Two weeks with a broken ankle

Can’t believe that it’s already two weeks since I broke my ankle! My, doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself!

With my enforced leisure time stretching to six weeks, I was determined not to get caught up with daytime television, but, certainly in the mornings anyway, there are programmes with subjects close to my heart! That’s property development and antiques/bygones. Love seeing the restoration of old cottages, and would love to take on a project as there is really no longer any scope in my present cottage. But while Max is still around, because of the stables and the land, I need to stay here. Restoring a cottage, now that would be a mega-challenge!

My body is telling me (listen to your body, the fractures’ doctor said!) that I can venture outside now, so before Nicky (my wonderful horsey-helper) came to muck him out and let him out in his field, I wandered out (ha, ha, hopped more likely!) to give him a few carrots. I can’t tell you just how lovely it was to touch him again, and to hear him nickering softly to me, especially after he had snubbed me on Sunday evening!

In the above post, I had said that my next challenge was to change my bed. Well…. I’ve put that on the back burner and after coming in from seeing Max, I decided to cook some apples. I don’t eat so much fruit as I should as I hate getting sticky fingers (good job I never had children, eh?!). So below is my recipe for stewed apples.

Stewed apples

Take three or four good-sized cooking apples, peel, core and chop into bite-sized chunks;
Place in a saucepan with a couple of serving spoons of water;
Add two or three teaspoons of ground cinammon, three or four whole cloves, six or seven halved dates and half a teaspoon of nutmeg.

Stewed apples pic 1

Finish off with two or three dessertspoons of brown sugar, to taste.

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Cover and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes or so. I like all my apples mushed up, but you may prefer them with a bit of a ‘bite’ so cook for less time.

Mmm, nom, nom, looking forward to eating some at supper time, topped with some wonderful Woodland’s Dairy sheeps’ yoghurt (available at Waitrose). *slurps*

Oh dear, here comes the rain again. Glad I am happily ensconced in my armchair in the warm! Time for some lunch I think. Cheese on toast, with mayonnaise underneath? Sounds like a good idea and sounds awful, but I assure you it is absolutely delicious!

Did you say cheese on toast mum?

Did you say cheese on toast mum?

Poor little chap. He had the last of his tinned dog food this morning. Most of my doggie friends, and apparently the RNIB, say that a dry complete dog food is better than the tinned variety. It’s better for their teeth apparently. He wasn’t too happy with biscuits for breakfast… When I’m back on my feet, will try another brand of dried dog food. He doesn’t seem to like Wainright’s (think that’s Pets at Home own-brand) or Baker’s complete. Does anybody have any recommendations please?

 

Bad news

We arrived at the Fracture Clinic on Tuesday at 8.45 am in good time for my appointment at 9.30.

After the nurse took off the temporary plaster cast, I told the doctor examining me what I had told the doctor at casualty in the wee small hours of Saturday morning. I have this bad pain in my  calf (which by now, was far worse than it had been on Saturday).

He didn’t hesitate and referred me immediately to the, now what was it called, VNT clinic I think.  After some time waiting, then answering lots of questions, they sent me down for an ultra sound.

We had a long wait there, because of course, I had no appointment. While sitting there chatting to Mel, I suddenly felt faint, so I stuck my head between my legs (was sitting in a wheelchair). The kind receptionist noticed and called a nurse who came to see me and took my blood pressure which had plummeted…. Then there was another nurse, and I was wheeled around into Ultra sound, hoicked, a little ungainly, onto a trolley, head lower than my body and oxygen. Never had that before. Ooh, very exciting!

After a little while, my blood pressure came up and I felt better. What was that all about? I wondered. Perhaps the shock of it all.

Many thanks to the doctor who referred me to have an ultrasound as it showed that I had a blood clot in my calf, as I had glibly suggested to the A&E doctor three days earlier!

Then back to VNT dept., or whatever it was called, for bloods to be taken to check that I had normal  liver and kidney function, as I would need anticoagulants to disperse the clot and to stop another one forming in the next weeks of inactivity.

Then back to wait in the fractures’ clinic, for what seemed like ages. Finally, I saw the doctor who said that I wouldn’t be going back into a plaster, but would be fitted for a boot, which would allow me to put my heel to the floor. This would make life much easier.

Then back to the, what was it called, the VNT clinic to see a video, which I didn’t see (!), on DVTs and anticoagulants, and to be talked through the different medicines available and to be given a lovely, lovely, ham sandwich and ginger biscuits (which Mel ate). I had my first tablet too. Have to take two a day for 21 days and then one a day for 21 days. (Didn’t op for Wolferin or Heparin as they both involved injections!)

We left the hospital at 3.45 p.m after quite an adventurous day, having met many, lovely, kind nurses and doctors. Thank you NHS, I certainly have no complaints!

Losing the plaster and getting the ‘moon boot’ on Tuesday made life much easier. It’s bliss, so much easier, but I still haven’t ventured outside. Haven’t seen or touched Max, my horse, for a week. Am missing him terribly, but don’t want to put too much stress on parts of my body that are unaccustomed to it, too soon. Slowly, slowly I think is the best.

Another reason for not going outside, especially at the moment, as it is wet and slippery, is how do I clean the bottom of my moon boot? As I sleep in it, I don’t want, obviously,  to get my sheets dirty (nor my lovely ‘new’ sitting room carpet). The doctor did say that I could take my boot off, but didn’t say under what circumstances. As I live alone, I feel very vulnerable and don’t want to bash my ankle bone – on the outside – as that is where it’s fractured. Another thing on which to ponder…

Happily, each day the pain is less (thank goodness that pain in my calf has all but gone – does that mean that the clot has dispersed, I wonder?) and I am getting around easier. Yippee, no painkillers today. I always hate taking them as I feel that if you don’t feel the pain, you can overdo things.

I’ll solve it, slowly, slowly. There’s no rush, I’ve another five weeks at least, to take things easy. Bliss really all that time to relax!

“You’ll get so bored”, somebody said, but I don’t think so. So many books/newspapers to read; visitors to chat with; people to catch up with on Twitter; rug-making to get on with; house to keep clean (ha ha, I  never, normally, do housework); TV to watch; radio  to listen to; crosswords to do; Candy Crush to finish and hopefully, after a few weeks, haynets to fill and horse feeds to mix up. Then the dog needs a brush, de-fleaing, food to prepare, washing to do, etc. etc.

I really have to thank my neighbours who have happily taken little Alfie for walks with their dogs, collected the post and shut up the hens, and Nicky who has stoically taken over caring for Max, letting out and feeding the hens, de-dog-poop-ing the garden, taking my wheelie bin down to the end of the drive  and a zillion other things. Thanks too, to my dear friends, especially Myf, who have kept me supplied with chocolates, cakes, flowers, provisions and best wishes. Where would we be without them? Thanks everybody for all your kindness and help,’ tis much appreciated!

Rising to the challenge!

Never let it be said that I shy away from a challenge. In fact, I would say that I thrive on them.

So, living for the next six weeks on crutches is my next challenge. Well, certainly getting up the step onto the landing, last Saturday morning after only three hours sleep, caused me a bit of a problem. Yes, I did have my five minute lesson on how to walk on crutches, but those who have been unfortunate enough to spend some time on the flippin’ things know only too well that walking in straight lines is the easiest bit! Getting up a step is a different kettle of fish. I didn’t get it right and crashed down on the wooden floor on my back.. Ouch! Then, of course you have to  work out how to get up. Not like getting up from a fall when skiing, when you just put your poles behind you and push yourself up…. can’t do that with your crutches, as you only have one foot to put weight on! Ho hum.

I soon learned to use the wall when going up, or down, a step. Just lean against a wall, with your weight bearing leg next to the step, then with one crutch up the step and the other one where you are standing, just push down on your crutches lifting yourself up, but still leaning against the wall. You can then put your good foot down on the next level up. Easy when you know how. There is a technique for everything, it’s just finding how to do it without breaking any more limbs!

Because of nightly trips to the loo (mustn’t get dehydrated, so have to keep liquids topped up during the day!) I felt that the best course of action would be to get a bed down into my dining room so that I wouldn’t have an assault course to negotiate during my nightly perambulations.

Responding quickly to my SOS phone call, my ex arrived immediately and set about turning my dining room into a bedroom, just the job! Thanks Mel.

After he had gone, it  occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to carry a cup of tea into the sitting room, nor a plate of food to the table. Oh dear, was I destined to the kitchen stool on which I would have to drink tea and eat my meals for the next six weeks? After musing on the subject for a while, I realised I needed a bag to carry food, drink, whatever into the other rooms, from the kitchen.

Not having a small rucksack, the only bag I could come up with was the peg bag! An old cotton bag left over from the sixties (hippy days). I can hang this around my neck when going anywhere in the cottage: going upstairs (on my bottom) to get clean clothes; bringing drinks, or food in a plastic box, into the sitting room. Great, that’s settled. I carry my tea in a very old Addis plastic container with a lid and pouring hole, but because that leaked onto the other contents in my bag, I’ve now purchased a super-duper travel mug, with had great Amazon reviews saying that it was leak proof. So I sincerely hope that the reviewers are to be trusted!

My galley kitchen

My galley kitchen

I’m really lucky because my cottage kitchen is like a galley and I can hop up and down holding onto work surfaces either side without using the crutches. Always good to remember though, to park your crutches against the work surface behind you so that when you hop off to get something you don’t have to negotiate passing them, with the risk that you get tangled up and crash to the floor! Similarly, my bathroom is easy to get around, bidet, bath, loo and wash basin. The latter is in a vanity unit so I can lean against it while carrying out my ablutions!

By Sunday evening my left hip joint, wrists, and, strangely, my stomach muscles, were all aching badly due to the unaccustomed strain on them.So as not to waste valuable energy and put more strain on your body by hopping backwards and forwards from sitting room to kitchen to bathroom, (crutches are rather tiring), it is best to plan in advance where you are going and what you need. It’s no good getting up and hopping to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, only to find that you have left your bag on the floor by your armchair! Take everything you need in your bag to cut down on your journeys and save time and energy.

I was hoping that I would be fitted with a boot, not another plaster caste, when I kept my appointment at the fractures’ clinic on Tuesday which I’m sure would be easier to cope with!

Church flower festival

Weather permitting, I have been beavering away in the garden, paddock and fields trying to bring order back to the Countryidyll domain since retiring some six or seven weeks ago.  I have to admit that the weather is not helping as it is stopping me from getting on. Not because we’ve had much rain, on the contrary, I’m afraid. But because it’s been so, so windy and cold. I really hate working outside in the wind, it makes me so irritable! My hair blows in my face and I can’t see so I put on a hat.. then I get too hot. Can’t win really. Ho hum.

Max, on the other hand, is really a good boy being ridden on a windy day (not quite such an angel when I’m leading him!) so have settled into a routine of riding four times a week, which we are both happy with.

Yesterday I took an hour or so out of my day to visit the flower festival at our village church. It certainly was time well spent. There were some really splendid flower arrangements as well, I hasten to add, an excellent carrot cake and cuppa. I have to admit that I had two helpings of cake, it was so good!  Didn’t feel too guilty as, on my return home, I mowed the lawn, which is quite a fair bit of walking!

I have posted some photos of the flower arrangements below, so that you can judge for yourself.

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DSC_0105Flower Festival 2 201356a101416

In service for my county …

Thursday could have been a disaster. Luckily it wasn’t. It was, in fact, quite a hoot.

I had committed to being a poll clerk for the County Council elections on Thursday. Despite having resided in Norfolk for over thirty years the name of the village on my appointment letter was new to me. So it called for a reccie to be sure of where I was going at 6 a.m. the next morning.

What I found was a sweet, corrugated iron village hall that looked pre-war, but wasn’t, but it was not far off! There weren’t many more than 250 voters on the electoral roll in the two villages, so, I thought, this is going to be a long, slow day.

I arrived at 6.30 am  to be greeted with a jolly ‘hello’ and a wave from my presiding officer, who turned out to be a bundle of laughs. As were some of  the residents who dropped in to vote. The average age of the voters had to be sixty.  But then, there were forty or so postal voters, so maybe they were all young. I sincerely hope so, for the villages’ sake!

When we opened the doors, promptly at 7 am, our first arrival was waiting outside. They came in, wandered around and left without voting…

Voteless cat

We only had 57 voters all day, but they were well spaced out and we met some really lovely people. Everybody, with only a couple of exceptions, was really jolly and we had some very interesting and sometimes, hilarious, interactions!

Many voters were accompanied by their dogs, of varying heights and ages, but one lady came in with something quite unusual on the end of a lead…

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I wonder whether you can guess what he is?  He really was a sweetie. I even plucked up courage to stroke him AND I didn’t get bitten, which is more than that chap on Blue Peter could say. Ha ha.

I took loads of magazines, half a ton of sandwiches, cakes, buns, sweets and my Kindle. Needless to say I didn’t do much reading, but I did stuff myself ! I didn’t however eat everything, so had a lovely lunch today on the leftovers.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day, and I was paid for it too. So that can’t be bad, can it?!