Saturday, March 1, 2008

So ends a brevet season......

This is an ankle fair readers. It is not my ankle but my wife's. There are several things wrong with this picture. A broken tibia, fibula, and a dislocated ankle not to mention a bone in serious risk of poking through the skin. The doctor and radiologists were quite impressed. For my wife this meant re-constructive surgery on her ankle, a hospital stay of 4 days (of course the first 13 hours of that were spent in the emergency room not counting the Original emergency room visit of last Saturday).

It all started Saturday, my wife was at a Piano Festival thingy for her students at Mountain View high school. She was walking to the parking lot when suddenly she was attacked by a giant 4" curb. No this is not like Spinal Tap where the guy wants an 18 foot tall stonehenge monument descending onto the stage and he accidentally writes 18" on the napkin. It was a 4" curb that she didn't see and she landed wrong and fell. So my friends, even being a piano teacher can be a dangerous job. They rushed her over to Mesa General hospital and I met her there after we got the kids taken care of. I usually faint anytime I am near medical equipment but I have to say after the last week I no longer have that problem and in fact I was actually able to give my wife her blood thinning injection last night without toppling over. She stayed at home Saturday and Sunday in an immense amount of pain since the doctors at Mesa General underestimated the injury. We went into the Orthopedic Surgeon's office on Monday and D'Net was in so much pain when they pulled the cast off that she hyperventilated and shivered uncontrollably. The surgeon feared a blood clot (the worst result of which is death so he was a bit concerned) and since the swelling had not subsided a bit he sent us straight to the emergency room where we sat for a long time. We got there at 3 pm we got into the Triage nurse at 7pm and finally got in to see the doctor just after midnight. It was the busiest their emergency room had been in over a year. After an ultrasound to check for blood clots (none thankfully), it was off to more x-rays. From a hall bed (hospital was in code purple which means there are more patients than beds and the workers need to kick anyone that is even close to being able to leave out, they would have several more code purple events that week) they decided to re-set the ankle. Now I don't know how painful your injuries in the past have been but people with broken ankles who talked to my wife said it is more painful than childbirth (they were women of course,I suppose that is important to clarify that). I held her hand and had to watch her endure 5 minutes of hell. In fact, it was so bad that the lady in the next hall bed down started crying. Most people with broken legs get them set and it is over, my wife got it set once, then had 3 days of immense pain (every time she moved she said she could feel the bones moving around), followed by another setting. The second set of x-rays showed that the ankle had in fact gotten worse despite three days of bed rest only getting up to use the restroom and the leg being elevated and iced during that time. Well, we finally got to a room around 6:30 in the morning just as the sun came up. I have decided Hospitals are the worst places to stay if you want rest. Every fifteen minutes someone is coming in to check something. Her doctor checked in on Tuesday and said they needed to wait for the swelling to go down to operate otherwise the skin wouldn't hold the sutures without ripping. Well, we were hoping and praying really hard the swelling would go down enough in the next 24 hours. Wednesday just before he pulled the splint off he said that if it hadn't gone down she would need to go home for 10 days and wait for it to go down. Fortunately when he checked it he said it was good enough and that she would go into surgery at 6 PM. An operation that typically takes 60 -120 minutes and that the surgeon expected to take 90 stretched into 2 hours and 30 minutes. Turns out the x-rays only showed some of the damage. Her post-operation x-ray looked like a home improvement project gone wrong with all the screws and the plate showing up quite clearly. The doctor also said there was excessive ligament and tendon damage.

Since she was able to get her pain under control the next day and her condition looked good they sent her home Thursday night. I have been by her side all of those except for about 5 hours spent at home showering and checking in with work (I was able to do an amazing amount of work from the public computer at the hospital and the phone in the room though). She will be bedridden for awhile but at least she is mobile enough to use the restroom. Fortunately between our friends we have a wheelchair, crutches, and a walker. It will be awhile before she uses the crutches but the walker and the wheelchair are lifesavers.

Her outlook- she has 6 months of rehab ahead of her. Over half of those spent in a cast and some additional spent in a walking boot. That's a lot of damage for a tiny curb. Just goes to show even just plain old walking can create as much carnage as going down at 20+ if not more. Yesterday I built ramps for the front and side doors.

I didn't do much work last week and of course not much cycling. My in-laws are coming over this morning to allow me to get out for a quick 30 miles. At this point I can't see me taking out the Saturdays, much less getting in enough training to do the 400k or 600k in the next 2 months so I am going to have to satisfy my brevet cravings with permanents this summer (mostly done in the high country I think, Mike Sturgill has some, and ones starting in the desert I might be able to finagle riding at night for the start until the elevation climbs up to more temperate climates). It sucks but sometimes life rains on our brevet and though I love Randonneuring and cycling, I love my wife far more. So, I will satisfy myself with shorter rides for now and hopefully I can build up again to some longer rides in May and the rest of the summer.

1 comment:

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Wishing you and your wife the Best, Paul-- really shocked that this happened to you guys...