I should start this tale with some family lore. We were cruising the Bay sometime in the 1960s when we wanted to pass through the Kent Narrows drawbridge. The Kent Island Narrows waterway separates Kent Island from the Delmarva Peninsula (the “Eastern Shore”) and connects the Chester River with the Eastern Chesapeake Bay. We eased up toward the bridge and blew one long blast followed by one short blast, the marine horn signal that asks, Open the drawbridge, please. The bridge tender waved us off.
My dad raised his hands palms up in that universal “what gives?” query.
“Broke!” the bridge tender shouted.
“Broke?” my dad said.
That has nothing to do with this story and everything to do with the title. The notes that follow are my text messages from this morning and afternoon with some amplification.
At hospital. Anne broke leg. More later.
It’s our friend the County Clerk’s fault. A couple of months ago, he invited Anne to work part time as a trial reporter but he called this morning to tell her not to come to work. The Court was closed.
Anne decided to pick apples. Her feet went out from under her on the slippery slope of our terrace and her left leg twisted way the wrong way. Fortunately, I was in the study and didn’t have the radio on, so I could hear her bellering.
She heard the bones break. She has experience in that. And looking at it, I had no doubt.
Broke. Not compound. Waiting for xray.
There was only one available room in the ER: the cardiac room. Our Son-in-Law knows it well because he’s the Death Investigator for the county.
After taking down a brief history, new NMC Emergency doc Suzanne Elliott did a fast exam and made sure there was no blood. Decided it was broken. Gave Anne Dilaudid IV push.
Number One Daughter and Son-in-Law arrived. All state offices are closed for the day which explains why the court was closed. Montpelier is under water. The state computer network is down. Good day for a life of crime. Our honorary daughter came down from Diagnostic Imaging. We had a lot of high powered help in the ER.
“Was there blood?” Number One Daughter asked.
“Then you’re not really hurt,” Honorary Daughter chimed in.
Tibia and fibula both. Elsewhere bones look good. Waiting for orthopod.
That didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know from visual exam. After all, Anne’s knee pointed straight ahead and her foot off to the left.
Small hospital, so the specialists are all on call rather than in situ.
The long time orthopod we know, Dr. Bruce Foerster, has retired to Arizona. Dr. Robert Beattie was in practice with Bruce and has seen Anne before.
Beattie says on the borderline of needing surgery so they’ll wait. Splinted now. Not fixing rotation. I’m uncomfortable with that.
Dr. Beattie looked at the X-Rays and called in. He hopes they will not need to do surgery.
The ER started readying Anne for release.
I leaned on Dr. Suzanne about what meds to prescribe (Anne was a little reluctant to take more Dilaudid so we talked about that or the lesser Percocet) and about the fact that she wasn’t going to try realigning the bones before splinting.
Suzanne the doc says the splint merely immobilizes until Anne sees Beattie later this week. Not much twist and only a little lateral displ.
Number One Daughter noted that “without cast isn’t she more likely to have movement pain? (I understand why they don’t want to cast/fix, but it will hurt more if she doesn’t stay still.)”
That’s true, but they gave her really good drugs. The acceptable (to me since it’s not my leg) explanation included the fact that they want it to stabilize and for the swelling to go down so anything more than the splint wouldn’t add anything to her healing and would have to be cut off in just a couple of days anyway.
Appointment with Dr. Beattie is Thursday morning.
I gotta quit now to move the bed downstairs.