8/24/2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

This morning, the doodle and I packed ourselves (and the dog) into the car and headed up to my mom's for the morning. We made a quick stop at the vet for a nail trim and then headed on that way. When we got there, we helped pull some weeds in the back yard, then played on the play set that mom and dad have for the kiddo, then went inside. I made lunch while the doodle ran about inside with my mom. My sister was busily sorting and cleaning shelves in their garage in her continued effort to help mom get a bit more organized.

After lunch, mom and the doodle and I continued playing and my sister went back to work. About twenty minutes later there was a frantic ringing of the doorbell and knocking at the door followed by more frantic ringing. I made my way to the door and there was a man who I'd never seen gesturing to the lawn where my sister lay prostrate.

"You need to call an ambulance," he said.

And running back inside for the phone, that's just what I did. Taking the portable with me, I hurried down the lawn to my sister, talking to the dispatcher and trying to ascertain exactly what was going on about two seconds ahead of the questions that I knew were coming.

Was there blood? Not that I could see.
Is she conscious? Given the shrieks of pain emanating from her, I went with yes.
What happened? This was trickier, but between garbled pain-filled gasps and a survey of the scene, I went with a fall and inability to move her legs.

The dispatcher hung up. I went to get a blanket and pillow and thanked the nice man who stopped his car and came to ring the bell (Seriously, would most people do this? I don't think so. I wish I could think so, but really, I don't think they would.) He drove off and I sat with her waiting for the ambulance, while the doodle and mom stood inside the house (mom is still having knee pain post-chemo and really, what good were more people, one of them 2, hovering around going to be? None that I could discern.) The ambulance arrived. They nice firemen cut off her shoes and socks, splinted her feet and shins in blankets and ace bandages, loaded her onto a gurney, and we were off. (Writing it, it sounds like it went quickly. In reality, it was a slow, laborious process, not the least because she hurt so much that even the gentle pressure of the shears against her foot as they snipped at the shoes had her writhing in agony. It's best to just block the screams of the jostling onto the gurney and the bouncing down the roads in the ambulance to the hospital from one's mind.)

As we crept down the road to the hospital, the fireman driving said, "If you ever see an ambulance going slowly, it's because there's someone in serious pain in the back. It's not much, but it's the best we can do to try and minimize the bumps." It makes sense...I never would've said the road from mom's to the hospital was that bumpy. Ambulances are clearly not built for smooth rides.

We waited about an hour at the ER before they took her to X-Ray. There had been various people in and out, one bringing the first of the pain meds about 10 minutes before her trip to X-Ray. I tried to keep her entertained and focused on something other than her feet. Somehow she didn't see the humor in my rendition of "Dem Bones" that I did. (Kidding. Mostly. I didn't sing it...I just suggested it might be appropriate.)

When she got back from X-Ray, there was more waiting and more people trying to get more information about her and my brother-in-law that I just didn't know. (Raise your hand if you know your brother-in-law's social security number. Anyone? Birthdate including year? Anyone? Yeah, me either. On the positive side, I made him 2 years younger than he actually is. Sadly we had to fix it, so it was only a brief de-aging.)

Enter the podiatrists. First off, from a purely female perspective: Yum! (Had to get it out of my system, but gosh, the main one was a looker.) The two of them looked almost giddy to be there, which pretty much meant there was no good news to be had for my sister's feet. The main dude explained that there were "several serious fractures" in her left foot and then went on to describe where they were, demonstrating on his hand. Frankly, I got lost with most of it and the parts I do remember I'm not sure I can spell - but essentially 3 of the metatarsal bones are fractured and displaced (which means that they're not still in alignment with where they're meant to be, but that they've moved out of that alignment to cause more mayhem) and one other bone is also fractured. And some of them are compressed fractures - and yeah, that looks like what it sounds like. The X-Ray is not for the squeamish. They weren't sure about the right foot, so they ordered a CT. Then he mentioned that the left foot was definitely going to need surgery "with hardware". So my sister is one step closer to being the bionic woman (she already has a plate and screws in her wrist, because when she breaks a bone, she goes all out.) But she can't have the surgery for a week to 14 days because the swelling needs to go down or bad things could happen.

She asked me for her glasses back to look at the X-Ray with the podiatrists and when they had left, she handed them to me and asked me to clean them. "There's a glasses cloth in my purse," she added. "Do you have the cleaning spray?" "Not with me." "I think I have some in my purse." So I grabbed the spray bottle from my purse and liberally dosed each lens. Curious at the smell of coconut that was permeating the room, I rubbed vigorously at the glasses and handed them back. "Streaky!" she squealed and handed them back. Confused, I looked at the spray bottle and dissolved into a fit of laughter that just bordered on hysterical. (Seriously, it was good I didn't need the bathroom at that point, cause I was laughing that hard.) The groomer likes to give out samples of the "spray and clean" stuff for dog coats. And the last time we were there for Cassi, the sample was coconut. So...her glasses had a nice healthy shine and several vitamins and essential oils. If only glasses needed such things. I found the right spray bottle and cleaned again - this time successfully - and made a mental note to take the other bottle out of my purse. Which I still need to do.

Wait. Then wait some more. More pain meds (now that they were sure she wasn't just malingering), some water (since they were now sure she wasn't going to do surgery today). Some whining that ERs have very little cell signal (probably on purpose, I get that). Some games on her iPhone. And then, finally, off to the CT. As they wheeled her out, my brother-in-law arrived so we entertained ourselves while they did more radiation exposure for her. Then when she was back in the room, the three of us joked about how happy she was that her pain was "down to a 7" instead of the 10++++ that it was when she got there. ("Worse than my kidney stones" was how she first described it. So yeah. Ow.)

Then the case manager stopped by to discuss the plan for how we would get her home and take care of her. We had a plan. It sounded good. She checked it off. And Robert Burns laughed from deep within his grave.

Enter the podiatrists. Again. Still giddy. My sister says, "Any good news?" And there was utter silence for several heartbeats. Uh oh. Of course, being the overachiever that she is, she has also fractured her right foot. These are, at least, not displaced. (Yay?) So once that cast dries she can put "some minor" weight on it to help with transferring from bed to wheel chair etc. Provided, of course, that it doesn't hurt too much.

Then there was more waiting for them to go get the compression splints (to help get the swelling down) and so forth, then more discussion of the Lovenox that she'll need to be on until she's back on her feet. (It comes in this box that's all happy and shrink wrapped that proudly declares "Lovenox at home!...DVD inside!" and it just reeks of something that needs to star Troy McClure.

Since my brother-in-law was there, I had my dad come pick me up and I went back to their house to gather her things and get her set up to go home. Then the doodle and I packed up (he had an awesome day at Mimi's house, so at least someone enjoyed their day) and headed home, following my sister and brother-in-law.

At her house, she tried to get out of the car and into the wheel chair. Yeah. Um. No. And so she ended up laying on the driveway with her head propped on some towels while I took the kiddo home and set Tim and the "Do Not Eat" dolly over to try and help my brother-in-law get her in the house and settled. That was two and a half hours ago and he's not home yet, so I'm not sure what's going on at this point. But I do know one thing...it's going to be a long time before my sister tries to take the recycling to the curb again.

4 comments:

Gwynne said...

That is downright frightening!! Poor Lynellen!! My uncle snapped the ligaments on both knees walking across some wet grass and ended up in a nursing home for awhile. He sold his Harley shortly after that figuring if he could do that much damage walking across the lawn he probably didn't need to tempt fate further by riding a motorcycle. You just never know. Makes raising a toddler even more scary too!

Lynellen said...

excellent description of my day as far as you were present. i'll tell you about the hilarity that ensued getting me into the house from the driveway, and up onto the couch.

michellewillingham said...

Yikes! So sorry to hear about it. Glad the man was able to ring your doorbell and tell you about it.

beth said...

Yikes, Gwynne - sounds like a good plan to forgo the motorcycle!

Lyn - I heard some from Tim, but yeah - fun times.

Michelle, it was a very, very good thing!