Monday, April 16, 2012

The Heart of the matter (5)

The last time I reported progress, I confidently claimed everything was "Done & dusted, … Bar the bruising." Too soon, apparently, and it's been an eventful few days since that last update!

The 2 Stents had been inserted successfully. By Sunday I was ready to make a gentle beginning to some exercise, so Desiree & I headed to Petone Beach for a stroll along the foreshore, followed by coffee at the Jetty Cafe. So far so good.

Unfortunately, I managed less than 200 metres before I had to call a stop. My right calf was in considerable pain, and I doubted I could make any further distance. So we called a halt, and Desiree went to get the car to collect me. We did go and have coffee and we talked about what to do next.

I dithered, of course, and tried to avoid (or at least delay) the inevitable, but by Sunday morning my calf was in pain even while I wasn't doing anything, action was required. A visit to the after hours centre resulted in a referral to the vascular team at Wellington Hospital. That meant a trip into town, an examination by the Registrar, and arrangements for a scan of the leg.

Turns out the Specialist also works at Southern Cross Hospital, and they could deal with me post haste. That meant I was to go in for an ultra-sound scan the next day (Tuesday). It transpired that what had happened was that a small device used to close the artery at the point through which entry was made to insert the stents, had come loose.

This small device (a collagen-based thing) is about half the size of a pea, but, after traveling into the artery in my leg, was big enough to block major branches of the artery in my lower right leg.

So another round of surgery was scheduled for that afternoon to have the blockage removed. The upshot is that I woke up to a sizable wound on my calf, and the prospect of a couple of days in hospital.

My movement was restricted to hobbling about on crutches, BUT - the first good news in a few days! - I was released in time to be at home to watch the Breakers win the first of their ANBL Finals. I spent the next few days popping pills, hobbling about, and keeping my leg elevated.

A followup visit to the vascular specialist told me that he's happy with the outcome of his work!  The wounds are healing nicely and there haven't been any further complications.  The problem at the moment is pain relief and mobility.  I am having to keep doped up on Voltaren and Panadol, and am still struggling about on crutches, although at the good times, I'm down to a single crutch.

The specialist's advice was that I could drive and return to work 'when I felt able to'.  At this stage that is likely to be a few days, given the extent to which I struggle to get started after periods of sitting or lying, and the need to keep my leg elevated when not walking.  This last one will be difficult to accommodate in our office!

Touch wood, recovery and rehab is plain sailing from here on!

The Ghoul's Gallery

The leg in question, swathed in a 'compression sock' to help reduce the swelling

Rehab on the couch

The scar and bruising

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