Monday, May 20, 2013

Impressive Pain Tolerance

Not much sleep was had that night. The next morning I still couldn't walk, so the guys carried me to the truck. Luckily they are big dudes, because I am not what you would call a petite lady!

As we drove the 45 minutes back to our house, I was trying to convince my husband (I really gotta come up with a name for him to use on this blog!) that I should take a shower before going to the emergency room. He was not supportive of this idea. At. All. And as we got closer to town, my knee began to ache a bit more, so I acquiesced. We did head to my parent's house first, to pick up the communal crutches used by anyone in the family that requires them. They were impressed by how swollen my knee was, and wished us luck at the ER.

My leg seemed to hurt more and more as time went on, I think because of the way I had to sit in the truck. When we got to the ER, they brought out a strange wheelchair, kind of narrow and tall, with small wheels on the bottom. I did the paperwork and was put in a waiting room to await an X-ray. While we were waiting, my knee was getting very achy, so I propped it up on a chair in the room. This was a mistake.

The X-ray technician came to the door of the waiting room and told me I would need to transfer to a gurney so he could get pictures of my knee. The gurney was around the corner, due to the crowding in the ER, so he went to wheel me over there and that was when my mistake became clear. My knee/muscles had kind of locked into the straight ahead position. I could not bend my knee at all without major pain, and there was no leg extension on the wheelchair to support my leg in that position. Massive pain! First tears of this whole ordeal! My wonderful husband grabbed the leg of my sweatpants to support my leg and ran along side the wheelchair as the X-ray tech rushed me over to the gurney.

The X-rays were pretty fast. The technician was a little Filipino man and he was very nice, but I think he was worried I might slug him if he touched my leg, so he had my husband position my leg for each X-ray. It is pretty funny, now that I look back on it, but he may have been wise not to touch me at that point. I was decidedly uncomfortable and officially in pain.

They parked me in front of the nurses desk in the ER. Once the X-rays were developed, a doctor came over to my gurney to read them.

Doctor: what would you say your pain level is at right now?
Me: Um, I guess a 4 or 5?
Doctor: Wow, you have some impressive pain tolerance. The X-rays show that you shattered the top of your leg, your tibia bone. Basically, you broke the bottom part of your knee.
Me: Crap.

They put me in an immobilizer brace and sent me home, with instructions take my pain pills and  to go to an orthopedist in the morning. I was not super comfortable on the crutches going up our front steps, so I had to turn around and sit on my butt to scoot backward into my house. I spent the night in the recliner in the den because I usually sleep on my side and I was afraid I would turn in the middle of the night and screw up my leg even more.

The funny thing was, my mom had broken her knee just two years before I did, so once I passed on the news to the family, the troops mobilized. By the next afternoon, I had a wheelchair with a leg extension, a cryocuff ice machine (lifesaver!), a portable potty chair, a walker and a stool for the shower. All owned, gathered from friends, or rented for me. That is why big families are awesome.

My doctor scheduled me for surgery two weeks later. He had to bring in an orthopedic trauma surgeon to assist him. They put a titanium plate and 8 screws into my leg and I have a wicked scar. I was in the hospital for 2 days, then home and confined to a wheelchair for 3 months. I moved on to a walker for 2 months and now have been using a cane to get around for the last couple of weeks. Due to the nature of my 2 part-time jobs, I have been on disability for 6 months. I hope to return to work soon, as I am getting bored of being home so much!

So that is the saga of my knee. Hopefully you found it somewhat entertaining. I'll post some pictures of the X-ray and scar next time.

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