Sunday, 29 May 2011

Medic information please.

This is a plea for help. Has anyone out there had a broken leg?

Not just a snap. I mean a compound fracture below the knee with skin penetration and bleeding.

It's for a bit of fiction. How much does it hurt and how long are you in plaster, or crutches, afterwards?

Basically, I need the guy to snap his leg on January 1st and still be at least on crutches or limping by the end of April, so how bad do I need to hurt him? He has driven his car over a retaining wall into a ring of greenhouses so he can be as badly smashed as necessary because someone else will move him.

That's the thing about fiction. It has to be more real than real life. People complain about wrong details in fiction but they don't seem to mind real life being utter nonsense.

If I was only a news reporter, it would be far easier.


bella gerens said...

I have never suffered such a thing, but I know someone who has, and even that didn't take nearly 4 months to heal. Even the dude I know who broke his femur was only laid up for 10 weeks. Better have the dude break his actual kneecap.

Leg-iron said...

Kneecap -hadn't thought of that. That would mean a permanent limp.

Any tips from IRA operatives?

Macheath said...

Not the best thing to meet in the grip of galloping insomnia - the mental image of a blogger so addicted to the medium that he resorts to posting rather than dialling 999.

According to the medical encyclopedia under my coffee-table (one of the offspring is an aspiring novelist much given to asking such questions, though not usually at 3am),
'Occasionally healing is slowed down because not enough blood can reach the fracture site or because the broken bone has not been immobilized effectively. In such cases, surgery may be needed; the splintered bone is removed and bone taken from a different part of the body is grafted in its place'.

That should probably guarantee a limp for you.

subrosa said...

What about a nut and bolt job which goes slightly wrong because the first op was done on a Friday? More common that we realise according to my theatre nurse friend.

Then of course, he could crack his plaster and that would need replacing causing delay in the healing process.

Anonymous said...

A broken knee does not necessarily mean a permanent limp, however an immobilised knee does take many months of (bloody painful) physio after the cast is removed to get working again. Although I did also suffer severe ligament damage at the same time. Ligament damage can be of any severity you wish to make it in the story though.

You could consider dropping a line to Dr Phil Button at his pro-smoking Doctor blog site. Sorry I can't quite remember the actual site name but it is still active.

Anonymous said...

A lower back injury, like scitaica, could lay one up for at

least that length of time, and result in a serious limp. I know because I just went through that for a year before having surgery less than a month ago. I'm still recovering so the outcome remains to be seen.

Andy Baxter said...

well here is my personal experience: 1990 I was in rugby training and suffice to say diving for a loose ball on the ground my heel got trapped in a rut and with the full force of my body weight coming after it my right ankle twisted around 160 degrees to the outside with a consequent dislocation and fracture of the fibula the broken end compounding outside the back of my calf. i distinctly remember hearing two very loud cracks in quick succession one after the other. at first I remember no immediate pain being evident, the fracture and dislocation were so qucik and so clean I only remember a numb shock of realisation that something serious had happened....for about a minute, my thinking my perception were clear and acute with a fleeting thought of "it may not be that bad" but thats when the pain crept in like a tsunami coming from my ankle and leg to my brain,I could feel it coming like a wave from the nerve endings where the damage was coming up my leg torso arms neck and into my brain, thats when the screams of release started.....I tried to push myself up on my elbows to see the damage and could not see my foot and became convicned it had been torn of my mates held my foot and I made him promise not to let go cos I was convicned it would fall off. the next 8-12 weeks of recovery were very painful requiring physio

George Speller said...

Hope it goes well, LI. As the thespians say, "Break a leg!"

Shades said...

I had a nasty compound fracture of the tibia a few years back. 4 days in hospital with a tibial nailing, a few weeks with bandages but no plaster needed.

Anonymous said...

Crush fracture of a vertebra should do the job (gliding accident ?) I was walking about (stiffly) after four months and three weeks in hospital.

TheFatBigot said...

You can always buy extra time with a nice infection.

PeterJ said...

A friend of mine broke her lower leg and ankle a few years back, tripping over the wire for the Christmas tree lights (that's real life for you). Not compound, but the ankle break in particular meant that she was still on crutches and hobbling at least four months later, with extra surgery to come taking out the metal plate holding the ankle together. So a complex broken ankle looks favourite (if not as messy as a compound tibia job).

Sniper said...

12 weeks and like hell for the first one. Have to wait for the swelling to go down before the quack can bolt it back together, so + one week. Home after 8-9 days.

talwin said...

If you're looking to 'delay' recovery, your pateint could develop MRSA in hospital. Or ,maybe you would feel you were straying to much into non-fiction.

Stan said...

I suffered a shattered tibial plateau five years ago in a motorcycle accident and I'm still limping, if that's any help.

Anonymous said...

Lower spinal injury will more likely give you the time you are looking for. With the added benefit that it can cause pain, complications that can come in the future if your looking for a reason why the char cannot get somewhere, slows down etc...

Pat Nurse MA said...

If it helps, I fell off my platform shoes in 1973 and broke my little toe. I was in plaster from the knee down for a month.

Anonymous said...

Femur (thigh bone) breaks are rarer but much more serious -- nearer to a year without being truly mobile.

petem130 said...

I had a shattered knee cap after a motorcycle accident. My knee swelled to be a larger diameter than my thigh. Ten weeks in a special bandage thingy which was huge. The inner bandage thingy stuck to the abrasions so after the swelling went down the bandage had a bit of play which pulled the scabs of. I bled a lot.

Showering a complete nightmare. Lying on back most of the time. Crutches of course.

After the bandage thingy was taken off walking was shall we say interesting. Stiff knee, weak leg. Another six weeks of physio.

No limp tho. 12 months later op to sort of cartilage damage and correct ligament stuff.

Feel free to use the technical term "bandage thingy".

I'm stuck with the structure of a short piece for a coffee shop ezine at the moment. I'm sure it will all become clear to me soon.

The joys of writing eh...

old ma cleansnout said...

no pro-puff propoganda today, leg-iron? what a shame, dear - i was was so looking forward to rolling-up your amoral anti-social arguments, with a view to stuffing them in your pipe for you to incinerate at your leisure. smoking, my darling, is a disgusting filthy habit, which, contrary to popular opinion, has contributed nothing towards philosophical clarity, nor has it progressed the narrative of the human dialectic in any meaningful sense - it's just caused a lot of very nasty coughs, induced many people to croak prematurely, and dirtied the place up something rotten. indeed, it is my strongly held opinion that, for his part in the tobacco trade, sir walter raleigh should be summarily exhumed and brought posthumously to face trial, on charges of inflaming genocide, before the international court of justice at the hague,...and that the indigenous americans who sold him the stuff should should be sued for trillions of dollars in compensation by the tobacco giants and their butt-ignorant customers.

ganga, on the other hand, is considered, by many experts and eminent researchers in the field, to be highly therapeutic in respect of a large number of conditions and ailments - which is why i'm now going 'round the corner to blaze one off guy.

NewsboyCap said...


My Son broke both Tib & Fib playing football.
The A&E gave him ketamine whilst trying to re-align his leg but failed.
He had to wait 3 days for a slot in the Op room, then the Idiot surgeon who set the Leg failed to notice the wound on the shin(where the opposing players studs had ripped through the skin) and proceeded to plaster over the wound.
The result was my son lost the feeling in his foot due to the onset of Compartment syndrome.
Fortunately the Consultant did tests, using a meter with a probe the size of the inner of a Bik pen, 'very painful'.
A second Op. resulted in a Titanium rod the full length of his Tibia,2 nails top and bottom of the Tib, two HUGE scars 10"x3" either side of his leg, skin grafts in the scars, 3 weeks in hospital and 12 weeks on crutches.

Leg-iron said...

Thanks for all the help. I think I'll go with the smashed knee.

This one opens with a car crash and even with airbags and crumple zones, I suspect I'll need to invoke a little bit of witchery to get them to survive it.

Not too much, they can't get out unscathed because they're not supposed to know about the witchery yet.

Leg-iron said...

Old Ma - you do realise that your 'ganga' counts as smoking for the purposes of the antismokers?

Hell, even Electrofag counts as smoking as far as they are concerned. They get uppity if you roll one up or take out an empty pipe. You don't even need to light up to be declared unclean now.

They are also already declaring that your particular preference is strongly linked to mental disorders. It's the old 'studies have shown' thing again. Is it true? Do you imagine they care about truth?

Expect to hear how much you cost the NHS soon. That'll be made-up too.

Don't be too quick to spit on the smokers. You'll be in the same cattle-truck when the time comes.

For now, back to work. Ranting will resume tomorrow.

dam ol anustoncle said...


Don't be too quick to spit on the smokers. You'll be in the same cattle-truck when the time comes.

that's where you're wrong dear - when the time comes, i'll be in the non-smirking cackle-strutt.

Anonymous said...


There is no such thing as a 'non-smoking' or 'non-smirking' cattle truck. Only the defiled will be will eligible. Smoking will not be mentioned - the offence will be 'failure to comply'. Failure to Comply is the most serious offence. That is why people have been prosecuted for 'allowing' smoking (whatever that may mean). They were not prosecuted for allowing smoking but for failure to comply.

I find it incredible that Associations which claim to represent publicans have not been SCREAMING about the effects of the ban. It seems that they are now beginning to see the light.

The important point is not about smoking as such - it is about the limitation of their ability to provide what their customers want simply because of some putative, theoretical, minuscule possibility that one person may or may not suffer some possibility of harm. That is the reality of the case which ASH promotes.

diane dubble agent said...


quite, mad ol one of our respected elder citizens, you are in a prime position to appreciate that there are different kinds of 'smoke'...and can understand that what was once-upon-a-time considered 'smoke' is now considered acceptable, and vice-versa...and see...quite coincidentally, an illustrious friend of mine (who just happened to be visiting london with his dear darling wife, gnnnr gnnnr) dropped 'round last week, to visit my imperial yard, la ghetto (as i like to call it), just to have a little toke and joke...and as one is wont...we all began reminiscing on our student you do...we all compared notes...and you know, it's funny how things pan out...because back then, we were all fanatical members of the black power surge (it was très à la mode, de rigueur, don't ya know), and were all fully-committed to overthrowing the white capitalist pigs by any means necessary...and you know what? i honestly think that malcolm x would have been well proud of the well-wicked 'way' which we all chose...yo...we really played a blinder...i mean, who would have guessed that we would end-up actually being justified in joining our white capitalist oppressors in order to help them subjugate the international black proletariat and continue the white man's thousand year-old crusade against islam? hey man, we would never have guessed...malcolm would never have guessed...and the white capitalist bourgeousie would certainly never have fact, i reckon we've got them all totally fooled...and wow, you know...i think our esteemed friend was too self-effacing to admit it...but, yes, electing a racially-amorphous american president was an absolute master-stroke...the people weren't sure whether he was a whiteman hiding inside a blackman, or a blackman hiding inside a whiteman, even the the black-power movement was confused...and the real beauty of it was: he didn't even know himself...of course the truth was that he exhibited the same muddy complexion all the way through, inside and out, yet had the god-given ability to alter his appearance any time the wind, or, indeed, the environment, changed. the ultimate politician. well...back in the day, we could never have possibly dreamed how everything would turn out...but, of course...the weed wasn't so strong back then, init man?

Leg-iron said...

So, you think smoking pot is immune from antismoker intolerance?

From the comments :

I've noticed how the selfish, degenerate "pot head" lobby ambushes any article about drugs and red arrows anyone with the good sense to speak out against drug use. The Dutch are a practical people and wouldn't be banning foreigners from the coffee shops for no reason; clearly the drug tourism is causing problems. I've spent a lot of time in Amsterdam and I know that these "coffee shops" are very seedy, smelly places that spoil the atmosphere in what could otherwise be a charming, beautiful, historic city. At the moment it's just full of the world's losers who descend on the city for their pathetic "fix".

- A young person with morals and a mind of her own, Southampton, 30/5/2011 00:28

Note the wordiong. Selfish, smelly and all the rest.

You, my friend, are denormalised. Just like the rest of us.

Remember, many vapers turned on smokers too, and that did them a lot of good, didn't it?

Siding with the antismokers does not mean they won't stab you in the back. It's what they do best.

padi said...

I'm impressed that you're being so careful in getting things right leggy.
There's nothing worse than reading a novel and being brought out of the 'zone' that a good book creates by crass failures in detail.
Being a diver I hate 'oxygen tanks' - should be air cylinders or goggles - mask, flippers - fins, frogmen - divers etc. Such details that would be simple to research yet authors write 300 pages over 6 months and don't think it's worth phoning a diving organisation for info. Or phoning for info on whatever specialist subject their novel revolves around.
So well done. Surgeons will stay in the 'zone' due to your diligence over the broken leg. These little details make or break a novel. 5 minutes research will harvest a generation of grateful divers , surgeons etc...

Anonymous said...

If you want a really adjustible injury have workers compensation One minute done for the next not so ( depending on the camera of the investigator).

James Higham said...

You sure it's for a bit of fiction?

fictional fiddlesticks said...


well said, sir, my personal beef is with those film-actors who, despite being clueless as to the techniques required for the bowing and fingering of string-instruments, are nevertheless cast in the role of violinists - the inevitable resulting marionette-buffoonery always stands out to the initiated like a saw thumb, and is wholly despicable. as for accurate reporting in respect of government initiatives...well...whilst government ministers continue to suppress information and fail to communicate details about policy to service-users, leaving the fact-starved blogger with nothing on which to work save the incidental and demented rantings of a public-sector employee facing imminent redundancy...then accidents are going to happen, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

My biggest beef is watching an actress who has never given birth in real life act giving birth. You can tell the real mums from the childless actresses instantly.

father who has really acted like he doesn't know the baby's shat itself said...


i know, it's a real fucking pain in the ass.

chocolate snowball said...


interesting to hear di banton dubble agent relate her experiences. of course, in the good old days, the first and foremost target of black activists was not the white man, but the black man who was 'selling out his race' - nowadays the situation is somewhat different, and it's the white do-gooders whom black activists are trying to weed out (from amongst their own ranks), apparently these honky transracists are absolutely invaluable when it comes to undermining 'their own people', but ultimately just not liberal enough to grasp the concept of black supremacy. let us thank god that, in a post-obama political world, there is no longer any such thing as 'race', and that our di can exploit all people equally.

bootsy said...

Mate of mine shattered her leg/ankle in a car crash in December. Was below the knee.
She hit a tree, and had her foot stamped on the brake so the impact went up her leg.
She has pins in, and had one of those weird frame like contraptions on her knee when I saw her in the pub a few months ago.
She's recently suffered a setback and is still on crutches, so there's your answer. If it healed normally then no, probably not, but if there is a setback in the healing process then yes, crutches are not a stretch at all.

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