My first instinct was to grab a camera. Clearly I have been blogging and tweeting far far too long.
There are a great many things for which Spain is well known for having in prolific quantities. Unfortunately, one of those things, are cockroaches. No matter what you do, or how clean you are, there they are – hovering.
Last night I was having a wonderful dream. I was laid in a meadow starring up at the sky. The wind tossled the long grass around me, and the trees whispered. It was a blissful and uneventful dream.
All of a sudden I feel something crawling on my skin. It makes my shiver, and I am so horrified by the experience I am thrown out of my dream. Only to find the real world holds something far worse in store for me.
There is a cockroach on my arm, located right next to my face, happily walking all over me. In a split second I am no longer the independant young lady who can deal with any obstacle, I am the girl who stands on a chair and screams for the strong man of the house, or in this case my mother, to deal with it on her behalf.
I screamed. I jumped out of bed. I gave my dog, and I believe my mother, heart failure.
I have come to a quiet acceptance that living in Spain means that, on occasion, you do have a habit of meeting these horrid things. Last night was too much. Especially since this is now the third time. Thats right. Three times during the course of the last three months I have awoken to find a guest happily wandering all over me.
War is waged. Now, where is that number for Riddex Plus…
How long can a person go without sleep you reckon?
The cast from my broken leg has finally been removed. Its no secret that I have been waiting for this day for six whole weeks. But did anyone tell me it would feel worse after my pot was removed? No, they did not.
Still it all went without much pain surprisingly. I was whisked through the waiting room so fast my crutches barely hit the floor. My pot was removed with a scary looking circular cutting device that looked capable of slicing your leg off never mind the pot. After the painful episodes with the suma wrestler nurse I don´t have a great deal of trust for a nurse with a circular saw.
Immediately after the pot was removed I felt faint. It could have been the strange sensations running through my leg, or the rather unpleasant appearance of my skin. Without going into too much detail on the latter. Imagine your lower leg encased in a solid object for six whole weeks without any contact with fresh air, water or sun. In a word – Ugh. I look like I have some chronic skin condition.
The pot was barely off my leg when the nurse appeared to take me through to X-Ray. No sumo wrestler this time.
The next part was slower. As I sat waiting for the consultant I started to panic. What if they said I needed another pot? What if it still wasn’t healing and they had to pin it? These concerns were not helped by a man sat next to me, whose mother insisted on telling me his life history. The entire tale culminating in the fact that this was the third time his cast had been removed, and each time they had decided to fit another.
About an hour later the consultant appeared. He was so tiny, I thought maybe he was a mini me version of the original.
He told me to stand and put my weight on it. So I did. It felt awful, every sensation seemed heightened and it seemed almost as though my leg was naked and unsupported.
Of course, being me, when he asked how it felt I said it felt fine.
Then he told me to walk on it. For a second I panicked. It was strange; suddenly walking without a cast seemed like an awful big deal. The confidence to do it wasn´t there, but I knew that if I didn´t demonstrate I could do it, they would want to put another cast on.
I put foot to floor, and a spasm (not quite pain but near enough) rocketed up through my leg. I winced but marched on, hoping above all else I was convincing enough.
I think I was. The consultant smiled. ‘You´re pretty tough aren´t you’ he said laughing, and then told me I needed some physiotherapy but could go home without a pot so long as I came back in six weeks.
Result! Now I just have to convince my leg being without a pot is a good thing. I can have a bath. I can moisturize. By the appearance of the leg I am going to need specialist chemical treatment just to strip off the debris.
The broken leg I believe is on the mend, or at least I think so. I have been given permission to put it down on the floor now and, once more, learn the art of walking normally. More or less. The bandages are all bulky underneath the foot so there isn’t a chance in hell I can actually put my foot down ‘properly’ without some wobbling.
The main issue is I seem to be unable to remember how to walk. Apparently it is possible to forget how to wal after only a brief period of time. Either that or it is the deeply rooted fear my leg is no longer strong enough to hold me which is causing me to lack confidence in my ability. I have discovered that when faced with some uneven ground I resort to hopping and, as for stairs, I am lost.
This morning I couldn’t get downstairs at all. It stood at the top looking down at them as though it was an attempt to descend into the Grand Canyon. I was told last time I visited the hospital I had to start moving about in a normal fashion, which means walking downstairs using only the crutches for balance. I have to admit, up until now, I have been sliding up and down the stairs on my bottom! But apparently learning to walk again is part of the normal recovery and so it must be attempted if I am ever to get this damn cast off my leg. I was warned that I should not, under any circumstances lead with my left foot when going downstairs.I was certain this would not be a problem. Right up the point when I actually attempted it.
I soon discovered it was more of a problem than I had anticipated because, apparently, I lead with my left foot. I never noticed. When I was faced with trying to persuade my right leg to go first I realised I have a natural left lead. It wouldn’t have been so bad if my Mum hadn’t stood at the bottom and howled hysterically at my problem. It doesn’t sound that bad, but I just couldn’t think how to get downstairs leading with my right leg. I felt like that poor squeaking Robot in Robocop.
My other issue is the horses, who are feeling neglected. They are once again confined to their stables because the farmer believes the land is too wet for them to be turned out. This is causing major problems, because Dub and Jezabel are too much for my Mum to handle. Incidentally this means my nutty thoroughbred and three year old bronco aren’t getting any exercise. They aren’t leaving the stable, at all. The farmer is aware of my situation. He is aware that I have a broken leg and there is no else who can exercise them. Does he give a rats arse? Does he hell!
What fun we will have when they are eventually turned out…
On a more serious note I aren’t happy about the whole situation at all. Dub has a dust allergy, and although this can be managed under normal circumstances with good quality hay and straw being utilised. Being confined to the stable (in addition to someone feeding him manky spore encrusted hay one day) has meant he has developed a lovely deep cough. If he doesn’t go out soon he’ll develop another chest infection – he needs to clear his pipes!.
I can soak his way, and put him on dust free bedding in the meantime but this means nothing, because some twit has already exposed him to the spores. It takes a week of daytime turnout to help him clear his tubes.
In other news: I’ve realised that just as I have my pot removed it will be time to start breaking in Jezabel… Fun lies ahead.
On discovering I had a broken leg a member of my family decided that I should try some alternative therapy. Being open minded to most things I didn’t see anything wrong with giving it a go.
When the lady in question arrived she spent ages reading my aura. An interesting experience. She knew that I suffered from headaches (migraine), backpain and that my left leg had been giving me a lot of pain recently.
Amazing. How she knew all this was truly beyond me?.
Well, actually, not quite beyond me. I had my migraine pills at the side of my bed. I had mentioned the back pain in a recent conversation. Need I insult anyone’s intelligent by mentioning that the giant pot on my left leg is a bit of a give away as far as pain in my left leg is concerned.
I never thought that I would see the day when I would actually chose to come into work over staying home, but I have. It’s barely been a week since I broke my leg and I am already suffering from extreme cabin fever. I’m really frustrated having to rely on the help of others, and know I am driving my mother insane because I keep trying to do the impossible on one leg.
I insisted on coming in to work today for instance despite having to negotiate the 30 steep stairs into the office. I fell at the top and landed on my left leg (the one that isn’t supposed to bear any weight).
The strangest part of all this is my willingness to see the funny side of it. Well, let’s be honest, if I didn’t laugh so much I would probably cry.
I have discovered crutches and I do not mesh. Whoever designed the awful things needs to be punished. I suggest this – let them negotiate their lives on a pogo stick with two rubber soled canes which have the non slip capacity of a banana skin. I can just imagine him/her now, sat down in their little office chuckling because they have the entire crippled population hopping round on such a contraption. Well I say flawed, it may well have been designed that way on purpose to raise those patient number’s I was talking about earlier in the week.
It’s no wonder the fracture clinic at my local hospital is the busiest department in the whole place. My reasoning is, I admit, a little far fetched but do bare with me. I believe it to be rigged. Its rigged. Its design, at first believed flawed at all by many, has been purposefully setup in order to target the accident prone individual like myself. Why do I believe such a thing? Well, you may well wonder. But I firmly believe that it was intended to raise patient numbers.
The path which leads to the entrance is comprised of a material which, when wet, is an excellent surface for sliding. Why else would anyone chose such a material on an entrance which gently slopes downhill? If the gentle, yet unexpected decline, doesn’t catch you unaware – the fact it is a material second only to ice for its slippery properties should.
Then there is the beautifully polished entrance area, which, with only one more coat of wax could actually double as an ice skating ring. Its a marvel to the eye and a painful surface for the arse.
The carpet grip separating the polished entrance from the nicely carpeted waiting room, which has worked its way lose, is the next booby trap for the unsuspecting. Usually by this time a patient’s companion, who may not have had fractured limb when he enters, is sure to have one ready for when he leaves.
The chairs are worse still. The wobbly barely screwed on legs would, without doubt, have you wondering if the hospital was indeed financed by head count – even if you had not noticed the booby traps on the way. Perhaps multiple injuries attract a nice bonus?
Then of course there is the patient’s themselves who, when faced with a seat in a narrow corridor, chose to sit with injured leg and crutches covering the whole aisle. A most effective method I have found, and one which leads me to believe they may not be patients at all but individuals contracted by the hospital.
This may appear a little insane, and you are quite possibly correct. It’s the pain killers I seem to be eating, almost as though they are about to go out of fashion. Today hurt. The examination and the re-positioning of my leg for correct healing above all else. The latter hurt so much I wanted to pass out – sadly, it didn’t happen. I remained conscious throughout. Would you perhaps like to hear about the straightening of my leg in HD? Perhaps not, I´d rather not relive the experience of being tended to by the nurse I have nicknamed “Sumo Stephanie“.
Today they explained in greater detail the nature of the injury – an extensive fracture to the fibula. The consultant did not consider this too bad, which is encouraging in retrospect, but at the time left me wondering if he would like to swop places with me.
“That’s not too bad” he said smiling down condescendingly “just keep your weight off it for the next week”
Easily said that done, as I thought of the multitudes of steps I face when I arrived home.
“and next Tuesday we’ll x-ray it again”
Oh boy, lucky me, another session with the Sumo Stephanie.
“and all being well we´ll let you put some weight on it”
In my childhood I was referred to as Calamity Jane because, all too frequently, I would fall down stairs, run into glass doors and fly over the handlebars of my bike. It appears this is not something I have necessarily grown out of.
Keeping horses can be a dangerous pursuit, not least because of the accidents which can occur doing everyday tasks. For instance removing a bale of straw from a pallet. Easy? Danger free? Wrong ! On Friday I managed to break my leg doing just this.
I hadn’t been at the stables long. The horses have been in pretty much everyday since Sunday, and their boxes were filthy. I’d used up all the straw on the front pallet, and so I had to negotiate climbing up the next stack to remove myself a couple of bales of straw. I do this often, it’s become a fine art.
I throw the bales down and began my descent, and in the process of doing so I realise that I am in a pretty precarious position. After landing safely on the narrow step before my final descent to ground level I pause. “One of these days” I thought to myself “someone is going to have a bloody accident”. I then make a mental note on my “to do” list to re-organize the storage space.
I land on the pallet safely, lift a large bale of straw and turn ready to step down into the narrow drainage channel.
The bale is large and, as a result, I can barely see the ground immediately in front of me, so it comes as a real shock when suddenly my left foot drops. It lands, I start to fall, and a large crack fills the air. I recall the very moment when the words “please god no!” flit through my head.
Funny that, a self confirmed atheist making that silent prayer. I know deep down as I collapse on the floor and yell “my leg”. People mingle, “its just a sprain” they say. I nod, trying to suppress the urge to scream.
I hop to the car, and for the ten millionth time in my long life of horse obsession head for A & E.
“It’s just a sprain” they say “but we’ll x-ray it just to be on the safe side”
I mumble an agreement, deep down knowing it was no sprain but hoping it was. I’ve had sprains, and their status is usually not announced with a large bone shattering crack. Two hours later I’m taken into the theatre where a tiny nurse manipulates my leg into physically impossible positions with all the delicacy of a sumo wrestler.
“Oh I’m sorry. Did that hurt?” she asks without even a glance in my direction.
I try to smile but manage only a grimace. “No, it’s fine” I respond politely, not bothering to hide the pain in it.
“You’re very patient, I’m sure its just a sprain” she says as she continues in her attempt to twist my ankle a full 360 degrees.
Finally it’s over. She smiles reassuringly, and explains she will just take a quick look at them before passing them to the consultant. She heads into a nearby room. I can see her through the half inch of clear glass, immediately below the information about x-rays whilst pregnant. I hear her say “ok, well, that’s clear” to her co-worker closely followed by an “oh”.
She appears, still smiling. “OK” she says a little too much like a red coat at Butlin’s. At any moment I expect her to burst into song to boost my failing moral. “Let’s take you to the Doctor, and he’ll tell you all about it”
I’m returned to the waiting room where Mum awaits looking worried. Almost immediately I’m called again, another journey in the wayward wheelchair with a mind of it’s own. Have I ever said I aren’t good at this dependent thing?!.
“From the front it’s clear” he says attempting a look of sympathy but failing to appear sincere, “but from the side you have a lovely twist fracture running right up your leg”
A whole range of expletives shoot through my mind.
A temporary pot is attached, the permanent one to be attached Monday and did he really say six weeks?. Oh shit.
I have in recent months become a little bit of an exercise fanatic. Those who know me will probably realise that up to this point I wasn’t all that keen. Well recently because of holidays and job hunting I found I was unable to fit in my usual swimming sessions and I have suffered as a result. HOWEVER yesterday I had an unscheduled swimming session in the most unusual of circumstances.
When I am in my more confident moments I consider myself a “professional horse women”. That is because under the surface I like a bit of danger now and again, and I take on horses to train people in their right mind wouldn’t even contemplate sitting on. I have as a result had some pretty close calls in the injury department – seen the underside of a lorry, been sat on by half a tonne of horse several times and ended up in the middle of the M62 Motorway on horseback.. Today I managed to add another experience to that catalogue, and by some miracle it was something that normally I would have liked to do. That is in more hygenic and less smelly circumstances – swimming with a horse.
A friend of mine from college recently purchased herself a rather nice show animal. He’s very pretty but unfortunately not quite the full tack box in the mind department. He is in fact missing most of the essential equipment in that department. Of course horses much as we like to think them domesticated are still wild animals with flight instinct. So when they panic.. they run!.. and boy can this horse run. The poor girl was at the end of her tether so I thought that I would give the little darling a go.
So, yesterday afternoon in freezing temperatures I set out on a hack with “Jasper”, a 4 yr old light riding horse with a passion for bolting. Everything was going well. We had encountered cars, lorries, and even a double Decker bus without any real response. Marvellous!. Piece of cake, no really what was all the fuss about?.
The fuss was that this horse is not bothered by the larger more logical frightening objects one tends to find on roads, oh no.. this horse fears hedges, both large and small. They are terrifying. I mean.. you never know what can spring up from behind a hedge do you?!. A dog.. a tiger.. a few snakes.. big birds.. or maybe even… A LEAF. Yes I had a dunking in a river because some half witted half brained horse was afraid of a bloody LEAF!!!.
The whole episode should have been captured on cartoon and broadcasted to the nation, or maybe even caught on camcorder so at least I could earn £250. Leaf falls without warning from a overhanging bush.. horse, in fit of horror, spins round and procedes to charge over a small very slippy footbridge crossing a very dirty smelly section of river. Horse slips, horse lands on rider, horse & rider plummet into river. I don’t think I need to insult your intelligence by saying that I was very wet and sore, the horse was very wet (and will soon to be very sore when I get my hands on it today for another session). My mobile… has died. It worked briefly for a short time last night but ultimately died.
Serves me right really, because before I departed for the ride Mum had stated her lack of enthusiasm for me riding this specific animal. I had explained how I had ridden much worse and much bigger animals, and how if anything did happen I had my mobile to call for help.
Erm.. actually I didn’t. I had an audience in the nearby pub to do that for me.
Today I am sore, grumpy and have the starting of a chill.
Last night I discovered my computer was infected with a SirCam Virus. Does anyone need to ask me what kind of day I had now?!!