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Carin : A beautiful day hiking
Diary entry posted Tue 3:28pm 4 August 2009

On July 3rd was hiking with my beagle in the hills near San Jose. It was a fun 4-mile hike at the beginning of a holiday weekend.

Was almost done with the hike (about 0.5 miles from the end), going downhill on a pebbly trail. Started skidding on the pebbles, falling, twisting... and saw immediately my leg (about 2" above the ankle) was pointing the wrong way, so I knew it was bad.

Luckily my cell phone worked (often does not in the hills), called 911, and they stayed on the phone with me until the paramedics hiked up.

Two teenage boy hikers came by while I was waiting, waited near me, and one of them hiked down to greet the paramedics. They graciously offered to take care of my dog until someone could fetch her.

Paramedics fixed me up with a splint and an IV with morphine, and then slowly carried me down halfway down the trail. I was on this plastic tarp looking thing, with three paramedics on either side of me. As they negotiated the narrow trail, they kept jostling into me and my bad leg. Halfway down the trail, they loaded me into a waiting ATV, with the splint and IV line and two paramedics, the rest of them trudging behind. At some point, the ATV almost turned over sideways while negotiating a turn! I started sliding out the back, bad foot first towards the ground – luckily the walking paramedics jumped in and stopped my slide. Deep breaths for all, discussed what to do, the ATV was righted, and off we went again. At the bottom of the trail, an ambulance! An ambulance! On pavement! All in all, took about an hour from when I called.

For some reason was fixated on two trivial things: 1. I changed over to a stupid High Deductible health insurance plan on July 1st - so that meant I was stuck for a $3,000 deductible already! 2. I lost my baseball hat in the fall, so my hair was hat hair and going all over the place (not to mention that I was grimy and sweaty from hiking, and also falling into the brush)

Get to the hospital, ushered straight in to the ER. Random ER workers looking at my dislocated leg like it was a novelty. XRays, poking, prodding, more morphine. The verdict: broke both bones in the lower leg (tibia and fibula), countless ligaments, and dislocated it. Now waiting, waiting, waiting in a drug haze and in pain, for the OS to show up (it was the beginning of the July 4th holiday weekend), and also had to wait several hours to operate all because I ate 1 banana at 11am on my hike, boo! Asked constantly about my pain, from 1-10. 10! 9! 10! What answer do they want to hear so that they will stop pestering me?

While waiting, they decided to put me under briefly to put the dislocated leg back into place. They were absolutely gleeful about this, inviting ER workers “to observe”, and kept talking about “it’s that same drug Michael Jackson had!” (propofol) When I woke up, people are standing around me, bright eyed, like they saw something really, really cool.

Had surgery that night, they put in a plate and pins, looks like a door hinge on the XRAY. My dad flew up. Discharged the next night, spent a week at my house, which by the way, is spectacularly bad for crutches (several stairs, nothing on the same level). So a week later we drove down to my dad's house in Southern California because he has a one story.

I think I jinxed myself. Two days before the accident, went out for drinks with a friend who broke her tib/fib a year ago, and is now gingerly walking. I remember thinking as I skip back to my car, so glad I don’t have a broken leg – I can go hiking and run around! And the next night, “Rear Window” was on. That’s the one where Jimmy Stewart has a broken leg, and is trapped in his apartment all day, staring out the… rear window. So I had broken legs on my mind! Incidentally, turns out I had the same surgeon as my friend, and a similar injury initially (she went on to have other issues and a rocky healing process)

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 Tue 3:28pm 4 August 2009
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