My Broken Leg Story

I wanted to share this story for many reasons. One, because I want to have it documented (even though I’m sure I could never forget) so I could look back on this unnecessarily dreadful time in my life, and two, because I think it could serve as an important resource to others going through the same situation. When this happened to me, I searched desperately across blogs and YouTube to see if I could get some answers and hope from others who have had the same or similar thing happen to them, but my search turned up short. I did come across one girl, Geneva (Dorm Room Divas on YouTube) but I was sad that I couldn’t find anything else. With that being said, here is my story and my hope is that it could at least provide some information or help to someone who needs it. To preface this, I suffered a non- displaced fracture of my fibula and syndesmotic disruption of the ankle on my right leg. This story is a long one, so get ready and maybe grab a snack (or a diet coke).


Part 1: The Break
It all happened on May 1st. I had just come back from a day of observing high school students at the local high school and was so excited for that night because it was Zumba, and those who know me well know my obsession with Zumba. I hung out with my roommate for a bit and when I learned that there were 2 Zumba classes that night, and I made the decision to go to both, regardless of the fact that my roommate was not going to join me for one. I got ready and walked to our new fitness center and was so excited to learn that the head of the new gym, who is also a phenomenal fitness instructor, was going to be teaching our class, and boy did she kick my booty! When that ended, my roommate met me outside so we could go to dinner. I bumped into a couple of other friends before I headed up and they were on their way to do Insanity and asked if I wanted to join them, obviously I said no! I was already doing 2 Zumba classes and that was quite enough! While eating dinner, I purposely hurried because I wanted to go hangout with them while they were doing Insanity as I waited for the next Zumba class to start. Being the spontaneous and excited person that I am, I said what the heck and joined them. I was doing some exercises here and there but I was by no means taking it seriously. At one point, my friends were outside the studio and I thought, “hey guys watch me do this!”and I started the side to side jump. BAD IDEA KARA. The jump I was doing is rather hard to explain, but it was a jump where you jump from side to side and tap your foot. Jump to the right side, land on your right foot, and tap your left foot. The same goes for the other side, and if you can even comprehend what I am talking about, I salute you. Well, I was jumping to the left and when my left foot came down to land, but there was some sweat or water on the floor and my foot slipped and I lost my balance. My right leg then twisted back at me and I fell hard on the ground. I immediately knew I broke my leg and then the pain set it. It. Was. EXCRUTIATING. I cried and screamed and wailed in pain for the better part of 25 minutes as I waited for the ambulance to arrive. I’ve got to give some kudos to my friends; they were really great throughout this whole experience. While I was laying in despair on the floor they were holding my hand and wiping my face. There were so many people who kept coming in that studio I didn’t even know what to do. One nursing student came in and tried to take my sneaker off but it hurt to bad, so she loosened my shoelaces. Then the paramedics FINALLY arrived. As if things weren’t already bad enough, they had to cut my sneaker off and cut my pants up the leg. REALLY?! While the whole time I was traumatized and in excruciating pain, I somehow always find a way to crack a joke. “I can’t be broken on this campus!” “Do you really have to cut my pants, those were on sale!” The paramedics stabilized my leg in this red air cast type of device and then lifted me onto the stretcher. It all happened so fast I didn’t know what to think. They wheeled me out into the ambulance where I was still crying in pain uncontrollably. My roommate rode in the front, and we were on our way to the ER. In the back, they were trying to start an IV but I was so flustered that they couldn’t find a vein. They still poked me twice and then gave up and gave me a shot or morphine instead. IT HURT SO BAD. It literally hurt my arm so bad and I screamed even louder. They straight up told me that I had a low tolerance for pain. Tell me something I don’t know? We then got to the ER and they wheeled me back and into a room. Then an X-ray tech wheeled me into the X-ray room and finagled my leg and foot into so many painful positions in order to take the pictures that he needed. I had the ability to wiggle my toes so I was trying to be hopeful that it was only a sprain. Well the doctor came in and gave me some bad news. He told me I had broken both my tibia and fibula and he was concerned about a bone in my knee (I later found out I only broke my fibula, but we'll get there in a minute). I was devastated! So they put me in a splint up past my knee (which hurt like hell honestly) and gave me some crutches and narcotics, told me to see an orthopedic doctor the next day and sent me home. Again, thankful for my friends, they were there to take me back to my dorm. The pain was excruciating. My friend took me to my doctor’s appointment the next day where I learned that I had a non- displaced fracture of my fibula and something called syndesmotic disruption of the ankle, where my tibia and fibula had separated along with the ligament that holds them together and they said I would need surgery to have screws put in that would pull the bones back together and stabilize them. I became even more devastated and depressed and knew that I needed my dad to come up to college and be there with me.






Part 2: The surgery
Exactly one week after I had broken my leg it was time for surgery. I tried not to think about it for the entire week because I knew I would just freak myself out. But the pain in my leg became greater over the week and the medicines they had me on (hydrocodone and ibuprofen) were hurting my stomach immensely. The night before the surgery I had to begin fasting, because you are not allowed to have anything in your system when you get surgery because of the possibility of throwing it up with anesthesia (or something like that).  So I was starving and tired on my way there, and to top it off I was sitting, in excruciating pain, in the waiting room for what seemed like forever. Finally, I was able to go back to the pre- op area. That was the start of a short hell. I was in so much pain, and had to struggle from the wheelchair to the bed. I had to fill out some paper work and talk to my doctor, the nurse and the anesthesiologist. My dad left for a short while as I changed into the hospital gown and had to pee in one of those embarrassing little portable potties because they needed it for testing. It was kind of a degrading experience but I had gotten to the point where I really didn’t care anymore. Then, it was time for the IV. I have good veins and give blood often, but when I became the patient of my first surgery, I was acting like a 5 year old. I was scared and nervous and in pain and I didn’t want to be there I just wanted to be unbroken. But unfortunately that was not the case. Once again I was flustered and crying and because of this gave the nurse a hard time getting my IV in. 2 separate nurses and a doctor poked me in the back of both hands and both elbows until they could get it in. They even used a local anesthetic because I screamed so loud every time they poked me with the needle. They said it would feel like a bee sting but it hurt so badly. I became so sad and frustrated and I wanted to give up, I wanted it to be over. Next it was time to discuss anesthesia. That did me in. They could do a spinal block (aka and epidural) or regular anesthesia (endotracheal). I did NOT like the idea of having a tube down my throat and it scared the heck out of me. The anesthesiologist talked me through my options but it didn’t help, I was so scared and nervous. He told me to remember that everything would happen while I was asleep and I wouldn’t feel anything, but still the idea of having a tube down my throat freaked me out terribly. They told me, however, that in my state I would be best if I was asleep so after minutes of crying and debating I finally succumb. They put some sort of sedative in my IV and wheeled me back to the OR where I had to scoot onto the operating table. The anesthesiologist then placed a mask over my face and before I even had time to think about it, I was asleep. I woke up about an hour later in the post op room crying and I didn’t even know why until I realized that my ankle hurt so badly. I was hooked up to numerous machines and an oxygen mask and the nurse gave me a dose of medicine. After about 20 minutes she unhooked me from all of the machines and then wheeled me back into the pre-op room that I was in and I waited for my dad to come back. The surgeon had injected a lot of local anesthesia so at this point I couldn’t even feel my ankle and leg anymore. Then a nurse helped me change back into my clothes and I signed some discharge papers and I was allowed to go home. It was a same- day surgery. The local anesthetic lasted for the next 2 days, so I could still feel pain and soreness but luckily I couldn't quite feel the worst of it because I was numb. 



Part 3: The Recovery
I got back to my dorm and my dad picked up my prescription at the pharmacy. He also brought back some food, the first meal I had eaten in 24 hours. The anesthesia had me so groggy that I was out like a light and slept through the night. Then came 2 weeks of school I had yet to finish. My professors allowed me to finish my work from my room, but it was hard, emotionally. Those next two weeks I relied on my friends to help me to the bathroom, get me everything I needed, even to help me wash my hair. You think it would be nice to have someone at your beck and call all the time, but for me it wasn’t. It honestly sucks not being able to do anything by yourself, but I had no choice. I was able to finish my work, but it was hard because I had no drive to do anything at all. It's hard to describe my emotional state throughout this. I felt defeated and that God was punishing me for doing something good for myself. I mean I was exercising, come on! And to have to rely on crutches to get form A to B really put a damper on me. I felt sad all the time and hit what seemed like a very serious low in my life. My dad came back a week later and took my to my first follow up appointment. I thought it was going to be good news, like “yay you’re healing and you’ll be able to walk soon!” No. Not even close. He did take my cast off and put me in a boot, but I was to be non- weight bearing for 3 months. 3 MONTHS! I immediately broke down. That was my entire summer that I would be ridden to the couch and not be able to do anything I had dreamed up for the summer. Freshman year was hard and a difficult transition and I was looking to a summer full of fun, crossing off my bucket list with my friends, but it didn’t seem like I would be able to do those things anymore. Later, my dad and my friends packed up the car and we were off to my aunt’s house. I stayed there for about a month because her house is all on one floor and my dad had a couple of business trips to go on, so it was for the best, and besides, my aunt is a nurse. It was difficult at first because I was in so much pain. Crutches were (and still are) a very difficult experience for me. I can’t go up and down stairs and I get tired and weak easily. Lets just say that I don’t have the greatest upper body strength. I moved from my room to the couch, and occasionally the porch. I was able to take my first shower in 22 days, before that I was sponge bathing and washing my hair in a sink. Now I was able to sit in a chair in the shower, but it still sucked. And hurt. And it was hard to sit down and get up. But I somehow managed. And, my aunt lives on a lake, a place that is my favorite spot in the entire world. That gave me a small glimmer of happiness.
On the brighter side, things do get easier as time goes on. I go to the doctor every 2 weeks for x-rays and to check on my progress. Every day I have to take my boot off and do ankle exercises to improve my range of motion. That has gotten better too. My ankle moves a lot more then it did, and the pain is so much less than it was, thankfully. The doctor told me that exercising my ankle would help to ease the pain, and I did not believe him. But now that I've done it, building the strength back up in my ankle has helped the pain immensely. I’m finally home now, and I have a new doctor who has scheduled to take out my syndesmotic screw (the long one) out on July 22nd and after that I should be able to start walking again! I CANNOT WAIT! Until then I spend most of my days working on my blog, watching TV, and reading on the couch. I’ve been out of the house a few times, out to dinner, to the movies and obviously to the doctors. My friends come over too to help me wash my hair, in the sink, because I can’t make it up the stairs to the shower. Sigh. As of now my goal is to just get through this and get my life back again! Of course I know there are worse things that could happen, but you have to be in my situation to feel and be able to understand how hard it truly is. But, I am still optimistic. 


If anyone is going through something similar or has any questions at all or just would like to share something, I highly encourage you to leave a comment or email me at kara.fearlesslyforward@gmail.com

Stay Fearless,

Kara




0 comments:

Post a Comment