Monday, 16 April 2012

7 Weeks On

I have to wait till 2016 for the first anniversary of my little gym accident.

Next month I am off to Hawai'i, to observe the transit of Venus and decided that I needed to get well, beach fit, beforehand. Hence increasing my visits to the gym.

You know how sometimes you try to self-improve and it all goes horribly pear-shaped? That was me- also probably going pear-shaped myself through lack of exercise.

I don't normally try the treadmill. And don't know why I made the foolish mistake to. What makes a treadmill unique is what happens when you fall....

Merrily running along at not a particulary fast speed. There must have been something about how I put my foot down- I think it landed on the non-moving bit next to the belt- and down I went. And I must have landed on my right shoulder.

Two things were noticeable immediately:

  • In classic You've Been Framed style, I slid off the back of the treadmill.
  • I was aware that I couldn't move my right arm.
  • The guy on the next treadmill stopped what he was doing and helped me back to my feet and then helped me over to the area where all the chairs were where some people hang out post-workout, and a member of staff came over.

    When I put my left hand on my right shoulder, I was aware that the shoulder seemed a bit higher than it should be, and my right arm seemed to be at an odd angle. I knew then that I had dislocated my shoulder.

    One of the other men in the post-workout area took my swipe card and got all my things from my locker for me.

    The member of staff told me that they have people fall over on the treadmill quite frequently, but he would have to call paramedics. They took about 15 minutes to arrive (in the meantime, another member of staff had got me a Lucozade to drink). I assumed they would simply put my shoulder back in, but no, I would have to go to the local hospital for that, so had to go down to the ambulance. Although, once just outside the gym, I stopped to point out Venus and Jupiter. I always think it's important to get one's priorities straight.

    Then there is the sitting in the ambulance while they take down your details and details of your GP and what medicines you take (I could remember the names of 2 of my 3 inhalers for my asthma, and we had a guessing game while they tried to work out the 2 types of tablets I have for high blood-pressure from my attempts to pronounce them). And then we go off to A&E.

    This then means being in a queue while other people go through triage, and I realised just how lucky I was, given that I was the only patient not on a stretcher. Ses the triage nurse and then it's walking down to one of the A&E wards where I have to lie on one of the beds, which is actually quite painful- I was more comfortable standing or sitting.

    One question I get asked is whether I live on my own. I assumed that this was in case they needed to contact anyone. There was actually another reason...

    The next thing is being wheeled down to X-ray for a couple of shoulder X-rays and then back to A&E where I am given morphine to drink.

    Then it's time to have the shoulder put back in. This doesn't hurt, as I was given "gas & air" (if you've ever been in labour you'll know what I'm talking about) to breath as the shoulder was put back in. How the nurse managed it with the floor wobbling and the room spinning slightly, I'll never know.

    I was wheeled back for another X-ray, and then told it was OK. My right arm was put in a sling and I was told that I should be back to normal in 6 weeks (so, by 11 April).

    The next bit surprised me- I had mentioned I lived on my own. Apparently, if you've been given morphine, they cannot let you be on your own that night. Did I have anyone I could stay at?- if not I would have to spend the night in hospital.

    Now, I can be a stroppy libertarian at time, believing that adults are adults and should be treated at adults. Just tell me the risks of being on my own, and I will decide whether I want to take the risk- and if something goes wrong it's my own fault. However, they cannot accept that, so I relented and phoned my dad. By this time, it was 3 hours after my accident. He came over and collected me and I spent the night at my parents'.

    There is one other result of living alone- you do things for yourself as no-one else will suddenly appear and do them for you. I did go into work the day after my accident, despite being in pain (and could type, just slowly, with only my left hand), because I think it's one of the attitudes someone living on their own develops- just get up and get on with things rather than waiting for someone else to do them for you.

    That is probably one factor in why recovery is a bit slower. I still have to cook, shop etc. Yes, some things had to be done left-handed, but still had to do things rather than rest my arm.

    When I saw the specialist, he was clear that there was more tissue damage than at first thought.

    It hurts when I try to put my arm behind myself too far (so putting on a rucksack is a bit tricky) and can't raise it too high above my shoulder (so have to avoid worshipping at charismatic churches). Also when I sleep- I have a tendency to roll over onto my right side, so end up lying on my arm and that means it hurts a fair bit when I wake up.

    But, slowly recovering.

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