anyone so clearly ENJOYING the experience as your photograph indicates that you were doing.

    Seriously, I hope that the recovery time passes quickly and that you mend well.

    David Barnard

    January 5, 2008 at 17:11

  5. I’m assuming ‘Nil by mouth’ means that it is fine for you to have enteral feeding, i.e. a ‘drip’.

    Get well soon Lou, I’m sure OUCS will fall apart without you here. The building is already complaining by not having the heat on.



    January 7, 2008 at 9:56

  6. better get well soon…

    else post more blog entries to amuse.



    January 8, 2008 at 15:18

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