8th Dec 2010. Wow, will I remember that day. It was a lovely cold clear day and my friend Sharon and I decided to walk our dogs together across the fields near our houses. It was early afternoon and around freezing. We walked through a small wood before crossing a stile into the first field. The dogs were off the lead by then and chasing around through the trees. As I climbed the stile I watched Ozzy running and thought how graceful he was. We had walked about halfway across the field and the dogs were by then sniffing everything. Sharon called Ozzy to her and he came sprinting towards her. I turned to see where he was going to go and he ran straight past Sharon and into me. Because I was turned he hit me on the outside of my left leg. The moment that he hit me I knew that something was very wrong. I felt something 'go' in my knee and the first thought was that it was dislocated. Sharon came running and tried to get me up from the ground but the pain in my knee was immense. Somehow I did get up from the ground and promptly discovered that walking was impossible. Sharon wanted me to lean on her to hop out of the field and home. How she thought we would get acroos the stile!
Any movement sent such huges waves of pain through me. As far as I could see there was only one option. We had to call the paramedics. Looking back its strange that I seemed to be more calm and focused on the situation. Almost as though I was a bystander. Sharon's view was there was no way that paramedics could get me out of a field and I was going to have to get to the road. My view was that my leg was seriously damaged and any movement was going to cause further damage and I was going to leave it to the experts.
Fortunately at that time another dog walker, Jim, came along and agreed with me that I wasn't going anywhere. He dialled 999, left his dog with Sharon and set off to the road to wait for the ambulance. At this point, I was balanced on 1 leg refusing to move, Sharon was next to me with 3 dogs on leads, 1 dalmation, 1 labrador and a cocker spaniel. A recipe for disaster? At times its possible to walk in that field and not see anybody, however that day, everybody was out and a neighbour of mine came along and offered to take my dog Rolo for a walk and drop him off at home. Good idea, we were now down to 2 dogs. I had rung my husband within about 5 minutes of this happening and asked him to come home straight away. He works about 1 hour away.
After we had been standing in the field for about 30 minutes I dialled 999 again to find out what was happening. The control centre is located about 60 miles away from where we live and the control staff had problems locating us, they seemed to think we were about 5 miles away from where we actually were. Finally somebody arrived!
The system in the UK is that a triage paramedic in a car is sent out for non urgent cases. I was classed as non urgent because my breathing wasn't compromised and I didn't have an open fracture. The fact that I was immobile, outside in freezing temperatures didn't seem to make any different. So, finally 1 chap arrived, carrying some blankets and an inflatable cast. The plan was to stabilise my leg so that I could walk out of the field. It didn't work. I don't know whether it was a busy afternoon but he was struggling to get any back up. Then Sharon suggested her wheelbarrow! The paramedic thought this was a good idea so Sharon & Jim went off to get her wheelbarrow and to get rid of the dogs and left me in the field with the paramedic. I was now starting to get very cold, despite having 2 blankets around me. When Sharon & Jim returned with the wheelbarrow and a large piece of foam (they thought of my comfort), the 3 of them managed to get me into it, with the help of alot of gas and air. It is only a pity that they hadn't thought to look at the tyres before they did this because it had a flat tyre and wasn't going anywhere. By now the lone paramedic had managed to get hold of his control and requested an ambulance unit which was on its way.
When they arrived with a stretcher (at last)and moved me onto it it took 4 people to carry me out. Its not that I am heavy, its just uneven ground. By the time we got to the stile to cross into the wood, we met my husband coming the other way. Thats a good measure of how long it took to get me out. Bu the time we got into the ambulance my feet were blue. I was just so cold. They had to turn the heater up full and keep me as covered as possible while they looked at my leg. When I saw my knee I was actually quite disappointed. I had expected it to be huge and very bruised. It was normal coloured and only a little swollen. I do have arthritis in that knee so I did wonder if my knee had just been over extended which had caused the pain. The paramedic examining told me that he thought I had torn ligaments because of how I was responding to his examinations. I was OK at that point. Torn ligaments? I thought, I can handle that.
Fortunately A&E wasn't that busy and I was quickly X-rayed. I should have known something was up when the radiographer wouldn't tell me whether it was broken but told me to wait to speak to the doctor. Needless to say he quickly confirmed a TPF and told me that I was being admitted and put on bed rest until I had surgery, which could be between 1 & 3 days.
So my nice dog walk with a friend ended up with me stuck in a hospital bed with a full leg cast on and Nil by Mouth because I was expected to go to surgery anytime. Can things get worse?