The Trials and Tribulations of my Left Knee – Part 3: The Double Explosion and the Spanish Inquisition

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So Wednesday arrived and all the tubes were taken out. I was given training on my crutches with a full leg plaster and finally discharged with rattling packs of painkillers in my pockets.

Once home, I was told to have the next few days off to rest before going back to work. The first night was uncomfortable and sleeping upstairs with a loo downstairs was not ideal for midnight pisses but I managed. Still no Number 2 though!!!

Thursday morning came, the Mrs went to work and I was alone. Unsurprisingly by mid-morning, a weeks’ worth of number 2 tummy cramps started. I remember sitting on the loo for the first time with my straight plastered leg resting up on the toilet bin to make it more comfortable. I don’t really want to go into detail, but just to say that I was on that loo for a long, long time. I had to be, a weeks’ worth of backed up food and drugs needed to flow out of me!! Without thinking I sat there content, just happy to finally be going but I didn’t do any progress flushes, big mistake. When I’d finished, the toilet struggled to flush it all away, in fact a total blockage! Shit, literally. I flushed again, but to my horror the bowl filled and filled and only just stopped from flushing the contents over the top!!! Bollocks. It took an hour for the water level to fall. I flushed again. A repeat of the rising water and dread as this time the water spilled over, but no solids!!!!

I succumbed to the fact that I would have to call out a specialist, so I grabbed the yellow pages and called Dynorod. The guy came out within a couple of hours with his van full of tools and rods to clear such blocked toilets. After a few attempts to clear the blockage with rods and brushes around the U-Bend and an inspection of the drain outside, he stepped back and concluded that it was truly blocked. No shit Sherlock! He asked “what the hell did you do?” I embarrassingly shrugged, leaning on my crutches. He said the only solution was to blast it clear!!! “Blast it clear?” I said. He came back with a compressed air canister and packed the toilet out with towels to contain the “explosion”! He pressed the trigger and a loud bang echoed around the loo. Nothing. Still blocked. He stood there puzzled and then suggested a double explosion!! For this though I had to sign a waiver in case the porcelain bowl cracked or just exploded. WTF. I never had much choice so signed the waiver, watched him prep the bowl again. We both stepped back, me hobbling on crutches, to a safe distance. Boom! Water splashed out with a bit of solid matter, much to my disgust, but the toilet gurgled, then a sucking sound and the toilet cleared. Success. The guy then admitted he’d never done a double explosion before and wasn’t sure if it would blow the bowl out!!! He seemed excited and thrilled, as if this was the greatest day he’d had on the job for years! So here I was, spending £300 to clear a bog with a double explosion from a bloke who was using my blockage as an experiment in shit clearing!!! Amazing what 6 days of backed up compacted waste can do to your average household loo.

So having survived the exploding loo episode, the next few weeks were reasonably uneventful. After 6 weeks the plaster came off and a leg that had not moved in over a month came out about the same size as my arm!!! That was a shock. The knee was still big but the leg was like something from Revenge of the Nerds!!!

The final hurdle in the knee chapter of my life was to get the knee bending. Now-a-days ACL repairs bend your knee straight after the operation. Back in 1998 the knee was is in the cast, dead straight for 6 weeks. After that amount of time the knee won’t bend and you have no muscle. To solve that little problem I was sent to a physio who was obviously reincarnated after her time with the Spanish Inquisition as a torture specialist. She loved to cause pain. Every other day I had to visit this lady who would hang weights from my ankle to force the knee to bend!! This was followed by electric current being shot through my thigh muscles to build them back. I won’t say I cried like a baby but the pain was so intense that I’d sweat and swear and giggle, which is my release when in pain and the only thing that prevented me from crying!! 6 months I was in that leg brace and I was in physio for 9 months. That’s a long time for a knock on the knee on a Sunday morning.

So what were life’s lessons from this eventful year?

  • Life can change in a split second.
  • Don’t be a fat git playing football, get fit and stay fitter.
  • If you’re in a hospital, bed bound for 5 days, don’t be too posh to push!!
  • Nurses are amazing and deserve a bucket load more money than they get, if only for handling strange men’s appendages and putting them into bottles.
  • Courtesy flush when it’s been a while, you don’t want to risk an exploding pan!!!

So it’s now been 17 years since that fateful damp Sunday morning on the football field. The knee has never really fully repaired. I’ve had 5 further arthroscopy surgeries to trim away damaged cartilage. I now have only 40% left in the knee. The leg is still slightly thinner than the right leg and I’ve never got full motion of the knee since. One day I’ll have to have new knee, I’m just hoping technology is so good that it allows me to feel 18 again. If I’m bed bound after the operation I’ll swallow my pride and fulfil my bodies needs!!!

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