I'm a little bit late with this entry but still alive and not kicking! :-)
February 24th was rapidly approaching and I was a little bit concerned that I hadn't received my appointment through the post for a follow up appointment to take out my stitches and replace my cast for a snazzy new one with hinges on, the idea being that I could start practicing to bend my leg.
Guessing that the appointment letter had gone to my home address instead of my Mom's, I set my alarm nice and early to give the appointments office a call to find out when it might be. I awoke the next day bright as a button and proceeded to make the call, what I didn't expect to find was that I'd turned into a jibbering fool overnight. I knew what I wanted to say but the words just wouldn't come out. I eventually made myself understood and got an answer to my question but alarm bells were ringing now and, after researching 'I know what I want to say but the words won't come out' on the internet (don't ya just love the internet? :-) I decided I'd got a problem and rang the NHS helpline 111.
Incidently, I've heard quite a bit of criticism of this service but I thought it was quite good. The operator asked me questions and then organised paramedics to come out to me straight away. The paramedics arrived promptly and they hooked me up to machines and did some tests and decided I needed to go in to hospital for further tests for a suspected TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack) or, in plainer terms, a mini stroke.
Now, I didn't really have much cause to know much about strokes at the time, either mini or full, but I know a lot more now :-)
TIAs can be taken as a warning that a full stroke is on it's way especially if they re-occurr. But the thing is, because the little Devils can clear themselves in a matter of minutes or a few hours, many people might not realise they've had one, especially if it happens in your sleep, you wouldn't even know.
After being checked out at the hospital, declared a low risk and making sense again (Ha! As if I ever did that anyway! :-), I was allowed home and told to come back next day for further tests, which I did. However, next day, after looking at the results from the previous day, it was decided that I should stay in so they could keep an eye on me and do the tests on an 'in patient' basis.
Unfortunately, this clashed with my 'landmark' appointment on the 26th to get my stitches out at another hospital. Luckily, the consultalt surgeon who did the operation was back at the same hospital I was in on the 27th so he came to see me. He cheerily told me that the only way a clot could get from my leg to my brain would be if I had a hole in my heart; not as uncommon as you'd think. Apparently about 15% of the population have a hole in the heart and lead perfectly normal lives with it not being a problem. He also looked at my leg and told me that I didn't have a deep vein thrombosis in my leg because he could tell by looking at it; he was right, ultrasound examinations on both legs and neck later in the day proved to be normal. I was due to have a more accurate MRI scan but because my leg operation was less than 6 weeks ago at the time, it had to be postponed - still got that to come along with wearing a heart monitor for a week, oh! The joy!
One of the nurses ran through a questionnaire about my lifestyle with me and we both concluded that I shouldn't be there! Haha!
Anyhow, I digress. My stitches are out and my new cast is on. A nice little two piece number connected with hinges either side that allow me to bend my leg. I'm not allowed to put any weight on the leg and won't be able to for about 4 weeks after the cast comes off, but at least it feels like I'm getting somewhere. I can also bend to just over 45 degrees as well which is pretty good going in the time it's been so far.
On an even happier note, my barber visited me yesterday for a haircut; 7 weeks since it was last done, I was almost a hippy! Onwards and upwards :-)