When my husband dove off the top step, did a graceful mid-air pirouette and landed on the ground with a thunk in the summer of 2008 I cried, “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” he said, “but I’ve broken my leg.” And so he had, with gruesome efficiency.
Thus I discovered he has hidden talents as a diagnostician. When he falls he can immediately identify which of his 206 bones he has broken. Up until last Monday morning his tally was; a skull fracture, 11 bones in tibia/fibula/ankle, collarbone, arm just below the shoulder, arm just above the elbow, arm just below the elbow. When he fell and broke his arm below the elbow a few years back he ignored it until he’d brought in a wagon load of garden supplies.
When I retired shortly after midnight last Monday am (i.e. a week ago) Himself was sawing logs in his bed, having turned in about 7:00 pm. I was so proud. (I’m trying to train myself to go to bed earlier than 2:00-3:00.) I lay there sleepless for a while, my body a bit puzzled over being in bed quite so early. The last time I looked at the bedside clock it read 1:00, but then I dozed off.
At 1:30 I was awakened by a huge crash. I lay there a couple of minutes, trying to figure out what it could possibly have been. Our upstairs neighbours dropping their sofa (or garden shed?). A bomb going off in the parkade two floors down, two cars colliding in the visitor’s lot out front? I half expected the fire alarm to start shrieking, and when it didn't I finally got up to see if I could see what he noise was.
As soon as I walked into the kitchen I found “the bomb”, in the form of my husband, on the floor. “What are you doing down there,” I asked (rather stupidly in retrospect).
Tony looked at me in exasperation. “I fell down,” he said. “I’m fine, but I think I’ve cracked my hip.” He was convinced he could get up by himself. How I’m not sure, as he can’t get up from the floor when he isn’t hurt, let alone when he is. I called 911. Two nice young EMTs arrived, picked him off the floor, got him on a gurney, waited while I changed from my PJs to jeans and a shirt, got on my coat and shoes and away we went.
By 2:00 am we were in the Emergency Dept. of our nearby hospital. Over the next 15 hours he was examined in numerous ways, by a cadre of physicians from four different disciplines. All assured me behind hooded eyes that they knew “everything there is to know” about Tony's extremely rare disease. Two series of x-rays, a couple of CT Scans and three Orthopaedic consults later it was determined he needed surgery to mend his hip and femur, which were broken not across but split down the middle. He needed a long plate and screws to stabilize the split.
His surgery was Tuesday afternoon, and he’s made a slow but reasonable recovery since. The morphine they’ve been giving him for pain (he has had a LOT of pain) make him have some highly creative delusions, but thankfully cheerful and pleasant ones which he finds amusing (and can’t believe they aren’t real). For example he swears the bed control/call button projects Google maps and street view, cartoons, and illustrations of his rehab plans onto a screen on the wall.
He’s been moved to a private room because he talks in his sleep non-stop and keeps his roomies awake. (Over the years I’ve learned to sleep through the running narrative.) His new room has a huge window which looks across the courtyard to another wing of the hospital. So another of his delusions was that one of the nurses was hanging off the top of that wing at 3:00 am decorating it for Christmas.
"They sure get excited about Christmas around here," he said. In the last couple of days the nurses have hung a garland over the door of every room in the unit, and put trees and decorations all over the unit. They really have put a lot of work into making it look really nice and seasonal. I guess that had him thinking about nurses hanging in climbing gear, decorating the side of a five-story building.
He’s already up doing a few minutes of rehab a couple of times a day, and though no one is promising anything I’m hoping he will be home in time for Christmas. His care has been wonderful. The unit he’s in has 14 rooms, 10 of which have four beds, the other four are private rooms, so 44 beds, not all full, three nursing stations, each with three nurses and an aide. There’s also a nurse practitioner and a Rehab Team consisting of a physician, a rehab specialist nurse and two physiotherapists.
The other thing he has is a couple of unhappy cats at home, especially Hobbes, who is a Daddy’s boy. They want their they Daddy back, Daddy back, Daddy back.
Me too fellas. Me too.