Oh, man. I was so excited to go home, even though I was in a ton of pain still, and not very skilled at getting around. I figured that since I’m relatively young and strong, this recovery would be a breeze. I was discharged to go home on November 11. Exactly one week after my accident, and only 3 days after my arm surgery. My surgeons sent me home with the instructions to bear NO weight on either my right arm or leg. This would prove problematic.
Our home is not the most handicap accessible place, so I had to be carried into the house in my wheelchair. That was terrifying. The lack of control was painful. But, I was home. I still hadn’t showered since before the accident, and I was not very independent. I did okay getting to the toilet and back to bed or the recliner.
Physical therapy started visiting on Monday, but there wasnt much they could do, except help me keep strength where I had it. I was still very uncomfortable. After she left, I went to use the toilet. As I struggled to pivot, I lost my balance (remember the bad ankle…) stepping firmly onto my right (broken) side. I felt pain, and heard a noise. I did what I had to do, and slowly got myself back into my wheelchair. I had a visiting nurse come by, and I told her what happened. She looked at my hip, and said the pain was likely from scar tissue. I KNEW that she was wrong. After she left, the occupational therapist came for an intake visit. I explained the situation to her, and appropriately, she refused to touch or work with me, and advised me to call my surgeon. She wished me luck, saying that we would reschedule.
Upon speaking to the orthopedic nurses, I was advised to go to the hospital. So, we loaded me back in the car, and took the hour long drive. When we arrived, my mom went in to get a nurse to help me. My pain level had increased substantially, in spite of the medication that I had taken before we left. These guys felt so bad for me. They were very patient, but ultimately, I had to get on that gurney. And I wasn’t going to be able to do it myself. After a moment, I took a deep breath, and told them to just do it. They gripped me under the arms and my waist, and lifted. BLINDING HOT PAIN shot through my hip and leg. I grunt-cried in agony. Every bump that the gurney hit sent more shards of pain through my body. It was awful.
After very painful x-rays, it was determined that my hip was dislocated again. I was given some intravenous pain medication, and we discussed a treatment plan. The orthopedic doctor on call said that the best course of action would be to sedate me, and reduce the dislocation in the ER.
While we waited for the procedure, I cried a lot, and talked to my mom about what happened. I was scared to go back home. I didn’t think I was capable of doing so. She agreed. We broached that with the doctor, who was considering discharging me immediately after the reduction. I refused, so I was admitted back to the orthopedic floor after the procedure. The social worker and hospitalist worked to find me somewhere to go.
The next day, Tuesday, I saw my orthopedic surgeon, had additional x-rays done of my hip and ankle, and was diagnosed with an avulsion fracture of the talus in my left ankle. Basically, when my ankle sprained, a chunk of bone broke off with the tendon. I was fitted with a cam walker, so that I could still try to move, but the likelihood of further injury was lessened. After speaking with my surgeon, I was also fitted with a hip abductor brace, which eliminated the possibility for lateral movement on my right side, and also minimized the forward motion of my hip. Ideally, this would make further injury of my hip far less likely, and promote healing.
As I worked to get used to these new devices, I started to feel a bit more comfortable in the wheelchair. I was still on a pretty high dose of pain medication, however.
They were still working to find me a bed close to home. I was pushing for a skilled nursing facility (nursing home), but the doctors were fairly insistent that I would be better served in a skilled rehabilitation center. While this was happening, I was able to have the staples in my arm removed. Free of all staples and sutures, I can finally shower! We began to plan that, when suddenly they found a bed and arranged transport. So, I settled for another sponge bath, and got ready to roll out.
Next up… To rehab we go.
That scar, though…