Steps. 41 years old...how many steps do you think I've run up and down, skipped, slid down on my back side? 3 steps, a cat and a handful of dresses on hangers was all it took to take me down.
I couldn't re-do what I did if you paid me. I have no idea what combination of movements lead to my stepping out OVER 3 steps to a landing, taking the full impact of the over-reach onto my angled left leg. What I do remember is the weird way my leg folded into itself. The pain, which for a moment I thought was typical pain that comes with a fall....til looked down at my leg and saw what can only be compared to an elbow suddenly rising from my shin between my knee and ankle. And then my foot, hanging limply off to the side at an awkward, unnatural angle. Then the pain. Then the screams.
I was lucky to have another adult here, which until now was a few nights a week. He called 9-11, as I lay there holding up my leg from under my knee...instinct told me setting it down in that position would be a bad idea. My 8 year old daughter was crying, scared, confused....all I could think of was her, and to keep her from seeing my leg that way. Her Dad and I consoled her and kept her from coming to the steps while we waited for the ambulance (I was certain it had been hours, but mere moments had passed).
The EMTs came in the front...I fell against the back door at the landing, so no one could come in that door. One look and they knew pain control was crucial before even touching me to move me from the doorway. They got me started on an IV of fentanyl and very quickly calmed me to move me up the 3 steps that I had fallen "over" to open the back door, get me out onto a stretcher and ready to go. Down the driveway in the rain, neighbors watching from their window. Bumpy ride to the hospital (remember being glad I'm an urbanite with a passion for old houses, a mere 15 blocks from a wonderful hospital).
The ER nurses had some weird issue with the EMT's IV and were quite vocal about "not touching anything til we get one of our own IV's going". They took away the fentanyl that had allowed me to detatch from the pain and reality of it all, not sure what they put me on but I do remember telling them it didn't work as well. Pointless. They cut my clothes away. X-rays. Then 2 large men came in and did what the EMTs had told me no one would do...like a scene from a 1950s westerm film.....grabbing hold of my foot and thigh to pull my bones back down in line. The warning was no help, the pain meds were no help. I screamed and cried and told them to stop. But I had falled shortly after dinner, surgery not possible til the next day and a splint required for me to "sleep" overnight so the bones had to be de-peaked.
I remember little after that. I remember being terrified I would die during surgery, terrified I would never see my daughter again. I hazily remember waking from anesthesia and really having a difficult time coming out of it. I remember seeing my daughter again in the room, and tubes and nurses and family and chaos. They set me up with dilaudid in an IV with a button to push every 8 minutes. I remember now that I was sure I knew what I was doing and saying...but in retrospect I remember very little aside from passing out mid channel-change, and once waking to see my hand bringing the TV remote toward my mouth as if I was going to eat it. I had wicked muscle spasms...my leg, my neck, my back, my abs. I had (and still have) flashbacks to the fall that take my breath away and make my stomach lurch. Eventually they took the IV out, 2 days later? The surgery went well...one rod, 3 screws. PT came and tried to help me learn crutches on steps but I was too weak and too scared of steps. I was sent home with a walker and a big backslab cast.
For another few days I took 2 hydrocodone every 4 hours, and 2 tramadol every 4 hours so that I was taking pills every 2 hours. My Mom, my ex, my ex MIL, friends...plenty of people were here to help me get around as needed. Hated that big cast! So heavy. A week & 1/2 later I went in to have the cast removed and X-rayed....surgeon happy with healing progress, rod position. Darth booted but still non weight bearing for another 4 weeks (which is 3, as of today).
The pain has pretty well passed...pains now are fleeting in the healing area and more based on muscles trying to recover. I start PT this week. The flashbacks are still strong, and my daughter has them too (the guilt I feel for screaming and scaring her is tremendous). I'm off pain killers and only taking ibuprofen now and then as needed...aware that PT may cause need for some, but will wait to see. Hoping to get some weight bearing allowed when I go back the 20th so I can get around a little better on summer vacation to the lake of the 4th of July!