Sunday, July 22, 2012

Healing

Life since I broke my wrist has gone from sucking hard to almost normal very quickly, and for that I am grateful.

So for those of you wanting to know what I did... I fell off my step at step-aerobics. I'd missed the last couple classes because our schedule has been all messed up lately and I felt it was really important that I go that night. I wanted to turn and run the other way when I came in that night and saw it was the Wednesday night instructor and not the Tuesday night instructor. I really, really don't like the Wednesday night instructor's style and honestly would not have stayed if I hadn't have missed the last couple of classes. I won't go into the particulars of exactly how/why I fell off (you'd have to be a step junkie to follow) but basically something twisted in my left foot during a move causing me to fall and I tried to break my fall with my right hand. I felt something *snap* and then looked at my arm and immediately knew that I had messed things up big time.

But beyond the initial awfulness of a very broken wrist, things went well. Michael was up in the nursery and the teachers there said they would watch him while I went to the ER. And Michael is very comfortable with those teachers, so I felt really comfortable leaving him there. The aerobics instructor took me to the ER (which is, handily, pretty much across the street). And the golden rule of the ER is (generally) "Whoever looks the worst, gets to go back the fastest." So they quickly brought me a wheel chair (which was great because my foot was hurting a ton too). I got and x-ray and a bed. And my husband arrived shortly after that.

A girl that works out at the Y and recognized me started my IV. I got some pain meds. And I hadn't been crying or really upset this whole time, but once I got the pain meds I started crying. Since I didn't have to focus on getting through the pain, my mind went to all the things that this broken wrist was going to screw up... playing with Michael, the two remaining swim lessons that we had to go to that week, working out, sewing projects, trips I had planned in the near future, but most of all, nursing.

Michael still nursed before nap and bedtime and we were getting very close to that ending. So close that I had actually been calling photographers just the day before to have a nursing session photographed. I just wanted the photos for myself to remember the sweetness of that time. Cuddling, him falling off to sleep, the beautiful innocence of my baby before he grows up anymore. Photos to have in case I never have another baby to nurse. Nevermind.

After awhile the orthopedist came in. He was going to have me sedated and set 'reduce' my wrist in the OR but a ruptured intestine jumped me inline. He assured me that he could numb me really well and reduce it with me awake, or I could wait until about 10pm for the OR. I fell about 5:45pm, so this was a while to wait, but my wrist was REALLY messed up and my whole arm hurt a lot, so I didn't think I would handle the trauma of being awake to have it reduced very well and opted to wait. My orthopedist assured me I could have all the pain meds I wanted while I waited and then left.

DH had left by this time to take Michael home and put him to bed. I was all alone for quite awhile, but that was fine because I was nodding off. But about 9pm my endorphins had worn off as well as my pain meds and I was hurting. I was all alone and pressed my call button for the first time. Finally someone came on over the intercom and asked me what I needed. Crying from the pain for the first time, I said I hurt and needed help. No one came.

So I pushed the button again, and cried for help again. Finally some girls came to move me to a closer room (I had been in the back all alone and they were basically forgetting about me back there). When I got there a male nurse came in and told me that I 'can't have pain meds every 5 mins' and I laid into him. It had been AT LEAST 1 hour since I'd had anything, probably 1.5hrs and I accused him of not having looked at my chart, then I removed the little towel I had covering the HORROR that was my wrist and told him not to accuse me of being some drug-seeking pansy. I was so proud of myself for giving it to someone that deserved it. I reported him later. No nurse should chastise a patient in pain asking for meds like that.

The unfortunate thing was that pain meds weren't working for more than a couple of minutes and I was rightback in pain again. But now because of asshole-nurse, I was afraid to ask for pain meds. I breathed deep and tried to manage the pain. Finally, at a little after 10pm the took me up for my reduction. I've never looked forward to anesthesia so much in my life.

It took almost 2.5 hours to reduce and cast my arm. I think I'm really glad that I waited for the OR. After I woke up my orthopedist said to me that I wasn't the worst wrist he had ever seen, but there aren't a whole lot of wrist he would have stayed up to midnight for, if that gives you an idea of what I was dealing with. I had a full 90-degree cast hung up to help support it. Although I was all strung up, I was still fine to get up and go to the bathroom, so at least I was left with some dignity.

Would it have killed someone to clean the plaster off my fingers?

They let me eat breakfast then took me NPO (no food/drink) so I assumed that I was having surgery later in the day but the orthopedist had told DH different after the reduction. So figured that I would just have to wait and see.

My parents came up to watch Michael, but the hospital room totally freaked him out so that was disappointing.

My ortho came in later in the afternoon and gave me a couple of options. Immediate surgery to stabilize my wrist was the only acceptable option, IMO. So he got me a CT scan and an OR spot. The surgery for the plate took quite a bit longer... maybe 4hrs, but I can't completely remember. They gave me a much smaller, more manageable cast this time. It took me awhile to realize the brown spots on it were blood seeping through the cast :)

World's ugliest cast.

So I spent another night in the hospital, but I got discharged at a decent time the next day. My mom came with Michael and took me home. It was then that I found out that my mom didn't know how to strap Michael in properly and had been driving around with his straps COMPLETELY LOOSE. I laid into her over that... anyone with common sense should know better. And my husband got it too for not showing her how to use it.

Things improved pretty rapidly after that. My swelling went down pretty quickly. I broke my right wrist, but I'm left handed, although right hand dominant (if that makes any sense)... so I'm a bit put out to have my right wrist broken, but I have been able to manage extremely well.

Michael decorated my cast for me.

I began to loathe my cast and decided all would be right in the world if I could just get a new one that fit better (since the swelling had gone down). Luckily I did get a new one early in the week when they checked the incision. I've decided this cast is much more stylish than the old one and doesn't make my arm look so fat/broken.

Finally, a respectable cast.

I did the happy dance when my mom left on Wednesday... but then my MIL showed up, without her hearing aids (grumble, grumble), half an hour later. I really just wanted to bum around the house in my underwear.

I've been very self-sufficient. About the only thing I can't do for myself is unhook my bra. I've been cooking real meals and can drive just fine. I'm looking forward to next week... no moms or helpers around. Michael and I getting back into a routine. Freedom.

I get this cast off at the end of the month and my stitches out. I don't know if I will get another cast or just a brace.

I'm sorry to have complained about things sucking so much. As you can probably tell, things have actually gone really well. As I have gone through this, I have been able to see how blessed I/we have been. So I will continue to work on healing up over here. Thank you to those who have worried about me. Again, I just feel so blessed that I have healed so well and been able to get past this so well.

At least someone likes that old cast.

5 comments:

Sophie said...

Wow! What a story. All those surgeries and you bounced right back :). That nurse sounds awful. I've had a bad ER nurse once before who said they would stick a tube down my throat if I didn't drink the contrast fast enough, and this was a day after having abdominal surgery, so I know how that can suck. I'm glad you're doing so well! Hope this next week flies by for you :).

Jess said...

Geez-louise! That's quite the experience. I'm glad that you are doing better though now.

Michelle said...

That sounds horrible! I'm glad you are healing nicely and can cope without much help. I hope recovery time goes fast. It sucks to be restricted!

Rachel said...

This sounds SO awful. I am incredibly impressed with your cheerful attitude. I really hope your wrist mends quickly.

birdsandsquirrels said...

I am so sorry about your wrist! And that awful nurse who made you feel bad about the pain meds. What a good choice to wait for the OR. I hope you continue to heal quickly. I totally understand about the nursing thing. It never occurred to me to have photos taken! Can you still have that done, cast or not? Birdie last nursed in February, and now S does bedtime with her. I so miss having that quiet, peaceful time with her. Photos are a great idea. So far breastfeeding is going well with J, which I am so thankful for.