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For Equine Vets Everywhere

A slip at the bird feeder

One cold Friday morning in February this year,  I was filling the bird feeders in my garden, as I usually do before heading off to work, and I managed to slip on what was probably the only bit of ice I was going to find this year! Partly my fault as I was looking at the few peanuts left in my scoop and pondering the harm that might be done to the birds if I scattered them on the ground (choking hazard??) but it was a new bit of concrete, hastily laid by a Mr Bodge-it builder and it was smooth as glass even without the ice, so I am going to lay some of the blame at his feet too!. 

I crashed to the ground, scoop and peanuts flying through the air and Labrador hastily diving in to clear up the nuts. Having caught my breath and composed my thoughts, I tried to get up only to discover that my left arm didn’t want to work and my left leg was also not following my brain’s instructions. I wasn’t in a great deal of pain but knew I needed help so started shouting! Fortunately, my neighbour heard me and with the assistance of another neighbour managed to get me into the house. An ambulance arrived after a very short wait and the two techs efficiently assessed my injuries and administered morphine and some ‘gas’ before loading me up and delivering me to A and E in what seemed to be record time! 

The acute trauma team had me into and out of x-ray within minutes of my arrival and I was told that my split-second slip had resulted in a non -displaced fracture to my radial head and an intertrochanteric fracture to my left femur – commonly known as elbow and ‘hip’ fractures.  More analgesia, including a regional block and more morphine followed before discussions about internal fixation of my ‘hip’. I saw several consultants and registrars, accompanied by other nameless clinicians before being moved to a ward to await surgery. I went into theatre the following afternoon and was informed after the procedure that I wouldn’t remember the conversation but that all had gone well. I DO remember the conversation and the awful nausea that accompanied my recovery. 

Back on the ward and I experienced an impressive level of monitoring and care from the already overstretched nurses over the next 36 hours to make sure all systems were working properly – or at least as well as they could given the amount of morphine and/or codeine I was receiving! The wonderful physio visited me the morning after my surgery and had me out of bed and ‘walking’  - quite a challenge as I couldn’t use my left arm so a walking frame was difficult and a crutch out of the question. A quad stick was produced (it came to be affectionately known as my ‘granny stick’) and I was off, if not quite running! The next few days ran into one another but my memories are dominated by the loud, rude and demanding outbursts of a fellow patient who made the lives of the hospital staff much more difficult than they already were. I take my hat off to them as they were never rude when their patience must have been tried to its absolute limit. I came home with total admiration for the medics, nurses , physios and the support staff who provided my care as an acute trauma patient. Thank you NHS.

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