Sunday, May 1, 2016

48 Hour Sentence

I have been thinking a lot lately that I really need to get it together and get back to blogging. I've been making a lot of empty blogging promises. It's been a very busy 8 months - studying, testing, learning and everything else that comes with completely changing your profession. My last exam that I am able to take at this time is just around the corner and I'm thrilled to be done with that part and be able to get back to life and not thinking about it non-stop.

However, at this point I'm not sure what's going on with my exam and it might be a little longer before I am able to celebrate the end, which led to this post. Let me back track a little bit...

Things are busy. I have been preparing for another broker exam, I'm working and I'm trying to train for a temporary part-time job...and then there's life in general. This week coming up especially was going to be very chaotic and I have been trying my best to prepare and organize for all its events.

Thursday I had to go to a training. It only took place a couple of hours away, but the trainer offered  to provide me an accommodation. Normally, this drive would not bother me. Really, it was only two days of travel. It occurred to me that with my exam sneaking up having to travel home and then back the following day would steal several hours I could use to study. So, I decided to take her up on the offer.

It was perfect...after training I went to the local grocery store and stocked up on some items to hold me over, went and checked into my hotel and hunkered down. I spent the whole evening studying and it was great. Somewhere around 10:30pm I decided to call it a night and put away the books. I got ready for bed and decided to get my Ipad and pull up an episode of Shameless to end the evening.

My Ipad was low on juice, so earlier I had plugged it in to charge. A few minutes into the show, I decided I best take the charger out of the wall while I was thinking of it - since it was on the opposite side of the night stand and a little out of the way I knew it was likely I would forget it the next morning. I roll to the right, grabbed my charger and then rolled back. I realized my knee has locked up - this is common with the condition of my knee. I usually play with my knee cap a little, get it moving around a bit and it is fine. It never lasts more than a few minutes.

So, I go through my little routine and nothing is happening. Crud. My knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and locked. Awesome.

I got some hot towels and wrapped it around my knee, hoping the heat might loosen it up and everything would function properly again. I tried anything/everything I could think of. It was so painful when I tried to extend it, but as long as it was bent, it was fine. I decide I just need to put a pillow under it, try to go to bed and hope that it works itself out by morning.

I hardly slept at all. At first, I think it was more the anxiety of the situation. I think deep down I knew something was wrong. As the night went on, even in the bent position, it started to ache a bit. By 4am I was over it.

I got up and tried putting hot towels on it again, I tried putting some ice on it, I tried moving it around. Nothing. I decide at this point I have to go to the ER. I was thinking about it all night, but really hoped to avoid it as I worried they might have to snap it back into place. Personally, I think that's something someone should only have to experience once in their life as it is a bit traumatizing...and I've already experienced this twice, twice in one day! Hence the reason I sat all night trying to pretend this wasn't happening...

I can't extend my leg, let alone reach the floor or put pressure on it. I pull the chair from the hotel room desk over and I use that to help me hop around. I brush my teeth, wash my face, deodorize and get changed - all with great difficulty. I continue to use my chair to help me gather all of my items and pack up my bags.

Now what? I really have no choice but to call the front desk for help. So, I do. A young lady answers my cry for help.

Me: Hi, my name is Brittany. I'm in Room 110 and I have hurt myself.
Me: I think I need to get to the ER. I was just wondering if there is someone available to carry my bags to my car.
Me: Hello?
Her: Yea...Sure...I can come help you.

Poor thing. She did not know what to think. But, she arrived to help me. She grabs all of my bags. She even fetched me a cane. Unfortunately since I can't touch down on the ground - it wasn't very helpful. I still had to hop along. I used the cane and the wall and manage to get to the lobby.

It is now that I realize that I have no idea how I'm going to get ME to my car. I ask the lovely lady if she is able to drive a standard, which thankfully she is and thankfully is also willing to bring my car up to the door. So, off she goes and I think "Okay...You've done it...You're almost there, you just need to drive yourself to the hospital."

I'm standing in the door and the car isn't moving. It is frosted over, so I think she's probably just giving it a minute. Then, it starts to move forward...FORWARD! It need to be moving backwards. The reverse lights are not on and I realize she's having trouble getting it in reverse. She starts moving forward again...and again...she's still not getting it in reverse. At this point, the front of the car is no longer in the parking has moved off of the pavement and is now starting to inch its way down over the grassy hill. Oh dear.

She gives it another try and this time takes a giant leap....forward! The car is literally off of the parking lot and moving down the bank. A bit further and we may be at a point of no return. But I can't move. I am standing there watching my almost paid for car head down over the hill and I cannot do a damn thing about it.

I look for help and there is this poor man trying to enjoy his continental breakfast...which came to an end. Thankfully he could also drive a standard and I sent him out to give her a hand. He goes out and I can see him talking to her through the window. He goes over to the passenger side and gets in with her. Then he gets out and walks to a baby barn and comes back with some 2x4's. He places them under the tires, the girl gets out, he gets in and slowly is able to reverse my car back up over the hill, onto the parking lot and brings it up to the front door. Phew.

That poor girl. I cannot imagine how panicked she felt. In the grand scheme of things, it's a bunch of connected metal and it is what it is. Although, I probably only feel that way now that Mr. Continental Breakfast has rectified the situation. He even helped me hop out to my car.

I take a breather and lean waaaaaay down in my seat. Since my knee is bent, reaching the gas and break is quite difficult. Somehow I manage to get out of St. George and onto the highway which made for much easier travel. I didn't face much more difficulty until I got to St. Stephen and had to shift, break and gas my way through town. Thankfully the hospital is not from the highway.

Finally, I arrive. I am in the parking lot...but how do I get into the ER?

Ah ha...I google the hospital and call the front desk.

Me: My name is Brittany and I am in the parking lot and I have hurt myself. I can't walk and am wondering if there is someone available to come help me in?
Her: Sure, I'll send a LPN right out.
Me: Thank you.
Her: What are you driving?
Me: A silver Volkswagen, but there is another one a few cars down so I'll get out so they can find me.

I get out of the car. It is very cold out...and I wait and I wait and I wait...and I eventually sit back down into the car. A decent amount of time goes by and I know people are busy but...did they forget about me?

Finally, this young lad comes out. He has come on his own and soon realizes he needs a wheelchair (I apparently needed to be more specific). He returns with a wheelchair and kindly escorts me in. No LPN apparently was available and no one in the ER wanted to come get me. How nice. But Ed came to my rescue, that's all that matters. He hung out with me and wheeled me everywhere I needed to go until I reached my final destination. Thank you, Security Guy Ed...If not I may still be in the silver Volkswagen at the CCH parking lot.

Finally. I did it. I'm at the ER. All is well. Except, if they even suggest snapping it back, I'm not so sure I would be able to flee the scene in this wheelchair.

I had Ms. Skeptical as my triage nurse, who took all of my information with a little scowl, raised eyebrows and an eye roll here and there. I also think my x-ray technicians might dabble in a little S&M by night. If so, I believe their business to be very successful as they managed to cause me great pain while they seemed to get a bit of pleasure out of it.

I have a good tolerance for pain. But, they had to try to straighten my leg as much as possible for one of the x-rays and the pain was indescribable. It was so excruciating that I instantly thought I was going to throw up. A wash of sweat came over, I gasped to breath and came very close to losing my cookies on the x-ray table..only to hear..."I NEED YOU TO BREATH". 

Thankfully, the slide turned out...or maybe it didn't...I have no idea. But they didn't make me do it again and the last slide was at a more preferable angle.

The poor nurse assigned to bring me my meds was trying so hard to be patient as I took all four pills individually and with great difficulty. I am almost 31 and still can't swallow pills without several attempts and a few gags. Yet another Rice deficiency. She did have a smile on her face while she gave me a few impatient toe taps. Not sure if they were supposed to cancel each other out or compensate for the other.

Beyond that point - all was well. The Doctor was great, I felt like he listened to me and didn't disregard anything I was saying. I felt like he believed the pain I was in and how trying this has all been. He is adamant I go back to my orthopedic surgeon as "you can't live like this". Right? That's what I've been saying!

I don't have a problem with my surgeon. I actually like him. He explains things thoroughly and has always wanted to ensure I understand, which I appreciate. I just find it frustrating to live this way at 30. It really limits my abilities and activities. I do hope to have children, but worry about how I would be able to get down and play with them, keep up with them and actively engage with them. But, I also understand his decision. I am very thankful that just about a year ago he decided against removing my knee cap altogether. Since deciding the only option is a knee cap replacement,  he also decided I am too young. It would only last me 10 years, maybe less and he said he would like to wait until I am at least 40. In moments like this, 10 years seems very, very far away. Especially considering that I am in quite a predicament after merely leaning over in my bed.

My ER doctor said the degeneration is substantial from my 2015 x-ray to the x-ray I just had and thinks it definitely needs to be revisited. Otherwise, nothing was determined. My knee cap is not out of place. After discussing the situation with the orthopedic surgeon on call in Saint John, they both agreed not to manipulate my leg. I was so happy to hear this! I was so anxious...having to snap something back into place is traumatizing. It is locked, but if they try to straighten it, it'll still be locked, but just in a different position. So they both agreed it had no benefit. Their opinion is that a piece of arthritic fragment has come loose and is lodged somewhere it does not belong, ceasing my mobility. So, I'm resting, elevating, icing and medicating for the next 48 hours. The plan is to get the swelling to go down, see if there is any movement and if things begin to function properly again. If not, well...I don't actually know what happens in 48 hours if that doesn't happen...except that I need to return to the ER. I really hope if that happens that I get yet another doctor who will disagree with manipulation.

Since they had me hopped up I was told I could not drive. I sent out a help text for a ride home. Good ole Rebecca was already on her way. I had texted her from the hotel that I was hurt and was going to try to get myself to the ER. When she texted me and didn't hear back, she immediately came after me. It was perfect timing...she arrived as I was being discharged, hooked me up with some crutches, a Tim's breakfast and took me poor VW is still sleeping over (I hope!)

Since I'm now on a 48 hour couch sentence - I bring you this post. I'm still choosing joy these days...even though I'm in pain, annoyed, tired and sometimes bored. I am looking at the bright side, which is that I finally followed my own advice...I landed in the ER but I had on an excellent choice in underwear and shaved legs! Those of you who know me, know this has not been the case in the past...Success!!