Saturday, May 15, 2010

Laid Up

I was walking yesterday morning, minding my own business, when I tripped on a wire and inflicted more long-term pain upon myself than I have experienced in my life.  There are some times when you know you've done something that is potentially serious and will require more intervention than mere first aid.  The burning pain at the base of my pelvis was my clue.  I had torn the hamstring in my left leg.  I "knew" it before I knew it.  I just lay there in the dirt for a good half-hour while I tried to figure out some way to drag myself into a chair, using my arms and one leg.  I knew I had to get to a hospital, but had no idea how I'd propel myself into the car, much less survive the ride, sitting, due to the nature and location of the nature of the injury, on the tear itself.  I felt like a big baby but had to face the fact I needed an ambulance.  I called 911, grateful for the system but apologetic at having to bother them with my ridiculous problem.

"Life is what happens when you're making other plans."  A rare day off when we were planning to take the boat out and set the first crab pots of the year, and when I had intended to buy a big pork shoulder to try out my never-used smoker, was instead taken up by an ambulance ride to the hospital in Elizabeth City (two firsts: the ambulance and the hospital visit for myself) and then seemingly endless waiting on a bed in the emergency room.  At the end of it all I was given confirmation that it was indeed a tear, some pain meds (motrin and percocet, both of which, despite their splendid reputations, are taking their sweet time to kick in), a pair of crutches, and instructions to contact an orthopedist first thing Monday, there being none on duty at the time in the hospital.

Straightening my left leg from anything but a completely prone position is still excruciating, though slightly improved (maybe a 9 instead of a 10 on a 1 to 10 pain scale) over yesterday.  The crutches are useless to me because they require me to keep my leg in the only relatively pain-free position I can find, bent at the knee. In a standing position, the remaining muscles in my thigh can't help with that under their own steam--they end up cramping from the strange position, adding to the pain.  For locomotion, then, I've taken to crawling around the house like a crab, face up, pulling myself along with my legs, then pushing the rest of my body forward with my arms, dragging my butt on the floor.  (The bamboo needed a good scrub anyway!)  In this manner I managed to push myself into the shower this morning and cleanse myself for the first time in two hot and dirty days, sitting on the shower floor.

Dear Steve, meanwhile, has been living out the "in sickness and in health" part of the traditional marriage vows.  It goes without saying this ordeal would have even more difficult without his patient assistance, waiting on me hand and foot.  He's also getting a little insight into the myriad small but vital maintenance chores I carry out in our life together every day, making the engine run smoothly.  Not that I needed reminding, but this experience drives home once again how grateful I am to have him in mt life.

Other news:  the lien situation drags on.  There was indeed a debt against this property, and it was our purchase of the property that erased it.  Unfortunately, it's that debt satisfaction that was never recorded.  Dealing with bank bureaucracies to get that done is taking forever.  There is still light somewhere at the end of the tunnel, progress is being made.  But it's glacial.

And now for a crawl to the great room, or maybe to the deck.

28 comments:

Zoey and Me said...

You are a big guy so I imagine it's gotta be even harder for you to get somewhere. I see surgery in the future photo. Keep us in the loop. That's a terrible place to have pain.

Sam Alden said...

Depending on the weather and relative humidity, I vote for the deck. My great-aunt always said, "Old age is pitiful." I didn't get it at the time, when I was about 10, but I do now. I guess you do, too, Ralph.

Kudos to Steve. I'm sure the support goes both ways. Keep us posted, as we're all hoping for the best and rapid recovery.

Jim said...

So sorry to hear about your injury. Hope your recovery is rapid and that you can get back to living your wonderful new life that we all enjoy hearing about.

With all the surgeries I've had over the last four years or so, I really have an appreciation for the what "in sickness and in health" means, legally married or not, and I too am thankful for what I have.

Who handled your closing? Sounds like a screw-up on the part of the title company or the settlement agent. Hope you work that out soon.

Hugs to both of you!

Eclecticity said...

I'm so sorry Ralph. Hang in there. Damn. It appears you can blog though. Maybe we'll hear more from you. Take it easy big man. So happy that you have Steve to support you through this. You are blessed! E.

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

I´m sorry to read about Your leg! I can understand how difficult it must be to use crutches since I did that just weeks ago myself. I guess it will be surgery to get it right again.
Take care now!
Christer.

Ralph said...

Thanks to you all. Z&M and Christer: I'm hoping like hell this doesn't lead to surgery--the doc at the hospital did say yesterday that these injuries do eventually heal themselves, which I guess means the muscle-from-bone separation wasn't total. No exrays were done at all, so...we'll see how it goes.

Sam: yeah, aging sucks, but I'd still like to see somebody else my age doing this crawl thing that I'm doing. Thank God I'm in decent shape. All that walking has paid off.

E--writing more--maybe.

Ralph said...

Jim, on the lien: our closing attorney is clearly at fault and his office jumped on as soon as I called them. It's also a function of good ol' boy small town lawyerin' though--much is done on trust. In a way we're grateful this happened now, instead of when we bought the land, because given the length of time it's taking to resolve, if it was discovered at closing and we'd waited, various other dominoes that fell at the right time back in February wouldn't have--the land purchase would have taken too long. As it is now, we have various tradesmen cooling their heels waiting for payment, on faith. I hate being in arrears like this, but at least we got the land and the house is built!

Mim said...

Ralph
I am so sorry to hear of this painful injury.
Here's hoping when you get your ortho consultation, you may know more about length of healing and also find out if surgery is needed.
Sounds to me with all that crawling you are getting a lot of exercise for the conditon you are in.

Ralph said...

LOL! Mim, exercise"" is right! And can't you see me crawling like a cdab into a doctor's office? It's either that, or yowling in pain as my leg cramps on the crutches.

Charlie Metro said...

Dear Ralph and Steve, For sure "In sickness and in health..." Sorry to hear about the fall/injury/pain but thanks for making the effort to keep us abreast of it all. Hope that healing can take place without surgery (I had shoulder tear last spring from rollerskating and PT and time solved it). Hugs from hot and sunny Lauderdale, woody & Takashi

nan said...

Oh, Ralph! I am so sorry to hear about your accident and injury. Keep us updated and I'll be thinking of you.

Jeff said...

Ow, crap, Ralph! Muscle tears ain't no fun and especially in a big one like the hamstring. Don't worry about being a bother to the ambulance crew - was a volunteer EMT for 5 years and we lived for these types of calls...

Just take it easy, don't get frustrated, and don't do anything to aggravate the injury. Easy for me to say - but I guarantee you'll recover and hopefully time enough to enjoy the rest of spring and the onset of summer.

And as E. says, will give you a bunch more time to add to the blog! Been missing your voice around these parts....

- J.

Lonely Rivers said...

What an ordeal! I am hoping the pain killers have kicked in for you. And Yay and hooray that you called 911. I have often wondered whether in a personal emergency (Admittedly I prefer to be in charge of everything!) I would be too embarassed to call 911 - or would just lay down and die. Those EMTs are always wonderful -so I am glad you called! On another note, just as I was posting about a friend's move away from a long term partnership, you were writing a sweet tribute to yours. We vow "in sickness and in health" but we secretly think we will both always be healthy. The test comes later. Best to you. LR

Helen said...

Ouch! Torn hamstring ~ the injury of athletes. I can't imagine how much it hurt ... and still does. Let us know what the ortho says please. Hang in there ~ both of you!

Cuidado said...

Oh my, I feel your pain. I know exactly what you mean about knowing in an instant that you have suffered something serious, not a run of the mill injury. The trouble with this aging business is that it takes longer for these injuries to heal. You certainly never know what is around the corner. Keep happy as you can and get some chores done that you can do in your state - record collection, sorting photos, that sort of thing. I know you are like me and need to keep busy.

Ralph said...

Jeff, I had meant to put in a good word for the EMTs. The guy who rode in the back with me was great--we exchanged our life stories on the ride to the hospital once the basic medical necessities were taken care of. I could never do that work but I'm sure glad him and folks like him.

Ralph said...

LR, don't we all just love being in charge! After I saw the trouble I had just crawling into a chair, I had to face facts: I'd either sit there forever and never get attention I needed, or I'd bite the bullet and take that "dramatic" step. The EMT, as I said to Jeff, was great...when I apologized for bothering them he just told me not to worry--that's what they're there for. Couldn't argue with that, plus, I was at least conversational and not some whacked out "emergency," so we had a pleasant talk during the ride.

And yes, we knowingly and wit aforethought did not design this house for the "sickness" part--with its dramatic staircase, steps down and up from section to section, and wide open spaces in general it ain't wheelchair friendly. Both Steve and I have always figured he'd be the first to need he3p since he has more bad habits than I do, and I'd just take charge. Whoda thunk a stupid TV cable would turn the tables????

Ralph said...

Helen, I had to laugh at your description: "the injury of athletes." Oh, the irony and injustice! I'm no athlete at all! I consider myself lucky that I can usually just place one foot in front of another and make forward progress, and now I can't even do that!

Ralph said...

Cuidado, I knew this would strike a chord with you. I dearly hope I don't suffer the complications you did. All the reading I'm doing says there's light at the end of a fairly short tunnel, but when you're in the tunnel that seems like a bunch of hooey. The most important thing is to be a good patient, and I am that--I "comply."

Paula said...

Oh No! Sorry to hear about your experience. Pain sounds excruciating. Thanks goodness for EMTs. I had a similar experience a few months ago after a wonderful dining experience at The Harvest Table in Meadowview VA. EMTs had to come pick me up at the restaurant and take me to the hospital in Abingdon. Humiliation was added to the mix for me. Hope you're doing better and maybe it's a good time to resume our wordscrapper matches.

Ralph said...

Thanks for letting me know things can always be worse, Paula! Never thought about the possibility of having an audience on top of everything else! Hope you're OK by now.

By all means let's get going on Wordscraper! I'll send you a challenge!

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splendid said...

hard to follow that last comment!
anywho Ralph, keeping you and Steve in my thoughts and prayers. When in doubt find the humor, life is hard but you have a great partner and lots of friends!

Peewit said...

It might be worth investing in a second hand wheelchair from a local charity shop (do you call them thrift stores in the States). A good friend did this when her Mum had her first minor fall and it has proved invaluable over time

Peewit said...

p.s I've just realised that might not sound so good. Bridie had her first fall at 55. She is now 90 and only uses the wheelchair when she is tired of walking. But it's great for such times (and my kids have enjoyed wheelies in it too!)

Ralph said...

A great idea I wish I'd thought of, Peewit. I've been thinking if things don't get better soon a wheelchair will become a necessity, but I've fretted about buying one, thought about renting. I hadn't thought of thrift store, or second-hand place. Thanks.

Charlie Metro said...

Good luck with the ortho visit tomorrow. Again, continued hugs and prayers for your complete recovery. hugs, Woody and Takashi

Kat said...

Ralph,
I'm sorry but I don't check in here often enough so I missed this one. So sorry about your accident and the pain. Nothing is worse.

I know you're probably quite antsy about being laid up and immobile. Let it be-give yourself plenty of time to heal-I know!

Hobble onto the deck and take lots of pictures!!