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Amy : One Woman's Leg Story
Diary entry posted Fri 4:55pm 22 March 2002

Exactly one week ago I went riding. I planned to get a bit of a workout later in the weekend, so Fred and I were just going to do some pleasure riding bareback. I groomed him, took him out in the ring, threw down a bucket to mount from and stood on the bucket.
Here's the tricky part: you vault up on the horse's back, then carefully scootch your right leg over his back until you're astride him. But I didn't vault high enough, and started sliding back down. No big deal, right? WRONG! My left foot hit the bucket awkwardly and the bucket tipped, and as my left foot connected with the ground, I heard and felt that awful 'thunk' of something down near my ankle. No real pain. I'm down in the dirt, underneath a very patient horse. So I do a quick scramble backward, trying to use all four limbs to get me out from those hooves, and THEN the pain hit hard and I howled. Fred didn't think twice before taking off for the far side of the ring.
Now I'm all alone, no one in shouting distance, and more than likely no one is GOING to be in shouting distance for a few hours. Lay in the dirt and feel sorry for yourself? Or start crawling. I crawled. A few things were going through my mind (other than the godawful clumsiness and lack of good sense that got me IN that situation): 1) I can't not go to work! I'm taking over JR's tasks this week because he resigned! 2) I won't be riding for a while. . .poor Fred. . .poor ME! 3) Ireland. . .I'm going to Ireland in May. I cannot cancel this! 4) no selfrespecting foot would drag at that angle...its not sprained its broken broken broken.
Once I managed to get from the ring into the office, I called my husband, who came, managed to remove my boot without causing me hideous pain (though as soon as he came I started shaking and shivering) and put an ace wrap on the ankle. Let's hear it for my own personal RN. He lifted me into his car (causing a back strain, BTW, that kept him out of work THAT night!) and got me to his place of business, New Britain General Hospital.
The hospital ER was over run, so I was shuttled to the walk-in clinic (HAH!) that saw me within 45 minutes, got my x-rays taken, and confirmed what I already knew. . .BUSTED! Left tibia and fibula were no longer whole and sound. I still don't know how bad the actual break is. The Orthopedic Surgeon came down and confirmed that I had bought myself a plate and screws, and at least a night in the hospital.
"But I can go to work on Monday. . .right?"
Good man. . .he didn't laugh.
This was now 2.5 hours after the deed was done, and he had two surgeries before me. I told the RN that I really hoped he took a break, had some lunch, got a little stretch and rest before he tried to piece me back together! I was moved up to a bed on the orthopedic floor to wait, and I sent Hub home to take his back med and get some sleep.
The next two days in the hospital were a bit of a blur. Morphine is horrible/wonderful stuff. I was never in terrible pain from it, but it made me terribly queasy, and as soon as I could, I swapped over to Percocet and Torudol, and waited for my stomach to recuperate. (One week later, I'm STILL waiting. I have so little appetite its scary) I had a vague memory of some nurse stopping in early Saturday morning and telling me she was my husband's supervisor. It was nice of her to check in on me, but I was so groggy that I couldn't remember her name, her actual title, what she looked like. . .but I do remember apologizing for straining my husband's back so that he had to call in sick that night!
As I was laying in the hospital I was noticing things that I wanted to know if they were normal. My thigh muscles twitched with a life of their own. My ankle within the soft cast felt as if it was going to burst through the wraps. My toes (orange from the antiseptic) were sausages, and couldn't take any weight on them. And I HATED having to ask to have every little thing done for me. A book too far to reach, pillows not placed just right, that horrid thing called a bedpan. My roommate and I joked that together we make one good patient: she had had her wrist broken and externally fixated. I tied her sling for her, she found my hairbrush in the closet for me. . .it was a good deal!
On Saturday I begged Hub to bring me a pennywhistle. It was going to be St. Patricks Day, and if I couldn't play in the music session I was scheduled for, I would at least be able to tootle a bit to myself (a bit of tape on the windway quiets a whislte right down!). The nurses and techs were gathering around my door, and patients wheeling up. . .best audience I ever had!
Finally I was awarded a set of crutches and a nice young lady who showed me how to maneuver on them, but I was too shakey to trust myself on them. I practiced again on Sunday, got my bowels making all the appropriate sounds, and finally went home! Whoo hooo!
The past five days have been a lesson in limits, pushing a little more each day, and remembering that I am an invalid and have a right not to do everything. I learned that THIS is a perfectly good reason to do a bit of pampering (a mattress pad that conforms to my pressure points has been worth every cent. . .two high tech foam wedges to keep the leg elevated (one for upstairs, one for down, so Hub doesn't have to haul them)).
So far I've found out that I have unreasonable expectations to either be WELL by now, or at least to have adapted 100% to my situation (I still can't cope with cooking, carrying, picking things up from the floor, and had to be reminded that if I break my wrist, I can't use crutches) and I get frustrated and depressed. I've learned to think before moving: what do I need to have with me, what is there in the way, don't get complacent about moving ANYWHERE, certainly not down the stairs, whack the cats once with the crutch and they'll stay out of your way, but whack the birds once with a crutch and they'll never trust you to come near them again. I can deal with about 2 hours of work before my foot and ankle throbs, and I'm not indispensable.

In three days I get the hard cast, and with luck I'll get some of my questions answered!



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 Fri 4:55pm 22 March 2002
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