Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back to the World of the Living but Having Permanently Missed 3 Judge Alex Episodes

Hello. I'm glad to be back to the world of blogging after a forced hiatus. I had a rather unfortunate hurdling accident eight days ago. I've been asked not to share specifics of the accident here or anywhere else, as the parents of someone else who was involved are supposedly contemplating litigation. It all seems silly, as, other than my relatives, who live everywhere except near the town I live, only my parents, my brother, one teacher, and three friends know about this blog. My mom says that if three of your friends know about it, soon enough one of your enemies will learn about it as well. So I can't say much except IT WASN'T MY FAULT! I never left my lane. My (former-- I will not be walking anytime soon, much less hurdling) coach told me that he saw a video tape of the race that one of the parents took, and it shows clearly that other people and objects entered my lane and not the reverse.

Hurdling injuries are supposed to be shin splints (which can turn into stress fractures if you ignore them, but still. . .) and hamstring injuries, with an occasional ankle injury in a worst-case scenario. What I ended up with was a compound tibia-fibula fracture and a clavicle fracture.
A word of advice I would give anyone contemplating undergoing an injury is to at all costs avoid the backwoods locations of northern California. Suffer your injury next to Stanford, University of California, UCLA, USC, or a simlarly prestigious institution. If you choose to ignore my advice, even if the injury itself doesn't kill you, the hospital staff may very well finish the job.

I was transported by ambulance to (nameless hospital, and I'm using the term hospital very loosely in referring to this place as such) which remains nameless: (A) to preserve my anonmymity and the undisclosed specifics of my location; (B) to keep my parents from being sued; the hospital would not prevail in a defamation charge against me, as I could substantiate everything I allege, but the hassles of being on the receiving end of even an unsuccessful lawsuit are sufficient reason to exercise caution in this regard. In any event, I was scraped off the track by a couple of paramedics and transported to a so-called hospital. My (former) coach accompanied me to the hospital in the ambulance, leaving the team under the supervision of the assistant coach. As it turns out, had he not come with me, I might not have survived the ordeal. It was only through the actions of him and of the father of another track team member, who is an orthopedic surgeon, that I received any care whatsoever.

If you are a kid who has ever participated in school sports, you know about the extensive health questionnaire parents are required to complete prior to a kid even receiveing a phyiscal for school sports, much less actually stepping on a practice field. The very reason for the requirement of the completion of these forms is so that procedures will be in place to provide for an athlete's care in the event that an athlete is injured when his or her parents can't be reached. The sad thing is that if my forms had not been so thoroughly completed, the hospital probably would have treated me.

My father is a physician. He isn't currently associated with a medical practice because he has been in research for about twenty years. He takes courses and works just enough ER shifts to keep his licensing current, and he has always treated my mom, my brother, and me, even though it's not recommended that doctors treat their own family members. Actually, I don't know any doctor who doesn't treat his own wife or kids in a pinch. If someone gets an ear infection, a doctor is not going to take his kid to urgent care and wait for hours when he can prescribe the same thing himself. We all have doctors besides my dad, but if we get sick on a night or weekend, he takes are of it himself. Almost any doctor with kids does enough reading or consulting that he becomes practically a board certified pediatrician, anyway. The main thing is that a doctor should have someone less emotionally involved screening his family members or taking care of serious matters, but for really routine stuff, doctors almost always handle it themselves. When I contracted pneumonia in the fall, my doctor would have hospitalized me, but my dad stayed home from work and kept me on a IV and oxygen at home so I wouldn't be exposed to other hospital germs. The doctor came to my house daily to check me, buy my dad took care of me all day and night.

Anyway, my dad tends to fill out those health forms as though he is writing books for publication. They ask for a lot of non-essential information anyway. For example, I'm not sure exactly why they think they need to know the exact day, month, and year a kid contracted chicken pox. My dad takes the forms to extremes probably never before seen. He lists my brother's and my complete medical histories, with basically every medication that we have ever been given in our entire lives, and what if any reaction there was to each and every medication.

So when the hospital in the sticks was given my health form, which incidentally authorized my coach by name to give consent for any medical treatment needed (not even stipulating that the care was limited to that exclusively necessary for the preservation of life or limb), the ER personnel pretty much wanted to know what kind of a nut would write a complete book on his kid's health form. When my coach told them that my dad was a doctor, they backed away from me and said they wouldn't touch me without at least a telephone OK from one of my parents, and preferably the one who is an MD.

Under ordinary circumstances, this wouldn't have been a big issue. Someone would call my parents' cell numbers, and at least one of them would answer. The problem was that they were at my brother's baseball game in another direction. This place where my brother was playing apparently has abysmal cell phone reception. When it was discovered that faulty cell phone reception was at the root of the problem, the police were called and sent to the high school where my brother was playing baseball. By this time, however, the game was over, the teams were gone, and the crowd had dispersed. A pharmaceutical salesman who is a friend of my dad came to my brother's game. He invited my parents to have lunch at his house. The highway patrol eventually located the school bus carrying my brother's baseball team, but he had no idea where my parents were. When my parents reached the home of the people they were visiting, they used the people's home phone to leave messages on my cell phone and my brother's, but my brother didn't have cell phone reception. My phone was tucked away in a bag, and no one thought to check it.

So eventually my brother gets to an area that has cell phone reception, and he finds out where they are and calls them. By that time, however, I was already in shock. Fortunately, in the meantime, the father of one of my teammates had arrived at the track meet. Someone told him about my accident. He asked if my parents had been there, and was told no, so he drove to the local hospital. When he got there, my (former) coach told him that the hospital staff were refusing to treat me. He called an ambulance and had me immediately transferred to a hospital at which he practices and at which my father is partly based, which is only about ten miles from my home. He and the paramedics treated me for shock, and gave me IV fluids, antibiotics,and pain medication. He had my coach drive his car while he rode in the ambulance with me.

I don't remember any of this. I remember being on the track, and I vaguely remember being put on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance, but other than that, it's as if it happened to someone else, except I have the cast, sling, and scars to prove otherwise.

When I arrived at the hospital near my home, I went into surgery immediately. I had another surgery the next day, and another one Tuesday. I don't think I was really conscious until Wednesday night. Even then I was quite stoned. I'm still taking entirely too many drugs, but my mind is beginning to clear just a little.

My clavicle (collarbone) fracture isn't all that serious. It's wrapped, and my arm is immobilized in a sling. Actually, it's immobilized a lot more than that, because when I told my dad I wanted my laptop, he wouldn't give it to me until he thoroughly attached my arm to my body with three ace bandages so that I couldn't use my right arm to type if my life depended on it. No one around here trusts me! The bone should heal in five to eight weeks. It would take an adult closer to eight weeks, but since I'm still growing, my bone may heal a bit faster. It's nice that there's a positive side to being physically immature!

My leg fracture is worse. Often when the tibia is broken, the referred pressure also breaks the fibula --the smaller bone in the lower leg; this happened in my case. What also happened was that the skin was also broken by the bone. This often causes bleeding and a major risk of infection. It also often causes greater bone displacement and greater pain than would be present with a less complicated fracture. It was probably a combination of the bleeding and pain that caused me to go into shock. The open or compound fracture was the reason I needed more than one surgery, and the reason I'm still on heavy antibiotics.

So I've been paroled from the hospital. If things go as planned, I will not need additional surgery, which is good, as the ones I've already had were quite enough. My parents have been really great. I knew there was a reason I've stuck around here for so long. I'm a very picky eater. My parents ordinarily don't humor me in this regard and expect me to eat a reasonable amount of whatever is served whether I like it or not, but even they understand that I have to draw the line at hospital food. I ate cereal and chocolate milk from the hospital for breakfast, because it came straight from the box and carton, and there was not much the staff could do it ruin it. Someone from my dad's staff brought lunch from Subway or somewhere similar for both him and me each day. My mom or one of my aunts made my dinner each night. (I forgot to add that I do have one aunt and uncle and their kids who live near us. They're all nice. They don't invade my privacy by reading my blog, or if they do, they at least have the decency not to say anything about it.) The other aunt here, who is also my Godmother, came to visit so that she could help out when she learned that I was injured. She is also staying with me this week so that my parents don't have to take any more time off work.

I can't use crutches because of my broken clavicle. This means I have to use a wheelchair, which I cannot push by myself, because if you roll just one wheel, it goes in a circle. My brother tied a rope from my bed to the bathroom, so I can pull myself there with my left hand, but my mom says I have to tell someone because if no one is watching me I might fall and hurt myself worse. It is not cool to have to be supervised in the bathroom. They do leave me alone once I am in place, but that is only a slight consolation. Also, we have a two-story house, and my bedroom is upstairs. My dad or my brother has to carry me up the stairs. If at least one of them is not home, I have to go downstairs before they leave because if there was a fire my mom or aunt couldn't get me downstairs without injuring me further. This, too, will be a bummer.

I told my parents I don't want to go back to school until fall. They said I have to go back after this week. I heard them talking, and I happen to know that the doctor hasn't even cleared me for next week and may not. I can hope. I don't want to be a cripple at school. I wish they would reconsider. I could use my own money to pay for a babysitter if time off work is all they're concerned about.

So for the next week I'm in my room if my dad or brother is home, and down stairs on the sofa if they're not. At least I'll be able to watch Judge Alex. I watched it from my hospital bed on Thursday and Friday, but not on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. It did not occur to anyone to record it for me. If anyone can post a recap of any of those episodes in the comments section here, it would be greatly appreciated.

The prom is off for me. I will explain in another post soon, but I'm getting very sleepy.

Editorial Note: Most of this post was brought to you by Alexis' wonderful, intelligent, and handsome brother, who saw her struggling to type with one hand and kindly (as is characteristic of him) offered to help.

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