I am on the verge of doing something that will likely get me sectioned under the mental health act and frowned upon by everyone.
In a few posts I have spoken about my life after Knee Replacement Surgery and one post is called ‘The Consultants have ruined my life‘ <-Click for link
Of course I don’t blame them for the pain I am in and I am not saying that the surgery went wrong, but since then I have been in unbearable pain and they won’t help!
The basic story is that everytime I move that knee, I am in so much pain and so I try my hardest to not move it and I am now housebound, in pain and my health is getting worse as a result.
I requested, I begged for an amputation and was refused again and again and again, I was sent to see a psychiatrist when I threatened to put a tourniquet around the leg and compromise the leg and thus forcing an amputation and she said I wasn’t asking because of a mental health issue, I was just desperate.
Still they said no!
This first few months of this year has been rough, physically and mentally it has been horrible and so I went and purchased a CAT, the Combat Application Tourniquet®. These are a design born from the war on terror in the middle east and every soldier carried one or two and they saved countless lives.
Back in the late 80’s I trained at RAF Manston to be a Fire Fighter, we were trained how to use tourniquets and back then we were told that the improvised tourniquets were to be released every 20 minutes to allow some blood flow and then to retighten them and you had to draw a ‘T’ on the patients head to show they had one used on them.
This was because prolonged use of a tourniquet can result in the loss of a limb due to muscle and nerve damage and eventually the advice was do not use a tourniquet because of this problem.
However now they are back in, unfortunately we learn a great deal about trauma through war but the CAT® tourniquets have saved many lives.
And so in my desperation I remembered my training and I am so convinced that if I do not get the amputation, I will die through worsening health through being laid up all the time or the pain will eventually weaken me so much that I will do the unthinkable (suicide).
I am not stupid, although by now you may think otherwise and I understand that. I know that I will not be pain free after amputation but it will be a steady pain if that makes sense, I won’t have the fear of sudden extra and unbearable pain when I move my knee just a few degrees.
I had hoped the doctors would listen and help, an amputation without trauma is more likely to result in less phantom limb pain but the consultants keep bleating on “I took an oath to do no harm” but the above says it perfectly. By not helping me, they are doing far more harm than would be done by amputating!
I have no dreams of walking using a prosthetic leg, I will be more than content to just be able to use my wheelchair, transfer, bum shuffle and move knowing that I wont suddenly be hit with a wave of pain that makes me feel sick.
I have been told I need to go to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore, they are more likely to say yes, they deal with this situation far more and so may agree.
I want to go, but I can’t!
I have been diagnosed with PTSD, I have suffered from crippling anxiety for almost 30 years and to get on a motorway is terrifying, if the traffic flow stopped and we were just sat there, it would be my idea of hell. I would feel trapped, I would simply be a mess and everytime I think about attempting it, I feel sick.
I have had two test runs of applying the CAT®, it isn’t pleasant and it also makes me see how much muscle wastage I have on my legs. It doesn’t tighten against a firm muscle but it squashes through wasted muscle and I have sat there for 20 minutes with it on and it will work.
It is odd, alien to see your leg change colour, to go mottled and purple and the sensation is weird but I also get this glimmer of hope, a thought of “I can do this” and will I finally be free?
And yet I know this is dangerous and crazy!
It makes me cringe to see what I am contemplating, to know that I am self harming and putting myself in extreme danger but I am fighting for my life.
I explained it to the orthopaedic consultant like this, I asked if he had seen the film 127 hours (true story) where a climber gets trapped by his arm, he tried everything, he waited for help, he tried rigging ropes to free himself and eventually he did the unthinkable and hacked his arm off with his knife and freed himself’.
I am also trapped, I am also fighting for my life and I am also now at the point where I am prepared to do the unthinkable.
I stopped asking the docs and tried to just get on, tried to cope for a few years and this was to see if they are right and also because the fight made me mentally unwell.
But in June, I am seeing an orthopaedic consultant again and I will put forward my case. If he says no, well Plan B will be going ahead!