On Thursday 2nd December 2010 I was on my way to meet the mayor of Chesham for a coffee and a chat about a new voluntary organisation that she was starting to help vulnerable residents when it snowed. Chesham is in a long valley, with a vast majority of residents living on fairly hill sides and the tops of hills.
As I walked up one of the hills, Lowndes Avenue, in my walking boots with a walking pole. I stepped onto a patch of black ice left from when someone had poured water to defrost their car either the night before or early in the morning. I felt my left ankle turn inwards about 90 degrees and heard a really loud crack and a monstrous burst of pain. I lay writhing in pain and screaming in agony as people drove past.
I slipped my boot off to assess my injury. I had a serious lump on the outside of my leg, I figured I’d twisted my ankle. I put my boots back on and hobbled three paces hoping I could still meet the mayor.
Knowing how busy the ambulance service would be I slowly and painfully began to inch my way home, I’d call a friend to help me out and if needs be to go to hospital. I got about five hundred feet, the pain was so intense I couldn’t see straight and was feeling really nauseous. I knew enough was enough, I had to stop within sight of the end of my road. I was really scared I would become unconscious and end up falling on my back which is really dangerous. Across the road was a green telephone cable box, if I could make it to that I could lean against it and if I passed out I would hopefully not fall on my back.
I got as comfortable as I could and tried a few friends. Two were snowed in, a third wasn’t in Chesham and the last one didn’t answer their phone. I was running out of options, fast. A huge Bucks County Council gritter lorry trundled past and stopped. A guy jumped out in a high vis jacket and came over.
“Are you okay mate? ” he asked.
“No, I think I’ve broke my leg. ”
He went and spoke to his colleague and came back with another hi vis jacket for me to sit in, to avoid the cold. “Right, you either call an ambulance or we will. ”
I called an ambulance and waited. Two local PCSOs I know well, Beth and Victoria were walking up Lowndes Avenue and hadn’t noticed us. I told the lorry guy to go grab them. I’d have happily gone to hospital in the back of a police car if I had to! They came over and administered TLC. We waited ages for an ambulance, understandable in the conditions and Beth was about to go and get me a duvet when the ambulance arrived. Off I went to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
It was manic even though it was only 10:55am. X-rays revealed that I had badly broken my media malleous, the sticky out bone in my ankle. I had also torn ever ligament and tendon in both sides my ankle. The photo on the right shows the swelling four hours post injury on the outside of my leg. Click on the photo to see it, I’ve hidden it from the squeamish.
I had absolutely excellent treatment from all the staff right from the ambulance crew, A&E staff, X-ray staff and staff in the plaster room. Despite how unbelievably busy it was (the whole hospital ran out available wheelchairs at one point) they were all brilliant. Every single member of staff gave more than 100% with a smile.
I had a backslab cast put on my leg so the swellng could go down and assessment on what further treatment would be needed. I got home late that night. Sheppie was overjoyed to see me.
Early hours of Saturday I slipped in the bathroom and slammed my heel into the foot rest of my wheelchair cracking the heel of my cast. A friend gave me a lift back to Stoke Mandeville hospital for x-rays to check for damage and a new cast.
The new cast lasted until Monday morning when I had another fall this one in the kitchen making breakfast so off I went back to hospital… AGAIN.
I was back in the Orthopaedic clinic on the Wednesday (accident +6days) to have a checkup on my leg six days post accident. There was extensive bruising on both sides of my ankle (Inside of leg, fracture site photo and outside of leg, torn ligaments and tendons photo). It was decided that I would need an operation so my ankle could be wired together. Surgery was booked for the following day in the day surgery unit. The damage was worse than expected and I had to stay in hospital until Sunday evening. Sheppie went into total manic mode when I got home, he was so excited he was physically shaking.
A few days before Christmas finally I was allowed a fibre glass cast in a Christmas design. In the next eighteen months I had five lots of pyshio and suffered several bad falls.
A few people ask about the wound on my foot and the scar. So here is the wound a week after my operation. The stitches had to come out in January, as I had no way of getting out of my road due to the icy conditions.
Six years later and I need strong painkillers, walk with a limp and a cane. The latest treatments haven’t helped, four injections later has made it so much worse, I now have neuraligia and masses more pain, even the weight of my duvet in the wrong place can cause agony.
I still try and be positive I could have broken both my legs, hit my head and ended up permanently in a wheelchair.