Saturday, July 18, 2009


Last Monday the 13th of July, we started as we do each weekday - we got up and went for our walk. I don't remember anything different about that morning as we walked and talked about nothing in particular. About 20 minutes into our regular route, we were on a slight incline when the ball of my left foot rotated on a small rock, causing me to loose my balance and fall to my right.

What are you not supposed to do? Well, I did it. Instinctively, I put out my right arm to break my fall. As I rolled over I said to my wife that I think I broke it. She had no idea what I was talking about until she saw that my hand was dangling from my arm in a real funny position. She asked if it was painful and I told her that I could feel nothing. And I couldn't!

She helped me to struggle up and hold things as still as I could, we made it back to the house to get my wallet with my insurance cards (don't leave home without them!)and made it to the UNC Hospitals ER.

Since it was just after 7AM and the more "interesting" cases usually come in much later, we were greeted by a full staff looking to help someone. One staff member walked by the intake station and proclaimed, Somebody broke their wrist!" I then told my story for the first of several dozen times.

After processing in and answering the battery of questions, they took me back to begin treatment. They gave me an IV and some very welcomed pain meds that went to work quickly. I was taken for xrays and when I returned, the doc injected something into the wrist then tied up my thumb and finger with gauze and hung my arm from an I stand. He then tried to rotate the bones. The xray showed him that both were broken. He then put a temp. cast on to hold it where he wanted and they took me back for more xrays. They also took some of the elbow just to see if it was OK.

After consulting with the trauma orthopedic doc. The first question was when did I eart Last. About 9PM Sunday was the answer, and I kinda knew what was coming. I didn't know he was going to give me a choice: surgery now or a cast and surgery later. I'm a do-it-now guy so I told him, "let's do it!" Back to xray for a chest picture prior to surgery, then I "rested" in a small room in the ER. Note I have yet to be admitted.

They came after a while and took me to the OR where we did the explanations of what they were going to do and what I was agreeing to. When they put that stuff in my IV, I went out like a light and the next thing I remember was waking up with this erector set/tinker toy looking thing screwed into my hand and arm.

My doc explained that I didn't have a clean break - I had bone gravel - so they got some bone from the bone bank (who knew?)and ground some of it up and injected it into my arm. The pins are suppose to hold things tightly together for a few months so the bone can heal.

The doc had us come in the next day to his office so he could admire his work. He went into his tool box and came out with a socket wrench and a small crescent wrench and tightened me up. Wow!

I've learned that:

1. You take that pain med even if it makes you feel lousy, puts yo to sleep, and causes you to have no appetite (not that bad a thing);
2. Every night you search for a new comfort sleeping position since as the swelling goes down, you have to adjust;
3. I'll be glad to get off meds, get the use of my hand back, and be able to turn the pares of the paper while lying in bed;
4. It's great to live in a community that has such great medical care available and such a caring staff of professionals;
5. It's really great to have so many friends who are so willing to do what they can to help; and
6. It's the greatest to have wife who will lovingly nurse you back to health 24/7 and never complain about all the things the fall has changed. I can only wonder what those who have no one do when they need help!

The heck with Fridays the 13th - it's Monday the 13th that I'm going to worry about!