• Jacqueline Le Sueur

Just 6 Weeks Less-Abled : S + 13 & 14 | Facing a challenge head on

Updated: Jan 29


When I made the unscheduled visit to the Scalpel Man earlier this week I had so much nerve pain in my leg, ankle and foot I really did not know what to do with myself. It was reassuring to know there is definitely no DVT, that the pain may be due to the issues I have with my lower back and that there were drugs I could take to dull it if I could not find another way to manage it.


Anyone who knows me well will know that I take any kind of medication only as a very last resort. The one on offer would certainly be right at the back of the queue. Designed for the treatment of major depressive illnesses its side effects are many ranging from blurred vision and sleepiness through orthostatic hypotension to seizures and an increased rate of suicide in those under 25yrs. It works on nerve pain because, keeping it simple, it dulls the senses.


I have stark memories of my mother more than 40 years ago walking around like a zombie because of drugs such as this. Yes, she was a paranoid schizophrenic who was in and out of mental hospital and had been on medication for a decade and for sure taking them for a few days just to get some uninterrupted sleep would not induce this. Nonetheless, my fear of such drugs is very real.


The night after seeing Scalpel Man was not a good one. My leg tingled and felt cold and yet it wasn't and the burning, stabbing pains in the sole of my foot were sending me through the roof still. At 2am I had had enough. I gathered up my anatomy books, made a cuppa and retreated to bed to do some research. I figured that yes, the pain in the leg does stem from my back. The pattern of the pain fits with this, I think the weird pain round my ankle is possibly a residual effect of where the nerve block was put in and I am convinced the pain in my foot is due to a combination of the position of the plaster of Paris cast and the fact my orthopaedic shoe is too big so every time I make a step forwards I hyper-extend toes 2-5 straining all the muscles round the metatarsal heads. I'm no doctor and I could be wrong but at 4am this made perfect sense to me and so I hatched a cunning plan.


It took me over half an hour, shuffling on my bum, to drag the large footstool from the sofa to a chair that would better support my back. Felt good once I'd done it mind, plus it took my mind off the pain.


A trawl of the internet and by 6am I found a company up north selling light-weight orthopaedic wedge shoes matched by a twin shoe of the same height for the uninjured foot. They were ordered by just gone 9am. Proper job. These and the change in seating, I figured, should take the pressure off my lumbar spine and keep my hips balanced and thus hopefully remove the nerve pain in my leg.


And then there was the trip back to Exeter last night to get the plaster cast exchanged for a much lighter fibreglass one.

As for the ankle, well, wait and see was my plan for that.


So here we are on Friday morning ...

The shoes arrived yesterday morning, the cast is changed and I'm sitting in the more comfy seat from where I have just watched the most fluid, entertaining game of rugby.


I hoped my cunning plan would make a difference - a reduction in pain of 50% would have been fantastic. You have no idea how happy I am that the pain in my leg is all but gone; the ankle still feels like it has a silk scarf resting on it however I can live with that. As for the mind-bending burning pain on the sole of my foot, that is down to a 4/10 and fading. I expect it will take a while to go however the difference is incredible.


My cunning plan worked! And more than that I feel I have stayed in control of this process and for me, mentally, that is as important as getting on top of the pain.


P.S. No writing yesterday I was just too exhausted. Also, I had another look at the entrance to the hospital when I was there last night. I honestly can see no reason for these steps to be as they are. Nor are there any more disabled parking bays by the ramp. I feel a letter to the hospital coming on.


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