Monday, April 30, 2012

Joe's progress

Another good visit to the clinic to get Joe's wounds dressed and assessed.This visit was timed better and as a result we were in and out like a flash. The trick seems to be that you get in there a bit later to miss all the old people who don't have anything better to do than get up at the crack of dawn and form a queue outside the clinic from first light. This is a phenomenon I first noted in Plymouth when I was at Art College. Our house when we was at Art College was almost five miles away from the City centre, so in order to get there for nine we used to have to get on a bus reasonably early with all our gear - bags, cameras, portfolios and all sorts, sometime really weighed down and quite often with a hang over. But the whole process was made ridiculously unbearable by the fact that for some unfathomable reason loads of old people who weren't at college or in employment still seemed to not get the idea of being retired and having a lay-in. So at 07.30 in the morning come rain or shine, sleet or snow, instead of being tucked up snug in bed where we wanted to be, they'd all make their way down the steep cobbled streets of Keyham
Keyham Plymouth.
risking life and limb in the ice and frots to clog up the buses to the brim before we had a chance to get on. Being polite we'd give them our seats and stand there on the bus for over an hour as it swayed and swerved its way into the city centre covered in bags and folders like bleeding donkeys. We never ever got a seat, the bus was always full of all these old people, but where the hell were they going at 7.30 in the morning in the freezing cold? Why couldn't they have waited till after the rush hour - we could have sat down then and saved hundreds of pounds on physio later in life caused by twisted spines where we were forced to stand with all that kit over our shoulders!
So, anyway, having remembered those experiences we tried going in a little later today and it worked, there was one last old bloke in front of us and we were in and out in hardly anytime at all.
Prior to going Joe had also been showing off - showing that he was able to make a few steps with no assistance. He made four steps which is a good start. I think it's probably hard physically to do that, but more of an issue is the confidence and the concern that in doing so is he damaging the join in the bone if it is starting to fuse together at this stage?
One outcome that I've been peased to see is that one of Michelle's friends Lynn bought Joe an Airfix kit (Hurricane WWII) and Joe made that with his Grandad and has now gone on build a Junkers Ju88. This is the kind of stuff I used to do when I was a kid - good wholesome Old Skool stuff!
Even Ben's been inspired and has got his Butt off the settee and away from the poxy XBOX and discovered that keeping it real is fun and interesting and offers a challenge!

Joe during his very short wait today in the clinic and yet another pair of tracksuit bottoms bite the dust.
Joe behind the screen not wanting to look at his leg. Again this was a very low level pain event with Joe recording a pain level of less than 1 out of 10. The nurse was talking about the scabs again today saying that it's quite important that the scabbing is best not allowed to form otherwise this would lead to a situation where there would be an indent in the leg. So when the dressings come off, she pulls away as much of the scab that is beginning to form as she can. As you can imagine this is quite a sore sensation for Joe and yet he only gives it 0.5 out of 10, suggesting that the recent pain was quite bad!
Later in the day Michelle took Joe out for a push in the wheelcahir and some fresh air as we had some respite from the rain during the day. In fact it was warm and sunny - very different from the previous 2 days.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A week of rain

Still the rain continues, all the matches that were arrange at our club have been understandably called off. The paddock is a swamp which isn't good, there's an area on the paddocks wicket that is around half way but erring towards the batsmans end that gets water-logged in the winter. This spell of rain has been like winter rain and so that section is very swampy and will take a fair bit of dry weather to suffer kids playing football on it. I just know that as soon as the weather cheers up a bit the kids will be in there playing football and the wicket will get wrecked in that zone.

Other than that the rain will be good for the grass seed and I suspect that'll come through some time towards the end of next week. Additionally I should be hearing from the council Monday as to whether the money was allocated to fix the fencing around the paddock.

Over the weekend it has almost rained non-stop, not heavy rain particulalrly, just persistent and continual with very little in the way of breaks. As a result our ground 'Mopsies Park' is in a right sorry looking state. As far as I know the drainage at Mopsies isn't known for it efficiency and this is going to take some time to drain away. There's certainly not going to be any training on Tuesday night especially as after a little respite tomorrow, the rain is scheduled to be heavy again on Tuesday. This is pretty unusual by all accounts and I'm under the impression that the ground doesn't normally get this bad in the winter! The images by the way are by Neil Williams and not mine. Nice shots Neil!

#7 Leg Break Joe's progress

Another visit to the clinic Friday afternoon which again fitted in well with my work schedule and meant that I didn't miss out on any teaching and in fact I did a bit of cover teaching for someone else before coming home. Again the same procedure, remove the cover and remove the old dressings. Normally this has been pretty traumatic, but with the prospect of it getting less painful each time, this time it was a lot less painful with no wailing or tears. You can see from the pictures below that the wounds are looking better than last Friday
There's no news on the bones and how they're fixing and we wont have any info on that till Friday 11th May. The image above shows the two areas where there are open wounds still and the stuff on and in the wounds is the seaweed based 'Stuffing' that they use to absorb all of the fluids from the wounds. The nurse was saying that the wounds are best not scabbing up and kept in a state of being moist, which I suppose if you think about it makes sense as that means the fluids are alive and active whereas a scab seems like the latter stages of the repair process?
So this is the two open wounds as they are at the moment and you can see in comparison with last Fridays images that both wounds are healing gradually. The wound to the right (upper) you can see has started to scab up and the nurse removed the scabbing which came out easily with little discomfort along with the seaweed/wooly stuff.
This is 'The Hole' and you can see despite the fact that it looks pretty gruesome it is filling in if you compare it with the shot from the previous set of images. To be honest from the laymans point of view the yellowy orange around the wound looks dodgy, but the nurse would have said something about it if it had been of any concern.

For the next two weeks it's the same format as this week - visits to the clinic to have the dressings removed and replaced and the progress monitored... Monday and Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoon. We've had Joe's school ring on Friday and Michelle has enquired about whether there is any chance that he could go into school if only for a few hours each day. The school is going to get back to us on Monday with an answer, so fingers crossed there may be something they can do for Joe.
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Drift Legspin bowling

Drift - Wrist Spin Bowling; The Leg Break

So, after many months of coming back to this and asking questions of people and looking at the research involved I've come to a conclusion.

There are several on-line academic articles on the subject, but because they are academic articles they usually require higher levels of maths and physics knowledge in order access the information and then turn it into something that the layman can get to grips with. Of these articles one of the most respected and often cited is the one produced by Vaughan Roberts which you'll find here if you can make sense of it and present it in practical terms e.g. slant the ball so, angle the seam towards y, bowl into the wind, bowl around 45mph and get it a massive rip and then say why, without having to resort to using Reynolds numbers and the likes please do so and get back to me on!

For the moment, although I'll still look around for the answers and explanations presented in a way that I can comprehend I've given up on this task and here's why. It does seem when you look around that there are articles on the dynamics of spinning balls, but for the most part the research is looking at footballs, golf balls, baseballs and cricket balls - but only in relation to 'Swing' and seam bowling and 'Dip' in relation to Spin bowling. Drift it seems is so complex that there is a limited amount of info and as with the Vaughan Roberts article this is complex and inaccessible.

There are a number of phenomena described in Physics that work on the ball whilst it's in flight and these can be tested using air flow and smoke in wind tunnels and water flow and dyes in tanks. These explain and demonstrate visually the effects of the spinning ball in simple terms and are readily understood when explaining dip with Top Spin and the way the ball travels further without dipping early with Back-Spinners like the Vertical seamed Flipper and the Orthodox Back-Spinner as described by Peter Philpott in his book 'The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling'. Furthermore these theories which are described as being The Magnus Effect can be turned on their side and demonstrate 'Swerve' creating a spinning effect which looks like Drift at first look, but is (According to Vaughn Roberts) totally different to Drift. 'Swerve' is demonstrated exceptionally clearly in this video here in a series of experiments conducted by  professor Rod Cross at Sydney Uni. Unfortunately for us as Wrist Spinners Rod Cross's background is in Baseball, so his key area of interest is in this sport and as a result he doesn't seem to be aware of Warnes Ball of the century and drift. I'm trying to get in touch with him, to try and get him to do a Youtube explanation, because I reckon if he was to do so, he may be able to produce the kind of explanation we could all access and comprehend?

The nail in the coffin though came about when totally frustrated with getting no-where I returned to Bob Woolmers Art and Science of Cricket which is a massive tome of a book published in 2008. I re-read the sections on the aero-dynamics of cricket balls and again struggled to understand the descriptions. Again, I'm not sure whether it's just me or not, but the graphics they use I find very difficult to visualise in practical terms, which is a common source of frustration and confusion when trying to understand what is being proposed in many of the explanations. This very point is raised by a fellow blogger and forum commentator 'Pencil Cricket' who himself with some educational background in physics has had a stab himself at offering an explanation here. Pencil cricket too has raised issues around Woolmers explanations both graphically and within the written content, pointing out that whilst Woolmer was an excellent coach he was never a physicist or a Wrist Spinner and looking through his bibliography and credits at the back of the book Vaughan Roberts isn't recorded as a source. But in conclusion at the end of both the 'Swing' and the 'Drift' Sections, Woolmer writes...

In the end, the mystery remains (Swing)

in the final analysis, all these theories and hypotheses are exactly that: to our knowledge, no-one has yet shown conclusively (using a swinging delivery produced by a swing bowler in a real match) that these factors discussed above provide exclusive explanations for why the ball does or doesn't swing. The explanations given here are based on solid principles in physics, but because it is not yet possible to measure all these variables on a swinging delivery out of doors, the real contribution to the generation of swing of each of the listed theoretical factors remains largely unproven.

The Magnus Effect and the ball of the century

What happened from an aero-dynamic point of view? Generally, a ball moving away from us in a horizontal plane, and spinning left to right (Anti-clockwise) moves to the left (Equivalent to the off-side in cricket) and not to the right side (Leg Side). This can be seen when a right-sided kicker in football takes a penalty and strikes theball on its rights side. The ball always curves to the left. But in this case, Shane Warne spin the ball from right to left - yet it deviated to the right (Leg Side). Had it deviated to the left (As expected), Gatting would have been in line to play an appropriate shot.
       In order for the delivery to drift towards leg, the wake of the ball must have been disturbed upwards towards the off-side. How this happens is not yet well described in the scientific literature. Thus, some speculation is warranted.

Bob Woolmer, Bob Woolmer's Art and Science of Cricket, 2008, New Holland Publishers, London

I think one of the things that works against us is that, as a breed within the game Wrist Spinners are rare. So it follows that perhaps it'll take a Wrist Spinner in the future to study Physics to PHD level to conduct the research? The chances of that happening do seem to be on par with finding a colony of Dodo's alive and thriving on Canvey Island! Spin bowling having nearly died in the 1970's & 80's has re-emerged primarily because of Warne and is making a good comeback especially in the T/20 arena. So maybe it will happen, or maybe one of the organisations looking to develop spin will finance such research - hopefully over-seen by someone who actually bowls it and produces drift readily.

In the short term I'll continue to post links to sites that look at the physics involved or illustrate the effects of spin in bowling.

Maybe I'll engage with discussions on empirical observations, Woolmer in his analysis of Warnes BoC proposes that the ball was spin at almost 90 degrees to the direction of flight and that the axis of the spin was either tilted upwards or downwards which if was the case, kind of ties in with some of the data I found on the effects of laminar flow, but still goes nowhere near explaining drifts direction being opposite to the spin direction.

If you're looking for instructions as to how to get more drift, the guidance does seem to be fairly vague. Spin it hard is the main advice and that comes from all of the protaganists. A lot of people say that the seam alignment should be at 90 degrees, but some people including me and Woolmer reckon this works against getting drift. The seam slightly off-set from 90 degrees would help to facilitate some of the physics - laminar flow. The axis shouldn't be horizontal to the flight path either and should be experimented with angled upwards or downwards slightly - again this crops up in the analysis of Warnes Ball of the centrury in Woolmers book. Increadibly there's no readily available footage of anyone bowling employing drift using High Definition - high speed cameras so that any of this can be substantiated.

This is a stub which is part of a bigger/earleir (out of date) piece on drift - see here

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#7 Joes Leg Break progress

Another visit to the clinic to get Joes wounds cleaned up and dressed. Again pretty much the same story e.g. evidence that the wounds are healing slowly. The big gaping hole looks to be the one that is healing best, but really I need to take a picture of it to compare with the shot taken last Friday. The exit wound looked different today, there's a messay area which would, if left to the air, scab over and form a big deep scab. The process of re-dressing the wound means that they cover it with the special cotton wool/seaweed stuff, which then absorbs the blood tissue, but this then has to be removed and as they do so it pulls away any of the scabbing as such. So of the two wounds the 'Better looking' of the two looked as though it was worse this time, but that may only be due to the fact that it's very clean and you can see the extent of the damage to the skin? Re-assuringly though, the nurse said that it's going okay and there wasn't any evidence of any sceptic or poisoning issues.

On the pain front, Joe was in the usual amount of pain, maybe slightly more, but it's relatively short lived, only for the duration as they removed the old dressings. Overall in himself he's good, he gets fed up not doing anything and not being able to get around, but more and more he feels better and yesterday he was asking if he could put some weight on his bad leg and I've had to say no. Additionally he moves around now with far more confidence and the panic attacks have gone as far as I can tell. Speaking to a bloke at work he was saying that we should make him aware that the damaged leg is going to lose all it's muscle and bulk and will be skinny and weak once out of the cast. He said that no-one had mentioned this when he was younger and that when the cast came off he was a bit traumatised at the way his leg looked making him feel like he wouldn't ever return to fitness. I also asked another bloke at work who rides motorbikes and has as usual had an array of accidents breaking bones all over his body and he was saying that he too had previously broken the bones in the same part of the body as well as both ankles and this had never affected his ability to play sports and his breaks were done in his 20's and 30's. So, that was re-assuring. I showed him the blog and the pic's and again he said 'He's young - everything is on his side for a good and full recovery', but one of the things that will help him is by keeping positive, that'll aid his return to full fitness.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Had a bowl this evening...

Today should have been the first outside practice for Ben and Joe this evening at the clubs ground. Obviously Joe wouldn't be going, but I was really looking forward to going with Ben, but then this morning just after a bit of a down-pour Michelle sent me an email saying that she'd heard that the club was notifying everyone that due to the water-logged outfield at Mopsies park training was off. Gutted.

So instead after dinner or tea as I call it we went over the Rec with 'Harry Bat' and had a bit of a knock about with the readers windballs and it went quite well. Bowled with my faster approach to the wicket and just bowled naturally only really looking to do a few things (1) Land with the my foot sideways out of the bound (2) Get up on the toes in the pivot and (3) Bring the arm through past the hips in the follow through and it all worked really well with accurate bowling for the most part with loads of turn off the surface with the spin.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rain rain and more rain

As expected lots of rain today and predicted to carry on through the rest of the week. I was looking forward to taking Ben to his U13's training session tomorrow evening, but that seems highly unlikely as the weather is so bad and the ground is bound to be water-logged in a best case scenario. More likely is that it'll be raining - which then means any pre-season friendlies and inter-club games will be un-likely to happen.

The upside of the rain is that the paddock will get a good drenching and the seed will get a good start.

#6 Joes Leg Break - progress

Today was one of the scheduled visits to the local clinic to have the wounds dressed. It looks like there's to be a regular pattern to the visits now and they tie into my work pattern fairly neatly and only cause a little disruption, whereas Michelle has had to stay at home to look after Joe and it's completely screwed up her work pattern and she's now getting stressed out about the money situation.

But, the visit today was a good one - the gaping great wound where the leg split open looked a lot better than when we last saw it and it was photographed on Friday. The consultant said that he expected that it would start to in-fill itself over the coming weeks and that is what looks to be happening and as far as I was concerned the wound looked to be progressing well and not looking as deep and open as it did last Friday. The wounds where the Tibia came through the skin at the shin are looking very clean and healthy and look to be healing fast. The process of cleaning was far less traumatic with far less wailing and screaming, in fact there was hardly any wailing this time and more griting his teeth and moaning about it. Much of it though is psychological - he's expecting it to be excrutiatingly painful and reacts to just being touched, but then settles down a bit as they get under-way and start cleaning it.

We're getting the hang of getting him in and out of the car, but with this massive cast it still is a two person job and it looks as though this process needing both of us will have to continue for the coming two weeks. Next visit is Wednesday, I'll update again then.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Practice in the Paddock

I've not had a lot of practice over the last couple of weeks because of the situation with Joe. I got out for a couple of half hour stints last week in the evening during the earlier part of the week before the showers started and that went really well during the second session. I think initially I was over-doing things, trying to do too much at once and as a result I wasn't getting anywhere. I then went back to running in using a steady pace as I run in - a technique I call my Stuart Macgill approach and then about 3 or 4 steps from the 'Explosion' through the crease I close my eyes and bowl, looking to bowl instinctively by feeling the action rather than trying to do 2 or 3 different things conciously. This worked okay and I did it a few times and then I just tried it with my eyes open - not trying to do anything specific just bowl smoothly and it worked, I bowled a lot of good balls on and around the off-stump on a difficult length.

That was Wednesday night and since I haven't done anything and I've pulled a series of muscles in my shoulders and neck lifting Joes leg around for him. So the only stuff I've been doing is the usual flicking of the ball from hand to hand and up against a wall outside the house.

This the batting end with a little prep done and having had some rain on it.

This is the same area having been raked and the seed sown and some top-soil added. Later in the day I rolled the wicket and we've got to do now is hope the rain continues sporadically with some intermittent sunshine and warmth.
Over the weekend with the prospect of April showers I bought some grass seed and I've sown that and rolled the wicket having covered the seed with topsoil and it looks pretty promising with regards getting a foothold and getting underway. This showery weather doesn't seem to be predicted to fade away in the near future as there's another big wet weather pattern moving in off the Atlantic Ocean and what with us not using the paddock other than for bowling practice the grass may get a good chance to establish itself.

Joe pays a visit to inspect the work along with his cousin and Granddad.
I've noticed that there's quite a bit of plantain growing and I'll have to treat that when the weather turns fine. I've learned though that this process has to be done on individual plants and has to target the plant in a very precise way. Even if you use a spray - the residue spray that ends up on the grass kills a relatively large section of grass and soon leaves a big circular grassless patch. The stuff I use "Round-up" needs to be virtually brushed onto the leaves of the weeds it's that noxious!

Other news with regards to the paddock is that sometime in the next couple of weeks there should be a decision made as to whether they are going to fix the fence that was removed last bank holiday, you can see in the top left hand corner of the image above that the posts are still there but no fencing, this is what I've asked to be replaced and it seems as though there is a chance that the whole paddock maybe re-fenced using heavy duty 'Rebound fencing' which would be a right result.

Friday, April 20, 2012

#5 Joes Leg Break - Pictures

20th April

So today we were up at the Hospital for 2pm today for the scheduled visit where the wounds would be dressed and the bones would be xrayed to see how they were going and a general review of Joe's progress towards recovery. There was some hope on Michelles part that the big heavy plaster of paris cast might be removed and a lighter resin cast put on. At the minute the massive full length PP cast is so heavy Joe can't move around with it independently, so it's a hinderance to him and it means that one of us (Michelle) has to be off work looking after Joe. Additionally, not until Joe can walk around with ease and confidence will they let Joe go back to school and even then they're saying that initially he'd probably be better off just going in for the morning. My own thought were that there was no way they'd be taking this cast off at these early stages unless he was under general aneasthetic because the bones wouldn't have even started to knit together again.

The image here below is of the leg and the damage to the leg on the day of the accident before the operation. The consulant surgeon was saying today that the damage that was sustained was far worse than a sports accident because of the energy through the bone inflicted by a car was extremely severe and therefore far more damaging, but despite this the damage overall wasn't as bad as first suspected. The damage it seems caused to the surrounding tissue is instrumental in the repair process and again because of the nature of the accident that has to repair, so that the length of time will be longer than your usual tib/fib break.
This is the leg on the day of the crash before the operation.

This is another view of the leg on the first day before the operation

This is the leg today showing the re-allignment of the bones and the titanium pins that extend along the length of the lower leg. These pins are thin as you can see.

The nature of the pins means that the damaged leg cannot sustain any weight so this is one of the reasons while the recovery process will be longer. Joe's next appointment was initially set for two weeks time and there was the suggestion that perhaps at that stage the heavy PP cast could be replaced with one of the light weight resin casts. If that was the case it would have mean that Joe could have got around a bit with some independence and start to get around on his crutches on his own. At the minute one of us has to lift and move his leg when he gets up and moves around, he simply cannot lift the leg with the PP on his own. Through further discussion and the surgeons comittments, it then transpired that he wouldn't be able to see Joe until 3 weeks time. That's bad on one front as it means the PP cast is on for another 3 weeks, but on the other hand it's another week for it to knit together. He was saying that if the plaster is replaced after two weeks that would be done with no aneasthetic and it would cause some 'Discomfort' (Read pain), so another week surely must mean less pain and the bones knitted together better?

On first look most of you including both Michelle and I will see that in the images 'Post Op' the alignment of the bones isn't that exact which was of some concern, but apparently this is par for the course and is in part due to the damage of the surrounding tissue, but as it repairs and the calcium grows back and the tissue repairs the allignment will improve.

Now to some of the more gruesome features of the accident "The Hole".

"The Hole", This is where the leg bent so much prior to snapping that the skin split across the leg.
The image above is "The hole" where the skin split. Joes foot is to the left of the image and his knee is to the right. You can see in the image above and below the hole, where they've been able to close the hole up with stitching, at the road-side this was a massive open gash across his leg - splitting across 1/3rd of the width of the legs circumference with a deep V-shaped aspect. Think of a breast of chicken and slicing across it with sharp knife and opening it up - that's what it was like! This hole is deep 12mm - 15mm and looks at the moment like it wont heal without leaving a massive hole in his leag and at the moment I just cannot imagine skin ever growing across it, but the surgeon is pretty sure that the hole will fill naturally and that there'll be an indent and no need for plastic surgery or skin grafts. But out of all the stuff going on this is the bit that looks the most worrying.
This view shows the hole (Plugged with absorbent material) and the exit wound where the bone came through the leg (Left).

The image above shows both wounds prior to being cleaned up and having the stitches removed. The exit wound (Left) looks in very good condition and cleaned up nicely and is the least of my worries.

All of these processes where the wounds are dressed mean that the panel that normally covers the leg is removed and a lot of padding and absorbent fabrics are removed. In between each visit these obviously are clogged up with blood tissue and the removal is painful with Joe screaming "It hurts, make them stop please? Please - make them stop the pain - it hurts", with him saying that the pain gets up to 10 out of 10, but there's not a lot we can do, it has to be cleaned and part of the process is that they loosen it up using saline (Salt water) which again stings. So today the wound was opened for an extended amount of time as the surgeon picked all of the stitching out of the wounds and did a thorough cleaning, so the process was pretty traumatic and upsetting.

The good news though is that once it's done and the new padding is in place it resumes very quickly to a no pain scenario. Overall he's doing well, but the out of plaster scenario seems to be projected for a period longer than 8 weeks. In himself he's in good spirits, smiling laughing and being our Joe. He's a brave little lad!

He identified blame today during his pian... The scooter!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paddock news

We're in the midst of what may turn out to be a pretty bad drought on par with the 1976 one as previously mentioned, back then life was a lot more basic and there was still the hangover from the post war austerity and I know that many people would have only taken baths once or twice a week and showers were a luxury that 'Posh people' had. So when it came to the point where the water was turned off for long periods of time most people coped with it, but I've got a feeling that this drought is going to shake people a bit, when they get to realise that the only water that they can access over a period of 24-48 hours is what they can carry in a bucket, having collected it 200 yards down the road from a stand-pipe!

But today and yesterday we've had some showers and this means the paddock is looking a bit better and it's prompted me to go out and by some grass seed and if the weather continues as predicted (Weekend and beyond) it may be the case that I'll be able to establish some grass at the batting end and do some repairs on other areas that are a bit sparse?

A couple of days ago I even negotiated with Ben to have a bowl and I faced him with the bat, he's a bit rusty, but he's got plenty of training coming up both at school and at the club, for the moment he doesn't want to give up, but XBOX is gradually consuming his life and he is becoming a stereotypical teenager, watch this space...

Joes Progress #4

Another dressing change for Joe, this time at the local clinic. Again less traumatic because with each change the healing process has advanced and the wounds less painful I guess, having said that he was still screaming in pain and crying at one stage, but far less than last time and the level of pain was less evidently. I got another look at the whole thing and I'm still shocked at the size of the hole that it in his leg where the tear was. If I'd had my camera I reckon I'd have taken a picture of it because it is unbelievable. The nurse asked...

"Is he on pain killers"?
"No, not as a general rule, but prior to coming here we've given him some because we're aware that it hurts". She looked at me kind of in astoundment, I followed.... "Well, I sort of noticed that at the hospital after a few days, they only gave him the medicine when he said he was in pain"...
"Do you reckon looking at that, you'd not be in pain"?
"Yeah - I dunno, again at the hospital they got him to explain the pain on the basis of a 1 to 10 rating and generally he doesn't say that he's in pain". Again she looked at me in disbelief.
"I think there's no way that he's not in pain and that you should continue to give him the maximum dosage that is described on the bottle".
So on that point I agreed and the rest of today we've dosed him up with paracetamol and we're holding back the Ibrofen stuff for the occassions where he asks for pain-killers. These occurances happen usually at night and are 'Cast' related - pressure on his heel rather than wound related. But we'll see how it goes and see if notices any difference being dosed up all the time?

The next visit
This is Friday and will be at the hospital and as far as I'm aware they're going to Xray the leg again to check how it's fixing, they'll also dress the wound as well. Perhaps we'll have some news on whether this cast he's currently got that he can't move himself will come off and be replaced with a lighter resin cast?

Overall he's pretty chipper, singing and being the usual Joe, but stuck inside.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Joes progress # 3

I'm back at work today, leaving Michelle with Joe. Already I've had a text from Michelle saying that this morning on his first venture out of bed at 09.00hrs on his way to the loo, Joe had a panic attack and fainted. This is something that has occured a couple of times - during the first two days of getting up and about and almost on one ocassion on his first trip to the loo on his first day back home. This seems to be brought about by a number of things - low sugar levels maybe from the lack of eating and more worryingly through a lack of belief that he/we can cope without support of either a 2nd person (Me being at work) or nurses. A slightly worrying development and not one that I'd want to see become an aspect of his personality - panic attacks...

I've just looked at the NHS website
This looks like something we need to be on top of, I noted that in the hospital the physio had a good range of distraction techniques which I employed when he had the start of an episode at home on his first day back. Some of the technique looks quite harsh - talking to the sufferer quite sternly getting them to either sing or recite a list of England cricket players - something like that to move their mind away from the sense of hopelessness and not being able to do the thing that they are confronted with. In the short term if these panics are related only to the belief issues around whether he can walk on his crutches, that's promising as he'll surely only improve. What I don't want is for the panics to suddenly start occuring in other aspects of his life where he faces challenges as usually he's able to deal with these okay.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Joes progress #2

Monday 16th April.

Today we had another visit to the hospital, we were due to have the appointment at 2pm, but they rang earlier and asked if we could come in straight away as the consultant had assumed that the fracture clinic was staffed all day whereas it wasn't.

We rushed in getting our second use of the wheelchair that we had to hire. Still dead awkward getting him in and out of the car again simply because of the weight of the cast. The visit was short but painful for Joe and this time I managed to brig myself to have a look at the injury and what they've done.

1. The hole where the bone came through; that's doing very well with a series of tears all healing and stitched together, the appearance is that the scarring from that looks as though it's going to be minimal.
2. The hole where the skin tore; that was pretty gruesome. It's stitched and connected at both ends, but there's a gaping great hole about the size of a "Two'sy" marble and depth of a normal marble maybe a little deeper, this is open and raw. Talking to the consultant, he said that it's not muscle tissue damage it's fat tissue and that over a period of weeks the body will grow the fat tissue back again. Of the two injuries it looks like this cut is the one that will scar the most. He said that they had considered skin grafts and plastic surgery, but he said they're pretty certain the body will repair itself and this should be fine in the longer term.

Once all the dressing had been done he was back to normal 'None pain' status withing a matter of minutes and on returning home Michelle noticed that the anti-biotics have nearly run their course. The next visit will be to the local clinic and a normal nurse will dress the wound as it's now deemed to be in a good state of recovery. The following visit will be with the consultant at the hospital on Friday and then they'll decide what the next step is.

The Cast; There's no news on the cast and he's still going to have to struggle with the massive cast which makes it really awkward and difficult to get about, but every day he becomes more confident with it, so maybe on Wednesday, Michelle will be able to get to the local clinic on her own? We'll have to wait and see. So all in all things look like they're going in the right direction.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Joe's progress #1

This'll be a long un as I've got to catch up with a lot of stuff, but hopefully they'll be a video or two and some pictures.

We eventually left after a whole week and a couple of hours. All in all Joe had 3 different procedures which meant that he had to go through general anaesthetic. Fortunately each op was shorter and less complex and meant that the recovery from each was faster. In addition he had two procedures that didn't include aneasthetic...

No.1 was the initial putting all the bones back and pinning them up and repairing the big tear across his leg from what seems to have been a result of bending so much before the snap. At that stage they were only able to pin that wound together at the ends leaving a big hole in the centre. (I'll try and do diagrams of all these things). At this stage they were talking about the possibilty of plastic surgery.

No.2 Op (Tues): The initial cast was a shorty from just below the knee. In the 2nd op, they had another go at closing the big split and they checked the puncture wound, where the Tibia had come through the skin, there had been some concern about the flap from that dying off, but on the 2nd look that was recovering well. They had another go at the tear and put reebok stitches on it, saying that they have to look at that again later. At this point the surgeon was saying that tear looks as though it will heal with a hole in his skin - so I'm assuming a big indentation in the scar? But overall they were saying that everything was going well.

No.3 Op Weds:

During the this Op the short cast was replaced with a massive plater of paris cast which went right up to the top of his thigh, at the same time they've set the cast so that it holds his ankle in a funny position and this is to help the big tear fix more readily. During this op which was very quick, they cleaned up the tear again and closed it slightly and re-dressed it. When the he came back the new cast had a big bulge where the wound is and they said that the next procedure would be to cut a window in the cast at this bulge so that they can access it to check and dress the wound.

Procedure 4: Thursday:

On Thursday, I took Joe down to the Plastering room and the bloke there cut the access hole in the cast over where the wounds were. This went okay with very little pain and the bloke removed some of superficial dressing and replaced with a more comfy version and replaced the cut section and simply taped it up.

Procedure 5: Friday

This was the scary one, I didn't want to see this and figured that it would hurt. An appointment was made for the consultant to come down to the ward and do this in there early in the day (07.30), the idea being that if it didn't go well and it turned out to be more distressing than envisaged, it would leave time in the morning to go back to theatre and do the procedure under general aneasthetic. So I arrived at 07.00 having gone home over night and Michelle said that the nurses had given Joe some pain killers and morphine prior to me getting there. Then just after 07.30 the consultant surgeon came along and removed the cover and cut away all of the dressing. This included all the stuff that was stuck to the congealed blood, so as you can imagine Joe was screaming and crying with pain. I noted that as the pain increased and the wailing and screaming got under way, all the other parents on our ward ushered all their kids out as it was probably distressing them as well!

The bloke did the job really quickly though drizzling a clear liquid into the wound and re-dressing it and sealing it up, it must have taken around 5 minutes and once he got the bulk of the new clean dressing on, the pain diminished and soon after the cover was placed back into the plaster Joe was back down to pain level 4 out of 10, whereas during it the pain was "15 out of 10"! Within another 5 minutes he was stable and back to 1 out of 10. But all through the process I hadn't been able to bring myself to look at it, so didn't really know what the state of play was.

After, the bloke spoke to me and said that it was all going well and that the biggest concern, albeit it not too much of an issue was the tear. The tear was still open in the middle and still quite big, but he said that in time it should be okay and that they would have to keep an eye on it.


I've not said much about the physio, but this in itself was a whole other set of problems. Obviously because of where he is and what has happened and the fact that he's full of drugs his appetite wasn't on par with a normal week. Then add to that the fact that he'd been lying flat on his back for 5 days not doing anything, it was going to be slightly diffrent when the Physio girl came along and insisted that he get up and get active...

The shot here below is prior to the visit to the 'Plaster men', you can see that the consultant surgeon has marked where the opening needs to be so that they can access the wounds to clean them up.

Joe at home again.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Joe's recovery

Everything seems to be fine and going well for Joe, he's a tough little boy and very brave. He had a good day yesterday, that improved all day long with each sleep and meal it seemed. Today he seems to have plateaud a bit. He had a good nights sleep and woke up and was a bit teary - it's beginning to dawn on him how he's now going to be incapacitated and what that means in terms of boredom and frustration. He was due to go on an adventure week with all his school mates mid May, he goes to Karate, he plays for his school football team, we were all in training for the new cricket season, the list goes on.

He looked a lot better physically today right from the outset, but he goes back to theatre tomorrow to have the tear across the leg sewn up better as the swelling didn't allow for that to be closed up that well on the first day. I think today he's been worrying about that and despite the way he looks physically he's been very subdued obviously with a lot of thoughts on his mind. I think he's really concerned that there's an expectation that he'll be up and about some time on Tuesday, which seems to be the plan. I get the impression he feels that up till later today he was really concerned that any movement in his good leg will require the engaging of his hips and therefore some movement through his smashed leg. But we had a stroke of luck, because we were just starting to massage his good leg with the theory of getting the blood circulating to cure some pins and needles sensations, when a physio came through the ward to look at another lad. Michelle stopped him and he had a quick chat saying that it wasn't his place really to advise as he had no info, but he then said - looking at the good leg "Yeah do what you're doing and encourage him to flex his toes and ankle and help him get that knee mobile and bend his leg", he noticed the bruising on his swollen ankle and said to the nurse to give us some ice packs and help to reduce the swelling and bruising. Within another 20 minutes or so, Joe had his leg bent at 45 degrees at the knee and had got past the fear of even moving his leg, so that was good. So for the rest of the afternoon we had him (With assistance) having his leg flat and then bent for an hour or so.

We've had to move him around in the bed a bit and slowly it seems as though he's aware that upper body movement and small hip region movement doesn't mean automatic agony in his lower leg. He can still wiggle all of his toes in the bad leg and can feel the toes when touched, but he says doing that causes pain.

The knee ligament thing I mentioned, I'm not so clear about at the minute and Michelle seemed to think that was a longer term objective and the nurses on the ward said that if he's got metal in his legs he's not going to be having any MRI scans till that's removed.

Overall, it all still looks positive in the longer term at the minute. How long it would take for any bone or blood poisoning to show up I haven't got a clue, but I'm sure that's something they'd check. With regards the bone damage, the surgeon seemed more than happy with what he'd done, saying that it was very minimal and that what was removed would soon grow back and that in the greater scheme of things was almost insignificant - it was a scraping rather than a bigger action as such.

Tomorrow will be another rough day I'd imagine, but hopefully after tomorrow things will start to get better. At the moment he hasn't got much of an appetite but that may be down to the mixture of morphine, paracetamol, nurofen and amoxicillin and the fear of having to pooh in the state that he's in, but we got over that as well today and it was no-where near as traumatic as any of us imagined, so perhaps once he's got past tomorrow he'll turn a positive corner?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Younger son Joe mown down by car

Terrible day today, younger son Joe (10) rode out into a main road following one of his mates on one of those stunt scooters and was mown down by a car. Been at the hospital all day. I got to the scene which is down the road from us within minutes before the police and ambulances. His lower right leg was smashed in half with the big bone sticking out through a big gaping wound. His leg at the point between his knee and ankle was at 45 degrees, below that - apparently caused by his ankle and leg bending so much was another great big tear across the leg on the front right hand side. They operated on it and there's a couple of pins holding it together and he's in a cast. The big tear has been stapled, but they've said in the short term because of the swelling they couldn't close that up properly. The prognosis they say is very good, the bone coming through the leg and ripping it open has done very little damage to the tissue, the tear, they're going to look at again on Monday when the scan him again, and they'll look to close that up further. Their scanning him again because they saying that the amount stretching that the muscle along the front of the leg has had because the leg was bent so much in the impact might mean that there may be ligament damage where it connects to the knee. They're saying it's the kind of damage normally seen in motorcycle accidents. It was horrific, I saw it all as the medics cut his clothes away from his leg. He's sustained far less damage to the other leg which appears to be bruised badly and he had a knock on the head where he landed, but that's all cleared and he's safe. He didn't cry and the first lady on the scene said that he was conscious and told her his name, phone number and address - bless him.

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Spin Bowling Drills

Spin bowling with your eyes closed

With the two weeks over Easter off (I'm a college lecturer) and the nights now getting longer I've been getting in the paddock as much as possible and bowling looking to hone my bowling action. I've fiddled around a bit with the Run in, bound, explosion and follow through - shortening it and trying the Shane Warne walk and explode approach, none of which seemed to force any improvements, although in the longer term I'd like to look at the Warne approach a bit more so I've got that on the back-burner for Sept and Oct after the season. So after a week of mucking about with different things and bowling at empty stumps I didn't really get anywhere and if the truth be known I felt like I was going backwards instead of forwards.

So I tried something I've not done for years - bowling with your eyes closed. In the paddock at the moment because of the lack of repair work done prior to the winter there's still ruts in the wicket where we bowl from, so I've had to fill these in and even them out and I now lay the big 4'x3' heavy duty rubber playground mat over the top and bowl off that. This means the ground is perfectly even and I can run in off of several steps and close my eyes with around three steps before the bound with complete confidence that I'm not going to twist my ankle.

Reflecting on my recent bowling using Gibbs reflective practice model

What happened...
I'd noticed that bowling against a batsman, I'd done quite well in the nets, generally either causing problems or getting people out, the shots that were being played off my bowling would have been very good chances for being caught. My accuracy was pretty good, with either good length balls or slightly too full. I've also got more observant and willing to try things out looking to find the weak spots in the batsmans technique. But... In the Paddock scenario where I bowl at empty stumps, things were not going so well, all aspects of my bowling were poor.

What was I thinking or feeling?
Inceasingly I was becoming frustrated and feeling that the whole thing was going backwards, whereas I was looking to improve my bowling it was apparent that it was getting far worse and I was going backwards. Every six or seven balls, one ball would end up down the leg-side 2-3 metres wide.

What was good and bad about the experience?
Very little was good, discussing it with other spinners and coaches on-line helped to put things into perspective and some helpful suggestions were made, probably the one good one was to drop looking at another option as a run up (Shane Warne type) and stick with what I've been working with for the last 8 months or so. Bad parts... most of it, it was all pretty dire when it came to bowling at the empty stumps.

What sense could I make of it?
Having thought about what was happening and discussed it with different people it seemed as though there were a number of factors that were at play. (1). The more I bowled poorly, the more wound up I got and therefore potentially tense, which is a disaster when you're bowling, it then seemed that when I then relaxed, the ball was likely to be the one that went legside 2 metres wide. (2). It seemed too that I was thinking on two different planes; On one hand I was focussed on getting the ball onto my 12" x 12" target mat and while I was doing that I was also thinking about aspects of my run-in, bound, explosion and follow through and couldn't get anything right. I tried seperating the two different aspects - focusing on the action, but was too aware of the outcome of the ball - which was still crap. I tried the bowling action without the ball and then noticed that the bowling action then felt right because all of my attention was being applied to the bowling action and not where the ball was going or doing. It then seemed obvious that I needed to somehow seperate the two aspects. One of the fundamentals of spin bowling and probably all bowling, is that in order to do it well, your bowling action needs to be grooved - something that you do without thinking about, this would then allow to focus on what you're going to do with the ball and where it's going to land, so the obvious conclusion was that I needed to focus on the whole bowling action and not what the ball did after it was released.

What else could I have done?
Not a lot of options are open to me, so I just had to think it through and come to a conclusion that I can work with. In an ideal situation, someone would bat - and I tried this with my younger son Joe and that worked. As soon as there's a batsman there, I bowl in far smoother manner with far more purpose and success. But neither Joe, Ben or anyone else is going to be around when I practice, so I need to resolve this bowling at the stumps issue.

The conclusion, based around the need to to exclude the outcome, was to bowl with my eyes closed, so as I run in, my only thoughts are those relating to the bowling action, so the focus is only the bowling action and because I've denied myself the option of sight, I then focus the mind on the bowling action and feel it.

Action Plan - If the situation arose again what would you do?
The situation is bound to re-occur in the short term, but the theory that I'm working on is that I need to groove the action; This bowling action needs to become wholly natural and something that is done with little or no use of the brains CPU, meaning that as I bowl the only thoughts are those relating to what the ball does, rather than what the body does. In theory if I bowl with this eyes closed approach enough it will become natural.