20 February 2013

Broken Ankle Recovery

It seems that I have the worst luck.

If life couldn't get any more hectic, I broke my ankle a week and a half ago.

It wasn't a simple break, either.

I fractured it in two places, broke it in one, and ripped up my tendons.

For my first break, I did a number on myself.

We were at a friend's house waiting on her dog to have puppies since we used our male as a stud. I went inside to get something to eat, and when I came back out into the back yard I tripped in a hole that was about a foot and a half deep. I heard a crack, I stumbled, then fell on my face.

Of course I scream when I realize what happened. My boyfriend was right there and elevated my legs. After that, there was no pain, just some numbness in my foot. He was in more of a panic than I was, to be honest. I was rather mellow after the adrenaline kicked in. I was embarrassed and pissed because I had crushed my donut in my fall. I also got a little irate when my boyfriend wouldn't give me a cigarette.

Our friend called an ambulance, and about five minutes later there were five paramedics and a city police officer in the back yard standing over me. I am assuming the officer was there because it was very early on a Sunday morning (this all went down at about one in the morning) and it was a Mudfest weekend.

They put me on a backboard and put one of the neck braces on me and carried me out to the ambulance. That is when the freakout started.

I started to panic about the neck brace, begging them to remove it. After a small fight and signing some paperwork they took it off. They took it off just in time - I started to vomit after that. Fun times, sitting in the back of an ambulance with five paramedics hurling in a red bio-hazard bag.

A second freak out came when they started talking about cutting into my shoes. I talked them into just unlacing the shoe, which they did, and pulling it off. I didn't care if they cut through the sock.

Pain. Blinding pain as soon as that shoe came off.

I almost cried when he asked if he could cut through my anklets. I wore those basic black anklets on for about fifteen years, so when he asked to cut them off I politely told him no. For safety purposes, they had to be removed.

The trip to the hospital was quick, with moderate panic and vomiting.

The real fun started when I got into the emergency room.

As I mentioned, it was a Mudfest weekend. For those of you who don't live here in Florida, Mudfest is an event that is held throughout the year where people pay to play in the mud. It's a pretty big deal. People from all over the place come with their big trucks, buggies, ATVs, and every other toy in between to spend three days acting like total tards in the mud. Think of it somewhat like Mardi Gras is party wise. Lots of booze, lots of beads, and lots of boobs.

I was one of the only people under the age of seventy that was not in the emergency room for some Mudfest related injury.

For the sake of patient confidentiality, I don't want to go into the severity of some of the other injuries that I either heard about or saw pass by my cubicle. I can say that I was one of the least severe cases and therefore simply made comfortable while the other patients were either stabilized or prepared to be airlifted out.

At one point, there was talk about me being transported to a hospital in the next town. I eventually told the nurses to stop telling me what was going to happen and to just keep me comfortable until a decision was made. I had to explain all of my anxiety problems and the related health issues that came along with them, such as the vomiting.

This is my foot before they reduced it, and one of the triage nurses.

Yes, that is a pillow bandaged around my ankle to keep me from moving it too much. 

They were so swamped that night there wasn't much that they could do for me immediately other than give me medicine for the pain. I can't remember what they gave me in there. I do know they didn't give me a terrible lot, simply for the fact that the word surgery had been tossed around. They could keep me comfortable, but they couldn't drug me up so much so that I was incoherent.

My boyfriend stayed with me for the better part of my emergency room stay, until my amazing nurse told him to go home, that they would call him whenever they decided on the final plan.

My nurse, Mel, was absolutely fantastic. She had been in my position before and gave me a full run of everything that was likely to happen during my hospital stay. She sat and talked with me while I was waiting on the doctor to come do the reduction, even put me into twilight sedation while he did it.

It didn't do much good - I still felt everything, from him tugging on my foot, the shifting, Mel holding my hand, another nurse brushing my hair out of my face in a very motherly fashion... When I finally came out, Mel told me that I had talked the entire time. Not a shocker since I am a total motormouth when I am nervous.

The doctors and nurses complimented me on my resilience. They said I handled my first broken bone very well, and they were surprised that the only tears I shed were tears of embarrassment (in the case of being cleaned up after I was sick all over myself) and tears of anger when they cut off my favorite pants. 

Yes, it hurt, but it wasn't an agonizing pain like a toothache or a cut. It was a dull, aching pain, something that I am used to with the arthritis that I've dealt with since I was in my teenage years. It felt like someone was squeezing my foot and my ankle.

By the time my mother arrived, they had already set my ankle, given me a breathing treatment, done x-rays and blood work. This was about seven in the morning. I was admitted at 7:30 AM.


After I was admitted to a room, my story didn't get much more exciting. I was put into a bed next to a window, given a potty chair because I couldn't walk to the bathroom, and forced to watch PBS and Telemundo with the elderly Mexican woman that was next to me. 

Things didn't start to get irritating until later that afternoon, when every person in town came to see the woman next to me and I was subjected to hours and hours of Spanish conversation.

The only  reprieve I had was the Dilaudid that I received every few hours to kill the pain. It helped me sleep a little.

Later that night my boyfriend came back. I also got to see my aunt and grandmother.

The first night was peaceful. I even got a bath.

The next day, around noon, I went into surgery.

My cousin works at the hospital in the OR, so she went in with me and held my hand until I was put under in preparation for surgery.

After that, the rest of the stay was a blur of drugs, pain from the incisions, and embarrassment from being bathed by a girl I went to school with.

I did get quite a few visitors, mostly family.

I was so happy to see my sissy and my niece ^.^

The next day I got to meet the physical therapist. He taught me how to use the walker provided so I could get around a bit.

My second father also came and saw me. He was my spotter during the therapy. It made me feel good to have him around, especially since I rarely got visitors in the morning. 


Since my release, I've been at home. My boyfriend's sister brought me a wheelchair so I can get around the house easier, and one of my girlfriends brought me a cupcake cake that said "Welcome Home Vonnie". No one took a picture - we demolished it before anyone even considered.

Learning to live with this has been very hard for me, especially since I'm terribly independent.

I cannot put any weight on my ankle for six weeks. I can't drive. I can't sleep very well at night because of the pain.

I can't work. 

It's been hell.

Sometimes I wish I was back in the hospital where I can call room service to get my meals, where I have a magical paper fairy leave me the day's newspaper on my bedside table, and where I'm bathed every night (no matter how much it kills my dignity).

Most of all, I miss the Dilaudid. I don't want to sound like an addict or anything, but it was the best feeling I've had outside of chasing the dragon. It wasn't until I arrived home that I was told that it is essentially 'hospital heroin'. I want more of it, haha. My limbs felt so warm and heavy, that feeling that one gets right before they pass into slumber. Only you don't fall asleep. You feel pleasant for about two hours.


Since I've been home I've handled school and work from home.

Had I not broken my ankle, I should have been in Las Vegas today at a trade show. Knowing that I'm missing the trip has been killer. I do know that if I had gone, something bad would have happened. I have been dreaming about change. I'd rather have an accident while I'm in my own home town rather than on the other side of the country without my support network.

I can't wait to get back onto my feet again.

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