Sunday, September 17, 2006

THE ACCIDENT. Part 2

As I said, the emergency room time is a bit blurry. Most of my family had arrived and were awaiting word on my condition. From my estimate, it was approximately 1 hour after the accident before I even arrived there. Once there, a team of doctors and nurses got busy on me. I remember getting my shirts cut off and a gown put on. Then my bike shorts. Naturally I don't wear any underwear but what could I do?

I remember having an MRI, they put some sort of monitoring device on me, and I really don't know what else for a while. Since I had a collapsed lung (pneumothorax), that meant getting a chest tube inserted. Let me tell you what fun that was! They sliced into my breast and then with what felt like a spiggot and hammer, they inserted the tube. They actually hammered it in between the ribs. That was painful, even if I don't remember any other pain clearly at this point. That was the scene my daughter came upon when she arrived, bloody and me crying out in agony. So that freaked her out more.

I must have complained about my foot hurting because they then took me for a foot x-ray. As it turned out, my 4th toe on my left foot was broken, and my entire foot from toes to the heel was black and blue.

I remember doctors coming and going and one in particular saying I would likely be in the hospital at least until Thursday. From what I have been told, I must have been asking when I could go home. At some point after this, I was taken to a room. It was approximately 2-3 hours after the accident.

I still had the neck brace on, which was highly uncomfortable. You can't do anything except look at the ceiling. I couldn't see people in my room, the TV, or clock. Just the ceiling, and only a certain point of that. Just bright lights. I don't remember who came to my room necessarily, other than my daughter. By this time, she had gotten ahold of my other daughter who lives in New Jersey, and as expected she panicked but was able to catch an almost immediate flight here, but with a long layover in Cleveland, meaning she wouldn't arrive until 10 pm that night.

Again, the next hours are not clear. I probably slept some. I couldn't get up so they put a catheter in me, but I'll tell you, I never felt it. I had trouble swallowing, but realized later it was because of the neck brace. No food, just liquids, even though at this point it had been determined no surgery was necessary. I was hungry. I hadn't eaten since probably 8 am and then only enough to get me through my ride. I didn't get any solid food until the next day, and I wouldn't exactly have called it food. So I existed that day on water and broth.

Recap of my injuries: 8 broken ribs; pneumothorax; broken toe; broken transverse process bone (next to a vertebrae); deep cut on low back/hip area (I would find out later this was where I was hit by the car's mirror); bruising on one leg from heel to upper thigh and entire left hip; bruising across entire low back; road rash on right leg; scattered cuts and bruises everywhere else and more that showed up over the next week.

I was lucky, I know that. It could have been so much worse, and for this I am thankful and grateful. Not that it was a picnic, I can assure you. I spent the next 2 days in the hospital, surpassing the expectations of the doctors in going home on Tuesday. I was in good enough shape that the worst thing wrong were my injuries. Yes, I was and still am sore--ribs don't heel overnight. And with the punctured lung, my breathing capacity is diminished right now as well.

My bike, helmet, and riding clothes are trashed. I don't really know how things will play out, but am told I should at least be able to get a new bike. I wanted a new bike in the worst way, but this wasn't how I expected to get it. Yeah, I know, you have to be careful what you wish for!

4 comments:

nancytoby said...

How frightening, even to read about it! Glad you're going to come through it okay, even though I know you must still be pretty sore. Have fun picking out the new bike!!!

Wil said...

OMG VIckie... I'm so glad you're ok....

Shelley said...

Hope you're going to be getting better soon.

Ellie said...

Good Lord again, Vickie! This is the worst accident/injury I can remember happening to any of my friends. I can't believe I didn't catch on until now. On the tri list you referred to some kind of injury but either I missed a post about the accident or something.

I am so extremely glad you're going to be OK, although it will take you a while. Like you said, broken ribs don't heal right away, plus all your other stuff, even the toe. I broke the same toe a year and a half ago and it seemed forever until I could even walk. And that was just a toe.

How about the woman who hit you? She had to have been emotionally shaken. If she's a decent human being, anyway.

Good Lord.