I had my first trip out yesterday since I got back from hospital after my ankle op. OK, it was back to the hospital for a check up on progress but it was out! Here I am with the cast in the Fracture Clinic at Wythenshawe Hospital. I hoped I could hop out of the car at the door but Wythenshawe is having a building programme and a new A&E dept is going up so I had to cope on my crutches for a 100m or so. Something that I wouldn’t have thought of 3 weeks ago seemed like an expedition to the North Pole! And I’m in shorts in October!

First it was into a treatment room to have the cast removed. I was worried about that. I’d heard stories of the hairs on guy’s legs getting set into the plaster and being ripped out when the plaster comes off. I’m not excessively hairy but there’s enough there to make me wince if they were to be torn out. Fortunately the technology has moved on and there was no pain. I was surprised to find that they had operated on both sides of my ankle. This is what it looked like after the cast was taken off. Once a nurse had cleaned the dried blood it looked very neat. The surgeon, Miss Fox, who did it was pleased with how neat she had made it. I’m pleased she had done it. She exudes confidence and sincerity.

After that it was down to the X-ray department to have it photographed. They fitted me with my moonboot and I was left to make my own way down on crutches. Sounds a bit harsh but, as a guy, I like that they let me do stuff by myself. X-rays are all computerised now of course. Gone are the days when they had to be developed with chemicals and there was a wait. Mine were sent to Miss Fox’s iPad before I’d even left the X-Ray suite and she declared herself happy with the progress when I got back. I tried to see them on screen before I left but it was on the other side of the room. But the X-Ray lady was impressed with the amount of metal in my ankle. Next time I’m going to have a look.

I was brought home by Suneil. I’m starved of human contact at the moment and we got talking. He didn’t have a Manchester accent and I wondered where in the world he’d come from. I suspected Greece. Right direction but add a 1000 miles or so. He was from Kurdistan. When he was 18 he was about to be conscripted into Sadaam Hussein’s army. As a Kurd that wouldn’t have gone well for him. His family decided to put him on a plane and at 19 he found himself in Heathrow Airport, London without a plan and not knowing a person in the UK. He found a policeman. In Iraq he would have got a good kicking so he was worried about approaching a British policeman. He was surprised to be bought a cup of tea, some food and, while he ate that, the police found people who could help him. Suneil has a high regard for British policemen and women. He was put in a taxi and sent to Portsmouth where an organisation exists that helps guys in his position. They helped him claim political asylum because his life was in danger in Iraq. He’s now a British citizen and told me with relish how he’d enjoyed cutting up his old Iraqi passport. He moved up to Manchester and now lives in Warrington to the west of the city. Kurdistan is the part of Iraq that has, mercifully, escaped the worse of the wars that have blighted that part of the world and seems to be thriving. They have even stood up to ISIS. Suneil is a Muslim person but wears his religion lightly, in fact he’s come to the conclusion that religion isn’t one of mankind’s better ideas. He likes a glass of wine and is a great fan of whisky. He loves living in the UK. 

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