Broken Leg Week 6: An Interesting Development

Hello!  Sorry once again about the radio silence but I promise I have an amazing excuse.  Literally the best.  And the worst.

So, you know I got my cast off on Monday right?  Well, on Sunday, I went to the pub with my lovely friend Flora.  My cast was super uncomfortable – remember how my leg was aching? – so I took the cast off in the pub and, while we were there, I went to show Flora how tiny my left leg was compared to my right.  Only … it wasn’t.  They were exactly the same size.  I thought that was super weird, but I just figured I’d probably strained it during my Tuesday prehab session, since it was really after that that it had begun to ache.  However … that night … I began to put two and two together.  Aching leg?  Sudden swelling?  Immobilisation …?  I had a quick look and sure enough my legs were two different colors, so after a slightly panicked phone call to my GP friend Jess, I hurtled down to the doctors’ surgery at 07:00 the following morning.  They couldn’t get me in in the morning, so I decided it would be in my interests to go off and get my MRI and raise it with the sports doctor when I saw her.  I duly hip-hopped over to the City and had my MRI and waited for the sports doctor.

The appointment with the sports doctor was literally the best thing EVER!  The break has healed!  It’s not quite there, but it is almost, and certainly enough to start partial weight-bearing again.  Therefore the boot was off, but lemme tell you, walking HURTS!  After six weeks non-weight-bearing you can barely move and every step feels like the weirdest combination of stiffness, stabbing pains and pins and needles.  I’ve never been so grateful for Bella and Giselle!  So my lovely doctor prescribed me one more week partial weight-bearing, learning how to move my leg and foot again and giving the navicular bone a nice easy return to action … and then on Monday I get to ditch Bella and Giselle for good! Woop woop!   I still don’t get to run for another six weeks but in the event that’s fine … as per the below I wouldn’t have been able to anyway.

Anyway, I told my doctor that I suspected a DVT, and she hooked me up with a referral to the Lister, being the hospital which is connected with the same chain of clinics.  Once again I was back on the phone to AXA who – yet again – approved my claim immediately and I was set.  Only drawback was that I couldn’t actually get hold of the Lister, so I went along to the NHS appointment I’d made that morning.  Honestly, that appointment was something else.  By that time I was seriously stressed, my leg was continuing to swell and I was sure something bad was going on, and the doctor simply would not listen.  She measured my calves and found them to be exactly the same size, which she took as an indication that nothing was amiss – even though I told her repeatedly that my legs weren’t the same size because of the atrophy on the left, and even showed her a photo.  She told me that it was simply oedema and that I should just come back in a couple days if the swelling hadn’t gone down.  Even when I reminded her that I was thrombophiliac and Factor V Leiden (ie I have a genetic predisposition to clotting), that my mother had died of a blood clot (and, for the record, was revived – twice) and that numerous family members had popped it from blood clots, she still refused to believe that it was anything serious.  I left in floods of tears and got straight on the phone to the Lister, where I stayed until they agreed that I could come in for an ultrasound that evening.

Let’s just say it’s a jolly good thing I did.  Far from the one DVT that I was terrified of, they found … eight.  EIGHT.  From groin to ankle.  Specifically, they found a partially occlusive DVT in the superficial femoris, a sub-occlusive DVT in the popliteal vein, and fully occlusive thrombi in the anterior tibial, one of the posterior tibial, the peroneal, the medial,  lateral gastrocnemius and soleal veins.  I don’t even know what most of that means, but let’s just say it was enough to have me whipped upstairs and admitted before you could blink, with my body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, height and weight and goodness knows what else being recorded (and my credit card details, just in case AXA didn’t come through – it did though.  Yay).  Unfortunately I was in such severe shock by this time that I was hypothermic, so they had to re-heat me before anything else could happen.  All I can say is that if you’re going to be stuck in a hospital, the Lister is a lovely one to be in – I had a very nice private ensuite room and more nurses than you could ever imagine bringing me tea and biscuits every 3 minutes (and firmly tucking in my sheets and blankets with excellent hospital corners) until I was sufficiently warmed up to have my injection of blood thinners.  Eventually the haemostasis consultant came along (I’d already seen a haemotologist but I think the haemostasis consultant was just interested, how often can you really see eight DVTs in one leg?!).  Anyway, he prescribed me some drugs, told me to go and see Professor Leffan, who is the absolute bees knees on haemostasis (and is fortunately at Hammersmith Hospital, quite close to where I live), and told me that once I’d had time to let the tinzaparine injection get through the system and ensure I wasn’t going to have a bad reaction, I could go home if I really wanted to, though they preferred that I should stay.  Since I’d only popped down for an ultrasound I had nothing with me, so I elected to go … and took three buses home.  Why I didn’t catch a cab is literally beyond me now, but I think I just wanted to feel even a tiny bit normal …

Since then I have literally troubled the poor NHS daily with my presence.  Sometimes its tests, sometimes it’s checking my prescription, sometimes its amending it.  Sometimes it’s just updating my records, since they’re now split across the Lister, Hammersmith Hospital and my GP surgery.  Professor Leffan can’t see me til Monday (yay no crutches!!) so he rang me in the interim (so nice!) and gave me additional medication, forbade me from going to work until he’s seen me, and calmed me down a bit.  I actually think the pharmacist now thinks I’m selling rivaroxaban on the side, since I’ve had to have three different strength prescriptions now, but luckily today I managed an entire day without bothering a single doctor – even my lovely GP friend Jess who sadly now has become my personal physician.  That’ll teach her to be good at her job eh?!

Actually if the truth be told I feel a lot better today.  Every day that goes by without getting a pulmonary embolism is a good day, since the risk decreases daily.  I am getting used to the medication, although it gives you a bloody AWFUL stomach ache!  My leg’s much less crampy now that my blood’s about as thin as water (see what I did there) and is even decreasing in size a bit – woo hoo!  The first few days was literally a whirlwind of people – my lovely friends came to visit on Tuesday (Harri), Wednesday (Romy and Jess) and Thursday (well, Jess was still with me since she stayed overnight), plus the sheer number of doctors and nurses and medical receptionists and pharmacists I’ve seen or spoken to is mahoosive!  I have still managed to do quite a bit of work from home in between appointments and visits, and today I made my very own home office!  I ordered a table and chair from Argos and DIY’d them …  I spent £24 on the table and this is what it looked like before and after.  So now – just in time to go back to work on Tuesday! – I have a “home office” and can actually work properly from home rather than working from sofa which is nice, but doesn’t offer much variety in scenery between work and home!  Tomorrow I’m going to do some more DIY stuff – luckily the money I’m saving on not going to Croatia next week, since I can’t fly now, has been put to good use in buying DIY supplies haha.

So that is the story of my week, and the delay in blogging about the result of my MRI.  It’s literally been the weirdest week of my life.  I’ve genuinely almost forgotten by now that I still have a mildly broken foot.  I could have died this week.  If I’d listened to the NHS doctor then I probably would have.  I wanted so much for her to be right that it would have been far too easy for me simply to accept what she had said, that it was just an oedema, and gratefully clung to it, since it was a much easier option than trying to force people to listen to me and give me an ultrasound.  But if I had, I very much doubt that I would be here writing this blog.  I’d either be in hospital, if I were extremely lucky, or on a slab somewhere if I weren’t.  One DVT poses serious risk.  Eight poses a ridiculous risk.  I am once again reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to be alive, to be able to enjoy every day.  Obviously this week it has not been enjoyable, but there have been moments every day which I have loved and appreciated and laughed at.  Even on Monday, which I would categorically say is the worst day of my life to date, I was laughing at a podcast (My Dad Wrote A Porno, honestly, if you haven’t listened then seriously please do) and I had Jess’s support and advice all day.  The Lister nurses and doctors were amazing.  When I texted my friends and my boss from hospital, the overwhelming love and support I got back was crazy.  Harri visiting on Tuesday was such a lovely treat – in London you rarely hang out with your friends at your house, and having her come over and just spend quality time was absolutely lovely.  The identical same goes for Romy on Wednesday.  Similarly, having Jess come and stay was brilliant.  Flora has sent me lovely texts daily, my boss has been incredibly supportive and kind and everyone who’s heard about it either from me or through someone else has been so concerned and so kind, even though I know a lot of them don’t really understand the implications of a DVT.  Every single medical professional, from the receptionists to the doctors to the pharmacist, has been incredibly kind and has dealt with everything practically instantaneously.  I am so lucky and all I can say is that I can’t wait to live out the next 37 years at least (hopefully at least double that more!) … they say that only the good die young so I reckon I’ve got a fighting chance here to say the least haha.

Anyway I’m rambling away again but I have literally no idea what the next post will bring.  I’ve been told to walk around as much as I can, which has happened pretty organically with all the appointments, but no other exercise.  I’m hoping that Professor Leffan will at least clear me to do something, although I hear you’re at too high a risk of a bleed to do weights.  But for one thing I’ve got to start physio on Monday!!  Oh God.  I’ve got a plan in mind for my exercise for the recovery period, so I’m going to take it along and see what the professor says … I can’t believe this is actually a priority, but it is.  I am very much looking forward just to being NORMAL and exercise is a massive part of that for me.  So I can’t wait to get back into the swing of it!


One thought on “Broken Leg Week 6: An Interesting Development

  1. Wow! That’s one hell of a week. Thank goodness you trusted your instincts on Monday. 8 DVTs – is that some kind of a record? So pleased to hear you’re recovering, I hope the appointment with Dr Laffan goes well tomorrow


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