• Cindy

Ulster Writer Breaks Two Legs

Poor Sonia had a lousy day on New Years Eve, 2017.

Sonia shares her broken legs experience in a quite well done blog. To avoid creepers from annoying the poor woman, I am not sharing the blog site or Sonia's last name. I will however shamelessly steal some of her blog content to illustrate what good writer she is.

Current day Sonia recovered from the accident

So, here is the story. Sonia was on her back porch preparing for a evening at a Rugby match with her husband and teenage son. Somehow, she lost her balance and fell, breaking both legs in the process.

Here is the initial exchange with hubby in her own words:

Sonia: “I think I’ve broken my legs!.” I can’t believe I’m saying that! How in the name of God does anyone break both of their legs stepping out through their back door!

Hubby: “Love, I think you’ve broken your leg!”

Sonia: Seriously? No shit Sherlock, I just said that. What, did you think I was doing, lying here for fun? “Yes, I know. I think I’ve broken them both”

Hubby: “What the other one as well?”

Sonia: No, the third one I keep as a spare! “Yes the other one, it’s really sore too”

Hubby: “It looks bad, you’ve definitely broken it, I’ll ring the ambulance.”

Sonia: Oh Jesus! Pain! Pain like I’ve not ever known despite giving birth twice. This is like electricity screeching in my leg. Ok, breath in, breath out, no, that was too fast, slow it down, oh pain!

X-Ray of Sonia's broken and dislocated left ankle

In due time, a paramedic arrived by private car and started a morphine drip. One of Sonia's legs was obviously broken. The other leg was broken as well but the break was not as obvious.

A few minutes later, the ambulance arrived. The first order of business was rolling Sonia over on her back and splinting the badly broken leg. Again, her own words:

Paramedic: "To put this on we need you to move onto your back. We’ll hold your leg steady. On a count of three, one, two, three”

Sonia: Jesus, fucking Christ, and all the fucking angels! White pain! I have a searing white pain screaming like a horror movie star

Paramedic: “That’s brilliant Sonia. Well Done. That’s grand, we can get this on now it shouldn’t hurt”

Sonia: Brilliant my backside! It shouldn’t hurt but it bloody well does! It’s still hurting from moving it

The next order of business was getting Sonia onto the stretcher. The paramedics assumed that Sonia's 'good leg' was not broken.

Paramedic: The thing is that we need you to get onto this trolly. We are going to support your bad leg, and under your arms, but you will need to put your weight through your good leg to get up

Sonia: Qui? I’m sorry, you want me to do what? What ‘good’ leg? Are you on drugs? Were you not listening? BOTH of my legs are broken and you want me to put my weight through one of them? I am on drugs but they aren’t strong enough for that!

Sonia's left ankle in the ER. By this time, the bone had slid back into the leg

Eventually, Sonia arrived at the hospital. She lost consciousness several times in the ambulance and in the examining room. The pain now was 10 out of 10. She was x-rayed, sedated and both legs were set and placed in splints. She was taken to a ward for the evening.

The splints Sonia was placed in by the ER staff. The left ankle would require surgery

As she was being moved from the ER to her ward, Sonia mused about the casts on her legs:

I’ve always wondered about casts, always wanted to know what it’s like. That’ll teach me, not that this is that bad, it’s fine, I’d take a simple break over the dislocation any day, just maybe not both at once! That is a lot of bandages and you can still see the bend in my leg. Somewhere between shock, and morphine, and anesthetic I’m beginning to fade quite fast now, despite the best efforts of the fracture nurses.

A 5 hour surgery was performed the next morning. Sonia emerged from the surgery with two blue casts on her legs. On day three following surgery, Sonia was encouraged to stand up and use a rolling device to get the bathroom on her own.

Sonia's 'dreaded' rollator. I have never seen in the US. Maybe a distinctly European contraption?

Here is her own account of that adventure:

Rachel, and her assistant, help me to sit up with my legs over the side of the bed.

Ridiculously I find this to be an effort in itself. But we aren’t done yet. Not by a long shot. I’ve to use a zimmer frame to get myself to a standing position (so easy to write, yet so much effort at the time). Once upright, I am introduced to a piece of equipment that will become the bane of my existence. The hated, ‘High Rollator’.

If you are familiar with rugby, this contraption is like a scrum machine on stilts.

Imagine, if you will, (from the ground up) an H bar on castors. from this two upright poles arise that come up to chest height. At this point there is a padded horseshoe that comes round your chest at shoulder height with two upright handles for you grip onto.

The idea is that holding the handles for support, you push off with your good leg and glide.

This is utter bollox!

It also assumes that you have a good leg to push off. I do not have a ‘good’ leg, I have a broken leg and a mangled one, now full of titanium.

I look at this thing, I don’t trust it but Rachel is having none of it.

Nurse: “Ok, I think that is it adjusted for the your height now, it looks right. If you just push off and hop…”

Are you mad in the head? You want me to hop in a cast? What if it splits? What if I fall over again?

Stress sweat is oozing out of every pore. I am terrified.

I am taking nearly all of my weight in my puny arms, and they are now shuddering under the pressure. I can’t do it. I have to sit down.

Nurse: “That’s ok, we made a good start, you got upright and that is a big achievement, we weren’t sure you would be able, we can work on this. What do you think stopped you from hopping”

Oh I don’t know, common sense maybe?

A distinct lack of a death wish

A clear memory of falling recently and no desire for an encore?

Sonia: “The cast doesn’t feel stable, it feels like it’s giving a bit under my foot even when I stand. I’m scared if I hop it will split when I land. I feel like I need more support round the leg”

As it turns out, this is an acceptable answer, and one with a possible solution.

Nurse: “We will get you a boot to try on, see if that makes any difference. If there is enough time we will call back today, otherwise we’ll give another go tomorrow. That was a good effort.”

I am exhausted, and accept help swinging the casts back onto the bed.

Sonia's casts. Note the boot over the cast on Sonia's 'good leg'. This is to help her use the rollator

Sonia was soon discharged to a rehabilitation facility. She spent three days there learning to manage stairs and other challenges. Sonia's sense of humor carried her through a 9 month recovery period.

As you can see, Sonia is an accomplished writer. She has authored several children's books and a book of poetry. She has fully recovered from her injuries.

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