"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Remember my roller coaster analogy? Well, we seem to still be on that roller coaster and yesterday we hit a large and unexpected bump on the ride. 
It started Monday night when the night nurse called me at 9:45pm to casually say they were going to x-ray Grandpa's left leg. The conversation went something like this...
Nurse: I just wanted to let you know that we are going to x-ray your Grandpa's leg. 
Me: What happened? 
Nurse: Nothing. 
Me: Did he fall? 
Nurse: Not since last Thursday when I called you.
Me: I don't understand what is prompting the x-ray at this point. Is he complaining of more pain? 
Nurse: No, not any more than usual, but, you know, we just... (blah, blah, blah... talking without saying anything)
Me: Are you doing it tonight? 
Nurse: No, it will probably be tomorrow. 
Me: It is startling to receive a call from you about my Grandpa at 9:45pm and I'm trying to understand what made you call me right now to tell me something that you can't really explain. 
Nurse: Well, I just saw it in his chart and needed to tell you. If I had seen it earlier then I would have called you earlier. 
Me: I will be there in the morning. 

Y'all, I was (and still am) so irritated over this, but that isn't even the really frustrating part. I went to check on him in the morning and while I was there the x-ray tech arrived and took the photos. Remember, he had slipped out of his chair and landed in a seated position with his left leg- the one that was already causing him so much pain after the first fall- folded under him. That was last Thursday evening. That same night nurse called to tell me about it and swore she had examined him and that he was fine. No x-rays were done and in hind sight I should have demanded that. So... I'm leaving yesterday and the day nurse (the one I prefer) comes chasing me down the hallway because the images came back and showed a fracture in his femur and it appeared to be a few weeks old and possibly worsened more recently.  Um... 
When he fell three weeks ago Kyle and I spent hours in the WRMC Emergency Room where they did tests, x-rays, CT scans, etc and told us they couldn't find anything. They kept him three days and then sent him to rehab with a diagnosis of having treated an unidentified infection. He's been in rehab nearly three weeks now and has been doing therapies that included physical therapy with weight bearing exercises... on what we now know is a broken femoral neck. 
They rehab doctor arranged for him to come to Mercy Hospital and they transported him here yesterday. They have been fabulous. They've been attentive and prompt and we quickly saw the orthopedic doctor who answered our questions, explained what he was seeing, showed us how it needed to be fixed, and by 8:30pm Grandpa was in surgery for a partial hip replacement. The doctor said it was obviously a break that was a few weeks old because of how the bone had already begun to try repairing itself, but was likely worsened by last weeks' fall.  Because the ball at the top of the femur was completely broken off, they had to remove the ball from the hip joint and place a new femoral neck (the top of the thigh bone, including the ball that fits into the hip socket). He made it through surgery fine. His blood pressure remained too low after surgery, so they kept him in recovery for a few hours and then put him in ICU to monitor closely. This morning his blood pressure has mostly recovered and we are waiting for the doctor to make rounds and say he can go back to a normal room. If all goes well then he will be here a few days and then will need quite a bit of rehabilitation. We aren't sure what to expect he will be able to accomplish, but it should be a heck of a lot easier to do anything without a broken leg. 
Mentally, he was more himself yesterday than he has been since this all started 3+ weeks ago. Even today when he's groggy from surgery and pain medications, he is making sense and not confused. I don't know if that will continue or if we can expect more bad/dementia days ahead. 
So, yeah. I don't know if he will go back to the same rehab facility or not. Part of me wants to be angry and refuse to take him back there, but I need think on it and make an appointment to speak with the administrator first. 
Let's wrap this post up with a giggle, shall we? After a long afternoon and evening at the hospital, the bowl of cereal I had eaten for lunch had worn off and I was suddenly starving. I sat with Grandpa until he went into surgery and was shown to the waiting room where I was told there were vending machines. Oh yeah, baby! Look out chocolate, here I come!  I had a wad of dollar bills ready to purchase junk food to eat by myself and to share with no one.  Then... 
What hell is this?! Fresh Healthy Vending? NO!! I don't want apple slices and plain pretzels, I want a Snickers bar! Thanks a lot, hospital people, up until now this was all manageable, but now you've officially ruined my day.  (Confession: right next to this was an ice cream bar vending machine. It was over priced and tasted terrible, but I ate an ice cream sandwich just to spite the hospital administrators who decided that my vending machine choices should include baked chips & Smart Water instead of Doritos & energy drinks. They aren't the boss of me!)