Tuesday, November 23, 2021

SURGERY UPDATE #3: I've finally got a date!

I think it's partly because I used to be a senior manager in the NHS that I'm actually quite patient when waiting for dates for surgery. 

Up to a point.

The point was reached when I got to two years from when I was first told I needed surgery.

I'm also one of the six million waiting for routine elective operations - except I'm waiting for two...

So yesterday I emailed a letter into something called the Access Issues Resolution Service (AIRS) at Barts and pointed out:

  • November 2019: the need for surgery was identified (i.e. I had broken shards of bone floating around in my ankle)
  • 2nd April 2020: the outpatient appointment which should have started the journey to surgery should was cancelled due to Covid. At that point going into hospital was not high on my agenda!
  • October 2020: got fed up waiting for any sort of communication about a rescheduled appointment and found the right button to press (AIRS) and duly pressed it
  • As a result I got two appointments for my ankle and shoulder in the next two weeks
  • End of October 2020: 3 x-rays plus a nice man in the Foot and Ankle Clinic told me I was bone on bone and had no cartilage left in my right ankle. It wasn't a question of taking out broken bone shards, more a question of giving me an ankle fusion which would eliminate movement and pain - which sounded like manna from heaven to me. But I'd need to be non-weight bearing for up to three months i.e. live life on one leg. Agree continued weight loss would be a good idea.
  • Early November 2020: nice man in the Upper Limb Clinic confirmed I have no cartilage in my left shoulder and am bone on bone. Confirms the wisdom of me stopping driving due to my very limited movement/pain - and tells me I need a shoulder replacement - but it's a long recovery! I decide this might be better after ankle is fixed. Promptly sell car and start thinking electric for when I finally get to drive again...
  • March 2021: Finally get a steroid injection in my ankle after the lockdown end 2020/early 2021 - end of pain for a bit....
  • June 2021: finally get to see consultant who lists me for surgery
  • September 2021: do pre-assessment for surgery
  • and then nothing.
Two years later I want my operation!

I've also lost 6.5 stone / 41.3kg with a view to coping better on one leg for three months

As a result of the email I sent yesterday to the right people I'm going to be getting my ankle fusion operation on Monday 6th December.

So that's 2 weeks to get everything finally finished off and ready for not moving fast or far for three months. Not that different from lockdown really - except I won't be going out.

This is the post-it note I've had fixed on my iMac for the last 12 months.



  • Back slab plaster = plaster which does not completely encircle limb and allows for swelling. I'll be on my back with my foot elevated to heart level for two weeks to keep the swelling to a minimum!
  • Non weight bearing plaster = exactly what it says. I won't be able to my foot down at all. It holds the bone in place and allows it to grow
  • Protective boot goes on after my ankle has grown new bone and fused and it just needs to be looked after. Hopefully end of January.
  • BUT weight bearing then needs to be managed on a progressive basis and as any pain allows
Meet my Strideon knee scooter - or how to get about when you can't put one foot on the ground!

This was me in August when I'd just got it and assembled it (i.e one of the things I was doing during my timeoff in August!) I still needed to adjust it further to get everything to the right height.



However this is very heavy and I don't think there's any chance of me getting on the tube until I'm walking properly again - and can walk some distance. 

Bottom line - no exhibitions until at least next June I think 
i.e. I can start walking again after three months - but first I have to relearn to walk and then I won't be able to go far to start with.

So the plan is 
  • I'm going to work my way through my bookshelves (and bookshelves) of art books and write book reviews. 
  • Plus keep up with art available online and on the television and write periodically about that.  
Then when I've recovered - I'll be getting my shoulder replacement done - which will mean one hand typing!

Then, when I've recovered from that and got my mobility back in my shoulder, I hope I get to buy an electric car and go travelling at long last.....

So quite a lot of change in the next 18 months - 2 years or so.....

I have my fingers crossed my hip is not trying to go the same way.....

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