As always, if you would like to start my amputee journey from the beginning click here
Sorry for the delay in posting, if you’ve been following along. I had a break for birthdays and bank holidays, but I’m back at it so I’ll try to be more regular.
Luckily, I only had a day or so after getting my ornament of a prosthetic before I had a physio appointment. I took the prosthetic with me to show them what the issues were, and they had some ideas to mess around with fluffy terry socks to try and get it to be more comfortable.
Low and behold they got it comfortable enough to walk around on. You would think if that’s all it took, the prosthetist would have done it, instead of palming me off telling me to go away and get used to it. This is the problem that I found with NHS prosthetics, they are stretched thin and don’t have the time for trouble shooting issues. So, you are left to manage as best you can with a sub optimal fit.
Anyway, I was officially upright and walking. With two sticks like an old man, but walking!
It only took a day or two to ditch one stick and get a little more upright. This meant one thing – an upright night out!
I spent a couple more days getting my leg used to the prosthetic a bit and arranged a night out in Manchester with my mates Tom and Tim. We had no clue how it would go with a prosthetic or what I would need. I took a bag with what I thought the leg necessities were; wipes, spare terry socks in case I shrank a little (stump wise, not vertically), and a compression sock for when I needed to take it all off for a bit and to sleep in.
While we were out it was amazing how many people wanted to talk to me about my leg, in a nice way. People I probably would never have ended up in conversations with. United were playing so it was heaving, a barmaid got me a chair and plonked it right in the middle of the packed pub where the football was on for me.
I was wearing trackies so was a bit conscious about getting in anywhere, but found a posh bar I fancied and explained to the doorman, and he just said, “yeah no worries, what’s in the bag though?” “Leg stuff” I said, and he let us straight in. As I needed a seat, they even gave us a booth that wasn’t booked for a few hours.
All sorts of people were coming over and having a drink with us and chatting about what had happened. As cynical as I am in my grumpy old age, there are a lot of very nice people about that want to give you a hand if you’re nice to them.
The plan in litigation was to go down the private prosthetic route. There weren’t many options without travelling halfway across the country for a private clinic. I was pointed in the direction of Pace Rehabilitation in Bredbury, Manchester. The only other option really, was Dorset Orthopaedic in the southwest but recently Dorset Orthopaedic, which is owned by the prosthetic company Ottobock has acquired Pace in Manchester.
An appointment was made for me to go to Pace and meet with who would be my prosthetist and my physiotherapist. We went over how active I was when I was younger, before my accident and what activities I used to do. We also went over what activities I would like to be able to do in the future. This is to build a plan for what types of prosthetics I would need to get me back functionally to where I was pre accident.
Once they had come up with a treatment plan, the idea was we’d book in a date where I would have a casting, where they do a plaster mould of my leg. They would then make me a socket and I would stay over in Manchester near the clinic and spend two days with them, fitting and adjusting it to get it where it needed to be comfortably.
The casting was booked in for the end of November and the two days of fitting and physio, the start of December.
In the meantime, I had planned a trip to stay with my friend Tom in Bristol for a few days now I had a prosthetic. I thought I had gone prepared, all the leg stuff, crutches etc. I was positive, so didn’t take my wheelchair, which turned out to be naivety.
Tom and his girlfriend Lizzie were working in the morning when I was there so I leisurely got up at my own pace and chilled out a bit. They had an over bath shower, which was on the opposite side to what I’m used to, and it takes quite a lot of practice getting in and out of baths safely with one leg and no aids.
While holding the bath handles and kneeling my stump on the edge of the bath I stepped in and instantly slipped backwards. My stump landed straight downwards onto a concrete floor, I rolled back and smacked my head on a radiator.
If you are reading this as an amputee, please go in stump side first into the bath and kneel or sit and have a shower. Otherwise, it’s painful.
I laid on that floor for what felt like ages clutching my leg and my head. I got dressed again and just crawled from the bathroom to the front room and just laid on the sofa until Tom came home, where he found me groaning in the foetal position.
Egg leg returned.
Even with cold compresses I couldn’t put my prosthetic on, and without my wheelchair I was stuck in rainy wet Bristol with just a pair of crutches. I found somewhere in Bristol where you could hire a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
I’d never been on a mobility scooter before, but Tom convinced me it would be a good idea, so we went with one of those. I absolutely hated it, I just looked like some chav that had nicked an OAP’s scooter. We went around the city centre with it for a while and I felt so uncomfortable we went back to the shop and swapped it for a manual wheelchair.
The wheelchair was easier to get round with than the scooter anyway as you didn’t have to leave it outside and go in on crutches.
The egg leg put my appointment with Pace for casting back two weeks. The same as my wheelchair stunt failure just before my NHS casting. There was a definite pattern forming.
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