Monday, August 13, 2012

strength: broken but not broken.

i'm not sure who's still reading this.  it's fine if no one is, because i have yet to decide what to do with it now that i have another blog that deals with the kids and is protected. it will certainly take over the cute kid portion of our program, and i haven't decided if i just want to start journaling (so i can not edit myself at all) or if i want to keep this little portion of the internet for myself.

long story short, if i'm talking to crickets, it's okay. i understand.

lots of stuff going on here, most of which has been incredibly challenging.

on august 2nd, i fell on the stairs, did the split, and sustained an open fracture of my leg/ankle. i had surgery that day and was in the hospital for two more. i came home sunday and have yet to be able to get to the 2nd floor of my home. camping out, as my mother in law puts it, willy wonka style in my living room is what's going on up in here.

it's been a trial, a blessing, a learning experience, and a wonder all at once. 

i think there are moments when you see yourself for what you didn't know you were. that has been my experience with this, or at least it was for the first few days.  when it happened, i screamed in fear and freak out for about 30 seconds. then, as my wonderful husband rushed to see what happened (and it was abundantly clear that i had done something fairly horrible to myself), i switched into some sort of practical, deal-with-it gear.  i started rattling off directions, because he was understandably rattled.  "you're going to need to call 911." after he did that, i said "you need to call your mom and have her come up right away to watch maggie." and then "i'm going to need my insurance card. my wallet is in the green bag." and then "you'll need food for maggie and diapers and stuff" because he was going to follow me to the hospital in the van with the magpie until his mom could meet us there. 

after all of that was handled, i sat, beginning to shake in a splits formation on my stairs, clinging to the rail just above my head. 911 had said not to move me.  i wasn't inclined to do that anyways.  he sat on the stair below me to help hold me up. i prayed. he gave me a blessing.  i prayed that the ambulance would come soon, because i was so uncomfortable. it wasn't pain--just totally uncomfortable.  i was bleeding, and when the ambulance came (they didn't know it was an open fracture), they didn't understand why i hadn't moved.  so they helped me move.  and then they wrapped it up as best they could, and i scooted down the stairs, having the presence of mind to not get my one pair of maternity shorts bloody on the way. 

who does that?

we rode and i tolerated it.  we got to the trauma unit and i tolerated it. the only time i cried was when they tried to reset my dislocated ankle. even that wasn't too bad (by then they had given me the good drugs). i was more upset when they did an ultrasound and we found out that the baby had turned breech (i think she's turned again--or so it feels) in the fall. she's perfectly healthy and was the whole time, even under the influence of some pretty good drugs.

then they came and told me that the reset of my ankle had worked in one place but not in another.  i'd had enough by then. i told them that i needed my husband. the first time, i'd been by myself because he had maggie and the last thing i wanted my baby to be was freaked out by mommy freaking out.  this time? no way. i needed my husband.  he came. it was bad.  they couldn't get it back in and so they kept on trying. sorry to be so detailed, but i don't want to forget. i was sobbing, just saying over and over that i couldn't take anymore. 

they finally stopped, saying that they would do it in surgery.

yeah. thanks for that.

because i was 35.75 weeks pregnant at the time, they were very cautious.  on the one hand, we were far enough along that if anything happened, baby girl could be born and would be more than likely fine. on the other hand, it was two patients they were dealing with instead of just one.

as the stars always align when i have some sort of emergency, i had two of the top people on my team. my anesthesiologist was, in fact, the inventor of these nerve block pumps that they put into my sciatic and femoral nerve to try to kill the sensation enough to do the surgery on that alone. it didn't work, but it's what kept me pain and narcotic free for the entirety of my stay after surgery. he was wonderful, kind, and really concerned about me and my baby. i was very dehydrated when i went into surgery, so when they did the spinal (i was awake for the surgery because it's much safer for the baby) my blood pressure kept dropping. he told me later that i reminded him of why he hadn't done obstetrics in so long--it was too stressful!

they put me back together, ala humpty dumpty, with 2 pins, 1 plate, and an assortment of screws (cool tidbit: i got to look behind me and see the in-progress x-rays. it was very awesome to see all the hardware--and not a little surreal!).  they took me up to the ortho floor and i was remarkably not in pain. my husband was astounded. he expected me to be in horrible pain, but my pain never reached anything higher than a 3 or 4 on the scale of 1-10 the whole time i was there.

they kept me on the nerve blocks for 2.5 days, hoping to give me enough time to heal enough to get over the huge pain hump before heading home. they turned them off at 4am on sunday, and came by to see how i was doing. they had given me 2 tylenol when they turned them off. before that, my leg was really heavy and dead, which made moving really hard but made feeling also pretty impossible. when they came to check me at 8am, to see if i was ready to go home, they called me the toughest lady in the hospital. i thought they were joking, but they really weren't.

and in those moments, when i think back to them, i think "wow. i am much stronger than i think i am." you don't know that until you're tested. you don't really know what you're made of until you have to put it on the line. my mom has always had an incredible tolerance for pain, and i've always been the wimpy one. when they told me that i was the toughest lady, i thought "i am my mother's daughter." what a proud moment for me.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still here.

    I just spent about 45 minutes looking for something in my old institute/church notebook that Sister Walker said that I thought of while reading this. I remembered only the broad gist of it, and was surprised at what it actually said when I found it-
    - "Humility is knowing you have weaknesses and not concluding that you are weak. It is failing at something and not defining yourself as a failure."

    I guess the parallelism or whatever of it popped up when I read the title.

    I don't know. I don't have anything good to say. I wish I could help.

    In the meantime...I'm still here.