Monday, August 20, 2007

Leg Update

So here are the latest x-rays straight from the lab. Well the first couple are actually from last week when I had the proper cast put on. This x-ray is taken immediately after the full cast is put on to make sure that the bones haven't moved too much in the process of putting the cast on. Of course now that you have a cast on made of plaster of paris the x-rays are not as clear. In fact the x-ray machine settings have to be tweaked to increase the power to get good pictures.

Anyway on the x-rays. Apparently there was a bit of concern that the bones might have moved a little and that the gap was getting bigger. The alignment was great however. We have great backup from a hospital in Plymouth and the verdict was that it looks good.

Front view from the 9th of Aug.

Lateral view from the 9th of Aug.

A week later to check on progress I had another couple of x-rays. Once again through the plaster.

Front view 16th of Aug.

Lateral view 16th of Aug

As you can see there is hardly any difference between the position of the bones from one week to next. This is good news and doesn't change the prognosis. If everything goes to plan I should be walking on the leg partially weight bearing on by the end of the month. I will then have the cast on for 3 more weeks. The cast will be modified to have lump on the bottom so that there is a rounded bottom that I can walk on.

This is what should happen if everything goes to plan. If I don't stumble on my crutches and do more damage. I did stumble today actually but luckily didn't damage myself, I just have to look after myself. I am looking forward to walking again, in the mean time I will enjoy being pulled about by the rest of the base.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sun Up, getting plastered, Action Film Party

Having said that I would have more time on my hands (this is technically true as I spend no time on my feet) and that I would update the blog, it appears that I have roughly the same amount of time free to do things. I now spend half my time at the Piggott platform (my work is there) and half the time on the laws (where I live). Every morning a couple of people get man-hauling harnesses on. I hop down the stairs and get dragged to work in a pulk sledge. There is a lot to do. I was supposed to be going out to setup an instrument about 15km away at Precious Bay but now I am not going. So I have to prepare everything and instructions how to do this for my replacement, Chris. Its all going well but its still a rush.

Before I was allowed to leave the platform I had to first get my first 'backslab' replaced by a proper cast. The backslap cast allows the limb to swell up which it does over the first few days. After this a proper cast is better as it will support the leg better.

Richard the Doc cuts off the backslap cast with the assistance of Nurse Dave.

Richard measures out a thin tubigrip sleave which is all the padding needed in a full cast. The backslab has loads of cotton wool padding.

Removing the backslab and supporting the leg. This is actually very tiring as the leg is surprisingly heavy.

The swollen ankle.

Nurse Dave points to the place where the bone is broken, whilst Richard gives my leg the last wash it is likely to have for 6 weeks.

Arrgh! The Pain. It wasn't painful at all just cold and wet.

We had this great idea to try to get the cast to be a bright orange (for those who know it we wanted the ventile orange of our windies and overalls). The plan was to mix in some yellow and red food colouring into the water used for the plaster of paris. Unfortunately the plaster didn't take to the colouring as well as Richards hands. Also when it dried it turned into a pink cast which was the one thing I was trying to avoid.

A job well done, what a lovely pink cast. Richards butcher hands tell their own tell.

Having plastered the leg fully there was a period of cleaning before the taking some more x-rays to check whether the bones were in the correct position. A load of these photos were taken by Dean the comms manager.

Setting the x-ray machine. I think Richard is becoming quite an x-pert.

Left alone while the x-ray is being taken.

Richard finishing off developing the x-rays.
The x-rays were a success and I will put them up as soon as possible. I have had another set since then and I will put them up as well to show my progress.
One of the other big things that has happened is that the sun reappeared. This was predicted to happen on or around the 11th of August. Last year it was seen 3 days early due to miraging during an early penguin trip. This year it arrived on the 10th at lunch time. In our sweepstake Tamsin guessed the correct time.

A contingent of sun worshipers went to prostrate themselves and offer thanks that the great eye in the sky has returned. I took these from the north window of the laws where I was waiting for my cast to dry.

The sun's disk pokes up above the northern horizon.
About half an hour later we all gathered for the sun-up ceremony where the youngest member of the base raises a new flag.

This year the youngest member is Jim the Chippie. In a typically Jim show he first pulled the flag up up-side-down and then the flag nearly blew away.

Jim fights the new flag.
The Flag the right way up finally and in the right position. Its not going to last long and in a few months will have been tattered by the wind.

Jim and his flag.
We had a nice cocktail night to celebrate the sun returning (we had this the day before the sun returned). We then had a BBQ on sun-up day which was nice. I only spent a few minutes outside as I hadn't worked out how to keep myself warm outside with a broken leg.
On the saturday we had Kirsty's birthday party. She decided that the theme would be action film characters. So everyone dressed up mainly as action heros.
Mark the electrician as Col. Jack O'Neill stargate command.

Alex as the Dread Pirate Roberts (not Zorro) and me as the Ugly one in The good the bad and the Ugly.

Dean an Richard decided to show me sympathy for breaking my leg and got plastered as well. Dean was 'Jules' Bond, an injured bond, and Richard was an injured stunt man.

The whole crew.

We also played some games including the cardboard box game. You have to pick up a cardboard box with your teeth and only your feet on the ground. The height of the box becomes less and less. Richard above showed an interesting by flawed method.

Pete the RAF man claps as Neil (Jack Sparrow) shows how flexible he is.

Ant the monkey man was very very flexible and used a number of methods.

Andy the generator mech was also great at this.

Tamsin (the Power Ranger) watches as Dean looks serious.

Kirsty the Birthday girl demonstrates how to be a tomb raider.
The party was great. This weekend we have a pub crawl where I will be dragged around which should be fun. I will hopefully have an x-ray update soon as well.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The returning sun (when exactly is it going to happen?). I break my leg.

So the sun is coming back. Its amazing how bright it is already. The sun is supposed to reappear (according to my calculations) on the 11th of August. So its coming fast. Already it gets very light during the day if there are no clouds and I know from last year that as soon as the sun reappears you wish that it would go away because it is so bright that you have to immediately wear sunglasses.

Anyway onto the more interesting things. How did I come to break my leg? Funnily enough our last Doc School lesson was on how to deal with broken bones. We were supposed to be doing plastering in the next session on thursday. At least Richard the doc will have had some more practice.

Well it was a lovely sunday afternoon and the wind was light but for my kite perfect. It has been a while since I have been out kiting but you never forget what it is all about. I ran out after lunch and launched the kite. I have got this down to fine art and it only takes me 5 mins to launch. I then spent a lovely 30 mins kiting up and down one the eastern side of the base near the memorial (to those who have died on base). I did a few jumps. As you know I kite ski, that is ski with a big kite. I think people might have seen the "Top Gear" where they race to the "North Pole" (magnetic), the lady in it was kite skiing. I have a bigger kite than her and I use a harness and bar instead of handles. Anyway kiting is awesome.

After about 30 mins I was getting a little tired and after a tiny jump had fallen over. What you normally do in a situation like this is to use the kite to pick your body back up and you ski off. What happened this time however was that the kite picked me up and somehow the skis crossed and I fell and rotated forward over my left leg. The ski binding didn't pop out and instead I heard a sound a bit like that sound when you pull a chicken leg off a roast chicken. It was pretty aweful. I lay down and crashed the kite on purpose. I undid the ski binding and felt a lot better. I still knew it was bad and called for help. Luckily Dave and Chris were close by just about to head off kiting and they got to be quickly. The Doctor and Tom arrived quickly and brought a pulk sledge in which they dragged be back to the plaform.

An hour later and we had the x-rays. They have a vetinary x-ray here as they are the only mobile x-ray units that are made nowadays. I am apparently equivalent to a large goat.

A front on view as you can see it is the outside smaller of the lower leg bones that has a nice crack running up and the right.

Side on view of the foot. You can see the crack is in the smaller bone (the fibula) about an inch above the ankle and continues up about 2 inches in a diagonal direction up and rearwards of the leg.

So what does this mean. Well I will be in a cast for about 6 weeks. 4 weeks of which I can't put any force on the leg. I can then hobble about on it. Then I have to strengthen up. I will still be ok for my winter trip holiday and should be strong again for the summer season. It does mean taking it easy for a while and no kiting for a bit. It also means the deployment of a remote instrument that was supposed to be carried out by me is going to be covered by someone else and I don't get to go on penguin trips for a bit.

Its not the greatest of things but it happens. I should hopefully have more time on my hands to keep you updated. I should have some more pictures soon.