Manic Monday

Monday 13th May was supposed to be the busiest day since my surgery, although not all of it went quite to plan I suppose it was really. I will try and cut an incredibly long story as short as I can and put it in blocks for easy reading.

Socket Casting
We were up exceptionally early to be at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for 08:30, left early, beat the traffic and had no trouble parking when we got there either. I was in to see Lynne (my prosthetist) on time and we sat and had a bit of a chat to start with. She asked about the surgery, medication, how the stump felt etc. etc. She had a look and feel of the stump and asked me to push against her hand as hard as possible forwards, backwards, out to the side and in towards my other leg. Although there was some muscle weakness in a couple of directions she said I’m strong enough to be able to walk. She told me that although my Rehab Consultant had said that I would probably spend most of my time in the wheelchair she would try and do all she can to get me walking some of the time. With some of the bulk gone and the shape of the stump having changed she has decided not to go for a suction socket now. I was a bit disappointed at first but the more she spoke the more I thought this would be better for me. She is looking at using liners and as my stump also seems shorter than it was the Pin method could now be an option where it wasn’t before. Now I have to apologise here because as soon as she mentioned that I kind of homed in on it and didn’t hear much else. This method is where you wear a rubber looking (more correct terminology and information when I have it) liner that you roll over the stump. There is a long metal pin sticking out of the bottom of it with circular grooves cut in it towards the end. The spike fits in a hole and teeth grip the little groves to hold you in place. You press a little button to release the jaws and you just slide out of the socket when you want to take the leg off. I don’t think I’m having that straight away but will be using a belt etc., I think, to secure the socket to start with. She is going to get a little valve put in just in case we want or need to use it at all. She is hopping that with liners a tight socket and firm fixing we can reduce the amount of tissue movement to help delay or even prevent another bursa. Apparently there is also a back up of some gel that she can put at the bottom of the socket too if needed. With my suction socket I would get it on properly after a couple of goes, if I was lucky, but normally 4 or 5 attempts were more the norm. She is hoping with a different system we can get me in first time more of the time, which will make life so much easier. This is all trial and error with no guarantees but as we said we have to give it a go and see what happens. I was given a sock to put on the stump, out came the jig and a couple of different sized cuffs. The first one I tried I couldn’t get into so it was quickly swapped out for the next size up. After a lot of pushing in from me and pulling down from Lynne I was eventually in, a bit of angle changing and it felt OK. She was using a new cast bandage which had no powder on it at all, it was clean, worked in moments and was a little warmer than the last style of bandage she used. The cast fell off the cuff but can be popped back on with ease. She makes a model of my stump with plaster using the cuff and cast she has just used and created. Lynne will then shape it more to my shape at the top of the cast and then it will be given to the technicians to make the socket. I go back on the 30th May for my fitting. We got home by about 10:30 ish where I got my bag ready for the evening, had lunch and then got in uniform ready to leave for County HQ as soon as Rodney had left.

The Author
As some of you know I have been assisting the Author Rodney Dale with his new book, fiction based on firm fact of a young lady who looses her leg in an accident. He came at 13:30 and went over the few chapters that I have reread now it is all laid up in its ready to print form. I spotted a couple of things that needed changing but it was nothing major. It has been an eye opener but very interesting to see the processes (and there are many of them) of writing a book. Finding out about the other people who are involved, their role and timings of printing, reviews and publishing. It’s a lot of hard work and when you don’t know if you will have a big market for it or if people will like it then it becomes a big gamble too. I think if you are going to write your first book then you need to be doing it while having an income as you never know what sort of sales you will get till its out there. I think Rodney has done really well with this book as its and easy read from teenager to pensioner and everyone in between. I’m not fictional reader but even I have found it held my interest and I wanted to read it rather than having to read it. I have quite a few chapters left to read before we meet again in a couple of weeks, then not too long before it will be published.

Army Cadets
By about 15:45 Dad was giving me a lift in to our Headquarters at Waterbeach, I had two meetings that evening one with a Cadet for a news story and the other was a more business meeting. When I got there I managed to get in on my own as all the disabled facilities had been installed and the Quartermaster gave me a whirlwind tour of it all. They have done a great job and although the money ran out for a couple of bits all the major stuff was done. My only gripe was regards my express concern at the meeting about the sink in the wet room and that it would be big enough to be off use. They put in exactly the same sink as in the Cadet HQ I was staying in at Annual Camp last year. It would be inhumane to keep a gold fish in it and you wouldn’t be able to keep a goldfish in there as there is no plug to hold the water in the sink. To be honest apart from cleaning your teeth in it is a waste of space, the only improvement on the other sink is that the water pressure is not so high that as soon as you turn the tap on it shoots out all over you, small mercies I suppose. We were told that is the regulation size sink so that is what we had to have, they also argued about the shower head as they only installed a bar high enough for someone sitting down and not for a fully able person to be able to stand under it, regulations again apparently. The Cadets parent phoned to let me know the he would be late for our meeting and later the Cadet phoned himself to say he would be later still. Because I had the other meeting I had to cancel the Cadet one but can reschedule that for a later date. I was glad that they had contacted me to let me know the situation, our Cadets are brilliant and had no doubts he would let me know if something meant he couldn’t make it. My last meeting started late too, it wasn’t quite as great as I hoped it would be but learnt something and how we can take things forward which was a positive outcome. Although the evening didn’t go quite as planned it was great to see everyone over there as I do miss the banter and involvement of being there in person.

It was a long hard day but the positives outweighed the negatives, which is how I like my balance to be tipped.  I’m kind of looking forward to and almost excited about the new socket and seeing where we go with it. I hope that it will be an improvement and easier than before. I must stay positive but not too eager just in case it doesn’t go as well as hoped, a fine balance which I must learn to master.

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