The fatal Friday of the fractured femur.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I never realised how painful it could be to just sit still! That is my task for today - increase the length of time I can spend sitting, and try to gradually increase the bend in my knee so that I can actually ride home in a car on Tuesday. After about 4 minutes it starts to get difficult; after 30 minutes I need to lay down for a few hours.
In the meantime, here is the second instalment of my story...
The set up was as before, me with Munchkin in the chariot, Wombat with his bike. We pushed to the top of the hill. Wombat hopped on and started riding. After giving him a push start, I came back to my bike and prepared to follow him. I had my good right leg on the ground and my sore left leg up on the pedal ready to push off. I pushed off... the bike was off-balance and started to tip to the left. I put my left leg out to stop myself and the bike falling. I knew it was at an angle which was going to hurt, because sudden transference of weight to that leg had been one of its major complaints. The MOMENT my weight landed on that leg, the world exploded into pain. I thought I had dislocated my hip because the twisting tearing wrongness was similar to the feeling of dislocating my kneecap in highschool.
I fell by the side of the road, with the bike on top of me. Thankfully the chariot is well balanced and doesn't tip when the bike falls over, so Munchkin was ok. Wombat was riding away so I yelled as loud as I could for him to stop. He finally heard me and ran his bike off into the gutter just as I had shown him to do if a car was coming. When I kept yelling that Mummy was hurt and I needed him, he ran back to me, leaving his bike fallen over in the gutter, half on the road, about 10 metres away. I said "Listen very carefully. Mummy is hurt. I need you to be very brave. I need your help. I need you to be a big boy." He nodded very solemnly, eyes wide inside his helmet. "Run inside and find Daddy. Tell him Mummy has hurt her leg and is lying on the road. Can you do that for Mummy? It is very important." He turned and ran off without saying anything. I was gasping with the pain. I tried to stretch myself, HOPING the hip would pop back into place. I pulled my helmet off, checking on Munchkin, praying no cars would come, planning what to do if one did. We were in a bad position, Munchkin still in the chariot on the road, just over the crest of the hill. If a car came I was going to throw my red helmet at them and yell as loud as I could. Munchkin had been increasing his vocabulary and one of his new words was "hurt" (I had been teaching him, "No, don't hit Mummy with that toy. That hurts Mummy.") He was not crying or struggling to get out of the chariot harness, just watching me curiously. I said "Mummy hurt" and he repeated it several times. He had earlier managed to climb out of the harness all by himself when I had run inside to fetch the water bottles before our ride, so I started trying to convince him to come to me, because I wanted him safely off the road. He didn't understand, just sat very quietly and good saying "Mummy hurt."
Yeti and Wombat came up the hill to us, hand in hand, Wombat still wearing his helmet. After checking I was conscious, Yeti started by getting Wombat's bike off the road, and then Munchkin and my bike. Once they were safely off the grass he tried to move me. I was ok while I lay still but the slightest movement started me screaming. I yelled at my leg, praying for it to go back in. The most I could manage was to wiggle off the road a bit more. There was no way I could stand being lifted or even moved. Yeti and I agreed that the boys were the first priority. The screaming was worrying them, and Wombat was starting to wander off to play instead of keeping Munchkin company. I didn't want Munchkin to start screaming as well. We got Wombat to pick up and wheel his own bike while Yeti wheeled Munchkin and my bike home. A few minutes later he was back, having left the boys with Nanna (my MIL). Second priority was to get me off the road. We quickly worked out Yeti couldn't carry me and I couldn't move more than a few centimetres, even with his assistance. He decided to go back and get the old Holden so he could get me back to the house.
While I was waiting for him to get back, a neighbour drove out of his driveway and stopped. He came over and I explained what was happening. He wanted to call an ambulance immediately, but I convinced him to wait a few minutes until Yeti got back, because mobile phones don't work at our place so he would have to go back to his house. Soon enough the Holden was parked behind me, blocking the road - and just in time because another neighbour came shooting over the crest of the hill on their way home - they probably wouldn't have seen me but they saw the Holden and slowed down in time to go around us safely.
After that everything starts to get a bit blurry. Yeti and the neighbour discussed the best way to get me to hospital, the neighbour went home to call the ambulance, I discovered I could move little bit by little bit if I dragged myself slowly AWAY from my feet - moving towards them was impossible - so I tried to drag myself into the Holden. It was blowing in quite cold and Yeti was worried about keeping me warm. I got right up to the door of the car, but then could go no further, so there I was, lying half on the road with my head under the side of the Holden. The neighbour came back with a blanket and then stayed with me chatting while Yeti went to get things. The ambulance response was to take about 30 minutes.
For the next 30 minutes Yeti ran back and forth between me and the house, packing the things I thought of into a bag, bringing cushions and another blanket. I thought I would only be in hospital for a few hours while they popped my hip back in, so I didn't think to ask him to find any of my chargers for phone or mp3, or a number of other essential items. ANother interesting moment was when Yeti had to roll the Holden back away from me (since I was lying half underneath it and the ambulance man would need access to me. That was an intense test of trust that Yeti & I will not forget in a hurry!)
After 45 minutes, the paramedic arrived and the neighbour went off to fetch his sick child from school which is what he had been heading out to do. The pain was excruciating by now, so the paramedic started pumping drugs into me and getting my story. I must have told this story a thousand times now, which is why I wanted to finally write it down for myself. Having made sure it wasn't something he could deal with, the paramedic then called for the ambulance. That's how it works out here - first you wait for the assessment and then the transport to hospital. The ambulance arrived another 45 minutes later followed by a 45 minute drive to the hospital - so from the moment of injury to the time I arrived at emergency took close to 3 hours.
(Just as an aside - I had some old lady incontinence pads in my drawer left over from last pregnancy. I got Yeti to bring them and used them twice when I was desperate to pee - once on the side of the road before the paramedic got there, and once in emergency. I just shoved one down my pants and it worked perfectly to my immense relief. That is something I am DEFINITELY adding to our first aid box.)
Another 3 hours in emergency, listening to the craziness. They stuck me in a relatively quiet isolation room for infectious patients (possibly because I had full private health insurance - I've been paying the premiums since my first pregnancy because if anything went wrong with the boys we wanted to give them the best treatment without worrying how to pay for it. It turned out to be a good thing as I have definitely reaped the benefits - including having a specialist surgeon called in for me.) During that time I told my story another hundred times... I had all my clothes cut off me (except my bra which I insisted they undo - I wasn't about to lose my ONLY good sports bra lol)... I had the first round of xrays & met the surgeon, who called in his boss, and then at around 6pm they hooked me up to the PCA (patient controlled analgesic - morphine at the touch of a button). Things start to get even more blurry after that, but I do remember having a catheter put in - never a pleasant experience - by a moustached Indian gentleman who was attempting to do it for the first time - this is a teaching hospital after all - but he turned out to be very good and I hardly felt a thing (thank goodness).
Eventually they got me moved to a bed in the ward, and a few hours after that they got some traction on the leg which helped amazingly. I was generally okay so long as I didn't move, but any movement made me scream very loudly. The xrays were particularly ghastly as they had to lift me using the sheet on onto the xray bench. I assure you I hollered loud enough to be heard back at home lol... but they were very forgiving, especially when they saw the xrays and realised what they were dealing with. Generally speaking, I managed to break the worst bone in the body to break and I managed to do it in a particularly nasty way (completely opposite to the normal break pattern)... all just by putting my bodyweight on it!
And so Friday ended in a total blur of pain and drugs.
(TO BE CONTINUED)