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Archive for March, 2008

I’m Alive!

For what it’s worth, here’s a bit of advice.  Never break your leg.  It really stinks.  For a not-so-quick recap, since I can actually type and think somewhat clearly (finally!) on Feburay 23 I broke my leg at a piano rehearsal I was at with Becky and some of my students.  As we were walking out to the car, I stepped off a curb wrong, twisted my leg, heard a sickening crack, and was down.  I was unable to move even with help, so they ended up calling 911.  The firemen came, splinted my leg, and got me into the car and my friend drive us to the hospital.  They took my straight into a bed in the ER, where the doctor set my leg (my goodness, that hurt!) put it in a temporary cast, and sent me home with a perscription for pain medication and instructions to go to an orthepedic surgeon on Monday.  Here is a picture of one of the x-rays that they took:

brokrn ankle

It was a difficult, painful weekend.  I had a hard time regulating my body temperature, especially after such strenuous events as using the bathroom.  I would shiver uncontrolably, teeth would chatter, and I had a hard time speaking.  Then I would get really hot and sweaty, only to start the cycle all over again.

Monday when we went to the surgeon, I started having the shivering and teeth chattering after the nurse undid my leg for the doctor to look at.  He sent us straight to the hopsital ER, so I could get stabalized, then admitted into the hospital.  I tried to tell him I was fine, and just needed to go home to rest, but he didn’t believe me.  Evidently, he was concerned about blood clots, which are fatal 80% of the time, and I guess I was showing some signs of shock.  So, off we went to the emergency room.

 We got to the emergency room about 3 pm.  It was 8 pm when I was triaged.  Then we waited until midnight before I was taken back to see a doctor.  That was a long wait in a very uncomfortable wheelchair.  I was so thankful we had brought my pain medication!

Finally, at 1 am, they came in, unwrapped my leg, and took me for an ultrasound.  Thankfully, there were no blood clots.  The x-rays weren’t so good, though.  I knew it was bad when the radiologist kept saying “Wow!” when he was developing the x-rays.  I told him I was an overachiever, and if I was going to do something, it would be all the way.  That had him laughing for quite awhile.

Since there were no beds open in the hospital, they rolled me into a hallway.  There were 6 of us lined up there against the wall.  The nurse came over, and was comparing my original x-rays to the ones that they had just taken.  I knew I was in troube when she said they were a lot worse than the original ones from Saturday.  In my trips to the bathroom, I had managed to dislocate even more bones.  So, they had to reset my leg.  That was the worst pain I have ever had in my life.  I was just bawling.  They would adjust my ankle, and stop for a few seconds, only to begin moving things again.  This happend several times, and it was excruciating.  I’m afraid that I didn’t do a good job of relaxing like they kept telling me to.  They did give me some pain medication in my IV before we started.  It wasn’t until it was too late that we realized that that particuar pain medication did not work so well for me.  It made me very drowsy and sleepy, but hardly touched the pain I was having.  The lady in the bed ahead of me told us she couldn’t help but cry herself when they were setting my leg, because she could tell how much it hurt me.

Finally at 6 am they rolled me into a room.  I was pretty impressed because it was there was just one bed.  I thought I would have a roomate, and was glad to have a private room.  I got poked, prodded, and finally settled in.  The doctor said they were going to keep me in the hospital and try to get the swelling down so they could do the surgery on my ankle. 

Wednesday, Feburary 20th they took away food and water privilidges in hopes that I woud be able to have surgery that day.  I was praying so hard that the swelling had receeded enough that they could operate and get me home.  Our prayers were answered, and the doctor deemed my well enough to operate on, and surgery was scheduled for 6 pm that evening.

I have to admit I was pretty nervous about the whole thing.  I am grateful for prayer and the power of the priesthood that sustain us during difficult times.  Lori brought the kids by to say hi, and it was a bit hard trying to hide my fears from them.  I knew everything would be fine, but it’s still hard not to worry.  Well, after a priesthood blessing I was ready to go to the operating room.

I don’t like operating rooms at all.  It was so cold and rather scary.  The doctors and nurses were wonderful, though.  One nurse held my hand and another male nurse held me around the shoulders when the anestesiologist put a shot in my back.  I remember them laying me down on the table, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the revocery area.  The nurse there was amazing as well.  Her daughter went to school at Rhodes Jr. High, where I taught 8 years ago.  There was another nurse with the cutest Austrian accent.  They said the surgery went well, and as soon as they were able I was wheeled back up to my room.

The surgery was supposed to take 90 minutes.  There was a lot more damage than the x-rays showed, though, and it took close to 2 and 1/2 hours.  Everything went well, though.  Here are some pictures of what my ankle looked like after Dr. Gunzy was done with it.

My Leg 2

My Leg 1

Thursday evening I was able to go home.  I was so glad to be there, and thankful for Lori and Corey for taking care of the kids during the hospital stay.  The weekend was very, very difficult.  I was horribly constipated from the pain medications, and on Sunday morning when I finally managed to get that taken care of, I started throwing up.  My insides felt like they were doing battle with some fierce enemy, and it sure didn’t feel good.  Finally, Sunday afternoon my body started to calm down and I was able to rest.

I was pretty much bedridden for the next two weeks.  I was in a temporary cast that would go down with the swelling.  Mom and Dad had borrowed a wheelchair from a family in their ward.  As much as I hated using it, it really helped.  The ward continued to bring in dinners helped the family with the children after school.  Some days were better than others, but with lots of help we got through it. 

Two weeks after I was released from the hospital, I had another appointment with my doctor.  They took out the staples, took x-rays, and then the Doctor took a look at me.  He flexed my foot to a 90 degree angle, and that sure did hurt!  Then they put me in a hard cast.  I picked purple because it is my favorite color, and nice and Spring-like.  I have that on for 6 weeks.  Friday, April 25th at 8:35 I get it taken off.  It will be replaced with a stylish (not!) Darth-Vader like boot, and I begin physical therapy.  The Doctor said it will be a good 6 month recovery.

I am thankful now that the worst is over.  I have learned the hard way to let people serve me.  I needed help doing everything for the first couple of weeks.  It was a huge milestone when I could use the bathroom by myself, and I eventually could even shower on my own.  Paul has been the most wonderful, amazing man though all of this.  He was so gentle and could get me leg in a comfortable position when I was in so much pain.  He stayed by my side through the hospital stay.  He has bravely taken the role of dad, mom, and caretaker.  He has shown such great love toward me.  The family has been incredible.  I have had so much help with the children, laundry has been done, dishes washed, kids taken to various lessons and activities, and so much more.  Corey and Lori took care of the kids while we were in the hospital.  Mom came over every morning for several weeks to get help Paul get the kids ready for school.  She came every day to serve dinner to the kids and me, and she and Dad came over every evening after the kids were in bed to make sure everything was ready for school the next day.  Gary and Susan met the kids at the bus stop after school and stated for a few hours while I slept.  The ward has also been a huge help.  We had dinners every day for an entire month.  Sisters came over after school to help with the kids and tidy up the house.  I had 4 piano students whose parents paid me for the month of March, even though I couldn’t teach for 4 weeks.  Judy, Becky’s piano teacher, worked with 3 of my students who are in a piano competition in April since I was unable to.  The generosity people showed was astounding. 

I have to admit that it is so much easier being the giver of service than the reciepent.  It was so hard having to have people do the things that I usually take care of.  It was a good lesson to learn, though, and the Lord made it so I had no choice in the matter.  How grateful I am for people’s kindness and love, and I am so thankful that this is a temporary ailment. 

I have thought much of my Grandma Evans.  When my dad was growing up, my grandma was in the hospital an avarage of 6 months every year and bedridden in full body casts much of the time when she was home.  My grandpa had passed away and she had 4 children to raise.  This fiercly independent woman had to rely on her family and the church members for help.  If she could happily endure her trials, I can certainly get through this. 

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