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Sandy fell and it changed his life.  On January 21, 2023, just after 8 am, Sandy (77) was getting ready for another of his usually active days. 

That day, he was going to drop his wife Irene (75) off at the railway station then would head over to his daughter’s house to continue with the repairs he had been working on since she moved to her new home a few months before.  However, Sandy couldn’t find the right size of Allen key in his own toolshed that he needed for a particular job so he told Irene he would be back for her soon as he was going to pop over to the bowling club, where Sandy was an active volunteer, as he knew exactly where the Allen key was that he needed.  

It had been a frosty night but it looked like the ice was melting.  Sandy drove the short distance to the bowling club, not bothering to change out of his Crocs as he would only be a few minutes. He quickly found what he was looking for and left the clubhouse. However, there was black ice underneath the melting ice on the steps and Sandy found himself going up in the air before coming down to earth with a bang, landing on his shoulder then pelvis.  

Another member of staff had come in earlier than normal that day but it was about ten minutes after Sandy had fallen before she spotted him on the CCTV, lying awkwardly at the bottom of the steps.  She was just about to grit the steps and paths around the building. She called an ambulance and then called Irene and tried to reassure Sandy while waiting the 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.  

When Irene received the call, she drove her car down to the clubhouse and was shocked to see Sandy in a crumpled heap and in fact, she let out a scream. The ambulance arrived soon after but it took a while for the paramedics to assess the situation and work out what the damage might be. Sandy was in agony and was given gas and air before the paramedics managed to give him some additional pain relief when they got him into the ambulance. On reflection, Sandy said the paramedics were top class and were very reassuring. 

Although Sandy felt guilty on arrival at the hospital – because he was seen before so many other people who were waiting – he was also very grateful that he was attended to very quickly. The medics soon realised his injuries were complicated in that the ball joint at his hip had burst the socket and he also had another fracture at the front of his pelvis.  The medical team did not have the expertise to deal with these injuries so he was transferred to a more specialised orthopaedic unit at another hospital 30 miles away where it was initially agreed an operation would be scheduled. 

Sandy was all ready for the operation a few days later when the theatre staff decided that an operation was, in fact, too risky and that they would instead wait to see how his bones would knit together again.  A decision would be taken in due course as to whether or not he would need a hip replacement.

Being in a hospital further away meant that Irene had to move in with their daughter, who lived near a railway station, so that Irene could take a train and then a bus to visit Sandy every day.  Irene’s life was also put on hold as she took part in social activities on most days. 

Unfortunately, Sandy also caught Norovirus while in the hospital.  This was very challenging and painful due to the need to regularly use a bedpan while unable to move very much. Eventually, the symptoms passed and, with some excellent physio, Sandy reached the stage where the medics agreed to transfer him back to the original hospital closer to home. His physiotherapy continued and after five weeks, Sandy was advised he could go home. He was still in a lot of pain so was sent home with Morphine and a variety of other medications as well as a walking frame and a care plan. 

Day-to-day life has changed dramatically for both Sandy and Irene with not only their usual activities curtailed but also the endless calls to different organisations to arrange for example, a ramp to the front door and grab rails to be fitted. Sandy has been given a variety of items to help him around the home such as a roller to help him get out of bed, a raised toilet seat and a perching stool for getting access to the sink.

Irene has taken control of administering all his different medications and feels very responsible for what happens to Sandy.  Although he can move around a little – and they were lucky that their house has both a downstairs toilet and shower room as well as a downstairs bedroom – Irene is only comfortable with leaving him for very short times. She has lost her freedom to join her many exercise and other wellbeing classes e.g. attend choir practice and go sea swimming and just generally meet up with friends.  

They both praise the services they have been able to call upon such as the local Carers Centre, Social Work, Care and Repair, the MECS (personal alarm for emergency care) staff, the ongoing physios and district nurse and various others who have all proved to be very supportive. They have never felt alone or unsupported and they know where to go to ask any questions they may have. Sandy’s situation is being closely monitored and he will have various scans etc to see how he is healing and whether or not a hip replacement will be required.

The most difficult thing for Sandy has been having to accept that he is now an ‘old guy’ (his words).  He knows he should slow down a bit and take things easier but it’s what keeps him going.  He and Irene both remain positive and in good mental health and they see this experience as putting things on hold more than calling a halt to their lifestyle.  Sandy wasn’t able to compete in the bowling competition this year that he thought he had a good chance of winning.  In his moments of suffering the worst pain he could imagine, he never thought he would be able to do very many activities ever again but now he’s thinking he will be back in the bowling competitions next year, he will finish fixing up his daughter’s house and he’ll get back to having his regular trips around Scotland with Irene. He will change out of his Crocs before driving in future though and will sort out his tool shed so he can easily find the next Allen key he’s looking for.  

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Posted: 6/6/2023 11:29:13 AM 0 comments


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