Saturday, 30 October 2010

First flight to and from Sumburgh; have a peek inside my knee...

Well I'm back!

The flight from Sumburgh to Aberdeen is on a SAAB 340 turboprop . Real flying on a twin prop plane with only space for 36 passengers. I got a seat next to the escape exit on the portside, so there was plenty of space for me to stretch out. There was a bit of turbulence, but nothing much, and it was a great take off and landing on a sunny day.

I didn't take my camera as I was worried about getting back with my operated on leg, never mind carrying stuff, but here's someone else's photo of the plane.

A Red Cross bus takes you straight from the airport to the hospital door (Woodend); right to the ward I was on. All I needed now was to have my pre-op checks and wait and wait and wait until the next day for my knee arthroscopy.

Luckily I was first on the list. Showered and ready to go, they covered me up, saying the corridor was cold, and wheeled me out and along some weird corridors reminiscent of the inside of a shed, but with heater fans, until we came to the operating theatre. When I asked if it was a portacabin, they laughed and said no, it was a mobile; that's OK then.
An injection, some laughing gas and a bit later I was woken in the middle of a really good dream. It was all over and I felt fine. Other than absolutely starving that is.

Back to the ward and I was pretty much straight away feeling OK and able to gingerly hobble to the loo. I noticed photos of my arthroscopy in my notes so sneaked a few pictures on my mobile before they were whisked away.

The bottom left and right ones are of the medial meniscal flap tear that they tidied up along with a few other loose ends.

Apparently my ligaments weren't in too bad a shape just wear and tear. The bottom right photo shows my anterior cruciate ligament. I don't know if you can see, but in the original it looked like a bit of a hairy worn rope, I assume they cleaned up the fuzz off it.


All the staff in the hospital were great and the hygiene seemed to be tip top. Only complaint I could have is the food, tasty, but luke warm with a portion the size Beren could eat. Man was I hungry while I was there.

All was well any way, so the flight home was booked; a 7.30am taxi and a wheel chair for in the airport the next day.

I felt a total fraud in the wheel chair, not that I could have managed walking through the airport, a short shuffle was bad enough. I got a good insight into what it must be like for wheelchair users in a busy environment though. No way could I get in to the shops to pass time so I must have amused one or two passers by as I miraculously rose from my wheelchair to go and get some wine gums! Disabled toilets are fun too, never mind the disabled lift that has a door that opens outwards. You obviously need to learn some dexterity in a wheel chair!

Thankfully I got a helpful push to the plane from the gate, even more necessary as they changed the gate at the last minute which meant a long uphill ramp followed by another lift. Thank you Mr Flight Assistance man.

After I'd hobbled up the few steps to the plane I was confronted with sitting on the window seat of a row of two seats. Surely I can sit elsewhere I asked the stewardess? The plane was more than half empty. 

May be the emergency exit with room for my bundled up leg? Oh no, I'd be a hazard there. I was tempted to go in to some tirade about them leaving the less able to burn in an accident (I was exhausted and in pain) while the 'good ones' got out. I finally got another portside seat where I could put my leg in the aisle from time to time. I also got a great view of Fair Ilse as we flew by.

The flight back was fun. 15,000 feet doesn't look that high. The detail of the land and sea is amazing and with a tail wind we made good time towards Shetland. The same tail wind was very strong by the time we got to Shetland and as we approached the landing it was a bit of a white knuckle ride, but what a view, amazing.

Here's some one landing on much less turbulent day

I lurched down the steps into another wheel chair trying not to get blown over and was finally wheeled to meet Clare and Beren, feeling very emotional.

By the time we'd driven the next 48 miles home I was totally exhausted and not at all comfortable, so I've spent most of the day asleep on the sofa or in bed for a change.

Probably they way of things for the next couple of weeks, so I'd best make the most of it and get Clare to dig the guitar out again and get plenty of zazen in too, along with the odd film...


  1. Glad to see you back Kev, and thanks for such a brilliant post.
    The couch is a great place to lay round for a few days, whilst you make the most of being a patient patient.
    Now is a perfect time, given your incapacity, to learn Beren to fetch and carry for you. I tried that once when my son was about his age. He would bring me a glass of milk, but somehow the sweet biscuits vanished between the kitchen and the couch.. lol

  2. You never flew in an ATP or an Albatross. The ATP (Another Technical Problem) were once the air lifeline, rub by BA but always would break down. I used to remember the stewardess holding various parts of the cabin to prevent doors or panel lifting, many a time a roof panel would drop. The Albatross looked like a skip with wings on top, on certain times you could see the rivets spin around.

    Good job on your knee, you gettin a bike now? I will bring my new un..

  3. Hi Keef, yeah I'm sure they're an improvement but they're still showing their age/use. We had to change gates at the last minute due to the planned plane having a 'technical problem'. Ironically the news was on about the bomb found on the plane at Newark, very reassuring veiwing LOL! Bike is ready an waiting, think I'll be doing more of that and less walking and weight lifting.

    Auls Een, not sure howlong I can 'milk' the recovery but Beren is pretty good at looking after me, as is Clare, nice home baked scones and cornish pasties yesterday YUM!

  4. Hehe, I love that you got your mobile out to take pictures of the pictures of your knee!
    Hope you're convalescing well and taking it easy :-)