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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Thought I should explain the " bed-bound" comment in the Pavlova post. I suppose you all probably know by now, but I broke my leg. The break itself was no biggie, and I didn't even feel it. It was the dislocation that did me over. I broke the fibula and dislocated the tibia. Let me tell you, it sucks. I had surgery and all, spent 3 days in the hospital, and am now lying in bed for the most part of the day, hoping to reduce the swelling. I have a temporary cast on, which is getting looser by the day, but in just over a week, I hope to have a proper cast, and be able to sit up, and move around more.

Feel free to skip this over, as it's mainly a journal entry for myself about all the goings on of breaking my leg. But, if you want the nitty gritty, here it is:

I have had a few firsts this week. I got to ride in an ambulance. I got to pee in a bed pan. I had LOADS of morphine. And I broke my leg. I have not overly enjoyed any of those thing either. Believe it or not, but morphine does not work, not like you think it should.

So, I broke my ankle /leg because I fell into a ditch. No, I didn't see it and No, I wasn't drunk (the top two questions I get asked). I was walking home since Amy and I had been sitting in gridlock for 2 hours. No joke. It was a parking lot, and our cars were turned off. A man had just done a hit and run, and then carried on, careening and speeding, head on into oncoming traffic (right at the entrance to our estate). There he injured 3 other people, killing himself (I think). This is why the traffic was stopped for hours and hours. Not to mention the other accident which had originally forced people to take this route as a detour, which caused this impatient 87 year old man to speed and have a hit and run to begin with.

Amy and I decided to walk home when we got close enough to the estate, since she had wedding flowers to take care of, and we both had to pee really bad. The first few minutes were going well, then suddenly I find myself in a drainage ditch. I tried to get up, but I could see by how my ankle was bent, there was no way I was going to be walking anywhere. Luckily, a man and his wife saw me go down, and ran across the street to me. He called an ambulance, and then began the wait. I waited in the ditch, with sand and ants making their way down my pants for about a 1/2 hour. It was painful, but more than that, frustrating. I imagined this was how a break might feel. I choked back tears, but mainly tried to grin and bear away the pain.

The woman who came to help was driving me insane. The husband had called the ambulance, and tried to explain which part of the road we were on, and said his hazards would be on on the car which he had parked beside the road so they would see us. The woman then decides to turn the hazards off because they were shining into the persons house where this ditch was. You've got to be kidding me. I am lying in a DITCH, with a huge swollen ankle, and you're worried about hazards lights shining into someone's house!?!?! I had more than a few profanities in my head for her. Even earlier, she kept having to ask her husband how to turn them on, where they were blah blah blah. "Do I need the keys in the ignition?", and on and on. I was yelling from the ditch for her to turn on the freaking lights, but no one seemed to have been able to hear me very well, since I was kind of under ground.

Then the man kept trying to get a flash light, and shine it on my leg. I was like, "who cares!". I told him over and over I didn't need a light! I really do not need to keep seeing how bad this is. One look to get an idea, then shut the blasted thing off and let me lay in peace. He wouldn't stop talking about it. I wonder if they were in shock or something, but man, I was growing impatient.

Adam arrived by bicycle shortly after, and comes down to sit with me for the last few minutes of my wait. Finally, the ambulance arrives. I wouldn't have been able to get out of the ditch were it not for some amazing drug I was given by the paramedics. I hopped out with help from Adam and the paramedic, and from there I proceeded to ramble on. And on and on. I barely remember my ramblings, but I do remember some of the replies i got, like "no, I think it comes from opium" and stuff. I know I told him all about my Dad's accident, and Eric becoming a firefighter, and who knows what else.

As soon as we got to the hospital, I was left in a bay to wait, and I waited what seemed like forever. I was in huge pain by now, barely being able to stand it, but I think it was mainly because I was having muscle spasms trying to keep my leg from twisting. This is the same leg I have sciatica on, and it was quite painful. I was near delusion, when they finally wheeled me in to get some xrays. Then into some operating room. They transferred me from the stretcher to another bed, and behind, I left a pile of sand, and a handful of ants crawling around.

Then they put me under, after a long drawn out ordeal with the nurse trying to get an IV in me. Even in my glorious, easy to find veins, she still managed to have blood everywhere, and a loose iv, which fell out shortly after. They then put me under to put my tibia back in place. I broke the fibula, but I think the majority of the pain came from the tib being so out of place. Going under was like a weird dream, and when I came to, I was remember was very confused and all alone, the room spinning, and hearing weird things. I was calling out for Adam, I remember, but I don't know how audible I really was. The dream I had while being under was weird. I was on a stretcher, and being pulled backwards through all these tubular rooms, which were actually veins in my body. The "rooms" were decorated in red, orange, yellow and white towels. The towels were rolled into lengths, so as I was being pulled back through them, it was almost like going down a waterslide backwards, with the fibreglass pieces being made of different coloured towels. Who knows. When I woke up, I thought I was at home at first, then the realization that this horrible night was not a dream hit me, and I creid.

They managed to take off my pants without cutting them, which I was very pleased about, since they were brand new jeans. But I was sitting in a pile of sand and ants still. They took some more xrays, and then wheeled me into my room, with a make shift cast on. I didn't sleep that night, except for a few short segments. With the man snoring and farting his way through sleep across me, the man rambling and farting his way through sleep beside me, and the white trash wimp diagonally from me constantly moaning and complaining, even in my delusional state I could not sleep. I lay awake, and shed a few useless tears over my stupid situation, and just prayed everything would be ok soon.

By about 5am everyone in the room is awake and moaning. I am not allowed to eat because I am supposed to have surgery this day. So I lay, and try to rest, and the time slowly ticks on. Around 9 or so, a team of surgeons come in, and tell me they are ready for me now, so the nurses start prepping me for the operating theatre. I get a quick wipe down, get the rest of my clothes taken off, and for the first time "get" to use a bed pan. YUK! It took me a few minutes to even be able to go. It's a very weird feeling. It's like your wetting the bed on purpose.

I go under again, and I guess all went well, but man I was in pain. It was something like 2 hours it took for me to get my pain under control. They didn't even know what to give me anymore, since it wasn't going away. I had morphine shots galore, and who knows what else. I was still quite out of it from the general, so it was hard for me to communicate and understand the nurses, but they sure were patient. Finally a surgeon came out and explained that it was probably some temporary nerve damage, which made sense right away. Since I have had some experience with nerves, as soon as he said it, I knew that was it. They had the tourniquet on for so long, that my nerves were going mad. Now, after wondering this question for years and years, I can confidently say I would much rather have a broken bone, than nerve damage again. This was sciatic all over again.

After a few hours I was back to my room, equipped with an IV, morphine and antibiotics. The morphine was great for knocking me out, but it definitely doesn't get rid of all pain. The next day the doctor checked my supply, and was impressed to see how many times I pressed the release button. But I didn't enjoy it at all, and they next day I tried hard not to use it, since it left me so dopey. They moved me on to Oxycontin, and I am still on it for another day. It's bizarre that hospital staff can come and try to have important conversations with patients who are completely doped up on morphine. I barely remember, but I know I signed more than one document too. Anyhow, the surgeons supposedly tried to talk to me, but I have no recollection.

So, I spent the next day or so nauseous, and bored, but slept most of it away. I had a nice group of visitors every day too, and they all brought me lovely things, like candy, and chocolate, flowers, and magazines, and a beautiful relaxing candle, which I am using tonight. Adam also brought me my lap top and ipod, so I could at least watch movies or listen to music, which was really nice. I was able to eat almost 48 hours after the incident, which was nice, so then I didn't have to use the bed pan so much at first (I only did #1's though, heehee).

On my last night one nurse was horrible to me, and I almost had a break down. I was sobbing uncontrollably, more than I ever have. I had done some work on the crutches with the physio earlier in the day, and she mentioned that next time I needed to pee, that I could call a nurse, but I should get up and go to the bathroom myself. So, I tried to do just that. The nurse comes, is clearly already annoyed, and so when I explain what the physio told me I should do, she turns around and goes to look for a walker. Finds one, but it looks to me like there are no stoppers on the wheels, so I ask her if this is the case. She sighs and grunts "I have no idea, this was the only one I could find". I reach for it, to see, but she just goes, "I'll get you the bed pan then, and spins around". I was flabbergasted. She couldn't wait 2 seconds for me to test it, or test it herself? She's a bloody nurse who works here - she might know a little more than I do about the walkers in supply. I am not exaggerating at all. She was all in a huff, and would barely give me a second. I already had sprouted tears from being treated so rudely. She gets the pan for me, and then walks away. No, "call me when you're done", or "I'll be right back". I finish, and wait a minute or so, then decide to ring the bell. Now my neighbour is rambling gibberish, and when she comes back in, I call out, but she doesn't hear me, or something. She turns off the light (from the bell I rang), and I hear her leave the room - she didn't even check on me. I was behind a curtain, so I couldn't see her, but I sure heard her. I am shocked. I call out again. Nothing. I ring the bell again, and a new nurse comes, but by this time I had been holding myself up, hovering over the bed pan, so I am not sitting in my own urine, for a good few minutes. I was crying and exhausted, and very upset. The new nurse grabs the pan, and tries to talk to me. I could barely get the words out. It was completely humiliating. It's already completely humiliating, having to call someone to clean up your bladder contents! The new nurse was super nice, and listened to me, and even though I told her not to bother with talking to the mean nurse, she said "no, she needs to be talked to, you shouldn't have been treated like that". I felt much better, but still had a good cry (though I am sure a lot of it had to do with my emotional state of just being there in the first place).

The nurses I met in this 3 day ordeal have been amazing! They were put through hell by my roommates, with being sworn at, and yelled at, and told how they shouldn't have a job like this if they are so incompetent. The man beside me constantly tried to sneak out of bed for a smoke, and ripped out his IV's a few times. He peed on the floor a few times too, and it was a constant babysitting gong show. I had my share of laughs from the antics of those two, but those poor nurses! I had three of them tell me separately that I was a relief to take care of. One told me she felt like she had been neglecting me, since I had barely called on her. That made me feel ok about the bed pan incident from the night before. Anyone who works in a hospital deserves a metal. I don't think I could do it. The nurses were incredible (minus one), and I have the utmost respect for them.

So, 3 days and 3 nights in the hospital, and I am now home. Still lying in bed though, and still quite sore. Adam cleaned the whole house up for me, and has made things so much easier for me! He brings me drinks, and helps me change, and I try to leave him alone as much as possible, but he doesn't seem to be too bothered by my sudden complete dependence. Sharon made us dinner tonight, and since I am still not eating a whole lot, it might just last us for the rest of the week! Amy also brought me another bouquet from work. Her boss told her to take one for me, which was very lovely of her. It is a beautiful arrangement with stargazer and calla lilies. I have two other lots of flowers too, and our place looks so nice with all these bright blooms. Anyhow, at the end of the month I go back to the specialist for a look at how things are healing, and get a proper cast done up. They have to wait for the swelling to go down before they can put a tight one on.

I was lucky I got treated in emerg. so quickly with everything else that went on that night, but supposedly, my skin was getting really close to dying, and they had to get my tib back in place to relieve the pressure. So, when I looked at my ankle for the first time, I wonder if the bulge I saw was swelling, or the tibia pushing out against my skin. Either way, I am glad they got to it soon, since it would have been quite a bit of a bigger deal had all the skin around my ankle joint died. They put pins in through both bones to keep my joint together during surgery, and the broken fib must not have needed any other attention other than the make shift cast I am wearing right now. Hard to believe this cast is keeping it together, since the bone broke completely in half. It feels like I can feel it shifting, but the surgeon seems to think that's ok, so I will go with it. I broke the fib about 1/3 of the way up my leg. It's also hard to believe I didn't hear or feel the "crack". As soon as I tried to get up for the first time, I could definitely feel some clicking, and shifting, and that things were pretty loose, but I wasn't sure I broke anything because I didn't feel the break itself so much. They asked if I hurt anything else, but I didn't notice at first. My other foot was quite sore and swollen, but I don't know that they did any xrays on it, or not. Now being home, the bruising is beginning, and I am wondering if I sprained, or even fractured my right foot. It's been hard to keep balance on crutches and it's quite sore, but I am obviously coping, so whatever happened to my other foot seems to be not such a big deal. Weird that the bruising is only now showing up, 4 days later.

Anyhow, after all this, I am not to put any weight on my leg for 10 weeks! I'll need a cast for at least 8, they say, but the last few weeks I will still need crutches, even with no cast. Looks like my summer dreams of hiking to Kondalilla Falls, and the like, will have to wait. Hopefully the hot weather will come back for me when I get back on my feet. I am just so thankful I didn't hurt anything else. I fell about a 1.5 metres. Not a huge fall, but when you're not expecting it...At least I landed on one foot, and I don't even have scratches anywhere else. My broken foot is quite scratched up though. Just glad there was no head injuries, or collar bones to deal with! I landed in sand at the bottom of a drainage ditch, it can't get much softer.