Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January 3, 2016 | a New Year with a bang

So I had a bit of an accident sledding at the golf course Sunday, January 3rd, around noon. I was in a sledding tube and hit a metal stake by the #9 green. The stake was holding the snow fence up. A bit of a "keep off" sort of thing.
We had a track down and we're aiming behind the gazebo. My second trip down the hill I hopped on the tube and spun backwards and off track. I veered to the left towards the green. By the time my tube spun around again the stake was right there. I naturally put my foot up to stop myself or kick off. That was my right foot...the foot I just had surgery on the end of August. The only thing I can think of is that I second guessed myself at the last minute and didn't want to re-injure that same foot. I must have tucked up my legs into a fetal type position and my right leg (shin/knee) hit the stake and then I skidded down the rest of the stake with the outside of my leg. The stake basically slid up my whole leg.
I remember screaming-the kind you can't stop coming out of your mouth-and nephew Nicker being right there holding my hands and getting me to breathe and calm down. My boys were watching it all but not really understanding it. Tammy, Scott, Derek and Nick got me up the hill and into a big orange sled. Tracey, Kurt and Shelby were just coming in to join us and helped haul all the gear out instead. Nicker got to pull me the mile long road back out to the car. Talk about a sweaty boy!! He helped me get in my car and Tammy drove me to the ER. 
There had been two ambulances before me so I waited and waited and waited. At this time we had no clue of the severity of my injuries. Obviously adrenaline and shock were getting me through the wait. Shaking, hot and cold flashes were my symptoms. And burning leg pain was the only thing I felt on my leg. 
Once I was in the room I had Bear take my new mukluks off-for fear they would cut them off! And once he got my snowpants down we saw the blood and the tissue through my pants and knew that I had a big injury. 
The doctors initial diagnosis was a fractured femur. The thigh injury looked like the ball of my femur protruding and the laceration looked like the bone fracture by my knee. 
I headed into the emergency room-where they assessed me more thoroughly. And then they proceeded to cut off my $100 yoga pants! (The nerve!) BUT the compression of the lulu lemon pants was actually helping keep everything tight and in place. (Score for yoga pants!) And I have awesome friends who already scored me a gift card for a new pair. 
Apparently I'm a rockstar and my pain threshold is very high. The nurses and doctors made sure to repeat that to Bear more than once. I probably won't let him forget it either.
I powered through as best I could. The anxiety and fear is what was sneaking in and getting the best of me. A few doses of some calming meds and we headed down the road.
About 6:30 we arrived in Duluth at St. Lukes via ambulance. I had an amazing crew in the ambulance--small world but Bear's cousin' son was the driver. He said he would be sure to hit every bump on the road-and he succeeded!
And then low and behold a friend and nurse from the Falls was my nurse in Duluth. Traci Wilke is to thank for the "before pics." The trauma surgeon (Dr. Watkins) met with us and explained the injury and the plan of action. He autographed my leg to be sure he operated on the correct one and we were off. Once we started rolling it was fast! Surgery was an hour and a half long and I was out about 11 pm. Surgery was performed on the Degloving of my thigh tissue and deep laceration around my knee that needed repairing. I have a small break on my fibula but it's a non-weight bearing bone so it'll heal on its own and that isn't really anything to worry about.
The trauma surgeon says everything looks good and they sewed up the leg wound perfectly. I'll have a badass scar! The hemo-vac (blood sucker) was placed at the top of my thigh to prevent the blood from pooling. When they took that baby out it was about 24" long! Bear, Mom and Dave couldn't believe the length of it and watched them just keep pulling it out hand over hand. It ran the length of my leg and was basically a tube with holes in it that a pump would suck the excess blood out from the wounds. 
Now we pray for the thigh tissue to get enough blood supply. The Degloving injury basically separated all of the tissue and slid it into a pile at the top of my thigh. The main concern is the skin won't get enough blood supply and it can die off and that would require another surgery with a skin graft. The laceration should heal just fine. Small concern that the blood supply won't heal it properly either but chances are not likely. It looked the worst but isn't necessarily the injury we are most worried about.

The good news is I'm complete, there is no muscle or bone damage, it's all soft tissue damage. I'm young, strong and healthy so they say I'll recover quickly. I realize it could have been so much worse...

The surgeon was just in and has cleared me for discharge. It'll be two weeks of recovery at home and then a return trip to Duluth for the stitches to come out. It'll be lots of weeks to see if the Degloving injury skin is surviving or dying off. The most I can do is keep the leg warm, no caffeine (vaso-constrictor), and no smoking. I'm good on the last one but the coffee withdrawals may totally suck. But this will give me maximum circulation and my best shot at keeping the tissue healthy. 
So gross but to give you an idea, the doc went in, with his hand, through the laceration under my knee and could reach his hand all the way up towards my hip-the thigh/quad area. Which is where he could see his glove through my skin...there is no soft tissue there, it was separated from the fascia, and that is what supplies blood to that area-so we need that to stay healthy. Amazingly my quads are all in tact and I can fire the muscles and get them to move.

Degloving is defined here a little better: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degloving

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Don't read farther if you don't want to see the icky pics. 
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This is the laceration below my knee. It's where I hit the metal stake. My snowpants and yoga pants were not cut through. We could not tell I was bleeding until we took the snowpants off. The leg injury/laceration was from the impact and it split my skin.
They literally just pulled the skin back together and stitched it up. It all matched up perfectly. It missed my knee cap and wraps around behind my knee and again missing that tendon back there. They said it's about 40 stitches:
This is the hemo-vac that drained the blood from my leg so it didn't pool in there. The ace wrap and compression immobilizer will help keep the swelling down and the stitches around my knee in place and not bending. I'm walking with crutches, tackled the hallway and a set of stairs (up and down like a two-year old) and am to put as much weight as tolerable on the leg. Oh and to stand up straight! Apparently my posture sucks.

That's all for now...I'll need patience and time but should make a full recovery. Lots of physical therapy in my future. Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes...and offers to clean, make meals and help with the boys...I've got an amazing support system helping me through this...love to you all.


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