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Betty_B : The emergency room and day 1
Diary entry posted Sat 6:21am 21 March 2015

I've been lazy about documenting this which is nonsense since I've been immobile for 10 weeks now, but I'm gonna try to pick up my slack now!

I consider myself a lucky gal. I never went to the emergency room for an injury until I was 27 years old (on Christmas Day, just under a year before my BL) but for the second time in my life, here I was. This time, I was at an unfamiliar hospital and I was in shock from what had just happened to me. The first time, I had simply caught my foot on something and sliced my toe open all the way to the bone which was scary but nothing like rolling twice in your vehicle and climbing out the back passenger side window which was now the top of the vehicle.

I slid out of the car and into a wheelchair and insisted on wheeling myself in. After a series of questions and a breathalyzer (since it was a car accident - I passed, blowing 0.00) I changed into a gown and wheeled into an exam room. They must have asked me hundreds of questions. A bit later, a woman came in and took tons of xrays while I cried every time I moved. At this point, I'm expecting closed reduction and a cast. After all, when you break your leg, they take x Rays, put it back in place, cast it, and you spend a few weeks on crutches. Right?

WRONG!

A very nice doctor comes in and says, "do you have a camera?"
"A camera? What? No?"
"I mean do you have like a camera phone, I want you to see this."
"My phone? Okay... Yeah." I dig it out and pull up my camera. He disappears for about 2 minutes and comes back with a picture of the xray screen.

He used zero technical terms so I'll be adding them in parentheses to make it more clear what I was looking at.

"See this bone here? (Fibula) it's splintered off right here right above that little knob. (Lateral malleolus) And this here (tibia) has a little crack in it too right here (along the line of the medial malleolus) See this gap? (Medial clear space) In an intact structure, it should be about 4mm, but from this picture I'd say it's at least 14... In order for your ankle to look like this, you had to have busted all of the ligaments in your ankle so thats why you couldn't stand up. Honestly, you're extremely lucky this bone right here (tib, medial malleolus area) didn't come through the skin. The break isn't too bad on that side, but the dislocation is not pretty. It's not going to be a comfortable visit for you."
*he calls a nurse in and gives her a piece of paper*

"So am I getting a nice fancy cast?" I say with an uncomfortable laugh.

With a competitively more uncomfortable laugh, he tells me, "well, sweetie, unfortunately it can't be cast because it's going to continue to swell and if we cast it, it could cut off your circulation and you could lose your leg... And I'm sorry to have to break the news, but you need surgery. We don't have an OS in house at this hour and actually ours just left on vacation and our on call comes back from his on Monday... But your swelling is too bad to do surgery right now anyway. It's gonna take a plate and some pins or screws to get you put back together I'm afraid. You'll need to do that within 10 days so you're going to need to call and find an orthopedist on Monday." (This is about 5 am on a Saturday morning)
*while he's talking, a nurse comes back and tries to shove an IV in my hand and fails. Tries again and fails. Calls another nurse, laughing, she comes in, tries, and fails. My veins keep rolling. They're both laughing. I'm not so much. They finally get one in (and the top of my right hand was black for a week) and give me a dose of something, telling me I will feel much better soon (found out later it was fentanyl - never felt any better though)*

I sit there alone crying for awhile until two nurses come in with a bunch of stuff and tell me to roll on my stomach with my ankle bent at a 90 angle which I did without much trouble although my ankle felt like it was dangling. Oh how I wish I was prepared for what came next.

The doctot came back in and told me he was going to push my ankle as close to proper alignment as possible and splint it until I could see an orthopedist. As he went to work, I began to scream. The pain was unreal. I found out later my dad had to go outside because he could hear me screaming and it was too hard to listen to. After what seemed like an hour, I could feel them putting something on my leg and I opened my big fat mouth and said, "it actually feels a little better being in place and a little more stable." The doctor laughed that uncomfortable laugh once again and said, "honey, I'm sorry. I wish I were done." Me too, doctor, me too. So after what seemed like an hour longer, they got me all splinted up and sent the lady back in for xrays. I don't remember much about what happened after that other than changing back into my clothes, getting discharge instructions and a pain med prescription, a pair of crutches and instructions on how to use them properly, and feeling tons of extreme pain. I was released at daybreak and we headed home with strict orders of bed rest 23 hours a day, only getting up for meals and bathroom breaks, and lots of icing and elevating.

A fun tidbit for you. I got home and couldn't manage the crutches so I crawled inside and got as comfortable as I could on the sofa, praying for a couple hours of sleep before my kids got up when I heard someone pounding on my front door. I opened it to find 2 sheriffs looking for me. The sheriff in the next county over (I live literally a half mile from the county line and wrecked in the other county) had found my car and tons of blood in the snow but couldn't find me. They thought I was pinned under the car and couldn't find me at any hospitals and wanted to make sure I was okay. I told them I had broken my leg but was okay but not sure where the blood came from (I later found a deep, gnarly cut in my hand presumably from broken glass - a lot of blood for a fingertip!) and they were relieved. I had to call the other county sheriff and speak to them so they could close their report. I didn't get ANY pain relief from about 5 am until 3 PM that afternoon and it was literal hell.

I was really upset and couldn't even tell my friends what had happened - I told one who I had been hanging out with and another who I'd talked to via text before leaving that I'd let him know when I was home safe. My next text was "oh my god I rolled my car I'm so *f word*" and told him what happened the next day but I kept it a secret from almost everyone else I knew. I was embarassed and depressed and didn't want to explain it to people.

I intended to cover my insurance fiasco, finding an orthopedist, and my first appointment here but I've rambled on for so long. Maybe I'll write it up after some rest.



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 Sat 6:21am 21 March 2015
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