So, there I was, lay on a spinal bed, thinking about all the things I had promised to make people. See, I make button jewellery, button bouquets and other crafty things. I make and paint canvases and like to decorate whatever I can get my hands on really. Eager to get out of hospital and head home to fulfil my promises, each day was a bit of a waiting game.
The weekend passed, my family had been to visit (extending visiting times as much as possible, without being told off) and my arm was still broken. Nothing changed over the next couple of days. I was lay flat, with a Halo in my head and my neck under traction. Everything was done while I was staring at the ceiling, including attempting to eat. I could eat some things; jelly, ice-cream, chocolate buttons, anything that required no chewing. Most of my meals though, were Fortisips. They come in a range of consistencies, some are hard to drink through a straw as they are almost solid to avoid patients choking on them. There are flavours that were disgusting but the nurses did all they could to insure I had some variety and choice.
When my Mom wasn’t there, she called to see if there was any progress. One night I was being looked after by one of the most attentive nurses, I’d been fed, I’d been washed and I screamed as I’d been log-rolled (my arm flipping hurt!)…the phone rang….it was my Mom. She just wanted an update but she must’ve known that I had been screaming in pain. The nurse told her that I was doing okay, I think it was a bit of a Mom-to-Mom chat, so my Mom was re-assured and comfortable.
The doctors were concerned about operating on my arm, as there is a risk of trying to sit up or being sick when you come round from a general anaesthetic. So, the general idea was that my arm would wait until my neck had been fixed, whether that be using the halo and vest or an operation. However, my arm wasn’t getting any better and was giving me a lot of grief. I think I’d noticed that a lot more throughout, the pain in my arm was a lot stronger than the pain had ever seemed to be in my neck.
The next day, I was nil-by-mouth from 6am. At about 10am I signed a consent form and later on I had my arm operated on under local anaesthetic. I was taken, on my bed through the anaesthetic room and into the theatre where they injected a ‘block’ in to my left arm-pit (the same procedure that had been done on my forehead when my Halo was attached). I was awake throughout and different people took it in turns holding my hand. I have since realised that one of them was a senior surgeon. I could hear the whole operation, it was covered by a sheet so I couldn’t see it, but I would see tools and hear the incision, the metal plate being inserted, the stitches being sewn. When I said that it sounded like Meccano, I was told that it basically is. That’s a bit weird but quite cool at the same time.
All sewn up and back up to Critical Care. My family came to visit and were there when the plaster-cast ladies came round to put my back-slab on. It’s half a cast, that can be removed for physio as time goes on. It is also helpful if you have an itch or get really hot…as you can scratch the itch and don’t get all sweaty under a full cast. I was finally out of pain. I had been given Tramadol, Paracetamol and Morphine at the same time on some days…so, I really do not know how things still felt so painful.
While my arm had now been operated on, my wrist was still broken and my neck wasn’t responding to the halo as it should have done. The doctors came to tell me that the traction from my Halo was now being increased from 9lbs to 13lbs. This was because a part of C2 was stuck in C1, that’s the top two vertebrates, broken, partly fused together and not coming apart despite the weights trying to pull them apart!
It was now a week after my accident, I had had two operations done under local anaesthetic and I was focussed on being able to stand back up. Well, actually….even sitting up seemed like a far away dream.