Monday, January 14, 2008

13 Years

I can't believe that it's been 13 years since I broke my leg. It seems like yesterday.

It was Saturday 1/14/95. The day after my dad's birthday. The day after a Friday the 13th. I went skiing with our school's ski club. It was only my second trip skiing and we were at Brandywine. The first trip didn't go all that well and I found myself frustrated. By my second trip I had started to find my confidence in it. Enough to make it to the step above the bunny hill aka Frosty. The hill was named Easy still is. It was a warmer day meaning there was a ton of ice. Near the bottom of the hill there was a patch of bumpy ice. Everyone was going over it, including me. It was just after 2pm and was going to be our last run. I headed down the hill, saw the patch of ice, went over the patch of ice as I had done a million times that day, and "whoosh!" there it went. Immediate pain. To this day I'm not sure if I blacked out. If I did I came to very quickly. I found my legs tangled in a mess, I was in an amount of pain that I couldn't even imagine. The type of pain that makes you warm. I remember looking up and seeing a girl on the lift who I didn't know laughing loud at how I had fallen. Little did she know. My rental skis had crossed one over the other. One had released the other did not which torqued my leg and broke it. At that point we didn't know the severity of my accident. After a few moments of my friends trying to get me up and me not being able to. They ran for help. Finally the ski patrol arrived in the snow mobile. I was strapped to a stretcher, placed in a toboggan and taken to the ski patrol hut. I remember watching the sky, feeling the pain, and the smell of the gasoline from the snowmobile.

When we got the the hut they started to examine me, only to find they wouldn't be able to get my pants off. I was in so much pain that if they tugged on my legs I'd scream. The only answer was to cut off my clothes, so that's what they did. There I was, down to nothing on my bottom. I didn't know what was going on but I was attached to oxygen and my sister had arrived after being notified to come off the slopes. Within 1/2 hour I found myself being strapped to a back board and taken to Bedford Heights hospital via ambulance. The ride was horrendous. I had no pain control and they took me on a bumpy road. There was even a sign that said "Bumpy Road" per Andrea. I just wanted to die. Give me something, anything. We arrived at the hospital and I was immediately taken to radiology. I remember the technician being the biggest wench. She was rude and inconsiderate. She tried to place a black block under my leg and I about went through the roof. At that point if you touched even my arm I flipped. She was finally able to place a smaller block under my leg and take a successful shot.

I was taken to a room in the ER. My parents arrived after racing from home. They presented the radiographs. Big as day, my femur was broken in half. It had not only broken but also contracted. They weren't sure what to do. Without a thought my mom said, "Take us where we need to go then. We won't be staying here." They started an IV gave me morphine...finally! and I was shipped to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. Just to let you know. I do not recommend going to Rainbow on a Saturday night. It's one of the most busiest places on the Earth. I laid strapped to that hard backboard for hours. Although I had pain medication I was still in pain. I was hungry and I couldn't move. I couldn't use the restroom. Finally they placed baby diapers under me so I could relieve myself. I remember Dad and Andrea coming into the room. They were trying to be quiet but I could see out of the corner of my eye that they had a candy bar. Snickers! I wanted it badly but couldn't. When my mom had enough of waiting she stormed out of the room and hollered at someone. Come to find out they were trying to comprise a team to perform surgery on me. They were going to place a pin in my leg and place me in traction. That would pull my bones apart, allowing them to heal. By 11:30pm Dad and Andrea left Cleveland and my mom stayed with me. I was finally heading to surgery. They didn't have a surgical suite available so I was to have the surgery performed in the trauma center. I didn't care. Give me more pain medication and get me off of the backboard.

Taking me to surgery was a blur but I do remember while it was being performed my anesthesia became too light. I was asleep but could feel something being screwed into my leg. I couldn't feel pain but could hear it and could feel the pressure. Finally I sat up and remember someone pushing me down. I don't remember anything after that. Later that evening I was awoken by a nurse. My IV had busted open and I had a bloody mess on my hands.

The next day I had a roommate who had been hit my at RTA bus. She was in one piece but her kidneys were bruised. I remember the horrible muscle spasms I experienced those first few days. They'd wake me up from sleep and it was once again the pain I can't describe. Relieving myself was once again impossible. I had to use a bedpan and couldn't lift myself on to it with the amount of pain I was in. Thankfully they found a wedged one that was at least somewhat possible even though it still hurt immensely to be placed on it it.

The hardest thing was having mom and dad would visit for a few hours. Although they'd visit I knew there were drained from having to work all day and the long drive back and forth. That's when we became determined to get me to Firelands. Through some work it was made possible. After 4 days in Cleveland I was finally shipped to Sandusky via ambulance.

My stay in Sandusky wasn't bad. I had my own room, a tutor I loved, people would come to visit, and the pain finally subsided after a week or so. I loved my nurses, hated the food (thank God for spaghettios) and dreaded my nightly pin care. But I made it. One whole month in the hospital. After a month I was taken out of traction and placed in a body cast. I was then able to go home. Able to use a real toilet and be on the computer. Ahh. After a month in the cast I was able to have it removed and start physical therapy. The day it was removed we had hoped to celebrate only to find that my leg was quite painful trying to re-adjust to free movement. Not only that but due to laying for 2 months without having to support myself I had no muscle tone in my back. Making it from the doctor's office to the car was a chore. It was amazing after the first day of physical therapy how much I was able to do. I worked on my exercises religiously. I was determined to get up and moving as fast as I could.

That's my experience in a nutshell. I still have some residual problems such as flexibility and aches but I still think it's amazing what I've been able to do since my injury. I skiied again. I rode horses. I was a cheerleader. I now run. Amazing.


Jamie said...

It happened 12 years ago, and not even to me, and yet I can FEEL the pain. WOW! and.. OUCH!

Mom said...

WOW, what a phenomenal memory you have. I remember that drive up to Bedford. I kept reassuring Dad that you would be fine. I was sure that it was just a precautionary trip to the hospital. Never did I imagine that you had actually broken your bone or all that would transpire in the next two monthes.

I remember all your classmates, teachers, doctors, friends and family rallied around you and came to visit, sent cards, food and gifts. It was heartwarming. I remember Ande' teaching you how to use the toilet ( in the body cast ) because she didn't want to have to empty the bedpan. How about all the games of solitaire you played on the computer.

In many ways, it seems like yesterday. It was a tough time for all the family, but we all made it through and look at ya now.

Anonymous said...

Boy that was a crappy year. I remember being in Cinci and mom telling me about it.