For the chop!

So I had made up my mind. I wanted my leg gone! (Well, a bit of it anyway. The bit below the knee, with the foot on!). I joined as many amputee facebook groups as I could. Managed to speak to alot of really helpful people who had suffered the same fate as me. I found quite alot of elective amputees too, which gave me alot of hope for the future, as the vast majority of them where living a normal life now. I spoke to my friends, who were really supportive. My wife was amazing. I asked what she thaught, and if she would have a problem with it. She simply said “why would I have a problem? You will be my bionic wife”. I am very lucky to have such an amazing wife, and friends.

I told work. I diddnt really hear much. A meeting before with HR to see if there was anything they could do to help, and ask how long I may be off!. Then the rumour mill started. I think the funniest one was, and I quote “I bet she’s having an her leg amputated just to get more time off work”. I had alot of these kind of remarks from a couple of people at my work place. Not exactly helpful. But I find that ignoring sillu people to be the best thing!.

I started with a long email to my Orthopaedic surgeon. He was fantastic. He said immediately that there was nothing else that he could do, and that he thaught it was a good option for me. He put me in contact with one of the vascular surgeons. Luckily it was one of the doctors which I used to work with in my operating theatre days. He is absolutely fantastic and his work amazing. The day I saw him was the best day ever. It was August 2018. He said he was happy to do the operation. We had a date in mind. November, before my birthday. But there was alot of work to do first. I had to see the pain doctor again to see if we had exhausted all avenues. That was an interesting appointment. She agreed that there was nothing else which could be done for me, other than maybe trialing a nerve stimulator. Now, Id read all about these, and read about the likelihood of them being curative for crps. The answer was no. At best, if nothing went wrong, and put me permenantly into a wheelchair, I may reduce my pain be around 30%. Well, that was not enough for me. I would still be just as incapacitated as I was before, just with a little less pain. I declined this option. I feel that with my pensaty towards complications, that I was best off not doing it as there was no chance of a cure. Whereas amputation could cure me. The Doctor was quite persuasive. She said “you should try the nerve stimulator instead of resulting to self mutilation”. What a strange way of putting things, I thaught. I know amputation is extreme, but so is my pain! I never thaught of it as self mutilation. Bad choice of words maybe? On her part!.

So after seeing the pain doc, I had various appointments with a prosthetist and prosthetic councellor. They were both lovely. Really put me at ease and helped with all of my questions. Once they agreed that I was ready for the surgery I was booked in. The date was set for February 2019.

On the lead up to my op we had a farewell party to my left leg. It was amazing. My best friends were there. Kate and Dave, and Ruth and Roger. We went to Starz bar in Exeter. They put one legged banners up. Ruth made me the best gluten free carrot cake leg. Just brilliant. Then they all dressed up as pirates. It was so lovely. The perfect way to say goodbuy to something that had been with me for 40 years.

The day of my admission came round quickly. I had pepared my appartment, and myself as mucb as I could. We arrived at the hospital at 10am. We got directed to a chair to sit on. Then there we stayed for 3 hours before being told that there was a bed crisis and my surgery had to be cancelled, and would be rebooked for April!. Well, gutted doesnt even begin to explain how I felt at this point. The pain in my foot had gotten so bad by now, that I couldnt sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. I couldnt have my leg dangling down because it felt like it was swelling, and ready to pop, which was incredably painful. So I would spend most of my day laying on my sofa with my foot up on around 6 pillows. The higher it was, the more pressure relief. Sometimes I would just lay and try not to drink much all day, so I diddnt have to get up and use the toilet, because the pain was so bad when I did. So when I was told it was going to be cancelled was the worst news id ever had.

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