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Yes, the review last Monday did say I no longer need the Cyberleg (though I get to take it home, just in case I find I still need the support from time to time). So I went out of there still on crutches (it's a long walk), but with real shoes, and the ankle being asked to do strange things, like bend.
Since then I've been finding out where the new limits are, and being rather disappointed. Getting up and down the stairs still requires a hand-rail (though going up, I can sometimes manage to do it "properly" rather than one step at a time and making the good leg do all the work). I do get to go down forwards rather than backwards, since the foot fits on a step.
If we're out, I carry a folding stick in my bag, and try not to use it, but the distance I can walk hasn't changed much.
I tried driving. I can push the clutch down - once, and only just. 

The fracture clinic said I'd need physio - yes, they seem to be right. They suggested the department there, I asked if it could be at my local health centre instead, they said fine, we'll write to your GP. So a few days later (allow a reasonable time for snail mail), we dropped into said health centre to see how that was going.
No, they hadn't had a letter. But it seems any such letter would have to go from GP to Bedford Hospital, since that's the local centre for organising physio, and from there to the physio department in the health centre, and when it gets to them, I can join the six-week waiting list. A bit of nice people phoning around for me - Bedford don't yet have me on the system.
I can also "self-refer", it seems. Here, fill in this form, and post it back to us... no, better idea, lend me a pen (scribble, scribble) - here, have a form.
Also, after discussion, I'll be phoning Axa/PPP on Monday. I'm covered for up to 10 sessions of physio a year, and there, waiting time is more likely to be in days.

In other health-related news, I got back on the scales, now I'm no longer weighing a cyberleg as well.
Better get back on the WW Plan, then, with rather more points than I had last time. And get back to getting some exercise... I just need to find some aerobic exercise that doesn't involve much use of the ankle. Could be tricky. Yes, it needs exercise, but the limits of the ankle stop a long way short of me getting out of breath.

Yes, I'm still doing crafty things - painting of armies continues, slowly. I have more water lurkers, and soon the Temple Barge on the Zola Fel will have a tent to cover the "well" in the middle (due to the well not existing, and me not wanting to cut a big hole in a resin boat). That'll be the Stronghold done, once it's mounted, and decorated. Then I need to sort out the Watchdog of Corflu, and that's probably going to be a scratch-build - ooerr! Once that's sorted, I finish all the bases in one go, so they match.

And then, on to the 10mm Dragon-newts - only I keep getting tempted by them, and their Water Lurker is already complete. They're going to be hard - the riders need adapting, as at present they're some sort of horse archer figures, and need the bows chopping off and replacing by klanths. The Inhuman King (going to be a God) is a multi-part figure that I'm not quite sure how to assemble. The Dragon I want I have yet to acquire from Ebay, but it's going to be fun, for a 10mm army. It's a Warhammer figure (stop shuddering in horror), and comes on an amazingly small base. Intended as 28mm, so in 10mm, this is going to be a suitably impressive size. "Warhammer Fantasy Armies Dark Elves Dreadlord on black dragon" is what I'm after, and I'm hoping to get a ready-assembled one. We've got the Stronghold - a tourist shop in Devon sold me a rather nice dragon skull resin box for a tenner.

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I had the CT scan on Friday, and the Fracture Clinic to inspect the results today. There is no Talar Shift. All bones are right where they should be. We looked again at the earlier X-ray - yes, there definitely used to be a large gap that there shouldn't have been, and it isn't there now.

Edit to add link: this is what my X-ray looked like "before". See that gap over on the right?

The surgeon is puzzled, since Talar Shift can't possibly fix itself, but happy. If I ever get any ankle instability in the future, I'm to remember this and report back, but for the moment, we're back on Plan A - next Monday will be six weeks after the initial break and operation, I'll get the cast removed, and lessons from the physio-terrorists (to borrow my sister-in-law's spelling) on how to walk again.
I'm pretty sure I know how that impossible fix happened, and thanks to all the people doing remote healing, non-remote healing, drumming, praying, sending Positive Thoughts, and whatever else you wanted to call it. It worked.

Now, assuming I get to keep the (purple!) cast as a souvenir, what craft-related purpose can I use it for? The last one was removed by slicing the front open, and lifting the leg out. Maybe use it as one of those shopping bag dispensers?

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Yes, still hopping around on the walking frame (now with added padding intended for bike handlebars, which makes quite a difference).
A muffin was then toasted and had the end of the smoked salmon put on top, a duck egg was "poached" in the microwave, and some carton Hollandaise sauce reheated, and there we have Eggs Hemingway. OK, in a plastic container with a nice water-tight (and sauce-tight) lid rather than on a plate, but it tastes the same. Serve with a nice cold glass of orange juice. (Sorry, the photo was out of focus - phone camera isn't too good at close-up shots).

And then I hop through to the dining room, switch on the PC< and am ready to start work. Just need to fire up the on-line timesheet and web-mail, and probably connect remotely to the PC on my office desk, and off I go. I did 5 hours yesterday, let's see how I do today.

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Yes, there are probably less positive ways of looking at the last week, but what's the point of that?
Sorry, a bit delayed, but I didn't feel up to typing something this long on the phone.
So, what happened? Well to start with, we and another couple (not naming without permission) booked a holiday in France. Down to Avignon by Eurostar, pick up a hire car, then have a week self-catering in Arles followed by a week self-catering in Marsellian
The trip down, and the first week, was great. Seeing ancient French towns, Roman remains, riding horses in the Carmargue, the Bull Thing at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, acquiring a new Bear, good food, lazing under the honeysuckle in our private garden - all just as I'd looked forward to.

The house we'd rented in Arles had a very French personality, where that means, as it does with cars, that it doesn't work in various ways that are charming/forgivable. For instance, we were sleeping on the second floor, our loo was in the basement, and the stairs between the two were stone, uncarpeted, with light switches positioned such that you can only switch on lights to illuminate the bit of stair you've already negotiated, and unspoilt by such intrusions as handrails. Early Saturday morning, I went down (and having found my slippers, decided to wear them for once). I came back up to about three steps past the ground floor and kitchen, then decided to get a glass of water while I was at it. I turned round. This was a mistake.

Foot 1 tried to stand on a bit of step that wasn't there, foot 2 slid (smooth slippers, smooth stone), and the handrail I grabbed wasn't there either. I slid sideways and downwards, with accompanying "I'm not looking forward to landing" screaming, and landed. My predictions had been right. Left leg was out in front of me and wouldn't respond, right leg was under me and hurt quite a lot. Others arrived, lights came on. A look at the left leg revealed a foot that was at 90 degrees to where it should have been, with a bulge under the skin that probably indicated the end of a bone. No visible punctures. Shifting the chair I'd landed against and lifting me enough to extract the right leg made things much less painful and scary - bruises only, that side.

"That's either dislocated or broken. Phone for an ambulance." Oddly enough, I wasn't panicking any more, just wondering which it was. It didn't hurt enough to match what I'd heard about broken bones, which should have involved involuntary screaming. This wasn't even involuntary whimpering. The rest found phones, ice packs from the freezer, and cushions. The back of my mind was thinking "so this is what a broken leg feels like, how interesting. I probably ought to be in shock, shouldn't I?" But the front was perfectly capable of suggesting other frozen items that might work on the ankle, acting as an interpreter for the French phone conversation, telling them where the dictionary was and finding a pen. It also managed an fairly polite "ouch - please don't do that" when excessive pressure was applied via a freeze-block to the probable end of bone. In response, the back of the brain was going, "hmm, so if I can stay this rational, having a hero in a story talking coherently with a freshly broken leg won't be a problem at all."

The way the French emergency services operate is really interesting. Dave had been swapped in very rapid succession from an operator who spoke no English to one who spoke some to one who was more or less fluent. The vehicle had been dispatched by operator 2, and they didn't even confirm the detailed address until operator 3, they were working purely on the location given by the phone. What turned up wasn't an ambulance, it was "les pompiers". I'd always been taught to translate that as "firemen", but it looks like this underestimates them. What we got was a first-response and incident-control team. They assessed, took details, and phoned for what was needed next, keeping us informed as they did so. When the ambulance arrived, it contained a doctor, a pharmacist/anaesthetist, and an orthopaedic nurse. Doctor found a vein (after a bit of a struggle - yes, I was in shock) and put me on a drip. An oxygen mask was applied. An injection went in via the IV, and from my perspective it took about 5 seconds to go through tunnel vision, roaring in the ears, darkness, and Not There.

Icky bits under here )

Comparative hospital experiences )

Anyway, that was all the "this is an emergency, it happens automatically and free of charge". That's the result of the E111, reciprocal agreements between EU countries, and general civilisation. Other things require travel insurance, and this is where I want all readers to read and learn. Travel insurance is IMPORTANT. Really, really, important. Do not skimp on travel insurance.

Travel insurance. I mean it. Important. )

Transport by plane, with a cast )And that gets us up to me arriving back in the UK, and the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, and is now more than long enough for one post.

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I got passed this link through an LJ community I'm in, and it made me wonder.

IBS, flaky skin, migraines less frequent than they were but still happening, and I do eat a lot of fruit. So far I know nothing beyond what's in that article, but it looks worth investigating.

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It would be nice to have a gap between the colds, rather than having them overlap. I thought I was coming to the end of the last one, but now I'm sneezing too much (interesting, in the fast lane of the A1) and the sinuses are raw again.
Going to the Norton Community Archaeology Group talk last night probably didn't help - a fascinating overvew of the results from the dig I helped with last summer, but held in a drafty building with no heating.  It seems that what we were digging up is the previously unknown link between formative henges and classic henges. (Yes, thanks to the speaker's enthusiasm, I did get excited about this.) When you look at what happened, in what order, you can see a formative henge (circular) being converted to a classic henge (oval). It got used for lots of plate-smashing parties with high quantities of meat being eaten,  and later, just as henges were becoming fashionable, the whole thing stopped. A child cremation burial was placed at the entrance, and it was effectively abandoned from the very early Bronze Age onwards, though still visible when the annoying modern irrelevance was built around it - a Roman farmstead, and a Roman industrial iron production site :)

(I should perhaps add for the benefit of American readers that even by British standards, calling Roman remains "modern" is not normal, unless one is a professional archaeologist specialising in the Neolithic, and even then, it's said ironically.)

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Well, for certain values of "need". I'd like to move to work trousers in colours other than black, that means work shoes in colours other than black. Inspecting the shoe collection, that gives me a choice of sandals, Crocs, or big furry boots.
Why don't I possess spring-type shoes already? That would be because the last time I encountered "spring" as opposed to "summer", where sandals would do, it was before I had that infected leg and hospital stay. Back then, my lymphodaema was so bad that getting into anything resembling normal shoes wasn't an option, it was Crocs, special "for the disabled" things, or nothing. Since then, I have leg-shaped legs, and foot-shaped feet.
No, it's all right, I'm not about to turn into someone who enjoys shopping for shoes, clothes, and things like that, but I am rather enjoying the idea that this is now an option. I think I'll visit Brantano tonight.

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Last weekend was Spalding weekend - my first event with the Four and Twenty Blackbirds, demonstrating Tudor cookery at Ayscoughfee Hall.
Yes, I did get the kirtle finished. That went over the existing C13 linern shift, Dave's Dark Age boots, and I found some suitable linen headgear and a belt and pouch that were (amazlingly enough) from the right period. Eating gear and a couple of apples in the basket, suitcase packed with mundane kit, and off we went Up North.

It got long )

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Dovedale. Low level walk along a lovely river valley. Some rough bits, some muddy bits, the usual steps designed by a bloke, and therefore far too high. Seven miles there and back, or so the NT guide tells me. Coming down Snowdon was about 4. Tired by the end, but only using one stick, not two poles, and nowhere near the "cannot stand without help" level of fatigue I reached then.

AS a bird-watching day, by the way, it was characterised by the duck food for sale in the little shop, and the number of children using it in an enthusiastic manner.

We worked out some interesting things on that walk. It looks as if when I described my recovery as "I need to learn to walk again", I was more right than I knew, and I'm still learning. One thing I hadn't done, because there's been no reason to do it, is to take a stride so long that I no longer have either foot under my centre of gravity. I had to do this to get over those stepping stones (see pics below under the cut), and balanced over a rapidly flowing river wasn't the best time to realise that I wasn't sure I could do it and was pretty scared to try. Also, the idea of going down rough ground or steps by "keep moving", rather than one step to a stable position, then another step to a stable position is another thing I haven't done for years, and again, I'm not sure I can. I can't rely on either leg to take my weight reliably, either may decide to give way under me for no apparent reason (oh, the joys of a lymph system that doesn't, and therefore muscles that don't either), so the idea of what's effectively a fall forwards where the next leg has to get forwards quick and be there to take my weight as the next one slides off the wet rock it's on - no. Not a good idea. Adding a stick that I can rely on (as long as it doesn't slip too) helps, but that means finding somewhere that'll support that...

Also, my "boots" aren't up to the job. The side-wall's too soft, and when I'm on a sideways slope, it bends and my foot ends up well outside the sole of the boot. Not enough ankle support, either, and not good enough grip on wet rock. We'd got these things back when I was having real problems with swollen feet and ankles, and couldn't get into real boots. I think I'll have to try again with my proper ones - my feet are a lot more foot-shaped these days.

Photos under the cut, and more over on Flickr in the "Dovedale" set.

Read more... )
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... in a field the whole day through. Well, no, actually, a few hours proved to be quite enough, but I'll be doing a few more tomorrow. I've been at an archaeological dig in Norton, clearing greyish-brown soil off the top of brownish-grey soil so as to see the edge of a ditch with chalk walls. Tomorrow we'll be digging trenches across it, and may find out as a result whether it's Neolithic or Iron Age. The ground is very dry and very hard, and personally I suspect these Neolithic / Iron Age people had learnt to use concrete to line their ditches.
The technical details are on the dig's blog, and the writer must have spent every moment typing after he got home to get them up that fast!

In health terms, this is partly an attempt to get me out in the open air and doing something reasonably active, and partly a test of where my limits are now. Can I, for instance, do mildly strenuous work at ground level, given a suitable seat? Yes, it seems I can, though I'm glad I didn't have to actually kneel. Can I lift a bucket full of spoil? Yes, before lunch - by half-way through the afternoon, no. Stamina? This was the problem, It was a long walk to get there, and then hard work in hot sun. I got to the point of "bit dizzy, stand up, take a breather, shovel spoil into bucket, get back to it", then "dizzy, stand up, get water and energy bar, get back to it" and ended up with "get dizzy, stand up, don't quite fall over, stay dizzy". At that point they told me to stop. I'd normally carry on through "stand up, fall over, get up again" up to "stand up, fall over, don't get up again", but they didn't like the idea.

Tomorrow, my current plan is to get there at the start (don't ask), but not to continue after lunch. If I can manage it, that's a bonus, but there's no point in being silly about this.

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 I know, I said no more of these, but people keep phoning me up or texting me and asking (hi, Mum!), so I may as well give a summary.

Read more... )

So, not too bad, considering. It was a serious illness, after all, can't expect to bounce back immediately, but progress is going in the right direction.
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The standard blog userpic is more than usually appropriate this time (and I've changed my FB profile pic to match).
I did it. I'd been aiming my recovery all the way through hospital and the weeks at home on sticks at walking down Snowdon yesterday (taking the train up), and I made it - just.

Details and pics under here )

It's now Thursday, and I'm still stiff and sore, despite a mile up and down the promenade at Pwllheli to loosen things up - but I did it!

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As I promised, no more "I'm getting better" posts, because I'm back to where I was before I was ill. But, that's the trouble. Where I was wasn't anywhere good. So before I go back to the old habits, let's take a look at the new ones that probably helped amaze the medical professionals with how fast I healed.

Back on the diet. Well, that's not new.

Breakfast will not take place at the PC. Nor will dinner.

I now have an armchair in the lounge that isn't so long front to back that I have to slouch, and a table to pull across, so I can do things not just sit there gawping at the ceiling like a stunned lemon. Once I had to spend all day in the lounge, it got altered so I could use it. We've been tending to spend the evenings having dinner there, then putting on some recorded decent TV show or other (working our way through "Lewis" at the moment), not *!!*&*&## CSI, and doing some knitting/crochet/sewing while it's on. (Or in Dave's case, sitting idly and picking his fingers.)

Crafting - I've been doing a lot more of that, and enjoying it. Finished a few bits of mending and turning up that had been sitting around, added pockets to skirts, finished the crochet socks that had been going forever, made two cards so far (that's a new hobby for me). I should continue. I've been doing creative things all along, but they've been PC-based - writing, graphics. I'll keep that up.

Exercise. Part of the healing has been that I've been taking note of what I'm doing, and pushing myself as close to my limits as I can get. Those limits keep moving, so this will take more time now, but I should keep it up. Last night, feeling hot and mildly irritable, I would normally have switched on the air-con and played Castleville for a bit. Instead, I noted that there was fresh air outside, and went for a walk - not a walk "to" anywhere, or "for" anything, just a walk. Across the playing fields to the river, and up the Ivel. A mile there, a mile back, and a shower when I got home. I haven't done that for years - in fact, I'd never been across the playing fields before, I'd always have taken the car as far as the start of the "pretty" part of the walk.

That armchair is on loan, and needs to go back, so I'd better acquire a replacement that suits me. We were thinking of a new 3-piece suite anyway. Having just put most of our savings into pretty blue panels on the roof, this isn't the ideal time, but throwing money at health-related things is a good idea. We'll look at the second-hand market and just swap the one chair for now, I think.

A suggested new habit: if I were to get into work an hour earlier (8 rather than 9) there would be less heavy traffic involved and easier parking. I could also leave an hour earlier, in theory - in practice I never leave on time anyway, and I doubt if that would change. But, if we accept that me leaving the office early is never gong to happen, because I feel guilty and stressed even when everyone else is doing it, I could take a longer lunch break. That day I dropped into the office for the morning, I got an invite to have a walking partner at lunch break. Up to the A1, and under it, past the Woodman, and into Watery Grove - I last did that on a  regular basis when I was a BAe apprentice.

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Went to the practice nurse at the Health Centre, dressing removed, and what's underneath is a slight raw area where the old ulcer scar was, another slight raw area at the top of the leg, and an awful lot of dry skin that's flaking off - it's almost scaly. The leg has been washed and moisturised, little dressings have been applied to the two raw areas, and there's a tubi-grip over the lot to hold them on. But I can take that off and re-moisturise as often as I like, and wash twice a day if I feel like it (and after weeks and weeks of being bandaged, I do!) 

Once all that dry skin's off, I think I'll have a healthier and more attractive leg than I had before - less huge near-permanent blisters. It's a lot less swollen than I was regarding as normal, too.

I'll be able to wear real shoes, with soles. This is a good thing, because in two weeks time, I plan on being in walking boots, and in two weeks and one day, I'll be on Snowdon.

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Better enough, for instance, to remember that despite reading most blogs over on Livejournal, I'm supposed to be using Dreamwidth as the master and letting it handle cross-posting. Oops. To anyone who only follows me on Dreamwidth - sorry about that.
and then
should bring you up to date.

Anyway, at home, ensconced in a nice upright armchair on loan from next door, with a footstool, a netbook, a TV control, and an adoring and attentive husband (who unfortunately caught the chest infection I got in hospital, and therefore really needs someone to look after him).

Progress under here )
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I'd been hearing in various places that getting enough sleep helped you lose weight, but no more detail than that - barely even ancedotal, much less correlation or causality. There's an excellent blog I get to see via a Facebook page that goes into a lot more detail.

My sleep patterns were all over the place until a couple of weeks ago - I'd wake up at around 5, unable to get back to sleep, and that was after probably not getting into bed till gone midnight. Not good. Things improved at round about the time I shifted to taking all my carbs in the earlier part of the day, next to none after 15:00 or so (correlation yes, causation maybe).
Last night I was asleep by 22:00 and slept through to 6 and the alarm. I also had a bigger overnight weight loss than normal (correlation maybe, one point does not a graph make).
I think I might start tracking hours of sleep per night as well as weight loss. It'll be interesting to see if there really is correlation.

Edit: So, having then failed to get to bed before midnight, I am reminded of another recent article, showing that it's normal for humans to sleep in two sessions, not one, and with productive work occuring between. My productive writing has always been best at about 1am, and last night was no exception. Two sleeps.... fine, but I tend to miss out the first one completely :(
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Since I posted anything meaningful, that is. I was going to post when I started Weightwatchers, and that was five weeks ago, and I didn't.

Read more... )

Loss so far - I hit the one stone mark after just over four weeks, and after the big drop in the first week, the rate of loss has been steady at a bit over a kilogram a week - what I'd expect.
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Remember I finally got a minor medical irritation that I could spell? H-E-R-N--I-A? The doc said he'd refer me to my hospital of choice (the Lister). Today I got my letter, and details on how to book my appointment on-line. Probable 24-day wait, it said.  Not quite... Thursday, 8th September.  19 days.

In other news, while I haven't been carrying on with the mini- crunch not-quite-situps, I have been walking up the stairs in work. Four flights. I can now get all the way up without needing a rest, and am starting to work on speed. If you think this sounds lousy, you're right.

And then I got a cold :(
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Another addition to the collection of minor but irritating health problems, and this time, despite my block on Medical Words, I can spell it! "Hernia".
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That's two nights in a row I've had trouble getting to sleep because of coughing, two mornings in a row I've woken up before 5 due to coughing, and two days in a row I've been tired, had problems concentrating, and gone mildly feverish by early evening. I'm taking the penicillin. I'm resting, I'm eating sensibly, Vit C intake is way up, I'm drinking plenty (and I don't mean alcohol). I just looked back through LJ, and I see posts about coughing, colds, and not going out because of being too ill dating back to November. I'm BORED with this!


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