An Arthritis Halloween

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Hello everyone I hope you are all well.

Today is Halloween which brings to mind things such as witches, ghouls, trick or tweet, scary movies and costumes.

It got me thinking about what scares me, I don’t consider myself as someone who scares easily but naturally there are some things I find frightening.

two skeletons to illustrate the point about halloween
Skeleton on the left, “Hey can you buy me a drink buddy?” Skeleton on the right, “Sorry mate I’m on the bones of my arse!”

What’s scary to me is when I think about how different my situation could be today.

I remember the moment I had my accident it is still as clear as day.

*Warning graphic images of my ankle further down*

Walking along carrying a flatpack table on my shoulder at work in a furniture warehouse and due to the building being massively overstocked I tripped over an item and in the blink of an eye my foot had given way and I was layed on the floor with the table on top of me.

I remember at first wondering why I had just dropped the way I had, it seemed odd to me how I had fallen and landed. I then looked down and could see my left foot wasn’t facing the same way my leg was.

I reached down to touch it and as soon as I did I realised I had really outdone myself and broken something. The pain set in but I remember thinking it wasn’t too bad, it was bareable.

A colleague heard my groans found me and called for an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived they had to help my colleague move a load of furniture so they could get to me with a stretcher.

opened door to ambulance like I was put into
The paramedics knew I had done serious damage.

Gas and air was given to me which I recall was good stuff and minimised the pain so it was only a faint aching. I chatted with the lady paramedic in the back of the ambulance and she advised me to contact my then fiancee, now wife.

I rang and I was still very calm I simply explained that I had broken my leg or ankle and was being taken to hospital.

“Oh okay then” she replied. Charming she might as well of said something like good luck in your future endeavours or something.

I should clarify she isn’t heartless she just didn’t understand the seriousness of the accident on a count of me being so relaxed and blaise about it.

Word did soon get back to her on how bad it looked and her and my mother appeared at the hospital not long after I had got there.

At the hospital

I was kept in a room on a bed while nurses glanced in just to have a look at my displaced foot as word had clearly gotten around. I was then taken down for an x-ray so they could see what had actually happened inside the body.

The result was 2 breaks in the ankle joint and 1 in the leg, I was taken back to the room I had been in while they prepared documents so I could be taken to theatre where I would be operated on.

Everything seemed pretty relaxed at this stage, we knew I had various breaks and I thought it would be a case of having an operation and the rehabilitation for maybe 6 months or something.

doctor holding red stethoscope

Suddenly a doctor appeared in the room talking frantically to the male nurse who had been arranging the paperwork. They both looked concerned and the doctor walked up to me and said I would need to be moved to another part of the accident and emergency department.

The doctor informed me that due to the dislocation of the ankle, the x-ray had shown that one bone had crossed over the other meaning the blood flow to my foot was restricted.

I then remember him saying we need to manipulate the ankle back into place or you are going to lose your foot. He then said it will hurt but don’t lash out at us please as we are trying to save your foot, he repeated this line a few times.

What was going through my head at that point? This is going to hurt, for some moments I thought well if I lose it I can adapt you see plenty of people with artificial limbs now.

When they got me to the area they wanted they asked if I wanted my wife and mother present?

“No” was my reply.

For a few reasons. I didn’t know how I was going to be and I really don’t like people seeing me vulnerable or distressed and in pain. I also knew that this wasn’t going to be a pretty sight and thought I was doing the honourable thing of sparing them.

Without warning my bed was surrounded! There was the head of the accident and emergency department who was preparing some morphine shots, I remember thinking what a smashing host this guy is.

There were plenty of nurses strategically positioned all around me and the doctor who had been speaking with me stood right at the end of my feet.

I recall him saying to the head of the department as he was injecting me “We need to get started, we don’t have time to wait”. His frantic demeanour was worrying and meant there was no escaping the seriousness of this moment.

They began.

I’ve literally just had to take a minutes pause there. It was an unbelievable pain as he tried to wrench the foot back in place whilst saying sorry and having the nurses pin me to the bed.

I would never have hit anyone, they were doing their job and trying to help but I was writhing around and growling like a wounded wilderbeast.

He eventually stopped saying that should be it they wrapped it up with bandages and sent me for an x-ray. The x-ray showed it had popped back out of place so guess what?

“We have to do it all again” the doctor said.

It was more of the same the same doctor administered more morphine which seemed to be having absolutely no effect, I was feeling everything. Some people are apparently immune to morphine or have a delayed reaction I remember him saying that I must be one of these people.

I love learning new things but that information really didn’t help one bit in that situation.

We did it all again, it popped out again, I was exhausted and doubting if I could take anymore I felt like I was being tortured for information that I genuinely didn’t know and couldn’t give them to make them stop.

A gentleman in a suit then appeared at the end of my foot I wasn’t sure if he was a doctor or someone who was just passing through and wanted a closer look.

Oh and by this time my mother and wife had made it into the room, the head of the department had brought them in thinking I might need some support after the morphine shots hadn’t had effect. I think he even gave me another and then said I can’t give you anymore than this as I had been given enough to knock a bull out.

Couple of statements were made before the start of round three that really bothered me.

The man in the suit who had now got hold of my foot (God I hope he is a doctor I remember thinking) exclaimed;

“We need to get on with this, the skin is dying”.

Whilst this statement reassured me he was a doctor because, well let’s face it who of us talks like that. It worried me for obvious reasons.

I looked to my wife, I was in a vulnerable state I hated her seeing that but I needed her I needed that encouragement that reassurance. She looked down at my foot after the doctors comment and said in horror;

“Urgh it looks like it’s hanging off!”.


I didn’t have much reason to fear though as the man who I had doubted was a doctor had the magic touch and when he popped it back in I knew it was in. I really knew it was in.

The next couple of months

Well the next couple of months included 5 trips to theatre. The first one was that same day to have an external fixator put on, basically metal rods that go into the bone and keep them in position whilst things heal.

image of my injured ankle with external fixator attached
Actual image of my ankle from that time.
another image of my ankle
and another image of my ankle
And another.

Oh and by the way when I was waiting outside theatre just about to go in guess what happened? No it didn’t pop out again thank god but all the morphine I had been injected with earlier started to take effect. Turns out I have the delayed reaction.

The nurse was trying to ask me questions while my head seemed to be rolling around independent of my body, I felt itchy with a cold sweat and then felt hot and kept trying to take my little hat off that they have you put on.

I was in hospital 10 days waiting for the swelling to go down so they could operate again, every morning the doctor would come round and say no it’s still too swollen. This is why I have a hatred for swelling.

They operated put pins in places and I was released. This was mid November they wanted me back just before Christmas to have the rods swapped to a cast.

This day couldn’t come soon enough for me as you can imagine. After weeks just sat stationary switching to the cast would feel like progress. Sadly somewhere around the operation or before, one of the wound sites became infected with MRSA.

I knew something was wrong the moment the cast went on, I was in constant unbareable pain and I mean even worse than the manipulation. I couldn’t eat or barely drink, every breath and all my focus was on trying to withstand the pain.

Over Christmas there was a couple of trips to the accident and emergency room but unfortunately they said pain was understandable and sent me away with codeine.

I hardly ate any of my Christmas dinner and I look forward to that pretty much all year.

I think I was admitted the day before New Years Eve. I was in the fracture clinic and the nurse who was concerned at how much pain I was in, made the decision to take the cast off.

The minute she did blood shot out of the infected wound site, the colour drained from her face and she said I’ll get the doctor and we will admit you.

I had blood tests which established it was MRSA, I don’t remember but my father told me when we were waiting for the blood test my body was visibly shaking.

I had hardly eaten for so long, had lost so much weight and my body temperature was dangerously low. Whilst being admitted I saw my old buddy, the doctor who originally noticed the obstructed blood flow.

When he was told what had happened to me he seemed more devastated than me. Again this was because he knew more than I did, he knew if the MRSA had gotten to the bone then I would be in hospital for months and months.

Thankfully it hadn’t.

I had two wash outs of the wound in theatre which took me to a total of five times under anaesthetic on the last occasion the anaesthetist was trying to explain what was going to happen when I said honestly mate I know the procedure.

I spent New Years in there and came out around the 2nd or 3rd of January.

Back to what scares me

Snakes. I can’t stand the slithering serpents.

What also scares me is when I think how bad things could be now. If I hadn’t found this inner strength to call upon in my time of need I may very well have given in.

So many people are living their lives in pain from arthritis. In the past couple of years I have got it down to being a slight niggle. I have learnt so much about myself and my life and health are infinitely better since my diagnosis.

I now know what I am made of and what I am capable of enduring and achieving. I love doing this website it is very therapeutic for me and thanks to all the lovely messages I get I really feel like I am helping others.

What scares you? Are you living in fear of the future?

I really hope not. Keep fighting.


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