Thursday, October 10, 2013

From Skegness to Salford Royal (Via Chris' driveway)

Fuck me, if it hasnt been an unusual week!! Since you last gazed your peepie eyeholes at my lovingly crafted items of travelling delights we have been experiencing what can only be described as 'an up and down week'.

It all started quite nicely with two nice days at my mum and dads house in Skegness. We enjoyed a nice breakfast with them and a Saturday evening in before a lovely drive back to Manchester taking the world famous 'Snake Pass', from Sheffield and through the hills to Manchester. One of my favourite roads with its twisting bends and stunning views on a beautiful sunny day, down the valley towards the greatest city in England. We arrived in time to see Chris start to clean his windows. That's when things changed....

I was in the kitchen when Abbie, Chris' daughter and my niece came rushing in to tell us Chris had fallen. It was then that I realised the sound I just heard, which in my memory is the noise you hear when a dead pig is thrown from the back of a lorry - was in fact my own brother hitting his driveway - hard. I rushed out and found him in a heap in the ground - he immediately told me to call an ambulance as he suspected he had broken both his ankles. I did so and after finishing the emergency call took a quick check of his feet to ascertain any damage. Indeed they were a mess of bends and lumps that weren't natural. He was in pain and to stop going into shock asked for a cold glass of water which he poured over his hot head. With his permission I took some photos and a quick video. Not for my amusement but I could tell that I would have to inform a lot of people about what happened and much like a road traffic accident I thought a picture may help not only me to inform but take a lot of pressure off Chris himself.

The ambulance arrived and after giving Chris oxygen, he was loaded onto a spinal board (normal procedure in any kind of trauma nowadays) and put in the back of the ambulance. His ex-wife and the kids mum, Julie, arrived and it was lovely to see her speak to Chris in the ambulance and give him a hug and a kiss before calming down the kids and taking them home. The ambulance left and that was the last we saw of Chris for about an hour.

Buffy and myself decided it would be best to take Chris a bag of overnight stuff - we expected he would at least stay overnight in hospital and so we packed the usual stuff you would take before following him to Salford Royal (Known locally as Hope Hospital, its old name).

On arrival we were greeted with the sight of Chris screaming in agony as the staff attempted to pull his legs straight. It turned out he had not only broken both ankles badly, but dislocated them too and they needed to straighten them before doing anything else.

Over the next few hours we sat and waited as Chris was x-rayed and looked at by various doctors and specialists to ascertain the next steps to take. Finally at about 9pm, 8 hours after the accident he was admitted overnight into a ward and left to rest and recover.

Its now Thursday evening and he is much better. Although still in hospital and awaiting operations, he is well over the initial shock of the accident. His legs are now being pulled straight by titanium frames bolted onto his bones and he is awaiting reconstructive surgery on his shattered ankles.

So you can see its been a busy few days.

I wanted to write about this because whilst waiting in the ward for Chris' initial treatment and for all our time at the hospital I couldn't help but be impressed by the staff and people there. They were brilliant. From the guy who answered the initial 999 call to the ambulance men (one who farted in the ambulance near Chris and laughed!) and especially the staff in the major injury ward everyone was fantastic. They worked fast and efficiently but with purpose and a wry sense of humour. Even when me and Buffy got lost in the hospital trying to find the exit a porter walked all the way to the door with us and showed us the way. I couldn't do their job but I'm glad that I was able to witness the calm and collected response to not only my brothers injuries, but to other trauma patients who were wheeled straight in to be seen to on a regular basis for the afternoon we were there. I don't ever want to be in the position of patient there, but I know if I am at sometime in the future I would have 100% confidence that I would be in good hands. 

One more thing I noticed was the fact that every patient and friend is now allowed to use mobile phones in the hospital. A few years ago whilst visiting my dad, when he was in, we weren't allowed to use a mobile phone inside the ward. But now it is almost encouraged. Even to the point of being allowed to photograph the x-rays as they were being shown to Chris and us. I wondered why there was such a change in attitude and quickly realised the difference between then and now - The telephone in the ward hardly rang at all. No parents, friends or family were ringing up to find out how Johnny or Sharon were doing  - because they already knew. They were being kept informed constantly by the people in the ward like me and Buffy and even the patients themselves. We posted a photo of Chris with his feet in plaster and with thumbs up on facebook (even though he was in agony) and this informed everyone who mattered in a matter of seconds. The nurses didn't have to constantly answer the telephone to distraught relatives and were able to work on the things that mattered - the patients. I bet Mark Zuckerberg would never have guessed that his silly little website would help save lives when he sat down and stared it a few years ago.

Chris now has two glove like articles on his feet that kind of  simulate movement by filling up with air and creating pressure before letting the air out. This helps his circulation and so aids his recovery. Another simple but brilliant idea.

Just so you know, I haven't posted any pictures of any of this on this blog for a reason. I wanted to tell the story without any kind of voyeurism. Whats important in this post is the fact that we are lucky to have such good people, working so hard in order to help out strangers who have been unlucky, unfortunate or just plain daft enough to hurt themselves. I Congratulate everyone involved in helping out my silly brother and wish them all well.

That's it for tonight. I will be back sometime soon and will tell you all about a night wit Russell Brand and how my first few days have gone at Asda - including how you get shopping to someone who is unable to open their front door!!


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  2. Well said Rick!!

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