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Pains and Ponderings 7

Posted by DarrenG on August 28, 2009



I don’t think I’ve mentioned in any of my previous musings the great support and advice I have received from a Yahoo Group set up for those of us going through this procedure. These fixators are commonly used for complex fractures and not just leg lengthening.

The group allowed me to ask all those questions that you either never get time to ask or never occur to ask when you have the brief facetime with your surgeon and meant that I was far better prepared than I would otherwise have been, had suitable clothing at hand and knew exactly what to expect. As mine is a full length femoral frame the top ring is a half ring, I have seen pictures and know that. But on my last pre-op appointment a junior doctor showed me a femoral frame with the aforementioned half-ring and told me to ignore that, she passed it off as a carrying handle for the fixator as it was for demo purposes, you couldn’t make it up could you!

I also haven’t made mention of the superb care and staff at St Peters in Chertsey, including the ward staff on Juniper who made my recovery pass as easily as it did. Despite being run off their feet 24hrs a day they were always smiling, always happy to help and it was a far cry from the NHS that is often painted. The meals were not only edible, they were delicious and I got to the stage where I feared I’d leave having gained weight instead of lost it. Two puddings a day is two puddings more than I’m used to!

Due to an error that we hadn’t spotted at the time I was discharged yesterday with only enough painkillers to last 5 days and no morphine. With a Bank Holiday Weekend looming that could have proved very awkward. I over did it yesterday walking from the ward to the car and at home and so was in considerable pain last night.  As I had no medication to deal with it I went to bed very concerned.

This morning my Doctor rose to the challenge, informed of my predicament she quickly drew up prescriptions for pain meds including the all important oral morphine,  used when all else fails, and phoned to confirm we had all that we needed, service that stands out.

And so a new day has dawned, I now have the medication I need to support me, I’m no longer in the pain I was last night and I’m once again grasping life by the throat and squeezing as much as I can out it!


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  1. Ciara Mon, 31 Aug 2009 16:04:58 GMT+0100

    Hi Darren
    Thanks for your reply via Yahoo Group. As I mentioned, I will be getting fixatorated very soon and am worried I wont be able to get around and do normal everyday things. Mine will also go up to my hip which I understand will make it difficult to sit. As my other femur was smashed up too, I can fully weightbear on it but can not stand for very long and currently use a wheelchair for things that I wouldnt be able to stand long enough for. So I am assuming I wont be able to sit in it properly. I have been using crutches for the last 2 years so I am well able for them and they have become an extension of me at this stage. I am not too worried about pain or uncomfortableness as I reckon it cant get much worse than it is right now, I just dont want to lose the little indepndence I have fought for for this long. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

  2. DarrenG Mon, 31 Aug 2009 16:10:35 GMT+0100

    So long as I can get my leg up horizontally I can sit on a couch or a chair with varying degrees of comfort. A wheelchair would be Ok with a legboard. Most femoral ilizarov’s have pins through the knee (as mine has) and these severely restrict knee bend. That is the issue with sitting down.

    Because your leg is straight AND you have the ilizarov frame you really need to be able to elevate the leg. I can’t yet stand for much longer than a minute or too as my good leg isn’t strong enough nor are my arms.

    Aside from that I’m finding it much less difficult than I had imagined, pain isn’t bad and I can at least sleep without any difficulty! Anything I can do to help let me know. When is your Op date?

  3. Ciara Mon, 31 Aug 2009 16:53:08 GMT+0100

    I dont have one yet, still waiting for a bed but am trying to prepare myself as much as possible before then. My frame is going to go from my hip to below my knee so I definately wont be able to bend it (which is a good thing as it hyperextends now which is pretty uncomfortable!). If there is anything else you think I should know please tell me, I would like to eliminate as many nasty surprises as I can!

  4. DarrenG Mon, 31 Aug 2009 16:59:41 GMT+0100

    The best advice is to prepare some underwear and loose shorts/skirt in advance so you have something to wear. Ideally split the pants at the seam and use poppers or velcro to secure as the femoral rings are huge.

  5. Ciara Mon, 31 Aug 2009 17:52:24 GMT+0100

    I have already adapted some clothing and bought loads of skirts so I think Ill be ok there!

  6. DarrenG Mon, 31 Aug 2009 18:05:37 GMT+0100

    Good stuff, you should be fine then, you know what they look like and roughly what to expect. Your pain will be well managed post op in hospital.

    Keep in touch.

  7. Ciara Mon, 31 Aug 2009 18:35:11 GMT+0100

    Will do, thanks for the advice, keep it coming as you discover more and more ways to manage things.


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