Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life With An Invalid

Today I start to bore any readers with the goings on in my life.  

To give a little background, my husband (Mr. P) and kids (JP & Sam) are avid skiers.  Every winter from Christmas Day until the middle of March they rent a ski house and go up every weekend and school vacation.  Sometimes I go with them, sometimes not - Not a skier AT ALL.

On January 20 (to be exact) of this year, Mr. P had a near fatal accident skiing.  Ironically enough, he was not doing anything crazy.  He was on an intermediate slope, pulling to the side to wait for the kids to catch up.  Apparently, as the story goes, he hit ice and his feet went out from under him - Down he went.  He started to roll and his skis did not release at first.  When all was said and done and he came to a stop, he told his buddy to get the ski patrol.  His exact words were "I broke my leg, I broke my hip, I broke my back."

After the phone call that he broke his leg and was going into surgery, I started my 4 hour trek up north to see him.  After arriving just as he was going into recovery, our drama started.  

Day 1 - Meet Mr. P in recovery and am told that he broke his Tibia AND Fibula in half, also, he shattered his entire left ankle.  All is well though, doctor put in a Titanium Rod and MANY, MANY screws to put it all back together.  "Should be good to go home in about 3 days".

Day 2 - We meet the physical therapist.  Michelle.  She is very sweet and very small.  Mr. P weighs 205 pounds.  I'm thinking, "How is she ever going to get him up and walking?"  Not to worry, Michelle is like SHE-RA.  She can lift anyone.  But, alas, as we get him up and out of bed, he starts complaining that his hip hurts and he can't move.  Uh-oh, get the doctor.

Off we go to X-Ray.  Doc says that the x-rays don't show anything in the hip.  Mr. P insists its broken and can't get out of bed.

Day 3 - Mr. P still can't move.  He is complaining about his back and hip - says it feels like burning knives in his back and his hip keeps popping.  More X-rays.  That night the doctor on call says that she is not sure the hip isn't broken.  She thinks she might see a fracture.  She orders a CT scan to get a better view.  Off Mr. P goes again. 

Day 4 - More bad news.  YUP, the hip is definitely broken.  Good news is that our insurance company has approved his stay for up to another two weeks.  Could that possibly be good news?  Insurance NEVER approves anything.  I'm thinking it must be pretty bad.  

Days 5 through 7 - Mr. P still can't move, but is determined that he is going to go home. Because we live in a Colonial house with MANY stairs, I explain that he can't possibly go home.  He calls his brother (he lives in a ranch house) and tells him to build a ramp into his house.  He's going to live with him for a while.  Isn't this grand?  We are now going to live in different zip codes.  

Day 8 - Against the doctor's better judgement, Mr. P is released.  We load him up with Perkiset and Vicadin and off we go for our 4 hour trek home.  Of course, it is almost blizzard conditions.  

The next few weeks are a blur of anguish and bad news.  The day after we get home, off we go to see Mr. P's orthopedist in Rhode Island.  Yet again, more X-rays.  I'm thinking that Mr. P is now so radioactive, I could probably fry some eggs on his belly.  Doc comes in and tells us that the surgery on his leg looks good, the hip is definitely broken and "By the way, you broke your back too."  WHAT??!  Mr. P's broken back consists of 2 severed transverse processes (the wings on the verterbrae) and 1 cracked one that is now hanging.  Doc says that there is really nothing we can do surgically and hopefully the cracked one will fuse itself back on.  The severed ones are encapsulated in the muscle and aren't going anywhere, so Mr. P's best bet is to just leave them alone.  Well, the good news is that this explains the pain he's complaining about.  Doc says he assumes Mr. P was wearing a helmet, because if he wasn't, he'd be dead.  Thank God for UVEX!!

My poor kids had a tough few months.  From mom and dad being up north for a week to dad not living with us, they were extremely well-behaved.  Their entire month consisted of waking up and eating breakfast, going off to school and then getting picked up to visit dad.  At 10:30 pm, home we'd go to bed just to get up and do it all again tomorrow.  

Mid-February Mr. P decides he wants to come home.  Huh? Home?  Stairs honey - you can't walk.  He decides he doesn't want a ramp and he'll only go up and down the front steps once a day.  OK?  Let's give it a shot.  So, through much blood, sweat and tears Mr. P comes home.  We hook him up with a bed in our family room and he settles in for the long haul.  

Fast forward - It has now been 4 months and 7 days.  Mr. P recently graduated from wheelchair to walker to crutches.  He is doing pretty well.  Back still hurts - A TON - and unfortunately there has been no bone regrowth in his leg yet, but we got this fancy thing called a "Bone Stimulator" that he hooks up to his leg every day and it is supposed to make the bone grow.  Pretty cool.  We'll see how that goes at his next doctor's visit on June 5.  

It has definitely been a long haul and doc says at least 1 full year for him to reach even a semblance of normalcy again. For him, it really stinks because he is an active guy and hates to be still.  With Spring upon us he is very frustrated.  The other day I caught him looking out our window while we were cleaning the yard and he looked so sad.  He so desperately wants to do things and be normal again.  And on the flip side, I want so desperately to go back to being the sedentary partner in this marriage.  

Well, I guess what they say is true, "That which doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger".  I can honestly say that our relationship has to be as strong as they come after 4 months of all that "togetherness".  At least Mr. P will recover and his prognosis is good.  I thank God for that every day.


Anonymous said...

D.. you forgot to include the help of your wonderful neice and nephew who took care of your lovely children and husband. As your favorites, we're kind of disappointed. Haha.