So on Wednesday, exactly one week after surgery I moved to roehampton, with the help of Morgan, her Brother Oliver and his girlfriend Sammi!
It was nice to get in the landy for the journey even if I wasn't allowed to drive it - come on DVLA, get back to me and clear me to drive left footed!!
I was sad to say goodbye to Parkside. Having a room to myself was a treat which I am already missing - the only person I'm eager to share a room with is Morgan and so 5 blokes (all, I think over twice my age), in my space is simply not the same! I'll also miss the food. Parkside is a private hospital, an expense worth incurring to get the surgeon Mr Ward who, along with being keen to be filmed, by all accounts is renowned for being incredibly good man to have chop your leg off, without NHS waits enduring pain and limitations. I'll also miss the food at Parkside. Here at roehampton, back under the care of
the NHS (which, for the record never ceases to blow me away!), is a little more basic food for the masses...
In reality, I digress given the food I eat and the sleeping arrangements are of no importance or interest to anyone bar me! The biggest issue is that not only am I in a WiFi free zone but signal is something which simply doesn't exist on the ward so I am connectable everytime I go outside/to the entrance foyer of the hospital so don't expect quick responses to texts/calls/tweets/messages/comments...
So having made it here to Roehampton around half twelve as previous planned we had the odd moment of turning up to the bed which was due to be mine and discovering the man who had the bed before me hadn't actually left yet so we dumped my stuff and made a subtle retreat to find some food! I didn't feel it was my place to boot the guy out, or put him under pressure - thatd be all kinds of awkward!
So Wednesday in all honesty, very little happened. I briefly met Abby, my physio who told me where to go Thursday morning where we would get started. Beyond that I answered lots of questions so that the nurse could check their records were correct and to be honest that was about it beyond getting to meet some of the other patients!
Thursday morning and rehab began with a being in the gym by half nine having had breakfast, a shower and set myself up for the day! It was good to get started with some core exercises, leg (what's left - my short leg as Morgan calls it as a nicer term than stump), and hip exercises as an aim to help to prepare my body for the stresses of prosthetic limb wearing when the time comes. Having spent the last year or two making improving my core strength and fitness one of my top priorities, it was satisfying to really make my physio scratch her head to try to find ways to think of exercises that would challenge me! It was satisfying that in the end, she was giving me exercises which I could do but with a lot of effort which I then challenged her to try and she really struggled - not bad for a bloke with a titanium crammed spine!
I'm really aware of how lucky (don't believe in luck but you know what I mean), I am. If your going to loose a leg, being otherwise fit and well, and knowing in advance that it will happen allowing you to put in huge amounts of prep work makes a huge difference to the rehab process (so far at least)!
Part way through the morning I was pulled out of the gym to have the wound examined (new hospital, they like to check these things). Having taken the dressing off, the nurses response looking at it was "Mr ward really is the best!" I concluded from that that it was all looking good so happy days on that front. Because it was all neat, clean, not oozing, or wet I'm now just covered by a standard glorified plaster dressings just to keep it clean. Following that I was presented with my stump (or little leg) compression sock. Basically it's a snug fitting tight that compresses the stump to limit swelling and help mould it into the best possible shape. That's right, I wear tights and will forever - get over it. Any time I am not sleeping, or wearing a prosthesis, my stump sock sill be donned. As Morgan kindly pointed out, it looks very sexy - I imagine she was being totally genuine at the time! I've avoided getting any ladders so far so Im doing well.
After a busy morning it was lunch back on the Ward, followed by Morgan and Milla (friend from Carroty wood days) arriving which was lovely and at about half two I made a move back to the gym for some more physio. Because the wound was looking good, I was given the chance to get myself up on my foot in the ppam aid. The ppam aid is like an inflatable prosthesis which covers your whole leg and allows you to partially weight bare. It's part of the training process and it helps with swelling, desensitization, and to practice getting on your feet to some degree. Because it covers your full leg you have no knee movement so it's an odd movement but it's good to be on your feet. For my first go I was just working within the parallel bars but I was amazed at how well it went with various laps of the bars done just on the first go. It's fair to say it hurt a bit but less than in was anticipating given the bruising and the wound! In theory, when I next get in the ppam aid I'll be using crutches as apposed to the bars!
Following physio, Morgan, Milla and I made a break from the hospital and had a little run away to be anywhere that wasnt a Hospital. We headed up the road not knowing where we were heading and ended up in Barnes where we had a wonder (they walked, I wheeled) before going out for a meal. It was really nice to get some freedom and some non hospital food with company of my wife and our friend. Upon return to the Hospital they left for home and I went to the gym, blagged myself an induction there and then, had a workout which felt extremely refreshing before attempting some degree of uni work... Progress is being made, I'm not sure it's my best work but itll do!
As Friday morning roles around its looking all set for another day of phsyio. Accoreding to my timetable (which gets written up on a whiteboard above my bed each day for the following day), I'm expected in the gym from 8:30 til 14:30 with an hour and fithteen break for lunch at midday! Hopefully it will prove productive and beneficial.
Stump continues to do well. Pain well managed by the drugs although I do need to keep weaning myself off the oxycontin as its opiot based and extremely addictive apparently. Phantom sensation remains a very regular thing pretty much all the time but not really bothering me... Phantom pain springs up occasionally here and there as a sharp shock, generally if the little legs been still too long. If I get it moving/gently message the stump it settles down pretty well on the whole!
It's incredibly weird being here and going through another rehab process! In many ways it's incredibly similar to the Stoke Mandeville set up which in some ways is good because it gives me the advantge of knowing roughly what to expect and so on, but at the same time its hard work for morgan and myself. Theres that real sense of you know what, we've done this before and don't have any desire to do it again.
Ultimately though, it's what we are doing so we may as well do it well. One of the inpatients was talking about what seemed to be the average stay for an impatient and how well they could walk when they left. It was interesting to listen to his views but in my head I was just thinking stuff that, there is going to be nothing average about my stay! I WILL either progress stupidly fast and be discharged much faster than average or I'll stay an average amount of time and be discharged with mobility levels that are unheard of upon standard discharge! Hopefully both of those things! I have come to the conclusion average people get average results and so I refuse to be average!