May 16, 2005

Day 2

My brother was hospitalised yesterday. Attempting to heroically climb the side of a house in order to gain entrance to his girlfriend's flat, he fell about 6 or 7 metres and landed with both feet onto paving, shattering his heels and impacting his ankle structures.

His friends and girlfriend called the ambulance, and I found out yesterday afternoon about 12 hours after the accident. He's in a hospital very close to my house, which means I can cycle and visit him often, and I'm already getting very familiar with the potholes of Victoria Road. Yesterday was awful; he was in so much obvious pain, fighting back the tears and biting down on a wad of bedsheets. i was crying myself; I've never seen anyone enduring that much pain before. The wave lasted about 25 minutes and after that it seemed to abate. The ice wrapped around his heels helps.

The parents were up today, which was nice. Mum wasn't too happy and bizarrely demanded that there be no levity by the bedside, when I asked her to take a look at his corpse-ankles. Why not levity? It is too late for levitation. They brought loads of goodies for him, audio books, toileteries and so on (he now has 3 sets of wet wipes and 4 toothbrushes) and I've set up an account on my powerbook so he can sync his mail once or twice a day when I collect the powerbook and take it back to mine for the evening or at lunch. It seems to work quite well. We're looking at getting Perl installed, and if I can find a way to hook up the laptop to my phone as a bluetooth GPRS modem that could give him some degree of net access from his bed.

The bad news is that the registrar said today his prognosis is pretty mediocre. His bones are very badly damaged and his flesh is too swollen for them to safely operate; if they did, then the swelling would push all the bones out of place as soon as they stitched him back together. So he's gone from yesterday being advised of a 1 week hospitalisation followed by 3 or 4 weeks in a chair to a 4 week stay on the wards with 2 or 3 months in the chair to look forward to after that. Pretty rough.

Then there's the injuries to the mind to think about...

(23:54:23) Squidboy!: hiya
(23:54:45) Squidboy!: how's it going?
23:55:55) Oxygenik: Just got back, parents were up today
23:56:00) Oxygenik: am pretty bushed
23:56:17) Oxygenik: bro's situ pretty fearful
(23:56:26) Squidboy!: really?
23:56:42) Oxygenik: His heels are crushed into itty bitty pieces
23:56:57) Oxygenik: and the swelling is so massive they're unable to operate
(23:57:01) Squidboy!: *shudder*
(23:57:45) Squidboy!: is the delay a problem (aside from intense pain)
23:58:11) Oxygenik: they have to delicately reassemble his heel under GA, but if they do it before the swelling has gone down, when they sew him back up his own flesh will obliterate the surgeon's work
23:58:22) Oxygenik: it'll just squish it all out of place
23:58:48) Oxygenik: like supergluing an eggshel back together and then wrapping it up in beefsteak
23:58:52) Oxygenik: maybe ')
23:59:34) Oxygenik: and his projected hospital sta has gone from 1 week to 4
23:59:46) Oxygenik: and his projected wheelchair stay has gone from 4 weeks to 12
(00:00:00) Squidboy!: oh fk
00:00:04) Oxygenik: and early onset arthritis looks likely
00:00:14) Oxygenik: as in before he's 40
(00:00:30) Squidboy!: oh no. that's pretty bad
00:00:32) Oxygenik: so all in all, fearful
(00:00:36) Squidboy!: yes
00:00:38) Oxygenik: sigh
(00:00:42) Squidboy!: how is he?
00:00:54) Oxygenik: still early
00:01:07) Oxygenik: I expect a serious depression is on the way
00:01:16) Oxygenik: I reckon a year or two's worth
00:01:45) Oxygenik: but it won't hit until he's near the end of his healing
00:01:51) Oxygenik: initial* healing
(00:02:19) Squidboy!: quite possibly
00:02:55) Oxygenik: the trigger for the depression will be the realisation, as he gets more mobile, that he will never achieve the level of mobility he had before the accident
00:03:26) Oxygenik: and that after he's back to, say 80%, it'll start declining again
00:03:55) Oxygenik: as the arthritis kicks in, if you'll excuse the pun, and every step becomes painful
00:05:41) Oxygenik: anyway, we'll see
~ Posted by Oxygenik at May 16, 2005 12:47 AM
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