My next post was intended to be all about my week spent in Honduras with 33 members of my new church. Instead, I got sidetracked by something more pressing. Or should I say, more painful.
On July 4, we flew to Texas for a few days. Our plans were to get the dogs to the vet, get the house ready for the packers, oversee the packers, clean the house so it could be listed, see a few friends, drive my car + dogs + anything the packers couldn’t move that we wanted to keep back to North Carolina. We were due back on July 8. We had a LOT of work to do.
This is what really happened.
Dad picks us up from the airport at 8pm and we have a list of things to get done before the packers come the next morning. We get to our house to greet the dogs. Lucy is hesitant to go outside to potty so I put my stuff down and go outside with them. Dad shuts the door behind me, I step off the concrete patio, twist my ankle on something, and go down like a ton of bricks.
Now, I’m rather clumsy and fall quite a bit. But this was different. The pain was excruciating and the loud crack was NOT normally heard. My instinct was to just scream and slam on the back door. I swear the neighbors probably thought someone was being killed.
I looked down and knew immediately something was not right. Dad and Jason got the dogs back inside, since they were jumping on me out of concern/curiosity, and took a look.
At this point I had two requests:
1. Call 911. I was not moving. (there was whispering of putting me in a car that I had to squelch)
2. Get me 2 Vicodin. (I may or may not always have a bottle on hand for Crohns related issues)
I never cried, but I did sit in the backyard uncomfortably – sweating in the TX heat – trying to not hyperventilate.
Pain is an interesting thing. I have dealt with a lot of physical pain in my life, some of which I never want to revisit. All of my pain has been internal – out of sight. It’s been mind numbing pain that requires you to hold your breath, curl up, and clinch your teeth until it passes.
This wasn’t that kind of pain. This was yelling, screaming pain. And I yelled, and screamed.
EMTs showed up, Jason brought them to the backyard, and they took a quick look. Then they got their scissors out and cut my very favorite pair of jeans so they could see all the way up to my knee. They talked together about how my leg was “obviously deformed” and too fragile to straighten themselves. And for that I was grateful.
An IV was started, I got a good dose of Morphine to go with my Vicodin, and a plan was hatched on how to stabilize it enough to get me to the ER.
This is a REALLY BAD picture but it’s all I have. My knee is up in the air so what you’re seeing is the lower part of my leg and my ankle. And no, it’s not supposed to look like that.
I got to ride in my first ambulance and I requested the closest ER to more IV pain meds.
The two paramedics were amazing – and pretty easy on the eyes, if I might also add… They were gentle as they could be, were very friendly, and seemed impressed by my handiwork.
The ER didn’t waste time getting me more pain meds as soon as they saw the injury. I was really impressed with how quickly they moved. I had hoped the worst had passed with the actual injury but little did I know, there was lots more pain in my future. The x-rays were pretty painful but the straightening it to be put in a boot was absolutely the WORST. I remember gripping the bed, yelling, and crying at the same time as they moved as fast as possible.
This was the extent of the injury:
The nurse told me I broke it badly and that the orthopedic surgeon on call said I needed to be admitted and surgery would be scheduled for the next day. The upside was that I didn’t injure either joint (knee or ankle) so that would speed up the recovery.
Both of my parents met us in the ER and they split up duties to try and make things work. Jason had to get the dogs to the vet the next morning at 8am but the packers were also coming at 8am. So, Dad took off work to meet the packers. Mom stayed the night at the hospital with me so she would be there for my surgery and Jason would try and meet me prior if he could.
We got to a room around 2am and the surgery ended up being after lunch. I couldn’t wait for them to finally do it so I could get going. I asked the surgeon if I could go home afterwards and he said that I might be able to the next morning. (He totally lied)
Jason wasn’t able to be there before I went in but my mom stayed with me. Surgery went fine, only 45 minutes or so, but waking up was not pleasant and they had a hard time getting my pain level under control so I was in recovery a long time. My leg now had a splint on the back and a ton of wrapping from my foot up above my knee. It could barely bend at the knee and not at all at my ankle. I was also now the proud owner of a rod going through my big bone and 2 screws on either end. They gave me the after x-rays but since I have very limited resources here at the hotel, I held one up to the window and snapped a pic. Klassy, I know, but better than nothing.
I’m told the littler bone would heal itself if the big bone was put in place.
(Does anyone remember the names of the bones after passing that quiz in HS science?)
I ended up staying another night, making it three total, and didn’t get to go home until Saturday. I had a few visits from PT who showed me how to use crutches and some small exercises to do at home. And while I was really anxious to get out, I was also really thankful for the great pain meds I could get while there. After surgery, it still hurt a lot – a different kind of hurt – but hurt, nonetheless.
Without my parents close by and willing to take off work to help, we would have been up a creek. And while we didn’t get everything done we intended to do, the house still got packed, and the dogs saw the vet, and we still got to see a few friends. Our journey back to Charlotte was an adventure as well (since I was useless) but I’ll save that for another post.