Some of you have asked about my “nasty fall.” I told my siblings that I would write the story for them and it has been evolving over the last ten days and is finally DONE!!! I am amending it slightly (but not much) for my blog.
My good husband (who, I hasten to add, has been very kind and understanding and considerate) had something to say the other day when I said that I was still working on “My Story,”
“I’m not sure why this is taking so long. You could say it in three sentences and be done with it!”
I said, “That wouldn’t be any fun!”
“I know,” he said, with a sigh, ” It just isn’t how you do things. You need to go on and on and on . . .”
(Yes he did! He said that!)
So I am going to do this! I’m going to tell it in three sentences and you can stop if you want to and delete the whole thing. But first– How Daniel would tell it (In less than three sentences).
How I would tell it in three sentences?
“I tripped and fell going into the doctor’s office. I thought I had broken my hip. I hadn’t.”
And then, for those of you who want a distraction at this particular time –this is the story of how that all happened: (And if you don’t want to read it all, Please don’t feel obligated. After all, I do “go on and on and on . . .”)
For some time, I’ve been troubled by bouts of bursitis in my right shoulder. Then, in the last intense months of caregiving, I developed the same in my left hip. It hasn’t been any fun. I’ve had shots at previous times that were extremely effective, so I made an appointment to get repeats in both before the reunion and especially before the week when our grandsons were coming. In the midst of all the confusion, I missed the appointment because I hadn’t written it down in the right place. I had in my head that it was a Friday morning, when, in fact it was Thursday. Bummer! I had to wait for Dr. C’s assistant, H.M,, to get back from his vacation and caught up on his patients. So the next available appointment was made for Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Between the time that I made the first appointment and July 8th, there came a day when I sat down HARD on the arm of the loveseat when I intended to sit on the cushion to comfort a teary eyed Charis. She and I both heard something crack – initially followed by nothing too noticeable, but — “I’m pretty sure,” I told a wide eyed Charis, “that it was only the sound that a finger makes when you pop the joint — like cracking your fingers . . .” She was satisfied, but as time wore on, there was rather annoying discomfort in my tailbone.
Then the morning of our July 3rd reunion, Liam and Frankie were helping with the tea, emptying the thawed containers of concentrate into the cooler and rinsing them out. I put a towel down to catch the inevitable drips- and they did a good job! I was actually impressed with how little ended up on the floor. A bit later, however, I came flying out of the kitchen to get something at the laundry sink, and missed the towel by the minutest inch and my left foot went crashing into the toe board under the sink with vociferous force! I was still barefooted, and there was no protection at all for my toes. Ow! That really hurt!!! I hung onto the edge of the laundry sink trying hard to keep from crying. And when I gazed upon my foot, at least three toes looked crooked and were turning purple. I couldn’t get them into my shoe so I stuffed them into my sandals- which I seldom wear these days, and went off to the reunion. I did mention it a time or two, but there were so many people that I loved to distract me, and it seemed inconsequential in the larger scope of things. Besides, my beloved family is known to laugh helplessly about such things and I wasn’t quite ready for that yet!
We got home from the reunion, and things were in a grand upheaval at our house because all of our offspringin’s were home and there was so much (and so many) needing attention. But those toes really hurt! And my left hip really hurt. And my right shoulder really hurt! And my tailbone really hurt! I couldn’t sleep on my right side, couldn’t sleep on my left side, have never slept on my stomach, and the tailbone was making it hard to get comfy on my back. I got to thinking how providential it was that I was scheduled for a visit with P. Orthopedics. I would have them check out the toe and the tail at the same time! When Thursday morning finally rolled around, I was feeling pretty vulnerable.
Before I left to go in I was talking to Christina and said, “Would you please pray for me this morning? I feel like a car wreck, going in there, with all these parts hurting. H.M. and I go way back, and he is always so kind to me. I’m afraid I’ll have to cry if he’s in the least bit sympathetic.. So please pray that I don’t cry.” She, understanding and caring as ever, duly promised, and off I went. Our Minivan was going to the beach later that day with the grandchildren and Jesse, so I was in Daniel’s pickup so as not to make a time crunch. I had forgotten my handicapped permit, so I needed to park some distance away. But I was feeling hopeful and cheerful, so I got parked and headed up to the door. There was a car parked in front of the entrance, where a woman was helping a very slow and incapacitated man into the car. I took a step up onto the sidewalk, and the two of them looked up briefly. We were exchanging pleasantries and I was beginning to feel hopeful and happy (and grateful that I wasn’t in as bad shape as the man in the loading zone) when that terrible feeling of catching my sandal on an obstruction happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to think.
SPLAT!!! I went down hard on my right hip and I felt my elbow scrape against the cement. The immediate pain was impossible to ignore. There was greatly concerned noises from the woman. She ran over to where I had landed, then said , “Can you get up? I’ll run get help!” She went back over to the man, came back over to me sprawled helplessly, but struggling to get up, and said, “Yes! I’ll run get someone! He will be fine until I get back!”
“Yeah,” I heard the man say, “I’m not goin’ anywhere!” and she ran off.
I decided that I HAD to get up somehow, (I hate when people try to pick me up!) and I struggled to get to my feet. I finally got to my feet and tried to take a step. Oh, wow! I almost went down again. I grabbed the corner of the building for support and ceased my endeavors. It felt like the ball of my hip joint was going to go up out of the socket, and I couldn’t walk. I stood stupidly on the spot. I was SURE my hip was broken! Two staff people were there shortly, one on either side, trying to assist me a few feet to a convenient wheel chair that was sitting in the entranceway. The pain was overwhelming, and I was so embarrassed and frustrated and aggravated! Somehow I got into the chair, and they were reassuring me that they were going to get me cleaned up. By now I WAS crying, (without any specific sympathetic murmurings) and as we rounded the corner, the waiting room was wall to wall with people that were all looking at me. My right elbow was bleeding but the staff said I needed to sign in, and pushed me up to the window where, somewhere, about eye level, was a clipboard.. I betook my arm with its mutilated, hamburger-looking skin,
and put an illegible “MYutzy” on the line. Then someone had pity on the poor girl and took me back to a room. where they cheerfully cleaned up my elbow and put some cream on it. They decided to “just keep you back here,” to wait for my appointment with H. M.. I was very relieved about that, to say the least. They said that someone would come and get me for X-rays shortly.
I wasn’t really thinking much about my left hip and right shoulder, tailbone and toe at this point — but at the mention of X-rays, I suddenly remembered the real reason for this visit in the first place. I wondered what they were going to do about all that. Of course, since my hip was probably broken, the other items would be of no consequence, but nevertheless, I asked. They went and conversed with H.M. and he said “Not the toe. I don’t have time today. But we are going to X-ray both hips and that will ‘catch the coccyx’ and we can see what’s going on.”
The next thing I knew, I was wheeled into X-Ray, and put into all sorts of uncomfortable positions. I lay there on that table- thinking the worst, sure that I was going to need hospitalization/surgery/hip replacement — Something radical, and it was not a good feeling. I confess that it didn’t feel very fair- lying there, SURE my hip was broken, and wondering why in the world God let it happen to me- like I should somehow be exempt. It took some serious soul work to quiet this rebel heart (and I felt like I NEEDED to sort things out before I actually knew I was going to be alright). I’ve walked many a mile with this Heavenly Father, and I know that He is to be trusted. And so I did some praying on that table, repeated some precious verses, and thought of songs of comfort. Strangely enough, the song that kept ringing through my head was the third verse of “Away in a Manger!”
“Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me, I pray
Bless all the dear children
In thy tender care
And take us to Heaven
To live with thee there.”
My heart was quieted, and I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, reminding me that there were lots and lots of people in far worse situations than I was and that many didn’t have the comfort of knowing they were not alone. The tech got the films they needed, and then instructed me to get off the table and back into the wheelchair. She did not offer any assistance at all. (“H-m-m-m. Maybe that hip isn’t broken after all,”) Then someone pushed me down the hall, back to a room, and I waited some more. I heard patients being brought in and out around me, heard casts being cut off, muted conversations, and then finally, about 45 minutes after the fall, H.M. brought his cheerful face into the room and looked at me with a quizzical expression.
“It’s not broken!” he announced. “Your bones are actually perfect!”
I could hardly believe him! “It’s not???” I asked. “Then what is wrong?“
He explained about bone bruises and arthritis and all sorts of things and then said, “Your tailbone is fine, too. Just arthritis there. However, we are going to do the planned injections to the right shoulder and left hip and I think you should go for physical therapy for this hard fall. Or you can just wait it out. It will get better, though. And the more that you use it, the better!”
“That’s the second time I’ve fallen on your sidewalk,” I ventured ruefully. “You would think I would know enough to be careful. But because of my toes, I was wearing my sandals, and they just caught somehow . . .”
That caused him to pounce upon my exposed purple toes and waggle them back and forth. “I can tell by just examining them,” he said, “if they are broken, and these are not!” He waggled them back and forth some more. I refrained from hurting him. “There might be a crack in the one,” he said reflectively, “but we can’t tell unless we X-ray, and we wouldn’t do anything about it anyway, so it really doesn’t make sense to X-ray it.”
And suddenly, I felt a whole lot better about my toes and my tailbone. But this hip! What was I ever going to do? After the two promised injections he turned me loose. He was in a bit of a hurry because he had broken a tooth on a frozen chocolate chip (!) and needed to get out of there for a dentist appointment. I stood in the middle of the room, feeling unable to move an inch, much less actually walk. “How am I supposed to walk?” I asked, hating the piteous note in my voice.
He looked at me with a strange look on his face and hesitated a bit.. “I honestly don’t know,” he said. “You’ll have to figure it out!” and he was gone. No cane? No walker? No nothing??? “Oh, Lord Jesus, help me now!”
I started to hobble to the door. Two steps. Stop. Regroup. Deep breath. Three steps. Stop. Grab the counter. Hold on for dear life. Whisper a prayer. Breathe deeply. Hobble some more. I finally made it to the checkout window, made a return appointment, picked up the paperwork for the Physical Therapist and then hobbled by starts and stops through the door, out to the waiting room. It was empty! That was a relief! Then I hobbled some more and held onto stuff and finally got myself through the door and outside where I was going to wait for Christina to come and pick me up. I was just about ready to give in to copious tears when I heard the sliding doors behind me open and a young woman came out from the Physical therapy office that shares the building with my orthopedic group.
“Please, ma’am,” she said concernedly. “Can I help you? You look like you need assistance!”
I turned tearful eyes towards her and said, “Thank you, but I think I will be alright. I’m going to wait out here for my daughter who will be here soon. But thank you!” She looked like she didn’t quite believe me, but after another worried glance went back inside. Pretty soon, I saw Christina and Jesse pulling into the parking lot and I hobbled over to the minivan and got in beside my Beloved Son in Law. Christina took the keys to Daniel’s pickup and headed out to where it was parked. Jesse took me home and gathered up the grandchildren (who were worried sick) and Deborah and headed off to the beach so as to distract everyone, and I tried to find a comfortable place where I could sit and ponder.
I kept thinking about what H.M. had said to me about “the best thing you can do for it is to keep moving. Use it!” And I thought about the fact that it was probably sound medical practice to not give me a cane or a walker, because it forced me to try to find a way to move and walk. (I decided to forgive him for that). Then I thought about the fact that with the grandchildren here, there was more than enough that needed doing, plus Rachel and Rob (Youngest Daughter and Beloved Son in Law #2) were moving on Saturday and I wanted to make food for that as well as help if I could. There was also the issue of needing to take the boys back to Ohio somewhere along the way, and lots of digging out to do. Thrown in on top of everything else was Dave Hertzler’s funeral and I didn’t want to be left out of helping with that.
I decided that if “using it was the best thing I could do for it,” I would use it. And so I did exactly that, using pain medication and trying to rest before things got too out of hand, and we made it through. We even took the boys back to Ohio on Sunday. We had to take Daniel’s pickup because the A.C. and the transmission on our minivan started acting up. Unknown to me, that was a blessing because I actually can sit more comfortably in Daniel’s Colorado than I can in our minivan. So that was providential. There were three boys on the skimpy back seat, but even that was no problem at all. They did extremely well!
then came breezing home to our own bed, our own house and believe me, it was sweet!
So there you have it – the story of the fall and the ensuing week and I’m here to tell you that I’m doing far better than expected. So much so that I’m not going back to Physical Therapy unless this healing curve reverses and I start to feel bad again. I’m still hobbling sometimes, and there is still pain sometimes, but I’m far better than I ever dreamed and for this and so much more, my heart gives grateful praise!