We were all so happy to be home again…we already figured that it was not a matter of days or weeks before I could be back on my feet, but we certainly did not expect what was coming next…
The week after we came home, we went to the hospital to meet the surgeons and review the wounds. When I say “went” I mean lied on a stretcher in an ambulance transport for an hour in London traffic…But a few days before that I started feeling feverish…temperature gone up and we had to get the GP to come and visit as I was not mobile. She prescribed some antibiotics and when the surgeons saw me and the state of the wound they’ve decided to double the dose and said let’s keep an eye on things.
AND this was the first time I stood up! Seven weeks after the accident, I pulled myself up onto a walking frame. It was exciting, scary and shocking all at the same time. I was able to stand but could not let go of the frame because my legs were so weak and were not used to bearing any weight!
Two days later we had to come in again, this time for a urology follow-up and I was feeling worse…a lot worse! They took a urine sample which immediately showed that there was an infection. At that point the doctor that was there suggested that we re-admit and the quickest way in was trough A&E…later that Friday afternoon I was again on the 5th floor in ward 12c, with an IV antibiotics and with another operation booked for the next Tuesday. They could not operate me on the same day because I was not strong enough to withstand it.
So a long weekend and a bit, lots of blood tests, another night of fasting and there I was…on the trolley, being wheeled into theatre…bye bye to Yael, a couple of jokes with the anaesthetist and I was in dreamland. 3-4 hours later I woke up in ITU with some serious pain…again that sharp, pressing pain in the lower abdomen. They removed the fixation metal plate from the pelvic bone, which was infected, and performed a “washout”, scraping and removing tissue, blood collections and all sorts of gunk that filled up that area. This meant that I’m back to being “non weight-bearing” since the bone is not strong enough and has not healed yet, so I was again lying flat on my back, connected to a VAC machine and a huge dressing that was filling up with blood in a few hours…blood that then turned into a 20x10cm raw steak (or that’s what it looked like to me at least) and was removed after a few days, leaving a long stitched cut and a few suction holes.
The next 3 weeks were a bit of a rollercoaster for us…blood tests kept showing that the infection was not really going away and at some point the doctors thought they were going to operate again and do a 2nd washout!!! But we stayed positive and as soon as they gave us the ok to start mobilising again I jumped into the wheelchair and when they said it was safe to use my legs I asked the physiotherapists to help me get up. I tried the walking frame for a few minutes and felt it wasn’t right for me…I wanted more control and more freedom so they’ve let me try crutches. Initially I was hobbling around the room, then up and down the corridor and then I wanted OUT…that day was both one of the hardest and the happiest in my life!
They showed me how to climb up and down the stairs. This was hard, painful and with the catheter still in my tummy, very uncomfortable, but I was determined and it did not bother me wearing my pyjamas out in the street outside the hospital.
But the infection was still there and I still needed loads of antibiotics to be infused twice a day…the problem was that because I lost so much weight and because I’ve had so many needles put into me, my veins had started collapsing and it was not possible to use cannulas any longer. They’ve had to switch to oral antibiotics, which are less effective and can have negative effect on digestion etc.
However this also meant that I no longer had to stay at the hostiptal and 4 weeks after readmission, we were again making our way home, this time I was on my feet at last!!! No more sleeping in the living room, no more being locked inside, no more wheelchair…and it was SUMMERTIME!!!
I still had the catheter in my belly and there was the question of if/ when/ how I’ll be free of tubes again, but I didn’t have to carry the bag any more (instead there was a valve I could open at will) and while the pain & discomfort were very much still there, I had my family and friend to support me, I had free access to the strongest painkillers and I was looking forward to making the best use of the good weather and to continuing with recovery and rehabilitation.
I remember posting on Facebook “looking for the FFWD button”…well I’m still looking and the following months had loads happening in them…I will get to that in the next installment, but I wanted to share this:
Yesterday, Friday 13th of January (I know I know), we had an appointment with my cardiologist…basically we wanted to know how my heart had coped with the last 9 months…we will have to go through some tests but so far it seems like it had survived one of the toughest stress tests…
The hospital is only a few miles from that place…that junction…they say that every person has got to face their demons at some point. I faced them yesterday…Yael and I stood there for a few minutes. It was cold and it was snowing and we were looking at the cars going through, stopping, turning and suddenly it was totally clear…I walked across and stood exactly where I was standing, on my (now RIP) bike just over 9 month ago when that Blue Skoda driver made that horrible mistake.
I rode and drove through this junctions maybe a hundred times before and somehow, yesterday, it looked a lot, lot smaller than I remembered it.