Less Tragically Hip

Unanticipated excitement this weekend. Went to Y for the first time in awhile with Lady Devora’s Friday Night Swim Club. Planned to swirl pool, then either walk in child pool or foam roll/stretch — very laid back.

Swirled, showered, dried off a bit, I headed back to lockers with Jessica to don yoga pants and T; safely using cane etc; hit a bit of water w right foot, leg came out from me sideways and I slowly crumpled to floor.

I dizzily lay there, thinking I had pulled muscle, thinking I could just rest and slowly get up. Locker room attendant and Jess kindly brought me towels, cup of water. Nearly blacked out. Between Jessica, Y attendant (got to find her name out to thank her), and Regis on phone, the three of them convinced me we ought to call 911 to at least get me checked out.

Paramedicals Mathieu and Pierre arrived swiftly. Assessed, helped me onto stretcher (one grunt of pain, still in wet bathing suit and shirt).

Regis arrived, looking freaked, grabbed my clothes, gave para meds health and meds info, and me one painkiller. Followed in car to General.

On the way down ramp at Y, hit a snow bump. This time I howled in pain. [side noted: generally I’m pretty stoic, and have dealt with chronic back pain post-surgery with infrequent complaint].

The attendants gave me time to regroup once loaded into the ambulance. Retook vitals, put in an IV and gave me 5 mg morphine. We hit a few bumps on the drive to the General. Each time, more howling and writhing. Main Street construction was particularly bad. We had to pull over to let the pain subside to whimpering; 5 more mg later we were on our way. [side note: Pierre and Mathieu were very kind to me, teased me a little when I kept apologizing for howling and saying ‘Jesus Christ’].

Once at General, I was parked in the hallway near the ambulance bay, well-guarded by the attendants, until a bed came open in Emerge Observation. Regis arrived. A kind young nurse, France, gave me more pain medication through my IV. Regis arrived, looking freaked. Dr Frank assessed; I was to have X-rays, and see the on-call orthopaedic doctor.

Each time I was transferred (ambulance stretcher to emerge stretcher, emerge stretcher to X-ray tables, back to stretcher), there were several minutes of writhing and howling; more apologizing; more regrouping. X-rays took about 30 minutes to complete, eyes closed crying most of the time.

Dr Andrew Tice, ortho resident, talked with Regis while I was in radiology awaiting a porter, then to both of us when I got back to Emerge. Yes, there was a fracture, all the way across my femur, angled right at the top where it enters the socket, at the top of the lesion. Seeing the X-rays for the first time, we realized the extent of the lesion. Essentially there was a thin scooped out shell of bone above the neck of the femur. I could have broken it even just sitting and watching TV.

The proposed course of action: admit me to hospital overnight and try to manage pain; then surgery ASAP Sunday. There being no viable alternatives, we agreed; I sent Regis home @1:00, and then waited until about 3:30 for an open bed and a porter to move me.

There are a lot of very intoxicated people frequenting the Emerge late Friday night. I couldn’t rest both from pain, and fear that one of them would stumble and fall on me. Luckily their stumbles redirected them elsewhere.

On admission, France helped me cut off my bathing suit and don a gown; I was transferred with more howling (sorry room neighbours) to a bed, and my night nurse periodically administered more pain medications.

I couldn’t really sleep due to pain, but dozed off a few times.

Sunday at 9:30, good news; I was called down to surgery. Many interviews/consults followed: Lara, OR nurse, took my medical history; Drs Mohammed and Boulet advised me on anaesthetics; Drs Aron and Lapner on the procedure. I went with a spinal
so my recovery would be easier and so that I could watch and talk.

The procedure went well. The nurses, Tanya, Patricia, and Lara, were supportive in getting me medicated and then into position for the spinal; then I was transferred and positioned for surgery. My arms were in awkward position, and my legs were held in place with foams and giant C-clamps. I could feel the incision, the malleting in of the steel, and the packing, but there was no pain. There were a few local anaesthetics to my injured leg, two boluses, and at the end another local when I mentioned that the stitching was beginning to pinch. I was done by 12:30 and taken to post-op recovery. Liam, Regis, Mike and Rita were let in briefly to touch base. Post-op took until about 4:00, as they needed to verify that the freezing would come out. Then, transfer back to my room 6404, a bowl of broth, and more X-rays ( with no screaming) at 9.

By 10, the nice surgical drugs had worn off, so I had a painful, less-than-restful night. That’s normal; and I can rest today. I managed to sit on the side of my bed and stand up for about 30 seconds with physio this morning, so it will be slow going. I’ve seen Dr Aron and Lapner about my surgery, and a med oncologist named Domenic about my overall situation. I’ve asked all the questions about all the appointments this week (CT, surgical, med onc, radiation onc), so hopefully those are on track.

Plus Cheerios. I had my first bowl of Cheerios in probably 15 years this morning, which was a treat.

I do not recommend hip fractures. However, if one must, then a place wit supportive, calm and loving friends and family; great paramedical, medical, and nursing staff; and quick turnaround for surgery; is certainly the way to go.

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4 Responses to Less Tragically Hip

  1. V says:

    Dear Mary,
    I can’t put in words how inspiring you are. Wishing you a super quick recovery from your surgery. — V

  2. Lisa addario says:

    I hope you have a better sleep tonight, dear. In my thoughts and with love,


  3. Karin says:

    who’d have thought cheerios could be such reward?? or that a Friday night visit to the Y could have such outcomes. thank you for including the darkly humorous bits (like being taken everywhere in your wet bathing suit on January’s coldest weekend) (or the howling and immediate, sincere, sheepish apologies). thinking of you and wishing that the new hip takes, pronto. xoxo

  4. birgit jackson says:

    Mary I have a visual of the profanity quickly followed by the apology. You are a brave and funny soul. Hope your sleep has improved and you are looking at a discharge date soon. Love Birg and Mark

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