If you would like to start my amputee journey from the beginning click here
This is actually a really hard time to write about. Mainly due to how I dealt with the trauma and stresses of the whole situation. As there was so much going on, I kind of stuffed all these problems into the filing cabinet in my head instead of dealing with them and putting them in neatly. This makes it hard to get them out and sort them in order if you know what I mean.
This is one reason this blog has been good for me. It has allowed me to process and reorganise my mental filing system in a way that is a bit easier to live with.
After a few weeks of sitting at home, doped up to my eyeballs, powering my way through Netflix, and being a cowboy in Red Dead Redemption on the PS4, it was time to have my stitches removed from my stump.
I wasn’t looking forward to this. I’ve had stitches removed before and it wasn’t pleasant then either. The nurse that was doing it didn’t seem like she was very confident with the situation, although thinking back about it she probably hadn’t pulled them out of an amputation before.
The scar across the end of my stump was still very scabbed over which obviously made it a little bit trickier. She sat there with a scalpel blade gently trying to cut the stitches. She did a few of the easy ones and then went out the room, for some advice I think.
Pulling the stitches out after cutting them was sore. Especially when they had scabs stuck to them. After a while she thought she had got them all and got a doctor to come in and check her work. He spotted a couple more she had missed that were hidden by scabs, so she got those before wrapping me back up in bandages.
Having my stitches out meant I didn’t have to have regular dressing changes anymore and once the little stitch holes were healed, it also meant I could get it wet! At this point I still had ink and other stains on my stump from the surgeon drawing all of it. The first bath and proper wash in just over a month was something else!
I had been referred to the NHS prosthetics centre, Seacroft, in Leeds for prosthetic provision. I didn’t know how long it would take to get one but at least the ball was rolling at this point.
The priority was for me to get the swelling out of my stump, as it was still almost a straight line from my thigh to the end of it. I had contacted the amputee physio department in Calderdale Royal Hospital to see what the process was, and the lead physiotherapist came out to visit me at the house to explain how it all works and make me an appointment.
She had arranged hospital transport for me for the appointment which I had already had the pleasure of dealing with. They tend to be very early, very late, or not turn up at all. This time however they were early.
I had a lengthy wait in reception before being taken into the gym/sports hall. I was introduced to the physiotherapists and met the other amputees. It was a group physio session once a week which I wasn’t expecting.
I was the youngest patient there at 32, everyone else was over 60 and lost legs due to diabetes. This was really the first time I had met any other amputees which was quite daunting to be honest. It was quite a shock to see how much older people struggle with prosthetics and made me really worry about what it might be like for me later in my life.
Being my first appointment, they took me through roughly what to expect in terms of the process. They also took measurements of my stump to track how quickly the swelling was going down.
They gave me some more exercises to add to my routine and I was given a shrinker sock. These are a lovely tan coloured compression sock which look like granny’s suspenders. They really are fetching. Now my stitches were out and my skin was fully healed, I was to wear this ALL the time, day and night, while also keeping it elevated. The quicker the swelling went down the quicker I could get a prosthetic fitted.