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Being part the second of the full account of the injuries of Ms C Hurley

Slightly long interruption there. Where were we...

I'm going to cover the bits that aren't my lower left leg, given that... well, it's the big finale but apart from that, if I talk about the 'blue' bits, it will help to explain the remedies that helped me to, vor example, not lose my left foot. 

Top right thigh:


What this represents is three different plastic surgeon induced post-injury er... injuries? Not really injuries but not that my body would notice the difference. Collatoral damage. The two horizontal sections are skin graft sites. The one on the top of my thigh is still very sore all over (remember we're now nearly three months after the crash); the one on the side of my thigh over on my right hand side is still sore at the top.

Both of these were covered after the 'big' operation with large sized 'Mefix' which is kind of like the material you get around the edge of sensitive skin plasters (except it reacted with my skin, which was nice). After ten days (eleven, in my case) the mefix could be lifted off, given that the new skin should have grown underneath. Which is did. Mostly. Ask me if it hurts seeing chunks of your very tentative skin growth being ripped off on a massive plaster. Go on.

One of the oddest things about these assaults on my body was how much they "gunged out", as I put it at the time. The lack of skin produced an onslaught of lymph and goo (not blood), pouring from the open wounds in hospital, leading to my poor, numb and bruised thigh being wrapped in dressings designed to soak up 'exudate' (ie: gunge), yet still waking every morning to find the right side of the bed soaked through. To sum up the short-term situation: yeeeeuch. So these, each are about 2.5 inches across, and five or 6 inches long.

What do you mean, what's that long blue line? Ah well, you see. This is the bit that has continued to be numb for three months (and counting). This is the bit where they took out a 'working blood vessel'. This is the bit where they took a patch of skin and sewed in to my other leg... not to mention a large chunk of flesh. The line of rounded off by a perfectly round punctuation mark. A full stop, just above the knee, where a tube sucked gunge from underneath the scar, where it couldn't, presumably, 'exude'.

Bottom right calf:

Lower down, below the knee on the right leg there were a bunch of bruises which, in retrospect help to put bruises in to perspective. Extremely colourful and vivid, nevertheless these dispersed within a couple of days, it seems to me now. It just goes to show you. It's the deep, nasty invisible bruises you've got to worry about. Not these surface rainbow coloured affairs.

Bottom left calf:

Ok! What we have here is in three distinct sections:

1) Straight graft

2) The beach

3) The flap

4) The long side

There are some sub areas, such as 'the pit', but we may come to those. I'm going to talk you down the leg from the knee. You will remember that I have a hematoma on the inside right of my left thigh. Well it's not just that - the knee is entirely numb on the right hand side too, and has hidden, odd swelling that makes everything feel tight and stiff. In essence, the lorry when it clipped me off the bike, took my left leg and as it hit the breaks, dragged it along the road, before coming to a stop on top of it. The bruising and damage extended up to almost the very top of the left thigh on the inside but up at that level there were merely huge yellow and dark red bruises. As discussed above, these disappeared fairly quickly, leaving swelling, the skin laceration above the knee, the hematoma, the swollen knee and as we go below the knee, we reach I presume the skin and flesh the lorry lay on top of. 

Part 1 - The straight graft starts as the knee stops, punctuated with a small red comma of lost skin just above it, as if an orbiting moon of the 50p sized scar above the knee. As you can see from the image, the missing skin (and onward) is pretty much the covering to the Gastrocnemius muscle. the very top of the calf, where the skin covers the bone, escaped the de-frocking of the surgeon's knife. So, first: a section about 2.5 cm's wide and maybe 3, and 3-and-a-bit, leading to 4 inches in height has a skin graft on. Only the skin was lost here - no flesh. The recovery of this area is amazing -you would not know it was a graft. The only difference is that it looks like an area that has been very bruised. 

Part 2. The beach. There is a thick curve around the edge of the first graft area, after which a section of comparable size looks like nothing less than a light purple lunar landscape. Graft, placed in top of bare muscle. I lost all my flesh on the side of the leg from this point on. I have a fairly big problem with this area. Well. I have a practical problem with this, which is that when I moisturise the skin (which I do, daily), some of the lotion gathers in the deep crevasses, and it is impossible to get it out, or moisurise it in. My second poblem is... fuck, it looks ugly. I mean really damn strange. It's not like this stuff is unobtrusive, either. 

Why is it called 'the Beach', you ask? The skin growth granulated strongly, in to many nobule things called 'Fibroplasts'. these are basically overgrowth of collagen, amongst other lesser bits of your (basically) 'underskin'. The bit that needs to be there so that your thin and wispy but super important epidermis can grow on top.  Consequently, there are many, many nobbly bits.

Part 3. The flap. Now, do you remember the long blue line? What you have to remember is, the skin and flesh is missing along the inner side of my left leg from about two thirds of the way up. Graft covers the muscle initially but as the leg moves dow toward the ankle, things get a little more hairy. It's not just the flesh that's gone. The vein that goes from the foot back up the leg is damaged and failing. If that fails, the foot fails. not only that but as my poor husband will attest, the bones in my ankle are exposed to the air. Bones don't tend to like that sort of thing.

So what they did was this. First of all, a lozenge shaped piece of my right thigh skin is cut out. It's really huge! They also stretched it a bit on the leg before sewing it on but basically we're talking about a piece 2.5 inches wide and 6 inches on one side, 5 on the other, sew on... well, three sides sewn on... well, two and a half sides sewn on (you can only stretch skin so far) to my leg above my ankle. What does it look like? Somewhat like a home-mended soft toy. I am left with a permanent reminder of Woody and his home sewn arm in Toy Story 2. the half a side that wasn't sewn was left to its own devices, and the triangular portionn that was missing (basically) gradually skinned over. I called that 'The archipelago'. The archipelago really didn't want to heal, for ages. 

Moving around from the archipelago was 'The Cliff'. this was the fourth side of the flap. The bit they didn't sew. The bit, in short, which consisted of a large, raw section of my thigh, with no skin on, a fair approxumation of which is drawn above. I could actually see the layer of subcutaneous fat underneath the skin (reassuringly thin ;) before the flesh started. It looked like a fresh chopped roast, wrapped in its own skin, ready for the oven. It was awful. Fascinating, but beyond imagining. I will not be able to describe the taboo nature of this well enough. You are looking at the inside of your leg. On the outside. Everything in your body screams that it is wrong. I have been thinking about that, in conjunction with thoughts about 'Crash' by JG Ballard and want to write a muse in a few days.

The last nicknamed piece is 'The pit'. This is at the bottom of the right hand side of the cliff (from my position). It is a tip-of-the-thumb sized dip, which whilst it was raw I wouldn't have dared touch, but now, I can stick my little finger in to moisturise it. Its where all the gunge and 'exudate' would collect. As well as blood. Even though I was standing up sometimes at least, nevertheless I would find it full. Also full of piles of cheesy dead skin cells. A delight!

Referring to the image above, what's the story with the chopped bit then? That's... er... kind of. Chopped? When it was all entirely raw, it looked as if someone had taken a machete to my leg. In reality, the difference was hugely exaggerated due to the flap at the bottom sticking out so far, but it still looks depressingly weird. How could it not.

Lastly, the bottom section in fact runs along the length of the injury from the flap upward. It received no grafts and the difference is clear. It is still dark red and blotchy; it has areas of thickened skin which feels tight. It's a little odd, but there's no indication it won't gradually get paler over time.

More granular detail to come, plus, nearly time for an actual photograph! I would have had it a week or so ago, but an annoying blistery bit came up on the beach which then burst. Lovely. Nothing nasty, just a red and open bit. As soon as it heals we can contemplate going swimming! just how much of an ordeal will that be? God knows. 



Adam Yauch

Adam Yauch died at the end of last week and it felt very like a punch in the chest. When Yauch was diagnosed with cancer, the boys put up a video recorded in their studio, all together, explaining why the promotion for, and the release of their new album, 'Hot Sauce Committee Volume 1" was now not going ahead.

The video said everything you need to know about the Beasties to understand them. Great friends, relaxed with each other and jokey with the camera on, even then. They welcomed you in as fans. They always seemed to feel that they were on some great project *with you*, because you loved them. I once read a lovely post on their bulletin board on Just some guy, who had called up when he bought an item of clothing from Grand Royale, and he realised that it was Yauch who had answered the phone. Amazed and overjoyed at such normal, everyday stuff. It was their thing, so they helped run it. No pop-star fuss involved.

I have many, many memories associated with the Beasties. Buying "Licenced to Ill' and my older brother (a cool hero in my eyes) looking at me bemused - why was I listening to this crap? Heh. So they were *mine*, not his! Then, rushing after college to buy Paul's Boutique on the first day I could get it from the Slough branch of 'Our Price'. Gatefold sleeve, woohoo! Got it home and it nearly blew my head off. What the hell was THIS! And having been brought up on The Clash, I guess, that genre bending guitar band, who dabbled with reggae and funk, worked with rappers and enhanced their music's potential no end as a result... yeah. I really fucking loved it. And pogoing... just pogoing around like a nut at I don't know how many gigs. Not enough. Never enough... damnit.

Now, I realise that the guys were only four years older than I was, and so their world vision and mine moved ever closer. While 'Check Your Head' kind of felt like an extension of Paul's Boutique to me, when Ill Communication came out, you have no idea of the sense of total vindication I smugly felt. The whole of hip London, that tried so achingly hard to be cool, suddenly cottoned on to one of my favourite bands. My then boyfriend had a poster for 'Sabotage' on his wall. And if you look at the imagery surrounding the record, it was reflecting cultural ironies of our generation - the stuff we secretly rather loved: the pisstake Starsky and Hutch video and the gorgeous, sweeping, joyous roar! Fucking A! 

Oddly, it's not that album I turn to most. My favourite albums are the comparatively low key 'To the 5 Boroughs' and 'Hello Nasty', partially in the latter because the guys allowed themselves to be as all-out geeky as they liked and just funked the funk out (also including the overwhelmingly joyful Fatboy Slim remix of 'Body Movin' which as I recalled on the weekend, I would, for a whole summer, simply press 'Play' on to keep it on the headphones for hours at a time). The post 9/11 'To The 5 Boroughs' was thoughtful and gave you time to think about what they were saying - showing their hearts on their sleeves at last but still, containing one of my favourite stupido Beasties rhymes of all time, courtesy of Mike D in 'Ch-check it out', brought to life by a totally awesome and ridiculous video, directed by one Nathaniel Hornblower. That Gawker link does a really good job of summing up why just one side of Adam Yauch was so cool. And by extension, the ludicrous, perfect joy that he brought to the Beasties. You were in on a brilliant joke. The best music, made by the best guys, accompanied by the best fun you could possibly have whilst making a living. 

Scratch that surface and you found a guy who loved films, had begun to really get in to producing excellent, intelligent movies, and whose personal energy was behind a huge increase in interest in the loss of rights by the Tibetan peoples after the Chinese occupation. There's a lot of good in Buddhism, though I have problems with it too but it definitely veers to the good side, and MCA's respect for it only really came through lyrically on 'To The 5 Boroughs'. He seemed to always be the moral heart of the band though. he was the one who admitted that they'd been teenage dickheads writing songs like 'She's On It', and I well remember standing applauding at Reading festival, listening to him mumbly-drawling out his explanation as to why calling a song 'Smack Your Bitch Up' just wasn't cool in the Beastie Boys universe, when The Prodigy had been on earlier in the day. Of course you couldn't call a song something so stupid, and expect not to be called out about it. 

When he couldn't make it to the 'Hall of fame' ceremony, I was worried and assumed that he was too sick to go. And so the news came more as a horribly sad moment rather than a shock. I hope that the peace that Buddhism would have given Yauch in his life helped him through his exit, and I feel desperately sad for his family, and his two best friends. 

I don't tend to say 'RIP' because it seems an odd phrase to an atheist, but I think if anyone should deserve it to be said, it's Adam Yauch. RIP.