Leg Straightening

29 Mar

At the age of 7, I had my first surgery in an attempt to straighten my legs.  This was to involve breaking both legs in two places, pinning them in place, and putting them from thigh to toes in plaster cast for three months whilst they healed.

I’ve never been afraid of hospitals, needles, or anything related to surgery – luckily! In fact, the whole experience was quite a positive one.  The surgeon (At the Royal Free in London) was fantastic, she made me feel at ease and had told me what she was going to do – and how this would help me in the long run.  Wheeled down to theatre to be given a general anaesthetic before the operation began, I was absolutely fine. My parents, understandably, weren’t.  They were upset about the whole thing and hated seeing me ‘go to sleep’.  For me though, the feeling of anaesthetic was amazing. Yes, that probably does sound a little wrong – anaesthetic isn’t there to be enjoyed – but I did enjoy it, the hazy feeling of drifting off is unlike any other experience I have ever had… I suppose probably could get the same feeling from other drugs, but I don’t meddle with things that aren’t given to me in hospital! haha!

When I woke up, my legs feeling heavy as they were weighed down with thick plaster of Paris.  Yet, given a little while to wake up from feeling groggy with anaesthetic, I was chatting away again to the nurse – wide awake and ready to go back to the ward.  I can’t remember how long I was in hospital for before I was allowed home to continue with recovery, but I know I didn’t really mind being there! Being kept entertained by the in-hospital ‘school’ and having my family there to chat to most of the time was absolutely fine by me! 🙂 The only moment I remember being worried was when I noticed there were dark red stains on the plaster cast of one leg. Panic! It’s blood seeping through! ‘No Ruby,’ Mum said, ‘it’s Ribena, you spilt it earlier, it must have got onto your cast!’.  I’m not sure for how long I was tricked by this response, but it reassured me for the moment at least!

I was allowed out eventually – given a wheelchair to use to get about, as walking with two legs totally plastered up isn’t possible(!)- and went home.  8 weeks of recovery time. At the time, I don’t know whether or not it felt like the time dragged… but I kept myself entertained, reading, drawing, colouring in the plaster cast (and playing tic-tac-toe on it!) and cuddling my new puppy.  Yes, whilst looking after me, who couldn’t move about and my younger brother who at the time was only 1 year old, my parents were persuaded to buy me a puppy as a ‘Recovery’ present! How thrilled I was! I loved him. I’m not sure he was quite so loved by Mum when she had to push me in a wheelchair, have my brother in a back-carrier for babies, whilst dog walking, and he would run about between the wheels. Tricky, but she managed it! 

8 weeks later (some of which I had been going to school for, when the Summer holiday had ended), I was back into hospital to have the casts removed.  Physiotherapy was soon on the agenda, and I was handed a walking frame to begin my walking with.  I didn’t use it for long (which 7 year old wants a frame? There are crutches!) and was soon zipping about everywhere with crutches… on my newly straight legs!

Unfortunately, the straight legs didn’t last forever.  As I grew taller, the deformities returned, and I was once again left with knock-kneed legs – just with a whole load of scars on them!  It was a disappointment, but the surgeon had told me she wasn’t giving up yet…


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