Today is Monday, January 25, 2016. Twenty-five days into a new year and my life has already had one year of action packed in. Here’s what is happening, and a brief glance at where 2016 will take DeeScribes.
I spent an enjoyable week at my sister Caroline’s house for Christmas/New Year vacation. It seems like years ago, not just three weeks. I played with puppies, crocheted projects, wrote, and visited with friends and family. It was a perfect week.
Just before leaving my sister’s house, I checked my bank account balance online. I planned to make a few returns and needed to check on my status. I discovered someone had written over $1000 of fraudulent checks.
The fraud caused me to take additional time off work to process the paperwork and fraud protection account changes. I have always had good relationships with my local police officers. Unfortunately, it is not the first time I have been the victim of theft.
At the end of the first week, I began to get sick. An ear and sinus infection kept me home for five days, coughing and congested. Of course, my wheelchair decided this would be a good time to die, so before I could go back to work Wednesday, January 13, I had to get my chair fixed.
With a working chair, I powered through 4 hours in the office before heading home. I am trying a new work schedule which permits me to work part of my day at home so I have access to an accessible rest room. Good thing, since that Wednesday my body decided to surprise me by starting my menstrual cycle. I know I don’t typically share this much personal detail here, but trust me – it’s relevant.
It’s relevant because it is why I used the bathroom with urgency on Wednesday afternoon. Or, at least, I tried to.
Instead, my leg gave out as my Personal Assistant was transferring me onto the commode. She didn’t listen to my commands, and she dropped me.
I heard it crack as my butt hit the floor. My left femur broke in two places.
Imagine the scene – me, half naked on the floor by the commode, bleeding profusely, knee blown the size of a basketball, a whimpering Personal Assistant trying too late to make things better, with the police officer who worked with me for five days to arrest the women who stole from me. Can you see me sobbing on the floor, in a puddle of blood, with the policeman rubbing hair out of my face while we wait for the ambulance? It wasn’t pretty.
It definitely wasn’t pretty as they moved me to a backboard and lifted me to a stretcher. It was downright ugly as I swore in pain while they secured me in the rig.
Competition at the operating rooms meant surgery did not happen until Friday. For 36 hours I lay in agony, anxiety about impending surgery coursing through me. The last time I had “routine” surgery in 2013, I spent four days on life-support in the Intensive Care Unit.
Thankfully, surgery happened on Friday. According to my surgeon, my leg is now held together with (his exact words) “plates, rods, some chicken wire and a little bubble gum.” I don’t know the exact ratio of those components. I’ll do some investigating.
For the past ten days I have slowly started the healing process. My body has been drastically changed and I don’t know what the end result will be. I don’t know where I will come out but I do know these things:
- Orthopedic surgery still hurts worse than any other pain I have ever felt. I forget sometimes, and then things happen to remind me.
- Friends and allies who speak up for you are worth their weight in gold. Once again, I was in a position to require others to have detailed conversations about my heath wishes. We have had these discussions amongst ourselves before, so when emergencies occur they know what I want. I am blessed to have Sandy, Sally, Stephanie and so many others to advocate for me when I am weak.
- Nurses and patient care technicians deserve to earn far more than they make. Especially the ones who answer your call bell at 2:30 AM because your eye is tearing and you can’t reach your face to itch it. And the ones who clean you up after your laxative decides to start working. And the ones who heat the soup your sister makes for you because nothing tastes good. And the ones who have to try to make you comfortable after your urinary tract infection causes you to void with urgency every half an hour. And the ones who listen to you and respect you as an expert on your body.
- Complementary medical treatments need to be funded and supported. The massage I received reduced my leg pain more effectively than the narcotics. And human touch is so essential for healing.
I am waiting to learn where I will go for rehabilitation. I will be non-weightbearing for at least five more weeks according to the doctors. The real work is just beginning. Transferring, driving, working, living arrangements – all of these unknown factors are still to be faced. This injury is a game-changer. There is no doubt about it.
But I am a tough cookie. And I have too many things to do. There are books to write, people to reach, hearts to touch. I am overwhelmed by the love and support given to me these past ten days. I am gathering such great fodder for future work! And I am witnessing countless acts of service and love which make me want to work harder.
To the nurses and doctors at St. Peter’s Hospital, especially McAuley 2, you are rock stars. It has been great to get to know you. I’m going to have fun writing about our times together!
I’ll blog as I am able. Letters and cards from friends have been positive and keep me focused. If you reach out to me and I don’t respond, please try again because I know I am not at 100%.
Thanks for reading, and for sending positive energy my way.