Broken Kneecap – The Injury a.k.a. Help, I’ve Fallen and Thank Goodness Someone Else Was Home!

On February 28, 2016, around 3 PM, I stepped into our bathroom to wash one of our dogs and slipped on standing water. I was holding the dog and stepped with my left leg, which slipped and all my weight went down on my right kneecap.

I can honestly say that I have never, ever been in pain like I was following the impact.

I won’t go into all the gory details, but my darling husband, who hates the sight of blood and general “grossness” rose to the occasion and took control of the situation. He straightened my leg, and it was obvious the kneecap was not in the right place, so we called 911 and the adventure began.

Our local ambulance crew showed up, stabilized the leg and loaded me onto a stretcher. I was in so much pain, and probably shock, that I could not even get my good leg or arms to function. Everything was quivering and wobbly. I felt like a big blob of jello.

I was taken to a local emergency room where the X-ray showed the kneecap was in four pieces and they sent me to the University Medical Center in Lubbock. I have to say that the staff at UMC is outstanding, they moved us through as quickly as possible and determined that the kneecap was indeed in four pieces and would have to be surgically repaired.

At this point, the pain meds had kicked in, which was amazing because I was in excruciating pain, but not so great, because I was a little foggy on the details when the doctors spoke with me. I ended up on the Orthopedic Floor and under the care of Dr. Caroom and his team.

hospitalsign

It totally cracked me up that all over the room are reminders to not get up by myself… as my armband shows, I was a fall-risk. (too late folks, lol!)

fallrisk

They fit me into his surgery schedule for the following day (Monday) and around 3 PM (24 hours after my fall) I was in surgery. Funny thing, but I don’t remember anything after speaking with the anesthesiologist in the surgery holding room until I kind-of woke up in the recovery room. Apparently it took me a while to come out of anesthesia, and I have a vague recollection of being violently ill several times. Not sure if that was real, or my imagination, but I wasn’t really awake until the next morning.

surgicldressing

The day after surgery they had me up and walking with a walker. Since the kneecap is not load bearing, they allowed me to start moving around on my own. They removed the pain block in my leg and I was discharged around 3 PM on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up in excruciating pain and had a really hard time regulating my pain for a few days. (I will write a post soon on pain management, because it was night and day between my two experiences.) Finally, we had it all under control and I was on the long, long road to recovery.

My projected recovery schedule was:

  • 10-14 days post-op – stitches removed
  • 6-8 weeks of an immobilization brace
  • 6 weeks – bone density testing
  • 2 months post-op – hope to start physical therapy
  • 3.5 months post-op – hope to be driving again

This was all approximate and based on how the bone healed and the progress I would make in physical therapy. There was also some concern about osteoporosis because of the severity of the break, my age (just over 50) and the fact that I had a very low vitamin D count. So they scheduled a bone density test as well.

I will be adding more posts on my pain management, recovery, physical therapy, dealing with time off from work, 2nd injury and 2nd recovery. It has been a wild ride!

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

I am taking a rabbit trail from my “normal” on this blog for a while because my normal has changed in a big way.  Unexpectedly.  At the end of February, I fell on wet tile in our home and shattered my right kneecap into several pieces which resulted in a lot of “firsts” in my life.

First ambulance ride.

First major broken bone.

First surgery.

First anesthesia.

First pain meds.

First time on bed rest.

Definitely things that were not on my bucket list.

The injury is technically called a displaced, comminuted patella fracture with ORIF (open reduction and internal fixation). Which means the kneecap was in pieces and they had to go in and piece it back together with screws and wire. I followed doctor’s orders (most of the time) and two months later started physical therapy. On the road to recovery!

AND THEN…

On May 9, I slipped in our kitchen. Twisted my leg and re-injured the knee.

Yep. I kept hoping it was just a bad dream and I would wake up. But I didn’t.

reinjured knee

So we went back to the hospital. (Sorry Dr. Caroom)

back to surgery

I had surgery, again. (This time I have a metal plate.)

new kneecap #2 drawing

And now I am home again and starting the process all over again.

post surgical dressing

My first time round, I spent a lot of time looking for information on the Internet about this type of injury and recovery. I found a couple of message boards that had some good information, but it was cumbersome to move through messages that ranged over several years to really find what related to my injury. There were also a couple of blogs, but nothing that spanned a full recovery time.

So that is what I want to do this time and show my progress along side my progress from the first injury. Hoping that someone else who has a similar injury will find something helpful in what I have been (and am going) through.

Meanwhile – enjoy my view and cuddly recovery companions! (Foster, Maddie and Bella)

view from the couch

Next time I will share some of my medical details and timeline for recovery.

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