Saturday, February 3, 2007

Oh, and do you know what today is?

Today is the freaking four year anniversary of the day I broke the freaking hell out of my ankle.

The short version: I was carrying my son and slipped down a hill while 34 weeks pregnant. My foot went toe-first into a hole while the rest of me fell backward. Broke both leg bones, something in my ankle and dislocated my ankle. I am now the proud owner of a plate and six pins in that ankle. And a kickin' scar.

Long version: Four years ago today it was a lovely February day. Nice and warm - well, warm for February and all. So I took my pregnant self and my 20 month old son for a walk. Dreaming of a glass of water as I chased my son around the grass, I quickly scooped him up and walked down the hill he was near to go home. Unfortunately, my foot met a hole and entered it toe first. While the foot was in the hole, I fell backwards, with all that extra baby weight, both internal and external, serving to just crack about every bone in my ankle and lower leg. I sat there screaming for help, which no one heard (I mean, it was February and no matter how nice it was, it wasn't nice enough to have windows open). Finally a neighbor came out and called my mom, who took me to the ER, where we scared everyone we encountered. Cardinal rule of ERs. Pregnant women may only enter for childbirth-related needs.

Between my refusal to take any painkillers and their reluctance to do anything to a pregnant woman, we weren't really getting anywhere. Not to mention the orthopedic surgeon wasn't on until 4 PM. I fell at 10 AM. They took x-rays. Yep. Broken. I knew that. I'd never broken a bone before, but it doesn't take a genius to know that when your ankle is a 45 degree to your leg, something ain't right. They complimented my good sense to not walk on it. Um, my ankle was not attached to my body in such a way that I could possible have walked on it. Who would try to walk on that?

They gave me morphine while they prepared to relocate my ankle. The orthopedic surgeon suggested that my husband leave because I would scream and he wouldn't like it. He wanted to stay and I wanted him to stay. We learned three things then. I have a very high pain tolerance. I'm extremely contrary - tell me I'm going to scream and for sure I won't. I might bite off my tongue, but I will not scream. And last, morphine has no effect on my pain. Yay. Good things to know. So more x-rays (gosh, hope those don't hurt the baby - don't worry they doubled the heavy apron thing you wear and she was pretty well developed anyway). They relocated wrong. So we had to do that again. Fortunately they got it right the second time. Then they sent me home with a prescription for Percoset, which my husband went off to fill while my mom drove me home. My sister had shown up and taken my son earlier. It was close to 7 now.

The next day we had to set up the surgery to fix it. When the chief of emergency medicine (pregnant women who aren't there for baby-related things meet a lot of chiefs) came in to tell me that it wasn't just a break, it was a BREAK, I didn't believe him. Surgery? But, dude, I just broke my ankle. Slap a cast on me - a nice pretty pink one, okay? - and I'll be on my way. My husband called my ob for recommendations of orthos who did surgery at the hospital I was going to deliver at, just in case, you know. We found one and took an excruciating trip to his office. Yep, surgery. Tomorrow? Sure.

So I had surgery. Met the lovely chief of anesthesia. But the nice lady who gave me the spinal was the one I really liked. I just felt no more pain. I didn't actually feel anything below my ribs, which was freaky, since that included the baby kicking. I slept through the whole surgery, since I hadn't slept in two days. I spent the night in the maternity ward, just so the experts could monitor me. I was having mild contractions, but they loaded me up with fluids and they went away. Apparently babies don't like it when their mamas can't eat or drink for 16 hours.

Then the joy of recovery began. We had a spare bed that was going to be our son's once the baby was born, so we moved that into our living room. My family set up a schedule and someone was with me at all times. My grandmother, mostly, along with two of my aunts. So I spent the last 7 weeks of my pregnancy in bed. My daughter was a week late. I delivered her with a cast on. Fortunately, it was only about 4 hours of labor and none of it all that bad, so I was at least lucky there.

It was loads of fun to freak out the chicks at the x-ray place when I went for follow-ups. "Is there a chance you might be pregnant?" Um, can you see this huge belly? Seriously, I was asked this when I was 39 weeks pregnant. I was using a walker, so maybe the way I was hunched over hid it a bit. They had to dig for the special forms they use for someone who actually is pregnant.

Today I occasionally walk with a limp. I have trouble going up really steep hills because my ankle doesn't quite bend all the way up toward my knee. I can predict the weather much more reliably than a groundhog or our local forecasters. And one of these days I should probably call my orthopedic surgeon and have these plated and pins removed. But the idea of signing up for surgery on purpose? Yeah, I don't think so.

No comments:

Post a Comment