The progress of my recovery from the broken ankle took another big step (no pun intended) forward yesterday. I’m already back at work on ‘light’ duties that don’t involve me being on my feet too much. That’s a bit of a double edged sword as I need to keep moving so that my foot will continue to strengthen and regain its suppleness. I find I can cope with about 4 hours but then the foot decides it’s had enough and let’s me know about it. It’s all about listening to my body I suppose.

I had two appointments at hospital yesterday. I’d been brought to hospital for my other appointments but this time I was getting there under my own steam. The problem with that is Wythenshawe Hospital is a very busy place and parking is a nightmare. You can get there on time and miss an appointment while looking for a parking space. So I decided to use the tram. I drove to Chorlton and caught the Manchester Airport tram (not been on that line before) to Roundthorn which is the tram stop on the edge of the hospital campus. There are plans to extend the line right into the hospital which would be a good idea.

First I went to see my physio guy, Gary. He watched me walk up and down and measured the angles I can move my bad foot through compared to the good one. I’ve made great progress (due to my trips to the gym I suspect and general walking) and I’m only 5 degrees away from normal in either direction. I’ll see him again on Valentine’s Day (that’s for an physio appointment btw).

I then had an appointment to see Miss Fox, the surgeon who had done my operation. She brought in a student doctor whom she was mentoring. She checked over my foot and declared that there had been a lot of progress and I’ve been discharged from the medical side of things. She did say that some people will have discomfort from the titanium plates in their feet. If so I’m to go back and she will do an op to take them out. But that’s for after all the swelling has gone down and that can take another year. Hopefully I won’t have to have another op. We will see. Miss Fox did a good job on my foot and I’m grateful for it and her hard work.

I was surprised by one thing though. I’d had a pair of crutches and a supporting boot to help me get about. I’ve not used either for weeks now and, as I suspected this would be my last visit, I took them back making sure that I had all the little bits of the boot so it could be of use for the next person. The crutches they accepted with thanks but the boot (see below) they are going to throw away. It seems it’s like a sticking plaster or a bandage and, once used, it can’t be used again. It’s been in contact with my foot and someone else may catch something nasty off me is the rationale. I will put that idea on one side for the moment. The boot is an impressive piece of kit and expensive as well. I checked on Amazon and found a boot like mine on sale for £95! Our NHS is supposed to be strapped for cash even though it has £billions spent on it annually. Is it not beyond the wit of man for someone to deep clean and disinfect my boot so it can be used by another person? Or if we in the affluent West are too precious to use a slightly second hand boot, cleaned and disinfected, it could be of use in some developing country where resources are scarce. It was as good as new. I was shocked.

People complain about the NHS. As I type there’s a story on the radio about it. Top of the list seems to be waiting to see doctors. I have to say Gary the physio was spot on time to see me and Ms Fox actually saw me EARLIER than my appointed time. I think it’s a case of ‘1st World Problems’. If we had to cope with a health system in certain developing countries, or had to put our hands in our pockets everytime we need to use the health service, or be bankrupted by insurance premiums, we’d soon learn to appreciate our system.

I went back to Chorlton on the tram to pick up my car. Driving down Barlow Moor Road I spotted the new Betty & Butch store. It’s the dog lifestyle store that I like to visit even though I haven’t got a dog. It’s not a pet store. It doesn’t look like one or smell like one. It looks more like a fashionable shop on King Street with window displays that wouldn’t look out of place in Harvey Nichols. The new store is bigger and still in Chorlton so the existing clientele can still visit. But the new one is withing a good dog walk of Didsbury, another suburb where the dogs and their owners will appreciate this store.

Seeing the new store reminded me that they have opened another store in Hale Road so, while it was in my mind, I decided to pay it a visit. My ankle problems have stopped a lot of my little trips to visit random places that might involve a walk. Hale Road runs east to west from Manchester Airport through the undeniably wealthy suburbs of Hale Barns, Hale and Bowden to Dunham Massey Park (we went to the light show there before Christmas). It’s the last hurrah of suburban south Manchester before you reach, possibly even wealthier, Cheshire. These three suburbs are favoured by Manchester’s business community who call them home. Of late they have been joined by the ‘poorer’ players from Manchester United and City who can’t afford an estate in Cheshire and are being forced to struggle along in multi million £ mansions from which they can still see the neighbours in the mansion next door. Life can be tough. Hale Barns, Hale and Bowden have a lot of well loved dogs, also possibly struggling along in the above mansions, who will appreciate what is on offer at the new Betty and Butch store I’m sure. 

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