Friday, June 25, 2010

A Pregnant Woman with a Broken Leg: Part Two

Being the gullible naive young woman that I was, I laid back and watched as the preparations were made.  Finally it began.  The incisions were made and I didn't feel anything.  The drilling started and still I didn't feel anything.  In fact, it was kinda cool to watch the whole thing.  My bed was surrounded by doctors and nurses on all four sides who seemed just as fascinated as I was.  Suddenly, without warning, pain shot through my leg unlike anything I had ever felt before.  It took my breath away and I thought I would pass out.  I screamed and begged the doctor to PLEASE stop.  He said it was the rod being drilled through the bone and would someone make me be quiet.  Everybody's hands were on me to keep me still and all I could do was cry out in pain.

Finally it was over.  Nobody would look me in the eye.  There was a lot of bustling about and the doctor ordered the portable x-ray machine in so he could make sure the rod was in the right place.  But guess what?  He didn't wait for the machine and decided it should be moved lower and before I knew it he pulled the rod out of my leg and was preparing to do the whole procedure over again.  I cried and begged him not to but I was just the patient and what I wanted didn't matter.

The procedure started again and I wasn't the relaxed calm person I was the first time.  I knew what was coming and I couldn't stop it.  I closed my eyes and waited and although I didn't scream as loud or as long, I still screamed and cried and begged him to stop to no avail.  The x-ray was taken and the cuss doctor said it was perfect the first time and he should have left it there.  With daggers of fire shooting from my eyes, I looked him in the eye and told him it wasn't happening again.  At that moment I didn't care what happened to my leg, I wasn't going through that again.  And I didn't.

The next couple of hours were spent hooking my leg up to the constant motion machine and the weights for traction.  The worst was over and I was finally relaxing.  That evening and the next day, every single one of those doctors and nurses who were in the room during the drilling came and checked on me and apologized for the doctor.  It turns out that procedure is normally done under anesthesia.  One of the doctors also told me that my doctor had a reputation for a lousy bedside manner but was one of the top orthopedic doctors in the army.  I wasn't impressed!

Through all of this I still hadn't felt the baby move.  My OB doctor had been contacted and when he finally arrived, an ultrasound was done and everything was fine.  It was actually three or four days before I felt any movement. 

The next day, I had a visitor who was a patient on the ward.  He was the nicest young man and it turns out I had his constant motion machine!  This machine is quite common now, but at the time I was using it, it was being tested in select hospitals.  Womack was chosen because Ft. Bragg is home to the 82nd Airborne Division.  Men and women jump out of planes and helicopters everyday and some of them end up with broken bones.  It made sense for Womack to have one, but there was only one!  Anyway, he was curious as to why it was given to me and what all the screaming was about!  He was very sympathetic and came to visit a couple of times everyday for the next week until he was released.  He even brough his wife in one day to meet me.

I was the only female on the ward and I got all kinds of attention!  My room soon filled up with cards and flowers.  Medical staff as well as other patients would come just to see what was new or to smell the basket of gardenias from my best friend!  I watched my favorite soap operas everyday and someone was always in there watching with me.  For someone who doesn't like being the center of attention, I was having a blast!

Being pregnant, I had a craving for peanut clusters.  Michael brought me a bag and it wasn't long before the head nurse, a major who I believe enjoyed pulling rank, took them away and told me they weren't on my diet!  I was not happy.  The next day another nurse, a pregnant lieutenant, brought me a new bag and made me swear to keep them hidden and not mention her if I got caught!  We pregnant ladies had to stick together!

After the third week, the doctor said I was ready to go home on one condition.  I had to have round the clock care.  I was going to be on crutches for at least three to four months and I wouldn't be able to put weight on my leg.  He would not release me otherwise.  The army wasn't going to provide help and we were in no position to pay for it.  Everybody we knew worked.  The only solution was to move me to Arkansas to live with my family until the baby was born and my leg was healed.

After discussing it with my parents, we presented the plan to the doctor who wasn't thrilled but would approve it on another cuss condition.  I had to have an appointment with a doctor he approved of before I could leave.  Good grief!  I just wanted to go home.  He did some research and gave me the names of two doctors he recommended.  I passed this on to my mom who made me an appointment.  My doctor called that doctor and I finally had his permission to leave and was discharged on July 8th, exactly one month from the day of the accident!

The next few months were full of some pretty interesting, funny and painful incidents.  Try being nine months pregnant and getting down to and up from the floor without putting weight on one leg!  Physical therapy couldn't stop just because my stomach was in the way! 

My son was born on October 12th.  He really is my miracle baby and is here for a reason.  I still have scars from both drillings and I have never again trusted a doctor who said,  "You won't feel a thing".


  1. I knew I didn't want to read Part 2...I'm still cringing from the pain! I would have been tempted to whack that Dr. upside his inflated head...what an insensitive boob!!! Happy the end result was a beautiful baby.
    Janet xox

  2. Your writing is very vivid. I can see the memory is still very powerful. The picture of your baby is terrific.

    I came on the hop.

  3. oh my goodness! i was so tense reading that! you poor thing. I had a dentist drill into a live nerve once and it was absolutely the most horrific feeling...I cannot imagine it in your leg!

    found you on etsy forums, i hope you'll come visit me too!

  4. Lord I am surprised you have not hunted him down and returned the favor ! I too had a dentist drill with out novocaine when I was about 10-12 .To this day it is impossible for me to sit thru a drilling with out feeling like I m having a heart attack ! I can not imagine the stress of maintaining a pregnancy besides ! ((( HUGS ))) Patty

  5. Oh Annette, that sounds awful. What an absolute jerk. I too have experienced surgeons without great bedside manner! I think Patty is right hunt him down (mentally of course:) and ...........

    I am sure giving birth helped take the sting out of this whole ordeal. Adorable photo.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, T. :)

  6. Here's to a speedy recovery and what a beautiful baby you have. I just found you from Never Growing Old's Over 40 Blog Hop. I'm enjoying visiting your blog.

  7. This is so descriptive, I can just FEEL IT ! I also had a tibial plateau fracture 2 years ago, but after reading about your experience, it makes mine sound like a walk in the park!

    You can read my story here, if you like:

    Congratulations on getting through it so bravely. Remember "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger!"

    ALOHA !!

    P.s. I wish you could have had my doctor. He looked a little like Willy Wonka, but he was EXCEPTIONAL !!!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment.