Thursday, 5 July 2012

Ankle replacement the endurance test!

On the 18th of June I had my left ankle replaced. This was done by the top international surgeon for ankle replacements,Mr Winson, in Southmead hospital, Bristol.

I had my right ankle replaced in 2005.

I knew from the previous ankle replacement what an endurance test this would be but back then I was with my ex. I had been with him for 7 years and only met his parents after six years, this ex never stayed over for more than a weekend each week even though he lived 15 mins away. So I had no help except for carers who would come in to help me dress in the morning around 10.30am, make me a sandwitch at lunch and help me get ready for bed at 7.30pm. That was it.

So when this strange mother of my ex walked in to my house without even knocking at 9am one morning, I was still not dressed because my carer hadn't arrived,the reader will understand how embarrassed I was and how undignified I felt when I had only met this woman twice after several years of dating her son and they were a judgemental family!I was so upset when there she was in my lounge sitting waiting for me to somehow entertain her. The whole family were useless at conversation. Of course not only was I mortified, I was angry and irritated that I was expected to do the talking when I was in pain and had large amounts of morphine to get me through the night.

I dumped the ex six weeks into the recovery of this operation really because not only was he hardly ever there as a boyfriend, he rarely supported me and I was rarely good enough for him and when he couldn't respect my request that he asked his mum to not just barge in again as I felt humiliated, I had had enough! Enough of trying to live up to his and his wacky family's expectations! I got through the rest of the endurance test that the ankle replacement is, 12 weeks of being in a plaster and unable to walk or move much at all,on my own but I was pretty much on my own any way so it was really business as usual.

So when this recent operation came around I was dreading it! However I needn't have.

My husband has taken it all in his stride. He has been there by my side, he even does his art sat beside me in the evening. He looks after our son like a trooper, he helps me to the loo, makes our tea, makes the lunch, feeds our son, changes our son, plays making tents with our son. He still has enough energy,just,despite every joint of his burning with arthritis pain, to make me smile with a joke or his chit chat. Sure I do what I can for our toddler, I sing songs, we read umpteen books, I am teaching him French along with his English words, we play peekaboo, we cuddle but all activities are done from my bed. I feel so sad when my son wants me to follow him into the tent and I just can't or when he bumps his head and I can't get to him to cuddle him and make it alright but we manage,we cope.

It is an endurance test, we are all basically in lock down at home, I can not risk jolting my already thin ankles which will keep me in plaster even longer.We can't go anywhere at the moment. My husband needs to get on with his art work as he hopes to exhibit again soon but he is not only caring for my son but me as well. I feel awful that I can not help more with housework or child care but we all muddle through every day and we all still smile.

Thank god for the iPad as that has opened up so many fun activities for Christopher to do with me sat on the bed, I really would put this gadget as a top piece of equipment on any disabled parents list.

Of course then there is Yasmin, my assistant dog, she is being walked at the moment by my dad and fortunately she is as lovely and cuddly as ever, helping pick up things for my son around the room. She has an understanding,unlike pet dogs, that we can't have max fun every day, she knows she works for me as even when I open the French windows she won't leave me, even if I say "go play" and shut French windows she sticks her nose against the class and stares as if to say "I'm going nowhere lady!". I didn't have my dog when with the ex as he was allergic to dogs, as soon as he went I applied for a Canine Partner dog,an excellent trade.

Ankle replacements are a real endurance test! I say to any disabled parent only get this operation done if your ankle has already become life limiting (if you are strong and well otherwise it will be a doss because you will be able to hop and have good arms for crutches) you need to be in a very tight, strong relationship with a good support system in place for helping with your child. It is very do able though with the right people and who knows what I will be able to do when I am out of plaster, first thing I am going to do though is make my husband rest, cook him a lovely meal and play tents with my son!

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