As always, if you would like to start my amputee journey from the beginning click here
I do apologise for the slight delay in this post, as I have been made aware it was missed last week. I will blame the long Easter weekend as well as eating and drinking too much.
The two weeks at being mad at myself were up, and it was time for hospital transport over to Seacroft in Leeds for my first appointment with my prosthetist.
We were strangely early, which was a relief, but after a short wait I was called through. He started explaining the rough process and showing me what type of prosthetic I was going to be prescribed. He showed me a “foot catalogue” and flipped to the Maverick Extreme AT, which sounded ace at the time.
He then needed to make a copy of my stump. Instead of making a plaster mould of my leg like I thought he was going to, he actually used a 3D scanner to create a digital copy. He got this ‘ray gun’ like device out and started waving it up and down my stump as I held it out straight, and low and behold a 3D image of my stump was on the screen.
This all looked and sounded technologically advanced and brilliant, but what I would later find out is that your residual calf muscle is just hanging there as it’s scanned, which isn’t the case once its in a socket. At least if you’re having a plaster mould taken you can relax your leg and have that muscle under pressure.
Anyway, I digress. It was fancy at the time. He told me that it would take about three weeks for him to make the socket and got me an appointment booked in. Off I went to wait an hour for hospital transport to take me on my hour’s drive home again.
While I waited for my new leg I was back to gimpy PPAM aids and trying to ween myself off the opioids.
I was getting well and truly fed up with being out of it from the drugs, and while I was on the opioids I couldn’t drive. It had become a matter of urgency to get off them and not have to rely on ambulances to take me to and from appointments. Plus, I would be able to get out of the god damn house on my own!
The amitriptyline was the worst. I was taking it to help me sleep through the pins and needles and nerve pain. I would take it half hour before I wanted to go to bed and I was away. The only problem was in the morning, I felt like I had drunk half a bottle of whisky the night before. I wouldn’t come round from it properly until the early afternoon either.
They were the first to go. Then there was the dihydrocodeine. Don’t get me wrong these were lovely, if you had nothing to do for a few hours that is. They made zoning out in front of Netflix a breeze. But definitely a no go for driving, these took me a little longer to get off of.
I have actually written a short piece about pain after amputation, which if I get round to it, and if you’re interested, I will link to HERE.
So, I was off my meds, and I had got the go ahead from my solicitor to get a hire car for the time being, until we could work out the best course of action to take.
In the mean time I had my last physio session with the PPAM aid before picking my new leg up! This was an ace feeling, to know the next time I was standing upright I would be on an actual prosthetic. I had got pretty good with the gimp leg by this point, though they still insisted on two old man crutches for safety. But I was going to physio and just walking round in circles on it for the best part of an hour at a time.
To top the week off I was picking up my automatic hire car in the morning, before picking up my new prosthetic leg in the afternoon!
I was so excited, I hadn’t been further than my back garden on my own since the accident. I had ordered a taxi to take me to the hire car centre, I didn’t even bother with my wheelchair, just a pair of crutches. Much to my still knackered shoulders dismay.
A lovely, brand new Hyundai Tucson in black. And I was away! I was like a Cheshire cat and spent a fortune on fuel, driving here and there for no reason but to not be in the house.
That was it for hospital transport for me. I put Leeds Seacroft hospital in the satnav and off I went to pick my leg up. Got there bang on time might I add.
I was called through to the treatment room and was wheeled in between some intimidating, long parallel bars and was introduced to my leg. It came in a few bits, and was quite a process to put on, which is a lot to take in when you didn’t really know what to expect.
First you had to put a terry sock directly on your stump, then you had a foam socket that was shaped to your stump that had like a tights material looped through it, to go over the top. That then sat into a plastic socket that was attached to the prosthetic foot. A rubber sleeve was then pulled up over the top of it all to keep it on.
He showed me the process and then let me have a go putting it on myself. I put it all together and stood up for the first time on it… It hurt like hell! I tried taking a few steps in the bars and it was just too painful. I told him where it was hurting, and he said he would take the socket away and make some adjustments.
An hour a sat in those bars twiddling my thumbs and reading the flyers on the wall. He popped in every now and again treating other patients, it was doing my head in. He eventually came back with it and I gave it another go… Still hurt like hell.
He said I might need to take it away and get my stump used to it, so he got an appointment booked in for me in another couple of weeks.
I certainly didn’t expect to be wheeling myself back out to the car with my new leg on my fucking lap.
If you find you need some support, don’t be afraid to speak to friends and family. If this isn’t possible please consider giving the Amputation foundation a shout at amputationfoundation.org or even get in touch with me via my contact page
I have also started putting together a page full of different amputee charities to fit various situations, that you can find here