Connected cows and Windows 10: Microsoft Tech Net Sydney

Microsoft experts talked Windows 10, Microsoft Cloud OS and the Microsoft Internet of Things strategy in Sydney. 

IoT: cows with wearable ear tags for health and movement tracking

Raspberry Pi -windows 10 light sensor demo

Cortana is still learning how to speak Australian: mobile demo

You can also help build Windows 10 alongside PC experts, IT pros, and developers around the world by joining the Windows Insider Program.

Brace yourself - Hillary is coming

Ding ding it’s time for Hillary. 

I’m very happy about this. Not for any political reason but because, whenever a woman puts her hand up to lead anything, she gets ruthlessly massacred in the media and I think it’s a brave thing that Hillary is doing - you know, as a person. 

Of course she has the Team Clinton thing and the State Department experience and all that but to me, that just shows what a boost women need to even get in the game- if Hillary can’t get elected than what chance does a regular Cheryl or Daphne have? 

Even me saying that is a bit unfair and puts extra person on Hillary-the-person. It’s a bit like ‘what’s a pretty girl like you doing without a boyfriend’, if you screw it up then you must be a massive loser and there’s obviously something wrong with you. 

'Brace yourself -Winter is coming'

I walked into a cafe the other day and saw this chalk drawing and asked who drew it. Winter is Coming, soup, coffee- it was very clever. One of the girls I talk to a bit said it was her and I asked if she was a professional illustrator. 

Her head went down. 

“I would love to do it for a job but there’s no money in it. There aren’t any jobs”

I said “I think you could get a job at Weta Digital - if you can do that in a few minutes”

Her eyes misted up a bit and she muttered “that would be my dream job- I would love to work for Weta”

She then rattled out all the reasons why she could never:

1. My Dad is a really good artist and he could never make a career from it 

 - you aren’t your Dad

2. I’m good at freehand but not at computer stuff

-you might have to do a course first and develop your talent

3. I’m too old

-you look 23! (she was 21)

4. What if I got there and I didn’t like the people

-what if you got there and you did like them?

5. I don’t know if I’d like working on movies 

-one way to find out <shrugs>

(Poor girl didn’t know she had struck the Great Wall of Tony Robbins motivational tapesets)

My final point was a little bit risky/ had high being-a bit-mean potential because by now, the Other Guy at the counter was listening too and I said “do you want to spend the rest of you life working here?”

Other Guy nodded and said “I can’t even draw a line” which I thought was quite hilarious, and I told her to go home tonight and look at courses and internships at animation places because she was too talented to just be drawing cafe chalkboard signs. 

What’s that got to do with Hillary 2016?


You can have as many structural opportunities or even advantages as you like but ultimately, it comes down to one fearful, doubtful woman putting her hand up and having a go. Will the girl in the cafe get a job at Weta? I don’t know. Will Hillary get to be the first woman president? I don’t know, but I really hope they both make a good go of it. 

Enterprise cloud team management that actually works

On Wednesday I went to a Microsoft Biz Data executive breakfast where CIO Dave Rumsey and CFO John Mackenney from Tourism Australia presented on their move to Azure cloud platform for BI. 

CIO and CFO Tourism Australia -Azure
I’ve sat through a lot of these project showcase things now and most of it is utter rubbish and people stand up and take credit for a broken system they didn’t even work on and lie about how successful it all was. 

You’ll be pleased to know this was not one of those sessions. 

myTA user walk through Sharepoint-Azure

Both Dave and John had a very practical understanding of how global, centralising systems and reporting works which started with the main problem enterprises face: people love Excel. So everyone has a little Excel spreadsheet they budget and report and do their washing in and their is no centralised way of using information for decisions.

I was very impressed with how sensible the solutions were and how they kept saying ‘we are a marketing organisation’ and ‘we are a media organisation’ so the main purpose of the system is to aid with campaign management and stakeholder management. Old systems were turned off. Report formats were standardised across global teams. I think sometimes with all the smug-ness around anti-meeting and anti-project culture we can forget that people talking to each other, clarifying what the issues are, figuring out what's trying to be achieved is work  and really important work that saves everyone freestyling off on their own and losing any benefits of centralised cloud systems. 

Choirs of angels and big gold stars for Dave and John who managed to actually work together and put together a cross-functional, shared analyst team so campaign management e.g. adobe web traffic data is linked to budget management finance data for ROI. What that means is that a digital analyst sits in the same team as a finance analyst ‘because it all connects back’. Yes it does. Thank you for being clever. And before you say ‘well that’s ok for them because they are a big org and have lots of money’, Tourism Australia only has 200 employees and four analysts so that’s not huge really. 

As I mentioned to the Microsoft man next to me who kept trying to show me how great Cortana is, “it’s almost as if they like each other” and I think the main reason their system implementation worked is because Dave and John might actually like each other and enjoy working together. I could be wrong but when you get a CFO and CIO who actually talk to each other and make decisions, a nasty ERP 18 month rollout turns into a charming and insightful breakfast presentation with blueberries. Well done. 

A very demanding blog post

I first noticed this the other morning on a bus going to physio. A man boarded the bus and sat next to a young woman across from me. She was late twenties, early thirties, he would have been early fifties perhaps? She was reading something on her phone and looked like any regular commuter on her way to work. 

The man said some sort of ‘good morning’ type greeting and she returned the pleasantry and continued to read whatever she was reading on her phone. 

The man then asked her a question and she did the weak smile response thing. He repeated the question and she did the correct thing in my opinion…she blanked him. 

He then had a spray at her how she was obviously more interested in looking at her phone then talking to him and that he found women like her boring and that was the problem with ‘people like her’ who look at their phones all day and can’t have a proper conversation on a bus. 

She continued to blank him. 

I noticed a similar interchange with three young university students (also girls) who were sitting in Starbucks. A man (much older and uglier than said three university students..look it was just a David Attenborough observation) tried to spark up some sort of asking questions directions type situation and they ignored him and continued to laugh and play around on their Snapchat accounts. He similarly vented that they were ‘rude little b’arches’ and sulked off. 

Not to be left out, I had a similar encounter this week sitting in a corporate building lift lobby watching ABC News on one of those big communal area TVs. 

‘What are you watching?’

‘Just the news’

‘What is the cricket score?’

‘I don’t know, there will probably be some sports news on’

‘It’s the weather. the sport news has been on. What did they say the cricket score was on the sport news?’

‘I don’t know sorry’

‘I was just going to get the cricket score’

‘You can change it if you want’

‘How do you change it?’

So then I too went into blank mode. Change the channel or go away I don’t care.

‘How do you change it?’

‘how do you change the channel. do you think I can get cricket on this? Where are you from? Do you follow the cricket?’

(listen buddy don’t make this sound as if this is some sort of personal benefit you are providing to me you crashed in on my peaceful war in Middle East news watching)

Annoyed with my blanking, the cricket man did the venting ‘hey I’m just trying to be friendly but if you would rather just look at your phone’ thing and I was left wondering how my sitting quietly minding my own business had suddenly gone all Gaza IRL.  

I don’t have to talk to you.
I remember thinking that when I saw the first girl on the bus. 
She doesn’t have to talk to you. 

Her preference to sit quietly and read stuff on her phone or stare into space or whatever is no more or less of a thing than your preference to chat. The university students at Starbucks were having fun on Snapchat with their friends. I was quite happy watching the news and tapping away at an email. I probably have more human interactions with people over an average month than most people because I go to a lot of events. I go to church on Sunday. I like people and I talk to a lot of people but sometimes, I want to have some thinking space to myself and/ or talk to someone who might not be physically there. I don’t think it’s being rude…is it? 

I’ll do the pleasant thing but if you don’t have the social skills to interpret when someone is in the middle of something important like staring into space then that’s your problem. And before you say it, no I don't think he was trying to chat me up or the bus situation one either was (the Starbucks one... probs yes), I think they were just people who weren't very considerate. Note I think the real-world chatters were the ones being rude and not the often-accused mobile users.

Perhaps something even more interesting is going on here and smartphones are empowering women to reclaim their own headspace?  Goodness where did that come from. 

so demanding

Maybe it’s got nothing to do with gender or smartphones and new social etiquettes are forming around the Attention Economy and some people just don’t get that attention is something you have to earn and people are starting to realise this and value theirs. Good communicators will be rewarded. Rude talkers who barge in with their own agenda be it to talk to girls, check the cricket score or sell computer software will be blanked. The Gen Y’s love people, are very social and have great human connections, they just might want some time out or to chat quietly about the things they like and in a non-demanding way. Is that just me?

ANSWER ME NOW

I went to the TV

I went to ABC Q & A #qanda to hear Treasurer Joe Hockey present his Intergenerational Report in a special show. I got in the front row which I thought may have been sign of my amazing attractiveness for TV but the producer lady then said she saw me limping and didn’t want me to have to go up steps so now both my leg and my dreams are crushed. 

There was a man playing Johnny Cash songs on a harp which was pretty excellent and some ABC cuts austerity snacks which included: 

1. water

2. Minties

3. Mentos (the coloured fruity ones which should be called Fruitos IMO)

Quite a lot of security to get into the studio which is understandable after deranged Monis did some hostage taking outside Channel 7—wavey wands and bag searches and all that. Then the Executive Producer Peter McEvoy did a Meerkat stream of the audience so you can’t accuse ABC of not being early adopters. Thrifty on snacks, yes but behind the times they were not. 

sneaky photo: an Intergenerational Report special. Joining Tony Jones is Treasurer Joe Hockey; Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen; ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie; CEO of Australian Chamber of Commerce Kate Carnell & public policy expert John Dale 

The floor manager lady then tells everyone to turn their devices off like being on a plane except this time, it’s actually for real that it interferes with transmission. I took a quick photo before the lock down and this was very difficult for my feelings because seeing screens in the studio with live tweet stats and not being able to tweet created FOMO even though I was not missing out and actually there for real \_(ツ)_/¯

The cameraman has photos of the panel people stuck to his camera which is clever isn't it?
Trying to explain tax policy, superannuation, housing affordability, education and employment and pretty much life and the universe for the next three generations was a bit hard work on a panel discussion so you might need to read the report and study five years of postgraduate economics and do some industry workshops and then you’ll probably still have no idea. Running a country is hard. 

Speaking of reading reports, Nielsen put out another one of theirs and Q & A came out in the top most tweeted shows at number five (excluding sport). No surprises that that Superbowl took out the top sport number for Australia which provides me with an opportunity to use this Left Shark gif

left shark forever

The new stats which show unique authors and tweet numbers are quite handy and show the live audience numbers. I know that everyone loves to destroy any form of social media audience number but it’s a start and if there’s one thing we can learn from Left Shark, the budget audience metrics and my limpy leg, you don’t have to have it perfect to go-live. 

Watch the full show on abc iView --AU only 

Not a cloud in the skynet for Australian CSOs

I went to a security conference which was great because I have dedicated a large part of my career to going around company IT security systems so it was nice to know who I had been avoiding detection from. 

Friendly CSO people at Daltone House, Hyde Park Sydney

Going around the company systems has got easier over the years with cloud apps and smartphones so I kind of thought a truce had been called with security and they knew that if things are a pain, employees will just spend two hours on Monday morning configuring their desktop to go around all the firewalls and app blocks for the week- hypothetically speaking….

Wired's Kim Zetter presenting on Stuxnet which was initially installed via usb stick by the looks

As it turns out, I was wrong and the company systems and plans for future systems sounded very much like the old ones you know and don’t love. 

Five things I heard from security types at Sydney CSO

1. People in our company can use anything they like, so long as it’s Blackberry that we issued

2. BYOD is a hassle so we just keep saying no, I don’t see the point

3. We will never have cloud email because it’s not secure

4. It’s Gen Y just wanting to use Facebook at work who keep going around our systems

5. Nothing has really changed- we’ll be running Windows/Citrix just different versions

A desktop based workforce with Windows/Citrix, a company Blackberry phone and limited apps pre determined by your tier when you join the company still seemed to be the model everyone was using which is not that surprising but the total lack of appetite to actually change and consider other products and models did surprise me. 

Consumerisation of IT is real

When I mentioned to one group that Fairfax Media (yes I used to work for them) implemented BYOD and Google Apps, a table of security experts blinked at me and my strange other-worldly information. Yes there are other, non-Windows products. Yes BYOD can work. No, they didn't have a lot of money. Yes I used to spend every Monday re-gearing my Windows/Citrix computer to go around the company's old system because none of the apps I needed to use would run in the company approved browsers. 

BYOD iPad with company email? Nope. “we can’t wipe it”

But does the workforce have decent tools like laptops and smartphones? “they have a laptop with 3G on it”

Can employees check Facebook at work? “the young ones bring their own phone and check it on the guest wifi network”

It was as if the cloud has not arrived in the company security team and if it has, it’s certainly not being considered as part of a serious architecture. High profile hacks like Sony and Target may have spooked some people but to me, that’s more about isolating and protecting the valuable stuff (payroll, credit card systems) and letting people frolic around in the not so risky stuff like third party productivity apps and web tools. Super secure email is only as secure as a user hitting the Forward button and the most vulnerable areas are probably shared printer networks that nobody really bothers to check anyway. Smartphones that automatically backup to cloud drives and personal document management in Dropbox seemed to be conveniently not included in CSO architectures, even though everyone knows that’s how most employees work. 

So if you’ve been hibernating for the last 10 years don’t fear, the enterprise work environment will still look very familiar to you- the clouds are still far, far away. 

Obama's strategy man campaigning hard for Uber

Uber has strangely boxed itself in a corner as the bad boy of new technology with a startup jerk comms vibe it can’t seem to shake even with boxes of orphan kittens. 

Enter David Plouffe, the newish VP Policy and strategy for Uber. 

President Obama and David Plouffe even share computers

He has the techno-positive pro climate, pro jobs, freedom of everything rap combined with the strategy brains and superior communication skills of someone who can lead Obama to win the 2008 presidential election- because that’s what he did. 

David Plouffe is an excellent communicator and has better work stories than you

Speaking at the old boy’s clubish University of Sydney Great Hall last night, Plouffe was the star of the show and even some academic policy wonk think tank types who thought they should have a reserved seat were left to stand squished down the side behind the media crews in a pile of extension cables. Hopefully by now you know that anything presented by [insert last name of someone who is dead and did some civil deeds + Institute] = a political lobby type exercise and this one was hosted with the McKell Institute just so all the journalists can vent their disgust at the Americanisation of Australian politics and that a loaf of bread doesn’t cost ten cents anymore like it did in the good old days. 

There’s no argument that the Uber technology is superior and that’s not why Uber hired David Plouffe to tell awesome Obama campaign war stories. 

They hired him because of ‘the taxi thing’. The ‘taxi thing’ is the weird symbol on your Uber app that doesn’t make sense.. Uber Taxi. 

I pressed the button once accidentally because no UberX drivers were available and a normal New South Wales registered taxi turned up. Odd. The driver was fantastic and very pro Uber, the superior technology. He showed me his screens and how it works, how much more he made and how good it is for him that you almost never get no-shows, the drivers also like being able to communicate with the passengers. I was confused by his optimism because I thought taxis were anti-uber and he basically summarised David Plouffe’s role in one sentence

“I am pro Uber, I am anti the illegal Uber X cars” 

The Uber taxi man is a registered New South Wales vehicle operator who has to pay a fee and do a test and some screening and some other stuff like meter checks and ID cards and- oh look I don’t know the regs but you get the idea. The ‘illegal Uber X’ chaps have no legal standing, aren’t registered as a business and fall outside of the current state laws. 

To be clear, Uber wants their drivers to be regulated but in a very light touch way. A “hi I’m not a sexual predator/axe murderer” check, something about vehicle safety and if I had my way, a Google maps test.  Prem Mike Baird will probably win New South Wales (good) and he’s having a solid run on health as long as The Tony Factor stays the hell away from his campaign so not much will change this side of the state election but when you are quoting jobs numbers like “we have 2000 drivers on the road in New South Wales, we could have 20 000” you can see that Uber will get meetings and start to make policy inroads -pun definitely intended. 

'can you direct me to your location? -no that's your job'

I’ve said this before, I am very pro-Uber and the sharing/collaborative economies. I’m not a big fan of swimming against superior technology that everyday people like and I currently use Uber about three times per week. It has a few teething issues as any rapidly growing company does. For example, the head of Uber AU told me that “Uber drivers don’t get lost”…yes they do and it’s my pet peeve as a passenger when I get asked to navigate and when drivers are using a mapping system that isn’t Google Maps Sydney which is a most excellent product and why the hell would you not use it and how come you found the pickup location but suddenly as soon as I get in the car you can’t be bothered thinking? I love how the drivers are mostly new migrants and it gives them a job. I like the two-way feedback system and I’m pretty sure there’s something on driver feedback that says “she gets really shitty if you don’t use Google Maps” because all the drivers seems to have a conversation with me about navigation systems as soon as I get in the car.  

The best part about Uber is that you can communicate with the driver and get true door-to-door service which, when your leg has been smashed through a brick wall and you can’t walk- is super useful. 

There’s a lot of padding around choice, jobs, emissions and, I seriously heard this term used to describe an apartment build in Melbourne the other day- densification of cities but the real issue is the ‘illegal Uber X cars” and Uber need to get their drivers out of the grey zone before the incumbent taxi unions bury them in legal challenges and old-world legislation. 

exactly how I look arriving at my hospital appointments in an Uber X

Uber need to lose the bro-ness and start talking to mainstream customers in a more inclusive, less startup jerk way and I think a smart head like David Plouffe is a weapon in them achieving this. 

The one thing you can do today to properly understand social media

If you want to understand how social media works, listen to the Facebook earnings calls. I tell people this.They don’t listen to me. 

That’s why I’m happy to tell you my little secret here, because you probably would rather pay two thousand dollars to go to a half day workshop and listen to people who aren’t Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg talk about social media. That’s up to you. 

Facebook has the family lunchbox users and Twitter wants them
And then Sheryl would have explained to you that social media is still a very small part of most brand’s marketing mix and that there is still a big job to do with marketers getting them to understand how to use and measure the ad products to demonstrate ROI. That would have explained to you the Twitter Australia/ Nielsen TV presentation last night and also the overly sorry apology from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo for not zapping enough trolls because they need to reposition Twitter as family friendly. The proactive communications machine roared into life well before the Twitter earnings results this morning which showed that, other than the Google deal, there wasn't much to say. 

Tony-hater of keyboard warriors, the Internet, coffee and the future of the free world
Apparently the Twitterati trolling politicians like former Prime Minister of Australia Tone Abetz for calling social media ‘electronic graffiti’ is not good content for top media buyer Woolworths selling 85 cent loaves of bread to working families so everyone needs to be a bit nicer so Twitter can attract newer, more gentle, kid’s lunchbox users and take some TV ad revenue. You would have heard Mark Zuckerberg explain very clearly to you that social media updates started as text and then went to photos- where Facebook got the big mainstream growth surge from- and that the next wave is mobile video. So if you want to make your posts to rank well on Facebook, perhaps you could post a video? Just a thought… 

If you are the one person that heeds my advice, then the Twitter earnings call this morning is a walk in the park to understand. You would have heard Sheryl talk about the growth of video on mobile and instantly understood why Twitter have incorporated video into their mobile app this week. 

You would have heard Mark talk about search and providing a search experience that ‘nobody else on the internet can provide’. By that he means Google. So then you would understand why Twitter has restarted their deal with Google to index data for search because everyone seems to go through the process of figuring out that a walled garden always seems like a good idea for ad revenue but it’s a big fail for content and discovery. 

Next gen products-mobile, visual, hyper social friend networks
You would have heard Sheryl talk about ‘next generation’ products like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and understand why Twitter launched group direct message functionality.You would have heard the Facebook CFO chappie Dave say (at great speed) that ad prices went up 300%, mainly due to growth in mobile video ads and because they can measure stuff better now. Um what? Yes the prices are going up. 

It’s brilliant, Facebook tells you everything. You have to be a bit more Turing code-breaker to pick the winners in the Google call because it’s basically everything they aren’t talking about that’s interesting. Analysts are spooned up some token numbers about ad network rates that don’t really mean much and then there’s a dismissive hand waggle to ‘emerging non-ad business’ and Google for Work’s plans to take over the world with their operating systems and work tools …look at the self-driving magic Noddy cars everyone!

Today, Facebook is setting the pace in social, definitely in a commercial sense and arguably in an innovation sense and they are worth listening to to give you clarity about the big chunky things that matter in the industry whether you personally like Facebook as a platform or not. 

But that’s up to you. 

I got hit by a taxi part three: the long hobble to freedom

vlog: marking my first day weight bearing

I started physio yesterday. I’m having it twice a week; one session for the ankle and one for the knee. We started with ankle yesterday and I can’t really walk today. The physio got me to lie face down on the bed massage table thing and he grabbed my foot and tried to twist it off the bottom of my leg. Now that it’s all titanium, you can’t break anything it’s just the pain thing so I told him to go hard out because I could handle the pain and I just want to get going again. He warned me that the ‘safe word’ is STOP and not ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh because it was going to be a bit of a hard restart so I got through it with lot of ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Needless to say, my pain threshold has gone up considerably over the last few months. 

this is pretty much how I walk

Your body adjusts really fast and you end up with your ‘good leg’ really strong from hopping around and the damaged leg all floppy and without muscle tone.

    
first steps weight bearing- feels like walking on marbles- kermit the frog styles

I was surprised how much of the physio is on your quads and your gluts and hips but I guess it’s getting all the scaffolding and balance back to normal. Without the crutch, or one crutch which I use to take the weight off the damaged leg, it feels like you are going to flip backwards like being on a snowboard. 

6-week x ray of my leg. knee to ankle tibial nail that will stay there forever
It takes about six months for the bone to grow back and 18 months for all the tissue and muscles and stuff to get back to normal. The tibial nail will stay in forever so it’s a life-long injury. Insurance companies love it when you tell them that and you can hear the team of ‘Rehab Services’ people, which is insurance company code for ‘lawyers’, go really quiet when you say ‘life-long injury’.  Keeping it simple works really well with them too. I’ve found that by ending every sentence with ‘…because your client drove a car into my leg’ makes them super happy and they just want to rush off the phone and go outside to celebrate or something- they just can’t contain their joy. 

surgeons ooo and aaahh and take photos and say this is a really good graft
We still have to watch the skin grafts on the front of the leg and make sure that the open wound from the reconstruction is healed up properly. A community nurse from St Vincent’s hospital comes and visits me and changes the wound dressing which is pretty ace. Wound care technology is pretty sensational. 

wound care technology is awesome
I have a hydrogel called Flaminal Forte that goes on the wound out of a big toothpaste tube and that gets covered with this cool silicon gauze stuff called Adaptic (some surgeons like Adaptic, some like JeloNet or this other dressing called Mepitel but Adaptic has smaller holes so less bacteria gets in and the silicon stops it sticking to the wound) and then a big nappy thing called Zetuvit that protects everything and then a compression stocking to hold it all together. The swelling stays around for a really long time so I have to try and elevate it but the reconstruction is happy and the circulation seems to be working and it’s not all purple like it was a few weeks ago. 

So tomorrow, it's the knee's turn at the physio- ARGgGGGHHWDHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Isaiah 35:3-6
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.

Related: Part I: How the accident happened
               Part II: Hospital things and what they did to me

I got hit by a taxi - let's see what they did to me

I’ve got a plastic surgery clinic on Thursday and I’m going to pack a few things because the last time I went in for a clinic I got readmitted to hospital for two weeks.

When they took the plaster off from the first surgery, there was a big hematoma which is a big swollen blood clot that was from the impact of the taxi bonnet, or the brick wall maybe but that was where it took the biggest bash anyway. 

The first four days after the accident were a lifetimes worth of hospital for me so being told I had to go back in for two weeks felt like I was being sucked out to sea.  Then I decided to be like the chill-ass orangutan and surrender to the whole process so Christmas and New Year's in hospital for me it was. There are starving children in Africa and people in the ward with lifetime, genetic muscle-wasting illness and stuff like that who needed four people to move them in bed. My leg seemed very minor and temporary in comparison. I've been pretty healthy for the last three years or so. I stopped drinking booze altogether and got a lot more active and tuned into managing stress and just generally realising that I wasn't bulletproof and had to listen to my body more. It made a big difference to my physical healing and just being able to push your body to relearn things. It also meant that I was thumped by all the medicines being pumped into me so I was pretty quick to start refusing pain meds and wanting all the chemicals to stop. I took my last antibiotic tablet yesterday and I'm not on any medication now- fingers crossed that's the end of it. 

Of course, you can't just sprinkle some Chia seeds over your leg and have some fish oil tablets when you're having open surgery on your leg. They have to knock you out which involves wheeling you into a cupboard and putting a rubber mask on your face and shoving a pipe down your throat which triggered a reptilian 'do not want' response from me apparently- I don't remember any of that but a traumatic frightened cat hit by a car response seemed pretty understandable. Well done me. 

I've finally read the discharge letter and can see what they did now: 

Surgery one

Tibial nail insertion and open reduction internal fixation of left medial malleolus 11/12/2014

Titanium rod thing from knee to ankle, inner ankle screws and something to my knee that isn’t a knee replacement but when people say they are having their knees done that’s what I had. Washout is cleaning up all the mess. 

Surgery two
Washout left leg wound 23/12/14
Then I had to go in for a second surgery which is a Washout to clean up all the hematoma blood clot stuff and get it back to a point where it could be stitched up. 

Surgery three
Washout and application of vac dressing to left leg wound 25/12/14 <<< Christmas Day

plastic surgeon checking the donor muscle -hole left from the hematoma- yes the white part is bone
Turns out the skin had all died above the hematoma so I had to go for surgery number three to have all the skin cut off. Then you get a left with a big hole in the front of your leg. Having a huge hole is a totally bad idea at the best of times but when you’ve just had a metal rod put in your munted leg it’s an even worse idea because you can get a bone infection and if that gets into the metal work then you can’t get it out so you have to amputate the leg.  Yes amputate. So as much as everyone reassured me that wasn’t going to happen my brief stint in public health was enough to make me know that there are all sort sorts of ebola-cousins lurking in hospitals and the only places more germy than hospitals are those floating petri dishes called Cruise Ships (seriously: Google cruise ships + norovirus, it’s not just an evening show you’re catching on the Emerald Princess). 

vac dressing sucking out all the bad stuff and circulating air and moisture to fast track healing
Then I had a vac dressing put on to prepare for the fourth surgery which means you have a plastic pipe stuck in your leg-hole to suck all the bad stuff out and speed up healing. It also means that you are plumbed to the bed and if you want to go to the toilet, you have to take a big tube and wrap gauze around it with medical tape so you get to do some craft. Then you go to the toilet and hold the pipe that is attached to your leg and are quite convinced that salmonella is setting up shop in your leg and pouring down the pipe like a bacteria hydroslide at Wet n Wild. 

Surgery four
Local flap reconstruction of left lower leg wound + skin graft repair

Covering up the hole required plastic surgery and some skin grafts. It’s called Local Flap so they cut a piece of good skin off the side of your leg where it’s just muscle and tissue, and move it around the front to cover the exposed bone. I also had some skin taken from my upper thigh and used to patch up the parts that weren’t covered by the Local Flap. Skin is the most amazing thing in the universe I think (name a man-made thing that can self-heal? exactly…) so the side of my leg skin has covered up the bone and no more Oscar Pistorious for me. OK, technically there is still a risk because when you get a crushing injury, stuff can get left behind and it could go feral but I got doused with IV antibiotics for a week or so to blast all the Cruise Ship germs. 

Skin grafts have to be untouched for about five days so you have to lie in the bed and do the worst thing in the world —nothing. You would think that lying in bed watching TV all day and being brought food would be like an awesome long-haul flight but it’s actually terrible because you have to pee in a bed pan which is the most revolting thing I have ever experienced because you are horizontal and you marinade your butt in your pee and have to balance until the nurse comes to take it out or it spills everywhere. After two goes I refused any further bedpan action and opted for the high-tech toilet seat chair option although the nurses would get a bit angry with me because it’s more work for them getting you up and down but the bedpan decision was final.

mobile sanitation device connect to your regular toilet and minimises ebola in your leg

One especially tricky nurse tried to convince me that she had to ‘measure my urine volume’ but I was on to her and her tricky schemes and I had to get my terse voice out, and then she threatened to put a catheter into me, nurses really do have a strong escalation game. So I got the doctors to put on my notes that it was infection control issue and i had to be taken to the toilet, i.e. no bedpans. Touche. 

During this time, a lot of attention is paid to your plumbing actually and you soon surrender to the morning ‘have you opened your bowels today’ questioning and it’s all recorded and charted and they give you potions to ensure the question is answered in the affirmative. I was provided with ‘treats for my bowels’ aka Coloxyl and sometimes they just wheel you to the bathroom and leave you there for a while to see if anything happens so you feel like a puppy being left on the lawn to go number twos. When you do go, you get a big pat on the head and tick in your chart so it’s a great shared achievement. The old guy in the room next to me was on Day 15 and refusing treats for his bowels which you’d have to think was a seriously bad life decision. Protip: take the treats. 

Local flap 'dusky' due to blood vessels venous congestion -wiring not all connected up yet
The skin is your skin so that part is happy but all the blood vessels have to reconnect. Blood goes in but doesn't come back out so that's when the leeches were brought in to try and save the bottom part of the Local Flap that was looking a bit -according to the discharge letter- Dusky. 

Harvard Medical School highly trained specialist surgical leech- likes blood and warm places

The leeches are proper medical ones and you prick the skin like a diabetes person does and get it to attach. The leech has natural anti-coagulant in its saliva so a good one can sit there for a couple of hours and hoover away at the wound. The leech created much excitement- it feels like a normal garden worm on your leg and doesn't hurt. 

Leech doing his/her thing on the Local Flap

The only thing is when they bloat up and are full, they wander off really quickly and head for the warm parts of your body so I had one full bloated one travelling at speed up toward my warm parts which was suboptimal so I decided to stop the overnight treatment because nightmares. 

The good news is the fracture is all zipped up now. There is a big wound on the side of my leg where the surgeon took the Local Flap from and it looks bad but people in the know assure me that it's all muscle and tissue so meh.

   


I couldn't care less about scars and how it looks as long as my leg works I'll be beyond happy. A quick journey through disability has been a huge eye-opener for me and I'm beyond blessed that my journey has been relatively short and successful -some people have to live everyday with chronic pain, unhappy outcomes and far worse limitations. 

The wound specialist came and visited me yesterday and we put this cool hydrogel stuff on the wound and it soaked up all the bacteria and it's all looking nice and pink and healthy now. 

So yes, Plastics clinic on Thursday so I can remove the big dressing on my upper thigh from the skin graft donor site hopefully, and then the big date is Monday 19 January with an orthopaedic clinic and x-ray to see if my leg can bear weight so I don't have to ski around on crutches. Then I can test-drive my new titanium leg- good times :)


7-10 How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
Breaking the news that all’s well,
    proclaiming good times, announcing salvation

Related: See how the accident happened - I got in the paper and everything