Saturday, June 23, 2007

You Can't Unbreak an Egg

We had such a pleasant week - till Thursday night. It was hot, but not oppressively so. Wednesday we'd taken opportunity to use the portable washing machine I bought some time ago to wash the smaller items of clothing, and we went to town to pick up the food dehydrator I'd ordered the week before.

I picked some cherries, pitted and sliced them and dried them overnight. These will be lovely on cereal on a cold January morning. Late Thursday afternoon I decided to dry another couple of pounds of cherries, and Tony helped by spreading them on the dehydrator trays. They have to go skin side down, which is not hard, but is fiddly. While I pitted and sliced, he loaded the trays. For some reason it was "Broadway Tunes" day, so we regaled Salvador with our version of the old Barbra Streisand hit, "Second Hand Rose"....

...even our pee-ah-no in the pahhh-lah
Father bought for ten cents on the dollll-aaahhh...

When the trays were filled Tony said he'd put the top on them and start the dehydrator, which was sitting on the table just outside the door.

I said, "You go out, I'll hand the trays to you,"

"Nah," he answered, "they're light, it'll be ....."


And he was lying on the ground outside, trays in every direction.

I said, "Are you alright?"

"Yes," he said, "but I've broken my leg."

And he had. Oh boy. I just froze up. I absolutely froze.

Neighbours ran from every direction. Thank God the guy across from us (Don) is an EMT. He told me to get a blanket, a couple of pillows, and some ice. I just stood there like a lump. I think he said it three times before I was even able to move. By then our neighbour Stacy had run home and gotten a large bag of frozen peas from her freezer which they put that on the leg.

Someone dialed 911 and someone else ran down to the entrance to direct the ambulance. They propped his leg, wrapped him up. He was talking and even joking, but he didn't look good. I just stood there. I couldn't remember where his medical records were, or where his meds list was. I finally got the case he keeps his meds in, took out his meds and put his shoes in it (??) and took that to the hospital. Did I say I was a little shell-shocked?

The ambulance arrived within four minutes, they loaded him onto a clam shell frame, a small amount of screaming involved there. They gave him nitrous oxide before they moved him, which helped ease his pain but it's a bumpy four minute ride.

Once in the local hospital they doped him with morphine, x-rayed him, and realized that this was too complex a break to be fixed in this hospital. Arrangements were made to transfer him to Penticton Hospital, about 45 minutes away, in the morning.

I went home at 1:00 am, had a shower, went to bed, couldn't sleep for worrying about him, so got up and went back to the hospital. They had transfered him to a bed in the ward, and told me to go home and come back at 7:00.

After an entire hour and half of sleep I was up and went back to the hospital. They arrived to move him within about 10 minutes and I followed the ambulance to Penticton.

These hospitals have the most wonderful staff. The doctors are human beings who joke around, speak compassionately, and give the impression that they actually care about their patients. The Orthopedic Surgeon was waiting when we arrived in the ER, and spent a good hour with us. The Internist spent an hour with us at the bedside in the ward, the Anesthetist came by for a good chat. Everyone was extremely supportive and friendly.

It was late in the day (Friday) by the time they had all the decisions made, but they wheeled him away at 6:45 pm and he was in surgery until almost 11:00 pm. They called as soon as he was out of surgery to say he'd come through it fine, and was doing well.

The surgeon showed me the x-rays they took in the OR when we were in visiting today. He said the breaks were even more complicated than they had first believed. He broke his tibia (larger bone in the lower leg) in two places, with one of the breaks greatly displaced, almost came through the skin. It also had a series of spiral fractures running the length of the bone. They inserted a rod down the centre of the bone and put two screws top and bottom. The smaller bone, the fibula, was broken into four pieces, and required plating to repair.

He looked a bit pale today but his pain level was considerably reduced from yesterday. Ian arrived from Calgary late last night and we went to Penticton this morning. Tony was eating lunch when we arrived, so he didn't break his appetite. He was quite tired and drifted off to sleep any time the conversation lagged. We left to go get some needed supplies and let him sleep for an hour.

They were talking about sending him home tomorrow but he couldn't get inside if he came home. He'll be on a walking frame and crutches for weeks, if not months, and there's no way to get him up that step ladder on crutches. Ian will begin building steps and a deck tomorrow. With hand rails.

Poor Tony, but it's his first broken bone, if you don't count a fractured skull. Hopefully he will never do this again!


SMM said...

Oh my word!

Give him my best wishes to a speedy recovery.

Susan said...

Oh poor Tony.
I hope he feels better soon. What a dreadful injury!

char said...

I'm so sorry about the break - it sounds terrible. I know how nasty injuries are, so my thoughts are with you all for a speedy (and straightforward!) recovery.