Post 52 Amputated leg regrows


Jim was convalescing in a well known London hospital after an emergency operation to repair a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. The major artery that carries all the blood to the lower half of his body, a motorway of a vessel half an inch wide, had suffered a ‘blow out’ such as may occur on a car tyre. The ‘blow out’ had then burst. The ward sister had said that the majority of people, who experience such a devastating event, don’t live to tell the tale! They die of blood loss, usually before they even reach the hospital.

Fortunately, the operation had been a success and Jim had been dragged back from the Pearly Gates.  Blood was now flowing smoothly into his legs, through the artificial tube the surgeons had used to replace the burst blood vessel.

Jim had been allocated a side room whilst he had been so ill, but was now able to wander onto the main ward during the day. Being a sociable fellow, he was now chatting with Cliff who had just been admitted.

‘The doctors tell me that smoking is the main reason my blood vessel burst,’ Jim remarked when asked about his problems. ‘I’ve been a ‘twenty-a-day man’ all my life.  But I guess I’ll have to give it up now otherwise I’ll get more trouble.’

‘Giving smoking up isn’t so easy, you know,’ Cliff responded. ‘I was given the same advice a couple of years ago when I lost my leg.’ He nodded to the artificial limb that was propped up at the bedside. ‘But I couldn’t do it. Now the arteries in my other leg are clogged up. The damn thing’s going gangrenous just like the first one did. I’ve watched my toes slowly going purple, and now they’re black. That’s why I’ve come in. The doctors say they can do nothing to save it, so it’s coming off this afternoon. At least that will get rid of the pain, but God only knows how I’ll manage with no legs.’

As they continued to chat, Cliff’s family arrived to support him and wish him luck, so Jim moved on to talk with the other patients, hoping they had more cheerful tales to tell.



             
  For the first few hours after his operation, Cliff was closely monitored and heavily sedated. During the night, however, he became restless and extremely confused. He shouted, thrashed around in his bed, and several times tried to climb out, despite the cot sides that the nurses had provided. The noise and disturbance was such that no one on the ward could get any sleep, so shortly after midnight Jim was asked to swop beds with Cliff who was moved into the side room.

Regrettably, Cliff’s condition continued to deteriorate and at three in the morning, he collapsed. The emergency medical team rushed to the scene and the Night Sister, fearing the worst, called the relatives. Breathless and anxious they arrived on the ward, dashed to the bed where they expected Cliff to be and pulled back the screens, waking Jim as they did so.

‘My god,’ Jim heard Cliff’s wife exclaim, ‘they’ve not taken his other leg off – they’ve stitched the first one back on!’


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