I’m sorry to say but 2017, so far, has proven to be a terrible year. This is the very first thing I have written all year; I’m sorry to those who “follow” me, but I’m doing the best I can. 2017 began with me in hospital;
On December 20th 2016, I fell, in my own home, in our bedroom, and broke my hip. I knew instantly what had happened and yelled out to my wife, Chris, to ring for an Ambulance. The pain was instantaneous and just awful, when I was laying where I fell, I fought to maintain my consciousness despite such horrendous pain, I thought to myself “only old people break hips?” and then “well you goose you must be old.” The Ambulance arrived and the Ambo’s gave me a mask with one of those green stick things attached to it. I remembered they give these Green sticks to women in labour to breathe on. I have to admit that stuff is awesome and I asked the ambo if I could buy these as I thought it would be a good thing to have around. Sadly, no, but at least I got a laugh. A second ambulance was called as there was no way just two ambos could move me from the position I had landed in the doorway of our bedroom. Additional pain medication was administered intravenously and brought me great relief.
I don’t remember the arrival at Blacktown Hospital or much of what happened in Emergency other than the extreme pain of being transferred between bed and X-ray table and back. I do remember a doctor explaining the hip replacement procedure and that what is known as a partial or half replacement was my best option. The operation could not be done until the 22nd and I was apprehensive about waiting in pain for two days but Chris later reminded me that whilst in ER I was given a nerve block which reduced the pain somewhat and allowed me to cope waiting for my surgery.
Two days later while an OT was talking to Chris at my bedside, I was wheeled from the ward to the operating theatre. All I remember of the procedure is laying in the anaesthetic bay being told “I’ll just give you a little something” … I woke in recovery and all seemed fine though at first I didn’t believe I’d had the surgery. I joked with people that my plan to become a robotic person was on track (considering a total knee replacement L side in 2010 now the L. hip…).
That night I stopped a nurse who was attempting to give me a 100mg injection of Clexane, a drug commonly used to prevent unwanted blood clotting. I was very familiar with this drug and it’s use, and I felt prompted to challenge it, as I have a history of blood clots, and I had been prescribed it on several occasions, but never at such a high dose and I sensed this was totally wrong. The nurse had no choice but to say it was what the doctor had ordered. I kept challenging this dosage every time it was given, which was twice a day.
So, a day or two later I had the physiotherapists come along and get me to do stand-ups-sit downs and walking using the large upper-arm frame I started with a 10 meter walk and 10 stand-ups-sit downs. To doing 20 stand-ups-sit downs and walking 65 meters. I know that this sounds like ‘Oh big deal’. But with a new joint that you have to learn to trust and rely on is a different matter having this on my “weak” side (left over from the stroke I had in 2004) where I also have a total knee replacement is something you have to mentally fight you have to know the facts and then literally walk in that knowledge. Throughout my time in Blacktown Hospital I was seen by a small army of doctors, but one pair remain stuck in my mind. One was a tall slender woman with light red hair and her partner was a short slender Chinese lady who turned out to be Dr Chow, who stayed as my overseeing doctor until I finally got to go home on January 30th. I was shocked at our first meeting as they introduced themselves as Geriatricians, I thought ‘hang on I’m only 62.’ They went on to explain how as it was a broken hip as result of a fall and I was over 50 that they got involved.
It was on the 30th of December I was transferred The Hills Private Rehabilitation Hospital where I will undergo intensive rehab. I told my Chris that I had bad pain in my left knee, which was overshadowing the hip pain and therefore a bit strange. I had low blood pressure, fever and was imagining things, medically the doctors were testing for various things; I was sure that someone had stolen my phone and was on the lookout for the “thief”. There were some medical issues that arose; my blood pressure was low, something I had never experienced. I also had an extremely large haematoma in my left thigh.I was transferred to The Hills Private hospital and in the ER I feinted, vomited and was generally “unwell.” I didn’t really understand why I was here and it was several weeks before I understood that I was quite ill.
As for the rehab I knew I was in for days of exercises where I will say ‘you have to be kidding me’ but I was determined to come out of this not just walking but walking better than I was before I fell. I realised it was just day 8 out from surgery, but I am determined to reinvent myself through this painful experience into being a better Max and to being a more positive person for the sake of life and for the purposes that God has for me.
Well, I was in The Hills Private hospital for some 16 days, where I underwent 4 blood transfusions all to get my Haemoglobin from the 74 I presented, to be closer to the 150-180 of a normal healthy male (my excuse is well while being a male I am not normal, nor partially healthy).
So after 16 days in The Hills Private hospital my Haemoglobin hit 104 and Dr Chow was happy enough for me to be transferred back to The Hills Private Rehabilitation hospital. We made the choice of this hospital so Dr Chow who had been overseeing me since I was in Blacktown Hospital, I could have held out to go to St Josephs in a different part of the city; we were thinking of this option as I have been going to St Josephs for physiotherapy and medical reviews for some years. However, keeping Dr Chow as my overseeing Doctor rated higher at that time.
So my 4th hospital in just 4 weeks was again The Hills Private Rehabilitation hospital. I began with daily trips to the gym where I laid on a “bed”, more like a vinyl covered piece of thick plywood. I had my leg pulled this way and that and I used my muscles to fight against those movements coupled with this was my “walking to and from the gym using this large ungainly forearm frame. I tried to walk further each day, some days I could while on other days I was just too worn out. I confess that having a “rest” day from Physio on Sundays was a dream.
While a terrible time I always opt to dig my teeth in and get through such times as I don’t believe in giving in. This experience reminded me of two Biblical characters Joseph and Daniel.
Joseph from being just a boy just stuck to his faith in God, he never wavered nor did he seek to improve his life by nefarious actions or lying; yet he rose to being the second most important position in the land despite several attempts to bring him undone.
Likewise, Daniel, though taken captive and taken to a different country, never doubted God and he never abandon his faith again despite the plans of other people to bring him down to death itself.
I find my heart gladdened by these accounts and am reminded of a verse in Hebrews that has calmed me over the years when trouble was at the door.
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
It is now August 3rd and this is the first time I have written all year! Saying that makes me feel guilty and that I’ve disappointed my readers. If that is true then I’m truly sorry. After hospital things settled into routine of physio two days a week, grandchildren and trying to cope. One of my doctors put forward a case for me to change a medication. I did and it was a disaster. I had to revert to the prior drug. Likewise they have had me on a drug to help with my neuropathic pain. But our own research has dug up plenty of evidence that some of what I have been battling in the last few months could well be attributed to this drug. So no we go off tomorrow to confront my doctor with this and seek a plan for withdrawing from it. I have to be totally honest with you I’m scared; as I have no idea just how bad this will be I’ve been through withdrawal from another drug about 4 years ago and it was hell on earth.
I have been experiencing flashbacks of my early childhood years that leave me angry, frustrated and often tears. As I said it’s been a tough year. I fully expect things to get much better by the time December rolls around and my faith tells me that better things are coming. I value your prayers.