Tales of the Unexpected
This story of mine took an unexpected turn on 15th of February 2020. The year of the COVID-19 pandemic! My experience had little to do with covid19!
I somehow fell as I was putting a bag from the front side door of my car into the back. I fell backwards and ended up in the gutter with my right hip dislocated and my femur broken and my right wrist broken!! A simple fall resulted in these very traumatic and life-changing injuries.
Reflections on 2020
All the world turned to Chaos,
The Frantic Disturbing Unrest.
Bush Fires Ripped through Southern Lands
And killed a Billion Animals.
In the North Great Floods and Storms
Ravaged both Town and Country.
STORM rose from the Clyde with
Her Sad Angry Eyes
To remind us,
What have you Done?
A World Pandemic, a Killer Disease,
Re-evaluate our Lives,
Can we Stay
With that ?
Can we Accept the Change?
Can we Think?
Before we buy so much Stuff that fills up the Land,
Before we Waste our Precious Time Here,
Before we Criticise and Judge one Another,
Before we make War with Each Other,
Before we Pollute the Land Air and Seas,
Can we let her Breath
Can’t breath I Can’t Breath
That Vision, that Sound
He Couldn’t Breath
We Can’t Breath
She Can’t Breath.
I fell Backwards into a dark and Threatening
The Wild Wind Tormented city streets and country lanes,
And rivers overflowed.
I lay in the Gutter with my Leg turned
Wildly Out of Place.
Like the Leg of an Old China Doll.
I fell Backwards into Lockdown
As I was carried Up the Stairs.
I was Locked Up,
Unable to walk back Down
Unable to get Out !
Time turned to Spring
And Spring to Summer
And Summer to Autumn.
Nature Lets Go so Gracefully,
So Bright her Colours
Of Vibrant Decay.
In Every Season, she Lets Go
And Welcomes the next with Open Arms.
Would that we could Let Go so Gracefully.
I worked and Healed,
And I got Down and Out
Into a Warm Sunny Garden
To Feel the warm Air on my face.
To Look Out over the Fields
To the Wide Horizon,
To Breath in the Summer Air
With it’s Sweet Flower scents,
To Hear Birdsong louder and Stronger
Than Ever Before.
The Noise of the Traffic was almost gone.
No Planes flew in the Sky,
And we Stayed Safe
In our Houses and Gardens.
We were Lucky
We could Breath
Clear Fresh Air
And The Earth perhaps Breathed Easy
Lg December 2020
It is strange to me now when I think about how I seemed to just accept it. The pain of course was intense and probably dulled all other responses I could have.
I was with good friends who phoned for an ambulance and waited with me until it came. I remember a couple of passers by offering help. The ambulance crew were brilliant and soon had me medicated to dull the pain and off to Accident and Emergency at the hospital.
I was looked after well but had to wait two days until there was a space for me to be operated on. I was given a new ball for my 10-year-old hip replacement, a femur nail inserted and my wrist was recast. My wrist was put in the first cast in A and E.
Those days are a bit of a blur. I had a huge amount of organisation to do for my work. I somehow managed to do it with my phone and my right index finger as I drifted in and out of consciousness.
It was fourteen days until I wrote my first account of what had happened.
I called it the one finger blog. Here is that story of my journey back to fitness and my continuing Dance with Arthritis and Injury.
ONE FINGER BLOG
Testament to the uncertainty of life.
Today is day 14, 14 days since my life changed dramatically.
What I have manifested? That simple, seemingly little fall and everything changed!
It had been such an enjoyable evening with Mairi Campbell and the Pendulum Band. .
My good friends were there thank goodness. I was screaming on the ground in such pain as I have never known. Ambulance phoned by my friend was on its way. The ambulance crew were so quick and brilliant on the scene with pain killers and careful handling. They drove very carefully so that I would not be in too much pain. I was made as comfy as possible but big damage had been done. I had smashed the hip prosthesis, broken my femur and wrist all on the right side.
Such a shock, and Oh the fragility of life!
14 days and I have not been to my house. I was bedridden from Saturday 15th February until Tuesday 18th when I had major surgery first thing in the morning.
Bedridden, peeing, pooing, washing all dependent on nurses. It seems like a bad dream to me now and I wanted to write before it becomes a blurred memory. I do remember the pain when nurses had to move me to prevent bed sores and to pee or poo. I remember too a lovely night nurse bringing some tea and toast or was that after my operation? Both I think
I was dependent on others for everything!
The days between surgery and my first drastic walk on the stairs seem blurred too. I think I was moved from ward 108 to 209 for supposedly quicker rehabilitation!! They got that wrong for sure!
I was so overwhelmed by the noise and the screaming in the small room for four people. It was often crowded with many more visitors than two per bed!
One new day I am feeling better. Must be a few days after surgery.
I have been able to use my new friend the large Zimmer! It is a tall frame with wrist rests. It allows me to be independent to get to the toilet, although I still have a catheter in from before the operation. In those bedridden days I became unable to pee lying down even when my bladder was full.
Sharing a room for me has always been uneasy, so this hospital sharing was a real trial. I got very little sleep. I worried about the disturbing the others and they disturbed me. My tall Zimmer friend allowed me to have the catheter removed and become more independent. My problems were not over because I then had cystitis and urgency which was an absolute nightmare! One toilet between four and a shower in the same room! The faults of standard NHS rehabilitation and aftercare are all here! Drink to keep blood pressure up and help cystitis! Iced water! Peeing more and more! Then on the Sunday after the operation two physiotherapists came and wheeled me in a chair at a fast pace to some back corridor stairs to practise! with one crutch!
Up I went one flight of about 12 steps with the help of the two physiotherapists, round a corner and there are another three steps. Up with the good leg ok! I understood why. The stairs sort of mimicked the house with a hand rail on the left. So, I must have had the crutch on the broken arm with the plaster on! Coming down become a huge problem! My arm in the cast sliding down the handrail. Down with the bad leg! I was not keen but they assured me they were there to help. First step down with the injured leg and my knee and thigh gave way out to the side and I yelled. I could not get support from my right arm in a cast on the handrail!
I am screaming and shouting,’ Is there not another way down, no help, no lift, no stretcher?’ I yell. “No, you have to go down” After I screamed and shouted a long time, they called another physiotherapist for help and between the four of us we got me down. I was so very shaken and could not or would not put weight on the right injured leg. I didn’t have Xray after the operation that I knew of. Why the stairs then and so many of them I may never know. I was left alone with only nursing care for another two days. I am bedridden again until an Xray on the following Tuesday told them everything was ok. My right foot was still so turned out that I was sure the leg was injured or hip dislocated again. This was such a huge memory in the time before the op and again after. My heel felt so huge and always bumping against the other leg. Mr Moran, the surgeon comes around on a Wednesday morning.
How are you? He asks with not even a hint of a smile or a compassionate manner.
‘I am terrible!’
Why Is that?
WTF! are you kidding me? Is this a joke?
I am screaming inside. Why don’t you know or acknowledge what happened on the stairs!
I am not as thick as you seem to think! Something went wrong on those stairs and I will get to the bottom of it!
Zimmer walking begins again! I had lost so much confidence and the young Irish physiotherapist asks me why I am so tense! He has brought me a sort of trolley thing with four wheels and a tray in preparation for discharge. I am totally petrified! Yes, I am walking like a marionette, so scared to look down, perhaps to fall down. Four wheels don’t feel safe. They could run away from me faster than I could keep up! He takes my friend the large Zimmer away!
There you are as Always
Standing at the end of my bed.
Your loyalty I must Cherish
You never leave me once.
Your Strong Arms Reach out to me
Come Dance with me Today.
Will it be a slow Dance
A waltz in Floating Skirts
See me in that Red Dress
Hiding the metalwork.
Your Strong Supportive Posture
Helps me take the Steps
My legs are not my own you know
So lean on yours I must.
Or maybe it be a Tango
Showing off my Back
Wrapping myself around you
Our bodies intertwine
Its all imagination
For now I must accept
There will be no Dancing
Just learning How to Walk .
I didn’t get much sleep in that hospital room. A wee rest in the afternoon was really needed and recommended by the nurses. There was no rest the next day. Just as I was lying down, a reluctant occupational therapist arrives and tentatively asks or tells me she has been asked to practice transferring from bed to chair in her office along the corridor. I did that yesterday with your colleague! Do they keep notes at all?
They want to get me out as soon as possible. The operation is done and there is not much concern or resources for proper rehabilitation.
Now I have decided that Astley Ainslie hospital would be great for me. It is a rehabilitation department. My home has so many stairs and the prospect of being stuck inside with nowhere to walk to worrying me. I know from my previous hip surgeries, that walking is a must for a good outcome and rehabilitation. No no-one will have that conversation. Is it not for the likes of me? I wonder why? I would like them to know who I am, and particularly I would like them to know that I am fit, I am Dancer and Pilates teacher. No, I did not use a stick or walking aid before!
Off we go to the cramped little room and I get from chair to couch but I can’t get back up! AND she has lost the tool to lift the bed up! My operated leg swings out at the hip at a certain point in my ascent! Is this the same problem that I had on coming down stairs? I think that it is! Eventually I get up with a lot of courage and help.
I ask that I can keep the Zimmer frame and not be reliant on the trolley because it allows me much needed independence to get to the toilet. I needed that so very much for my mental recovery! Reluctantly it is left in the corner of the room for a while!
First of March
The Zimmer frame is helping me to walk a little more like normal. My leg still does not seem right to me. When it bends at the hip and knee at a certain point it just feels like it will collapse. I would really like to explain and have my concerns heard. I would like to know if this is normal. I would like to know what I am dealing with here. Do I have a lasting disability? Why was I asked to do so many stairs so soon? I have no confidence with the trolley with four wheels.
Wrist X-rayed again.
I am offered community service options but not a convalescent place. I must go home without being able to go up and down the stairs. House bound!
I asked many times and eventually the physiotherapist takes me to practice on some stairs in a gym. Very unsteady and fearful but I did it. It was like climbing up a ladder so I felt a bit light-headed.
My confidence is so very much less this time around. This is probably due to the trauma and shock and the fact that I am older.
I had the worst sleep ever. Peeing, noise, snoring from the bed across from me and the lights kept on! How can I face the physiotherapist today!
Now I have to go home and try my best to work on being able to get up and down the stairs.
It is the start of the COVID 19 pandemic and hospitals are really working at getting as many people discharged as possible.
At home I have to wait around six weeks for railings and banisters to be put on the stairs. They take me up using a sort of chair stair climber. Oh, so good to have own bed and peace and quiet!
I have the trolley with me and am more confident now. One of the local occupational therapists has brought me a bath seat! Oh bliss! What bliss to have a shower sitting on it. My partner has had a chest infection and still very breathless. He has to help me in and out of the bath seat and put my cast into a plastic cover. For me it is a huge joy to feel the warm water on my face and body! He also is able to help me go up and down a couple of stairs. Progress is being made but as the young physiotherapist said ‘its gonna take a long time’
Today I woke early and ate a cereal bar and an orange before dressing and frying an egg. It tasted so wonderful. I savoured the bright yellow creamy yolk and the nuttiness of the bread. I feel so tired sitting in the dining chair. It is really not comfortable but it is the only place that keeps my hip at a ninety-degree angle. The posterior incision method of hip replacement they use here means there is a high risk of dislocation on hip flexion in the first 6 -8 weeks after surgery. Most of my thank you presents, notes and work organising is done for now. What the future holds I have no idea. This is the gift of the present and acceptance of what is right now.
I can feel myself getting better every day and trusting my left side and left leg more. Would it have been any different if I started with less stairs and a gentler approach!
I am learning what it feels like to be disabled and ask what am I called to do with that knowledge and experience?
Doing two stairs a few times with my partner helping to support me. No physiotherapists can visit because we are now in a lockdown because of the COVID-19. It is a very contagious virus. I feel that my right leg just floats around without any control!
A friend came today and brought me some luscious oranges. Many friends on the phone but still the time to do is mine alone. Many things I am reading now come together in an increasing stream of conscious awareness.
The days go by slowly as I look out of my bedroom window. I become a little less tired and do a little more each day but this clearly, is not meant to be a rush back to what my life was before. I was tired! What parts was I still enjoying and what was difficult and draining? I had to keep going and propped myself and my joints up with coffee and knee supports! Something had to give, to change.
Grumpiness starts again. He doesn’t want to do any cleaning or other things that need done around the house. There can be no discussion of how I feel and the enormity of what has happened!
My 67th birthday came and went without incident! There are older people who have survived worse.
Now the thing is this COVID-19 and how it could be an even bigger challenge. I am kept out of circulation due to these injuries and I wonder why. No physiotherapy except telephone conversations to boost my efforts.
I cry in the mornings sometimes. In my solitude I cry. I tell myself its allowed. I sooth myself. I tell myself that I am a veteran at this really.
Stripped of the ability to even write properly now, I ask “what the fuck am I supposed to do?”
One month on in March and I feeling stronger every day and I am able to walk in the house with one stick in my left hand.
My mood swings dramatically up and down!
My program of rehabilitation exercises is well underway.
19th March, one month since my operation. I was lucky I was just ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic!
I am remembering all the physiotherapy from my previous hip replacements and I am up to seven times on the two top steps with help. I worry how I would cope just now if my partner became ill. I will never believe anything is certain again! I know that many people have many more challenges. I can recover. I can be my own physiotherapist. I have the knowledge and the experience.
I am concentrating on what this experience might be teaching me.
22nd march 10 times on the stairs
Lockdown for 12 weeks! We are lucky, we are able to get food delivered and we have enough money. I have mortgage protection insurance so all is well. It is scary thought. We see and hear reports of large numbers of deaths and people on ventilators. My partner cleans the house well sometimes! The more this goes on the more we realise it is not going to disappear after 12 weeks. We don’t have enough space to quarantine and would struggle if one of us got ill. And yet there is a lovely stillness and time to reflect and learn.
I don’t want to go back to doing as much as I was doing.
By the end of March, I can do 14 stairs but am scared to tackle the flight down 12 in one go. My legs don’t feel normal or trustworthy. I don’t know what the future will be.
On 4th April severe thigh pain started. I had to go to Accident and Emergency and after an Xray I was assured all was ok and it was simply irritation at the end of the femur nail. Home with pain killers. We took as many precautions as we could. I took the alcohol wipes and hand solution and changed my clothes and shower when I returned. We both did because my partner had to help me. I was given crutches to walk with instead of the trolley.
Another trip to the hospital for the removal of my wrist cast came soon after. Despite wrist exercises I have now developed what is probably carpel tunnel syndrome in both wrists. Writing is not easy but I want to do it!
Stair banisters were finally put in and with the phone encouragement of the physiotherapist I went down all 12 stairs. 8 weeks after surgery is so very different from elective surgery rehabilitation!
On 15th April I had a call from an arthroplasty physiotherapist. She reassured me that there would still be pain from my femur break and not to stop pain killers.
What will I go back to? What will I be able to do? What is important to me?
Exercises going well.
My version of kitchen ballet and Pilates plus some on-line seated classes.
I have worries about how I am going to pay mortgage if I can’t work and to be honest, I don’t think I could or should do as much. I was very tired before this accident and propped myself up a lot. The breaking of bones ! Metaphysically bones represent our deepest core energy and our highest spiritual energy. The breaking of bones can indicate a deep inner conflict. A break implies that we cannot continue state as it immediately hinders our movement! A fundamental change is needed!
I got outside today – what a step forward. I am still taking some painkillers but decreasing them. This huge sore on my leg is still a problem. This has been there since December 1919! However, I am grateful for my health every day
21st April I am signed off physiotherapy. Still a long way to go but I will get there. I have so much more ability than many others. Now straight leg raising and bridging good. Walking up to 20 times around the garden in the warm sunny days. My partner has made a bench, a garden seat. I go out there most afternoons and sunbathe or walk whilst he makes more things and a new fence. The Spring is warm and sunny and I love the feeling of the warm air on my face. I am very grateful for the garden.
I can’t get down the path. I am afraid of the slope. I can’t get to the gate or even imagine driving or walking normally or dancing!! I have lost so much mobility and I can’t make sense of it. This lightness in my head when I look up gives me a sense of losing balance.
On cloudy days I still walk in the garden. 11weeks and I am stronger, walking is stronger and I am not so afraid of wee slopes. Knee raising better and flexion a bit better although still difficult.
I taught a Pilates class on zoom on 30th April! What a step!
Itchy skin is returning as is the pain left side of head behind my ear. I wonder why. I am feeling called to study metaphysics.
Just over 10 weeks and I need Glasgow council to give me a longer time to deal with my father’s affairs. I will need to clear and sell his house in order to pay for his care home fees. He went into a care home at the start of the lockdown. He had been deteriorating over the last year and after another spell in hospital, he decided it was time to move. This was a huge blessing because I could not do anything for him.
Today I got in the door myself by turning and putting my good leg in first. Ah! these little successes mean so much joy. Next down the path.
I am studying metaphysics and doing much more creative stuff. I move to music and write every day as well as sounding. My left-hand side has been neglected. This all feels SOOO good.
Its just over 12 weeks since my operation. After my previous elective surgeries, I was almost back to normal at three months.
It is so light in the mornings as summer slowly makes its way to us. I awake at 4.30am and go back to sleep if my wrist pain will allow me to. I had a lovely lazy morning because I can now get to the shower myself!
My partner was in a good mood and a little conversation was enabled. Perhaps a caravan in Spain is in my plans I venture. I must be careful and remember to speak with honesty integrity and awareness understanding and more. He drove me to Cockenzie in the evening and I was able to walk along the prom there. This is the furthest I have walked so far and it felt brilliant! My legs are feeling much stronger and steady.
I can walk to Monktonhall and further each day to a little park where I can sit in the sun to rest before walking back. Could I have walked that far before?
I am studying metaphysical reasons there might be for my arthritis and my fall.
I have started zoom classes for my own clients and hope to make up for the loss they had when I could not continue the winter classes.
An opportunity arrives to do a Solo School with Henry McGrath and I really feel this is for me.
Through June and into July I continued with Pilates teaching and increasing my own exercises. These are mostly on my bed and seated but soon I will be able to get onto the floor.
The Solo School was a wonderful experience. It felt so very good to have that one-2-one connection and feedback on what was coming up for me and what I might take forward.
What did I manifest
What are they?
I wanted out of my current living situation.
I wanted to speak about the future, my future.
I want to feel at Peace and Happy in my Home
There isn’t anyone who gives a fuck
Not now not ever
How can I cope ?
This Person is not me
I have left that woman that fateful night.
This is someone else
Outside of me .
Is she a better person?
I don’t know.
What she has to get through now.
Will it make her a better person?
The person I was is not in me anymore
OR is she?
She is in the past , laughing, excited
Feeling the joy.
She was searching for you
Amongst the remnants of her Ancestors, searching
For Clues, for Guidance, for Answers.
She made a mistake
Now she must pay or Change!