Monday, 27 February 2012

A hospital visit

A good friend of ours has gently pointed out that I've given no indication on my blogs of how Jane is doing after her tumble from the loft ladder before Christmas (see Bathing in kindness and grace) - for which I apologise. The answer is that she has done very well. It was, I believe, a comminuted fracture of the collar-bone near the shoulder which required more plating than expected. However, it was neat job and she now has practically full movement restored, and is back to her normal activities, such as driving, being my carer, and even going back into the loft! Not that she is free of aches, particularly after a strenuous day like last Thursday.

That was the day of my postponed appointment at the Spasticity Clinic at the Oxford Centre of Enablement. (I apologise to some of my family, that's its real name. There's no PC alternative description for this particular symptom of PLS, the tightening of the muscles which makes my legs try to cross and my feet tread on each other.) It was the first time that Jane had had to transport me solo including getting the wheelchair and me into and out of the car. Parking at the Nuffield Hospital is difficult at the best of times, but worse mid-morning. We had to resort in the end to parking in the road, using our blessed blue badge. It meant that getting me out of the car was harder than usual and the trek to the clinic further x 2.

As we were waiting, rather longer than we'd anticipated, my physio, Lesley, turned up and accompanied us to see Professor Kischka (as well as his nurse and a student!). As Lesley had promised the professor was very pleasant, only missing the point once. He wanted to see me walk, and, as I normally use a rollator at home, the nurse scurried off to find me one. The unfortunate thing was it seemed to have been adjusted for a four-foot-six granny rather than for me. It wasn't one of those which has easy-adjust nuts, so I somewhat foolishly tried to walk with it. You can picture the scene - a consulting room with seven bodies in it, me hunched over this walking-frame on wheels, like one of those toy racing grannies on tiptoe. It wasn't exactly a good example of my normal shambling gait.

And the drama didn't end there. The consultant decided he'd like to see me on the bed - a broad plastic-covered couch with nothing to hang on to. Now at home I have this great device, the bedleaver, on to which I can hang and rotate as I assume a recumbent position. There, there was nothing. So I duly tipped over backwards and my lumbar muscles which I'd bruised last summer went into spasm and it was AGONY! And I YELLED! No one knew what had happened. I was more than usually inarticulate - even Jane couldn't fathom what I was saying, which was, "Get them to shove a pillow under my spine!" Anyway, eventually I was tipped upright again and stood on my feet..., and calm returned. The outcome was that the doc recommended a general muscle relaxant (low dosage). Not botulinum toxin, I was relieved to hear. I know some of our friends would have taken delight in my having botox treatment, personally I don't relish the idea of fat needles stuck into my muscles once every three months - especially having watched Junior Doctors - Your life in their hands, and the young medics' painful attempts to put in cannulas. The prof assured me he's very good at it, which I'm sure is true. Another friend recommends wine. I think I'd prefer that! I'm just not sure whether you can get Alsace Riesling on prescription.

Not surprisingly Jane could feel her shoulder that evening. Not that that stopped her taking the dog out when we got back home. One by-product of walking the hound is that we now have snowdrops in our garden, courtesy of another walker who was having her front garden made more manageable. I have always had a soft spot for snowdrops, but you do of course have to plant them "in the green" rather than as dry bulbs for the best results. One day our garden will look like this. Well, I can still dream!

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