Saturday, February 21, 2015

Alexis' Typical Bad Luck /Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again

how my foot and leg look now

The snake-bitten quality of Alexis'  typical life has reared its ugly head once again,  At the onset of  my lunch break today, I was minding my own business. I was carefully -- though not overly-cautiously BECAUSE I AM NOT A KLUTZ!!! -- walking down a set of I think eight steps just outside our main building. Every injury I have ever incurred has been as a direct result of someone else encroaching into my personal space or projecting himself  or herself into my body, whether it was the time a hurdler tripped over her hurdle, sent it flying ahead into my lane, them herself fell on top of me, or two times when drivers have crashed into me through no fault of my own, or one time when a large male character in a musical stomped on my foot in the middle of the wedding dance in Fiddler on the Roof (accidentally, but still, it was he who stomped on my foot and not vise versa). 

A person who shall remain nameless because it was an accident -- an avoidable one, but an accident, just the same; I'm covered by both of my parents' insurance policies and by school insurance, so i will incur no out-of-pocket expense. I suppose i could win a few bucks for pain and suffering if I cared to take this person to court, but I do not wish to do so. It was an accident, albeit a highly preventable one -- was in more of a hurry to make it down the steps than I was. Instead of going around me, she seemed to think going right through me would be a better idea.

 I was mid-step when she made contact with my body, which sent me down onto that foot at an ugly angle. There was no handrail to grab. I went from the fourth step on my left foot to the very base of the steps. I heard the crack of what was probably my fourth and fifth metatarsal bones breaking near their bases. I have a few visible scrapes and bruises in miscellaneous places as well, but they're of limited consequence in the grand scheme of things except that I had to get a tetanus shot, which added insult to injury..Somehow in the process, my navicular bone also managed to take a bit of a hit, suffering an evulsion fracture (in which the ligaments pull the bone apart).  The worst part of an evulsion fracture is not the break itself but the ligament damage (i.e. sprain  ) that occurs simultaneously. 

It's a not uncommon misconception that in general, a sprain is a more serious in jury than a fracture. Such is not generally the case. What is true is that unless you have a serious fracture, i.e. spiral or compound fracture, or a fracture f a difficult-to-heal bone such as a hip, the ligament damage may cause you every bit as much pain as does the fracture. Also, what is true is that fractures are typically treated more aggressively, a cast, a boot, or some other form of immobilization, that allows the body part to heal. Often such is not the case with a sprain, and patients are often not good about staying off the injured body part (foot or leg in particular) for as long as is needed for the body part to heal. Hence, what happens is usually a lingering injury that would have healed had it been casted or had the person followed orders and stayed off the foot or leg for the recommended amount of time.

While We're on the subject of misconceptions, let us address on additional common one: a fracture is a break. Some people think a break is a break and a fracture is a crack. a hairline fracture is a crack. A fracture of another type is a break. I've been asked already by three people - not medical personnel or med students, for example, if my foot was broken or if it was fractured. It was broken, which means that it was fractured. had it been cracked, it would have been a hairline fracture.

The first medical person on the scene after it happened was one of the "Practice of Medicine"  professors. She actually wanted me to wait around in excruciating pain for an hour until class started so that the class could use me as their first non-acting human guinea pig. Fortunately for me, another physician soon happened on the scene. He used his cell phone to call for for help and told the professor I was in far too much pain either to wait around for over an hour or to function as a human guinea pig.

Within two or three minutes after the doctor called, paramedic types (probably 3rd year medical school students) arrived on the scene with a wheelchair and supplies.The doctor himself splinted my foot and leg, loaded me into the wheelchair, and told the flunkies where i should be taken. He called ahead so that, he said, the staff would be ready with IV painkillers the second I walked through the door. Dilaudid is the Fluid of the Gods.

Xrays hurt but were more bearable with the Dilaudid than cold turkey. 

I was able to identify the fractured bones from the Xrays before any of the 3rd-year med school students could. One of them tried to make the excuse that I knew because I could feel specifically which bones were injured. The resident said "Nice try, but of anything, she should have a harder time because of the pain. She just has superior radiological skills t yours. he fist-bumped me.  and then gave me an extra infusion of Dilaudid because I really did feel like I was either dying or wishing i would die because it hurt so much.

I have a temporary cast-splint with fiberglass wrapped by ace bandages, which is itching so fiercely that I'm tempted to tear it off so I can scratch. I sent a friend out for knitting needles. Wal-Mart is open all-night here. WalMart is the AntiChrist in my opinion, but i'm so desperate for relief that I'm willing to deal directly with the Satan himself.I happen to know that i would have a tough time giving myself a case of sepsis by scratching my leg with the knitting needle even if I deliberately tried to do so. Furthermore, i'm having this thing taken off and replace by wither a  boot or a cast on Monday. Were I to show the slightest sign of sepsis, I'd seek medical care. so the knitting needles are getting full use, period. I'm also getting benadryl, which can be taken in combination with the prescribed Norco, which is barely making a dent in my pain.

My friends got to take turns skipping classes to stay with me today. Life otherwise would not have been bearable. My parents will be here tomorrow. My mom can only stay through Tuesday,  but my dad can stay longer if necessary. Hopefully it won't be.

I'm in the downstairs bedroom, which is normally my parents' room or the guest room, so I won't have to deal with stairs. I like my own bed better, but it's not practical. I have a couple of friends here because Matthew could easily sleep right through my screams if I needed something.

I told my dad to bring IV supplies and more Dilaudid tomorrow. He probably won't, but I can dream, or I could anyway if I could actually sleep. This is turning into one of the longer nights of my life, and I've had my share of long nights.  The sole consolation as I can see it is that I'm at home and not in the hospital.

For the record, I am accepting sympathy.


  1. Sending tons of sympathy and cyber-hugs your way. Cyber-hugs may not seem as warm and loving, but they can't accidentally fracture your ribs.

  2. Aw man, Alexis. That really sucks! Hope you have good drugs soon!

  3. The sympathy is coming Alexis , but there is a condition. LOSE THE KNITTING NEEDLES? I will morph into maternal mode and nag. I have seen horrible traumatic ulcers from pencils,knitting needles and toys being used under a cast. And your experience alone should tell you that it's not worth it .

    Seriously,all sympathy for a further disaster.

    You've just revealed another difference in American vs Austro-British spelling to me. We spell "avulsion" and I notice the computer doesn't recognize it ( like the z in recognize- I need to correct manually!)

  4. my dad came and carefully took the temporary cast/splint off. he rubbed my whole foot and calf with Calamine. Then he re-splinted it, putting a cover almost like a thin sweater (I had that with my other casts) over my leg before reapplying the splint, and it was something of a slightly different consistency than fiberglass, though he said I wouldn't have reacted so horribly the first time if there had been a lining between my leg and the fiberglass.

    He's waiting around until Monday to discuss with the orthopedist the need or lack thereof for surgery. no one operates on me without him being present, unless he's out of the country, in which case one of my MD uncles comes.

    My mom stole my knitting needles.

    i'm fascinated by the differences in English/Australian/Kiwi/. Canadian spellings and those in use in the U.S. I ad no clue that evulsion/avulsion was one of those variances.

  5. Sorry to hear that you will once again have to deal with an itchy cast! I just discovered your blog last week (thanks to Scott's post on RFM), and I am reading from the beginning.

    I have never suffered a fracture, and so I cannot say that I know exactly what you are going through; however, your writing is so good that I have a pretty good idea. I hope your recovery this time around is faster and far less traumatic than the last time!


  6. The good thing is that your toes are already painted to detract from the weird discoloration you will soon experience. Otherwise, you do have my sympathy and be happy it isn't summer as the heat exacerbates the itching. Drugs are good and so is sleep. Use the opportunity to catch up.
    Sympathetic virtual hugs to you.