Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 4 Wednesday- Post Op

 So this is the picture Dr. Larsen's PA, Stephen Cruz drew on my board at the end of my bed yesterday... this is my leg...


Ouch! He proceeds to tell me that in the surgery I am about to go into, Dr. Larsen will do his best to put back together my tibial plateau, use hardware to hold together and align the knee back when it should be. He said that all the cartilage connected to the top of my tibia is gone, or will need to be cleaned out. He then demonstrates with his hands the motion of my tibia and femur grinding against each other. He said "This is what will happen until all your cartilage is worn off your femur. At that point you will need a total knee replacement." I couldn't even process the picture he was drawing... what is a TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT? He continued "You will never get your knee back to the way is was. This will always be your 'bad knee'. You will have arthritis in this knee and it will be stiff and painful." What was I supposed to say? But I told him I understood... what was my other option? I had none.

I don't remember the rest of the day. I remember going into surgery... Dr. Larsen discussing the surgery... then that's it. I woke up the next morning not remembering anything after. Apparently I was in so much pain with my foot that they did another x-ray right after surgery.


Here's what I got... a metal plate, k-wires, and 11 screws. Wow!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 2 Monday- Can't touch this

"Can't touch this"... not from MC Hammer. These were the words from the orthopedic doctor I met with. Dr. Bradford Matthews.
Getting in and out of the house is a nightmare. Words can't express the pain... every movement, every bump in the road, every tiny turn my foot makes. I'm ready for someone to just chop the damn thing off!
We check-in, then get taken back to a room. While we wait for the Doctor I am anticipating the plan. I'm so anxious to hear the Dr tell me what he is going to do when he will do it (and it better be today!) and how quickly this can all just be over with!
Dr. Matthews walks in. He starts talking about a Tibia fracture... asks if it's a Tib/Fib. I say "No... nobody said that term... Tib/Fib" He proceeds to then take off the ace bandage from my leg. The bandage had been put on in the ER. He tries to unwrap it and quickly realizes that I can't hardly breath without screaming. So he says instead of unwrapping it, he'll just cut it off. He cuts it off and looks at it. His face has an odd expression. Then he excuses himself... saying he needs to look at something. I'm sitting there staring down at the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. It didn't even look like a real leg. It was warped and swollen, green, blue and yellow. I tell Mike to take a picture with my phone. I wanted to someday look back and see how creepy it looked.


The Doctor comes back into the room. He sits on his stool and turns so he can face all three of us. He said "I had just looked at the x-ray and thought you had broken your tibia a couple inches below your knee. When I saw your leg and the location of the swelling I wanted to look at the CT that had been done." He then proceeded to say "You have what's called a Type 5 Tibial Plateau Fracture... with type 6 being the most severe." There is just silence. He continues "I'm not comfortable with the severity of this injury." In other words... I'm not touching this! He said "I'd like you to go straight to the ER at UVRMC. You need emergency surgery. There is a Doctor there who will be trained and able to perform the specific surgery you need... his name is Dr. Mitch Larsen" Oh crap... another ER and a surgery. This is a lot more than I thought.


So, what exactly is a Type 5 Tibial Plateau Fracture?...
The tibial plateau is one of the most critical load-bearing areas in the human body; fractures of the plateau affect knee alignment, stability, and motion. Early detection and appropriate treatment of these fractures are critical in minimizing patient disability and reducing the risk of documented complications, particularly posttraumatic arthritis.

And what does Type 5 mean?...
Consists of a split fracture of the medial and lateral tibial plateau. It is usually the result of a high energy injury with complex varus (compression force, such as falling from height) and valgus (and inward force across the knee) forces acting upon the tibial plateau. May include injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament and collateral ligaments. Make up 3% of all tibial plateau fractures.

(FYI- After further examination before surgery... Dr. Larsen makes the note that it's more like a type 6 fracture)

Of course the ER at UVRMC was such a wonderful change from AF. Every nurse, assistant, or Doctor who talked to me asked the same question... Where have you been? In explaining that the accident occurred Saturday, and it now being towards the end of Monday, everyone was shocked that I had been sent home TWICE from AF hospital. It was such validation for the pain I was in, and the helplessness I felt over the weekend. I was so happy to finally be on an IV and comfortable. Well, comfortable is not quite what it was... but it was a heck of a lot better than I had been feeling. I never thought I would want a catheter... but when they suggested it I was so glad. I couldn't move without blinding pain.



I was quickly admitted and put on the surgery schedule. Dr Larsen couldn't get to me that evening... so I was schedule for surgery Tuesday morning. I luckily had a decent nights sleep. Of course it's the hospital, so it was interrupted by nurses taking vitals and receiving pain meds... but I knew that I was in good hands. I had answers and I had a plan of action. Finally.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 1- The aftermath

This is my face... and this is what an airbag deploying on your face looks like. It felt like my face was on fire! My lips were swollen, my nose, my cheek, even my eyelids were bruised and swollen! The seatbelt had burned my chest and my shoulder hurt.

This is my leg... My knee, my foot, and my pelvis ached! It felt like my right hip socket had been munched. My chest hurt, I couldn't take a deep breath without my ribs and sternum killing. You know the saying... I feel like I've been hit by a truck?... yeah, I won't ever use that statement! My entire body was sore!




This would be the intersection where we were hit. Right where those two yellow lines seem to gracefully cross... we were coming from the right (east) and the car that hit us was coming from the left (west).


We didn't hit directly head on, but close. The impact was taken on the Driver's front corner.


You can see the damage done to my side as well (passenger side)


This is the glove box that impacted my knee. It can't even close now. The oncoming force combined with the slamming down of the glove box is what caused the top of my tibia bone to shatter. 


The inside...


The conclusion... IT'S TOTALED!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Accident

I wanted to document these events before things are just a big blur.
Saturday night Mike and I went out on a date. We used a gift card my Mom had given us..and it was a much needed break for the two of us. This past week has been a whirlwind of celebrations and parties, it was fun spending some time alone... just us.
We spent Saturday cleaning the house and setting up tables and chairs for the Academy Awards Party. I had bought all the hors devours... shrimp, crabcakes, mini quiche, cucumber sandwiches, bacon wrapped smokies, veggie trays, and more. For dessert I had eclairs, mini brownies, mini cheesecakes, and chocolate dipped strawberries.
I had pre-ordered balloons from Party Land, so I thought we'd start our date night by picking those up. We got the beautiful bouquet of gold and black, then headed to Hobby Lobby for some centerpieces, we had the Olive Garden gift card... and thought we would try and get dinner. (I had an amazing week of healthy eating and workouts... on BFL I get 1 day off!) The wait was 1 hr! We had to grab some things at Wal-Mart, so it worked out. Mike grabbed the Ginger Ale for our mocktails. I grabbed the stuffed olives and maraschino cherries.
We had a great dinner at Olive Garden, ended the night with tiramisu... my favorite. It was freezing cold... I had forgot my jacket, but Mike started the car and quickly turned on the heat. Little did I know that in the next minute... my life would take a serious turn. Mike pulled out of the parking lot and across I-15 toward Pioneer Crossing. I looked at my phone and saw the my sister had called. I called her back and she was telling me that her babysitter had fallen through and she wasn't sure if she could come to the party tomorrow. All the lights were green, so we got up to about 40 miles an hour. We were headed through the last light in the intersection when I turned and saw a blur of a white car headed directly toward us. It was only a split-second... next thing I felt was a huge jolt throughout my entire body, and what felt like a hard smack across my face.
I looked over to see Mike still holding the steering wheel... but an airbag covered the wheel and his hands. There seemed to be smoke in the air... it was foggy.
I felt an immediate shock of pain radiate up though my body... starting from my feet and continuing up. My face was burning, I saw the airbag in front of me... it looked so much larger than I had expected an airbag to look. The crash was so loud, my ears were ringing. I could barely hear Mike yelling at me "Are you okay?! Are you okay?!" He got out of the car. I reached to unbuckle and felt sharp pains in my neck and shoulder. I tried to turn and see where Mike was, but it hurt too bad. I could see the car that hit us out of my door window. I couldn't wrap my mind around what had just happened! I knew that there were cars ahead of us... and I saw and cars stopped at the light to the left. How could this have happened? I also knew that something was seriously wrong with my right leg. I couldn't move it. I started screaming! I felt like I couldn't breathe... but with the breaths I could take I would scream.
A stranger opened my door, then I saw Mike's face. The stranger explained that he was a nurse and could help me. I could hardly take a breath. I felt that the wind was knocked out of me... I couldn't answer his questions at first. I was crying... crying my sister's name. She was just talking in my ear on the phone. I was confused. I was confused, and screaming. I had never felt so much pain! He asked where I was hurting, I tried to answer between breaths "my leg... my leg... my shoulder... my chest... my leg..." Then I started crying again. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move. I had never hurt like this in my life! It was all the hurt I had ever felt rolled into one.
Then I started looking around me. I saw deflated airbags, the shattered glass of the windshield made the world outside look like reflective pieces of lights. Fettuccine alfredo and lasagne were decorating the dash... dripping down the radio and buttons. Then I saw my phone on the floor by my feet. I knew the pain wasn't going to let me reach down to grab it. I also knew that my sister was probably still there.
Next thing I know, there is Mike. He's opened the door and standing on the right side of my body. It's my right leg that's injured and I assure him I can't get out... I kept saying "there is something wrong with my leg" I feel myself struggling to breath. I'm still trying to sort out the last 60 seconds. It was surreal, and yet the pain was so real! It was the only thing that seemed real!
I yell "Mike, Mike" He runs over "Hurry and get the balloons out of the van! Get the vases and the balloons! They will come tow away the van, so you have to get them out!" He looks at me with loving and scared eyes "No!" I started repeating myself, until he yells "Sherian! THERE IS NO PARTY!!!" I couldn't accept it. I thought I would go to the hospital, get a cast put on and come home. I would wear my evening dress and my cast would just be a funny story about how I broke my leg the night before.
I realize I'm not breathing... a strange man keeps telling me to breathe. He gives me a blanket and tells me I'm in shock. No shit Sherlock! I call again for Mike, "Call Nic and Sode, the kids are at home! Ask them to pick them up and bring them to their house"
Next thing I know I turn and see another strange man. He introduces himself and proceeds to calmly and forcefully ask questions as he seems to simultaneously explain what is happening. I am once again told to breathe. I feel a weird contraption fit around my neck. Then the man is taking scissors and cutting up my pant leg. I'm so vain... because I almost tell him he can't, it's my favorite pair of jeans! Then he asks if he can cut my garments. I don't remember answering the questions he's asking. It's almost like they are statements rather than questions. Then I am carefully turned the opposite direction and hands are assisting me to lack back. I'm on a very cold, very hard board. My knee is bent and balancing in the air. Oh my goodness it hurts!
I slide into the ambulance and stare up at the shiny silver ceiling. The male voice is still talking. He asks questions... allergies, medications I'm taking, pain level from 1-10,... I almost say 10, I want to say 10! I've always hated that question. In my mind if 10 is the worst pain I've ever felt I would be dying... unable to breathe, let alone talk! I say "It's between a 9 and 10" He starts an IV and the poke of the needle is a welcome distraction from the pain in my knee. I ask about Mike... the EMT tells me they don't let people ride in the ambulance, but they make an exception. The doors shut, and the gentleman with me shouts orders to the guy driving. I here the loud sound of a siren... I still can't believe the siren is coming from me! I'm the person inside that siren! I feel a rush of warmth through my body... the pain is starting to dull. I listen as the EMT repeats every question he asked me over a walkie-talkie. I yell every time we hit a bump. At one point the guy with me yells at the driver to be more careful. Then I hear multiple voice warning me "here's some bumps, we're going over the tracks" Tracks? We are almost there. Every bump from the tracks feels like someone is taking a sledgehammer to my knee.
We stop and the doors open. I'm slid out of the ambulance and onto something with wheels. I thank the EMT over and over. I'm thinking that this stranger is currently the most important person to me. I get taken into a room. I see Mike's face, close my eyes and see Jessica's face. She has black mascara dried on her cheeks. She looks like she'd been crying really hard. I remember the phone! She tells me that she knew I was coming here... Mike asks how she made it here before the ambulance. Then I see my Mom... Kim... Greg... Anita... my pain was mostly gone. I get x-rays and the guy taking them seems to be the slowest person I've ever seen. He keeps telling me he can't get good positioning... I am tipped up on my side for pelvis x-rays. I think they did my leg, pelvis and chest. I'm just so glad to be out of that awful pain. I look at my leg and it looks so much better than it feels. I almost expected to see bones popped out and crazy displacements... Jess says "Don't look at it!" But I do.
Dave and Kyle give me a blessing. Kyle talks about healing and being strong. Dave tells Mike he can both heal and help me heal. I'm so thankful for such amazing family members who honor their priesthood. It's so wonderful to have brother-in-law's who can offer such spiritual help in times of need! I will cherish that service and the peace it brought me that night. In the midst of pain and confusion, they offered calming reassurance that we were being watched over by our father in heaven.
Mike get examined by the Dr. His shoulder hurts, and at one point his arm looks purple and goes numb! He's so full of adrenalin still, I'm not sure I saw him sit down for more than a few seconds!
The Dr comes in and tells me my leg is broken and most likely I will need surgery. Surgery? The nurse then puts a splint on it and wraps it in ace bandages. The nurse tells me I'm going home and she will get the paperwork. I'm both confused and relieved! I can go home and pretend this was a nightmare... but what about surgery? If I go home, how and when will the surgery part happen?
The nurse comes in with papers to sign and prescriptions to fill. The papers have another Dr's name, the nurse points to that name and tells me I need to get into him on Monday. He'll be the one to fix everything.
As I get out of bed to transfer to the wheelchair I feel sharp shooting pain. My bottom lip quivers from holding back the screaming. Wow! I've never felt pain that intense!
We head home... but as the night goes on it only gets worse and worse! My entire body feels like it wants to explode. It's almost as if I need other pain to distract from my leg pain. I seriously wanted to bang my head on the wall. As every hour passes it gets more and more painful, and more intense.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bunko & Oscar's

Thursday night I hosted Bunko at my house. I absolutely love this group of women I have gotten to know through Bunko. We are such a great range of ages, kids, professions... everything! We were able to take a trip down to St. George a few weeks ago, and I really was able to bond with these wonderful ladies.
We all have different backgrounds and live different ways... but we are similar in so many areas. It was positive and uplifting to learn about each of our lives. One of the best things that has come from joining this group is the closeness I've gained with 3 women who live in my neighborhood. These are people I've lived next to for 5 years and never had conversations with. We've had mutual friends, but never been able to connect. Driving down to St. George and back gave us plenty of time to get to know each other.
It was a great uplifting weekend. These were women who didn't pretend that life was perfect, but we all love our families and our husbands.I learned about what one woman in particular... and the things she has endured over the passed year. She is so strong and it just doesn't seem fair that her family has been faced with the health struggles they have.
I also learned "yet again" about stupid gossip and how things get twisted and manipulated. I want to kick myself, because I think I learn something only to get in a situation in the middle of "he said, she said" But, luckily it worked out quickly.
So I was able to host these wonderful 12 women at my house Thursday! The theme was "what we would have gotten OURSELVES for Valentine's Day"
It was a ton of fun! I served Taco Soup, Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Rolls... and for dessert I made choco dipped strawberries, red velvet cake, and we drank sparkling cider from champagne glasses. It was good times.
I also started Body for Life this week. It's just a nutrition and exercise program to build muscle. I did really great... had great workouts 6 days of the past 7 days... and had kept in my nutrition goals. I'm ready for a change. I've hit that 'wall' and need to make some serious adjustments to my life. I feel like I'm getting to a place where I'm happy with relationships, I feel good spiritually... I just need to get my physical goals in line.
I've made changes this past year with relationships. Again, I had to take a step back and distance myself from some people. It's always hard, because they are people I love... but seem to hurt me. As much as I wish my family could all just accept each other and get along, that seems impossible sometimes. I don't know how the future will turn out, I pray that things can mend, and people can stop comparing and competing... but I'm learning how to cope and handle things.
I'm doing my best to reach out and have the relationships that are healthy for me. I'm making strides and putting myself out there. Everyone has things happen that change them, help them grow up, etc. And although I'd never wish for someone to have hard times... I pray that growing and changing can help soften hearts. I have found great strength in my relationships with in-laws and new friends.
Anyway...
Sunday I'm having an Academy Awards Party. This is something I have wanted to do for many years. It's difficult though... because it's on a Sunday. It's hard to find babysitting on Sunday's, and there are also wonderful people who wouldn't participate in a party on Sunday. (Like the 'tiptoe' subject of a Superbowl Party, or recreational activities on Sunday's) Those situations are always awkward... and instead of getting easier as time goes on, they seem to get harder.
I just made a random guest list of people who I thought #1 would be fine with a Sunday Party #2 would get into the glitz and glam of dressing up (and yes... Mike thinks I'm crazy!)and #3 would be chill and fun to hang out with. I invited a few couples from my neighborhood, a few friends we had from previous places we lived, a few from HS and my Sis and her Hubby. So dang excited! As always I've gone over board... red carpet, celebrity limo parking signs, sparkly and shiny stuff. Too fun!

Monday, February 13, 2012

La-La-Love Day!


In lieu of the big LOVE day on Tuesday, I thought I'd give a summary of Mike and I. So this is a brief summary of our story...

We met on April 3, 1998... in a campground at the end of Canyonlands National Park near Moab UT. Looking back, I've decided that camping is a great way to meet someone! You are stinky, dirty, wearing clothes for comfort, sporting the 'natural' look and at your most vulnerable state. It only gets better from camping!
It sounds like a joke, but I saved Mike's life. Literally, he almost fell off a cliff and would have been seriously injured or died. We were hiking and he grabbed my foot and climbed to safety. I've always said that after that he was obligated to marry me!
I came back to work that next Monday and announced that I had "met the man I was going to marry"! I was laughed at, but I knew that the spark we had was seriously strong.
Our first date was two weeks later, and that was that! I did my best to play it cool... I didn't want him to think I liked him that much. He said "I love you" and I said it back. He met my family and I met his. We were engaged May 21st.
We have been married now for 13 years... 14 this August. So YES! We met on April 3rd and were married on Aug 11th. It was a super fast whirlwind of love. I laugh about the fact that he could have been a serial killer... but thankfully he isn't. (or at least I don't think he is) It was that instant feeling of being soul mates. I felt like in some ways we had always known each other!
We struggled through 3 years of Mike's schooling. I was working to put him through school until 2000 when we welcomed our first addition. We had become our own little family.
Mike worked so hard... taking 12-16 credit hours and working 35 hours a week. We hardly saw each other. I have a notebook of almost 2 years of notes... I would write down what we did that day, tell him what I made for dinner and instructions on heating it up. He would flip the page and write back to me.(It didn't matter what I made... he would always say that dinner was delicious. Looking back at some of the things I made, I think he deserves and 'great husband' award for never complaining about anything.) He would come home after we were asleep and he'd be gone before we woke up in the morning. That notebook is now one of my most valued items. It's an entire notebook of love notes and expressions of the emotions we had at that stage in life.
We had a sweet surprise addition to our family in June 2001. I was ready for some help with the little ones... and he was ready to make up for the three years of not sleeping.
For Mike's graduation we celebrated with a week alone, a trip to the Eastern Caribbean. Two weeks after he graduated I started Cosmetology School. It was two years of night school... again we were living parallel lives, only crossing paths a day or two a week. I would drop the kids off at my Mom's house an hour before he got off work and picked them up.
The travel bug had bit us, and we started taking a trip together every 8 to 10 months. It was important for us to have that alone time together. With all the stress that came with our busy life... a week alone helped to remind us how much we love each other, and how important it is to make our marriage the top priority in our life.
I finished school and had two more little ones right in a row. Somehow I turned around and we were a family of six! And although life didn't really slow down... we were able to eat dinner together, see more of each other, and enjoy life.



When it comes to Valentine's... we are both very practical about spending time and money. I would rather travel somewhere or spend time together than have jewelry or nice gift items. In my opinion... flowers are beautiful, but they never last as long as I wish they would. Spending time together is my favorite part of Valentine's Day... or any holiday.
When we spend time away, it seems to take about one full day to get past our day-to-day routine. I get out all the info and struggles about the kids, the house and my work... and he gets out all his stuff about work. Then with all that out of the way, we remember why we like each other... and why we fell in love.
I feel like I love Mike more every year. That's not to say we haven't had our fair share of struggles... especially in the early years, just trying to make it through week-to-week.
I think that we often look at our life and make investments for our financial future and for our children's future. What we can forget is that investing the time, energy, and even money in our relationship is the best way to secure our life. Because, I know that with Mike, we can take on whatever lies in our future. With a strong friendship, trust, and love... we will get through the hard times and make the most of the good times.
Happy Valentine's!