Morphine my friend & Baptisum of Fire
As the days passed and I became more lucid, the pain came with it.
I’d had layers of skin taken from all around the top of my right thigh and under my right butt cheek, also from around the very top of my left thigh and butt cheek, and stitched on to what was left of my left thigh muscle.
Every movement felt like I was cracking raw sunburn, and the throbbing pain from my thigh and right foot kept me awake most nights. They filled me with as many drugs as possible during the day but the nights were the worst.
When you woke up, because everything had worn off, and you squeezed that alarm button hoping someone would come soon. These where the days when I was at my lowest.
I was bandaged from the waste down, and so weak. My once strong frame was reduced down to look like someone who had been battling anorexia. I was told that this was the bodies natural way of surviving once the fat had gone it started to use my muscles as energy.
All I could do was lay there on a morphine drip, being forced to use a bed pan. Your body doesn’t naturally ‘go’ whilst you are laid down in bed, it had been taught not to for 33 years. Also, when you do finally pee it splatters up wetting the sheets, so you are left with urine smelling sheets. Or worse, you have to do a number two and there was no way I could hover with one leg in bed, so you end up sitting on it as you are doing it, I can tell you I was not a happy bunny.
The worst part was the healing of my skin graphs. Both legs would leak fluid through the wrappings in bed, and if left for more than one day would stink. I would cry a lot due to the pain and lack of sleep and just generally feeling unclean. Even though I would give credit to the nurses and cleaning staff. They did make sure we washed everyday, and changed our bedding everyday. It was just the weekend where it was like a ghost ship.
Then one day I was wheeled down to the dressings clinic, and was asked by the doctor (as this was a teaching hospital) if I’d mind having some students in to see the wrappings done. I said yes, figuring they would have to see this at some point in their career.
So I was laid on the bed, with three very nervous students stood next to me and the doctor slowly unravelled my leg. This was the first time I had seen it and I think I did very well to keep the look of horror and shock off my face. It was dark black and purple and looked and smelled like a piece of rotten meat. I turned my attention to the students who were looking and then suddenly had great interest in the floor. So I smiled and asked them if they had any questions and said it was okay to have a look. They asked the usual stuff like ‘does it hurt’. ‘how did it happen’ etc.
Then the doctor cleaned it up and put the wrappings back on, and thanked me for being so open and honest with the students and wheeled me back into the ward. I was greeted by more doctors and a physio after that. Then a psychiatrist, occupational therapist, a foot specialist, a drugs specialist and on and on, so I didn’t have time to react. I just answered questions, followed orders, boom, boom, boom. Then night time, no sleep and it starts all over again the next day.