And finally we’re home!

30 September, 2010

Learning a new technique

So! Finally we’re home 🙂 Here’s A sitting at the table enjoying a glass of wine and a small snack.

(Good job he’s in no condition to stop me from writing this! Heheheh…)

The hand is now swathed in an enormous bandage. It wouldn’t fit into any of his clothes except his ultra-trendy green TGO Challenge 2010 fleece, so it looks like he’s either going to be very cold for the next couple of weeks or confined to the house.

The plan is currently to return to Cambridge tomorrow afternoon, and I’m looking forward to establishing Alan on a regime of early physiotherapy, which will include things like hoovering, ironing and rubbing my feet. I’d hate to see the remaining fingers and thumb of his left hand atrophy.

He’s proposing to write something from the comfort of his own computer once he’s re-established in his office, some time tomorrow.

Bye for now.

p.s. 10 minutes later, he’s up in bed complaining that his beard is caught in the zip of his fleece. Looks like he’s on the mend, then.

Great news!

30 September, 2010

Whoohoo! A rang about 10 minutes ago. I almost missed the call because I’d fallen asleep in front of the television, and when the phone woke me I spent about 10 seconds attempting to answer it with the television control.

Anyway, the news is apparently good 🙂 A says there wasn’t any visible nerve or tendon damage, and so he’ll be able to get out tomorrow. More importantly, his hand should eventually be okay again. That’s until I stamp on it as punishment for A having been daft enough to use it for grabbing a barbed wire fence to prevent himself from falling backwards onto tussocky grass… but that’ll be another story for another day.

Thanks once again to y’all for the support here, in texts and in emails ♥ I’m off to bed now, if I can squeeze in next to Piglet who is spread out happily across the pillows. She’s having some sort of strange dream (rabbit related, no doubt) which involves lots of grunting noises, and twitching paws.

Night, y’all 🙂

Finally… (Alan’s hand)

29 September, 2010

At last! It’s 2310, and I’ve just rung the ward, and finally A went for his operation about half an hour ago. They’ll presumably be poking at his finger even as I type.

Hopefully everything will go well. I think it must have been very stressful for old A, sitting around there all day in Newcastle, starving and thirsty, awaiting the call at any moment. Fingers crossed that he’ll feel better when he wakes up.

The ward staff apparently won’t be able to tell me how he got on when he gets back to the ward, in case I’m The News of the World (or, perhaps, The Daily Telegraph in Alan’s case). I therefore have to hope that he feels up to giving me a ring to tell me how he got on: assuming he’s able to understand what they tell him in the middle of the night, just after coming round from a general anaesthetic. Still, though: I really could be a reporter from The Daily Telegraph rather than just a concerned pal, so I suppose that’s understandable. Not.

I was told earlier that if they don’t find nerve and/or tendon damage it should be a straightforward and relatively speedy operation. If there is that sort of damage, though, it could take much longer. I’m hoping, therefore, to get a phone call sooner rather than later. If I’ve heard nothing in a couple of hours I’ll ring to see what’s happening.

Fingers crossed at this end.

(Piglet, BTW, has had a bath, and two sets of antibiotics, and seems to be making good progress. My sister and I applied a liberal dose of a very mild conditioner after shampooing her, and now her coat is beautifully soft, and smells lovely. Wee darling that she is ♥)

Another update re: Alan

29 September, 2010

They've got him sussed...

Well, I’ve just spoken to Alan. He’s going to be admitted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle this afternoon. They may be able to fit in the surgery this evening after 5pm, but otherwise they plan to do it tomorrow.

Either way, he’s going to be in the RVI for at least one night. They’re digging him out a bed at the moment.

If anybody in that neck of the woods is able to pop in and see him this afternoon then I know he’d appreciate it. He got very little sleep last night, he hasn’t had a chance to get a wash and brush up (ugh!) and he hasn’t had anything to eat since midnight. He can’t eat today either, in case they get a chance to do his hand this evening, and so that in itself is a bit miserable 😦

Further news to follow as the drama unfolds.

The Sick List Lengthens…

29 September, 2010

Poor wee thing

Unfortunately, it’s not just Alan on the Sick List after the Peebles to Moffat jaunt.

Little Piglet was an absolute star for almost the whole thing: dashing energetically up and down the line of walkers, keeping her pack in order, and attempting at all times to lead from the front.

Wee Piglet

(I promised her I wouldn’t mention the unfortunate incident of the Early Morning Alarm Call that occurred in the tiny hours of Sunday morning, when Piglet spotted a menacing rock located a few feet from the tents, and set up a series of ear-piercing barks that continued (despite vigorous discouragement from me, which included the lobbing in Piglet’s direction of Alan’s 3L water container) for several minutes which felt like hours. So I won’t.)

When we got back, though, I noticed what I thought was some tangled fur in the crooks of her little elbows (or arms, or whatever they are). I tried to comb them out but Piglet cried piteously, which isn’t like her at all, and when I looked more closely I found some cruel sprigs of sharp heather embedded in her coat. One little crook is rubbed red and furless, and the other is weepy and slightly infected 😦

We took a trip to Piglet’s excellent vet this morning, and Piglet has now been established on a 4 day course of Cortisone and 10 days of antibiotics. She didn’t want to get up this morning but the cat had a word or two, and now that she’s had brekky, a poo and a fart Piglet looks a little brighter. She’s now curled up on a couch with a blanket, watching the Cookery Channel on television.

Alan is now at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, which is a Centre of Excellence in relation to the mending of super-bashed hands. I’m awaiting a call to find out what the plan is once they’ve finished poking and prodding his hand in the Hands and Plastic Trauma Clinic.

Having suffered almost 2 years of misery and anguish at the hands of the incompetent side of the NHS in relation to my poor father, it’s truly a head-spinning experience for me to have met with such brilliant treatment for Alan from both the hospital in Carlisle and (this morning by telephone) the RVI. They truly have been absolutely tremendous, though: efficient, kind, empathetic and unpatronising. We’ll be writing them a Very Nice Letter Indeed once this whole sorry thing is over.

Further updates will follow later re: Alan when the plan becomes clear. In the meantime, though, it’s goodbye from me 🙂

Further update on Alan’s hand

28 September, 2010

They've got him sussed...

Evening, peeps!

Well, the plot continues to thicken in relation to Alan’s bashed hand.

The doctors in Carlisle have decided that Newcastle is definitely the place for him, as they have micro-surgeons there who patch up severely bashed hands every day. He’s in Carlisle hospital again tonight, but tomorrow morning he’s going to be conveyed to Newcastle in a swarm of flashing blue lights, to be seen in the Hands and Plastics Trauma Clinic. I’m v. much hoping that they’ll go on and do the business surgically tomorrow, before the bits that were hanging off yesterday afternoon give up the ghost.

A continues to put on a brave face. Mind you, with a face like that I suppose he’s had to learn to be brave!

(Heh… just joking, Gitface!)

Alan relaxing in his hospital bed

Seriously, though, he’s very stoical. I confess that I’m amazed. I’ve seen no sign of this stoicism before now. Just touch him accidentally and he jumps as though he’s been kicked! When important bits are hanging off, though, it seems that he can grit his teeth with the best of them. He’s doing much better than I’d have done: that’s for sure.

Enjoying the effects of all those pain-killing drugs

The clinic appointment is at 11am tomorrow morning, and it’s not yet clear whether he’ll be able to have his hand sorted and leave hospital later in the day. My instinct is that he’ll still be in Newcastle hospital tomorrow night, though, and if that’s what happens then Piglet and I hope to take him home to Cambridge the following day. But until after the clinic appointment we’ll be playing things by ear.

I see that the wounded warrior has dragged his uninjured crubeen to his mobile to respond briefly to some postings here and on Martin‘s blog. He can’t do much with just one hand, though, and when I told him about all y’all kind messages earlier in the day he was very chuffed.

I’ll post again tomorrow when there’s more news. In the meantime, though, thank you for the lovely postings and emails and texts. Both of us appreciate them lots ♥ ♥ ♥

Update on Alan’s hand

28 September, 2010

Morning, peeps.

I’ve just spoken to Alan, who sounded very bright and cheery. I was about to set off up to Carlisle, but I’m now hanging fire because the hospital there would prefer to transfer him to Newcastle. Could it be something he said?

In fact, though, it seems that Newcastle is best equipped to deal with A’s sort of injury–better magnifying glasses in the theatre and stuff–so we’re hoping they can get him a slot in today’s theatre list. Once that decision is made we’ll know what’s happening next.

Further updates later. Fingers crossed please, peeps!

Alan’s hand (not for the faint of hearted…)

28 September, 2010

Readers of Martin Banfield’s blog, Postcard from Timperley, will have seen that Ye Olde Slowman suffered a rather misery-inducing injury to his hand earlier today, attempting to climb over a barbed wire fence in the Borders.

A was almost over the fence when his foot, which was balanced on a piece of wire, slipped away below him, as a result of which he felt himself falling backwards. Instinctively he grabbed for the wire with his left hand, to stop himself from falling, but grabbing barbed wire with a hand when travelling backwards at speed isn’t a Terribly Good Idea (The Capitals Are Important Here, as I’m sure Alan would say), and the next thing we knew old Alan was lying on the ground with blood pouring from his left hand, and attempting to extract his first aid kit from his rucksack with the other one. Eep!

The slick rescuing machine that is the Borders (Peebles to Moffat) Assault Patrol slid seamlessly into action, though, and while some people bandaged the hand, and attempted to make the wounded warrior comfortable and warm, others quickly brewed a mug of something hot, sweet and restorative, whilst still others shot off down the hill to retrieve a car with which to convey the fallen Slowman back to civilisation. Yet another managed to gather up the panicky little dog and fasten her down, to prevent her from chasing the runner into Moffat.

Anyway, at the conclusion of the rescue operation Andy Walker and I drove Alan to Carlisle hospital, where they set about putting him back together again. He has a pretty nasty injury to one of the fingers of his left hand (photos below: don’t scroll down if you have any kind of iffy tummy…), but as I write he’s tucked up warm, comfy and sleeping, I hope, in bed there on Beech Ward. The injury wasn’t the sort of thing that could be stitched up in Casualty, and so tomorrow morning the orthopaedic surgeons are going to clean it all out, and check for tendon and/or nerve damage, under general anaesthetic.

Alan was very brave indeed throughout the whole miserable incident: at least a thousand times braver than I’d have been, in the circumstances. He managed to walk off the hill, and at the hospital he braved the insertion of one of those plastic thingies into the back of his hand (he doesn’t like needles), and a tetanus injection, and (worst of all) the removal of the bandage that we applied on the hill. I actually feel a little faint just thinking about it! Andy and I had to hold hands on the other side of the room just listening to the conversation from the direction of the sink 😦 A showed amazing fortitude, though. I was Extremely Impressed, and proud of him.

Ultimately, I have to wonder what purpose the barbed wire was actually meant to serve on top of the fence. Was it just there to make things difficult for walkers? If so, it really served its purpose today. I’ll be carrying wire cutters in future, and I cringe, now, to think of the times I’ve clambered over barbed wire fences in the past. I knew they were dangerous, of course, but it was all just a bit theoretical until I saw the state of Alan’s hand this afternoon. Thank goodness it was ‘just’ his hand; it could very easily have been even more serious.

We took some piccies in the hospital, and Alan said he didn’t mind me posting them here. Scroll down if you’d like to see them. (The last one’s a gory one, but it’s certainly a lesson to me about the kind of damage barbed wire can do in the blink of an eye.) The hospital staff were absolutely brilliant, btw: efficient, friendly, considerate and courteous. Many thanks indeed to them, as well as to all the Peebles to Moffaters who helped out earlier today ♥ ♥ ♥

Alan’s hand will probably be okay, but we won’t actually know until after his operation tomorrow morning whether he’s done serious damage or not. Any good wishes/positive thoughts you can send in his direction will be extremely welcome.

Waiting for the orthopod registrar


Post tetanus injection

About to go up to the ward

Here's what a momentary slip on barbed wire can do 😦

Edinburgh: a scrummy place for lunch, and somewhere not to go for coffee…

5 September, 2010

Piggly, GF and I spent a happy half day in Edinburgh a few days ago.

The 3 of us are currently whiling away a couple of weeks in Ye Olde Scottish Borders, dog and house-sitting for pals, but by Thursday the truly dreadful and depressing Horribleness that was the result of my last hair cut had finally become Absolutely Unbearable, and so we nipped North along the A1 so that I could, if necessary, have my head shaved (believe me… even that would have been an improvement) whilst GF and Piggly stretched their paws and took in the interesting sights, smells and sounds of the big city.

As things turned out, the hairdressery place was right next door to the famous Valvona and Crollas Italian deli and coffee shop, and I barely managed to suppress a squeal of excitement at the prospect of getting my crubeens on all that lovely food after the haircutting had taken place. So, we sat happily down outside at a table in the sun and ordered two coffees, to pass the remaining 15 minutes until my hair cut was due.

Not a wise choice for coffee after all

It was a pity that the coffees didn’t arrive until approximately 20 micro-seconds before I was due at the hairdressers, but I assumed the delay had been the result of some unfortunate random hitch in the kitchen, swigged down the coffee (good job it wasn’t hot, then…) and trotted happily away to be sheared, promising to text Piggly and GF when the process was complete.

When I emerged an hour later, though, I found P and GF still seated where I had left them. Apparently it had taken almost that long for Alan to order a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of red wine. He’d progressed through Mild Irritation to Monstrous Indignation, and had been well on the way to developing Incandescent Rage before he’d noticed that customers all around him were apparently experiencing similar difficulties. At that stage he’d settled back to watch, and the service had been so comprehensively awful that, by the time I returned, a large helping of schadenfreude had restored him to his more usual good humour.

Not having an other hour to spare, we decided against risking another drink at V&C’s, and so set off to find lunch elsewhere. We weren’t sure where to go, but George Street was in bright sunshine and so we turned in. A little way along we came across a spare table outside the Tempus Bar & Restaurant. It didn’t look particularly flash, but what a revelation it turned out to be!

Tempus in George Street - Brilliant!

A friendly, efficient waiter arrived quickly to take our order, and in less than 30 seconds he had us sorted with the promise of a bottle of red wine, lunch menus and a bowl of water for Piggly. The wine soon followed, accompanied by two large glasses of iced water for us (bonus points from Alan, for no lemon) and a China bowl of water for the wee monster. The menu was scrummy too. Alan had a delicious-looking Crombie beef-burger with maple-smoked bacon, local cheese, pickle and real chips…

Alan's scrummy Crombie burger

…and I had mussels in white wine, shallot and parsley cream, with plenty of crusty bread to mop up all the best bits (at only £6.75, the mussels were great value for a really delicious and filling lunch, I reckon).

Mussels in white wine, shallot and parsley cream. Yum!

Piggly is on a bit of a diet, and stuck bravely to a few mussels, a bit of lettuce and a small piece of sauce-soaked bread.

We spent a happy hour, chatting and guzzling in the sun. Our waiter told us we were welcome to stay as long as we liked, but eventually we had to make tracks in order to take all three terrorists out for a good walk.

Next time I’m in Edinburgh I’ll definitely be making my way back to Tempus for lunch, coffee or dinner. I think I’ll be giving Valvona and Crolla a miss, though.