So I Broke My Ankle

So it's been a while, a really long while. Things have been on the very low end of the 'not so great' side of life's scale for me the last month or so.

Louisiana State Police, Northeast Louisiana Ambulance and Louisiana Wildlife Management
As I've mentioned before we had gotten a couple of 4-wheelers for family outings and for hunting season. We were loving them. Then on September 28 the literal worst day of my life happened. It's taken over a month for me to be able to talk about it without having a panic attack. Which of course is why my blog has been dead. I just couldn't bring myself to write it all out.

Mike, Hayley and I were out riding on a local WMA trail. Things were going great. We were having such a great time and then I ...

Truthfully I'm still not sure how it all went wrong. I remember going up the small hill into the clearing and being way ahead of Mike and Hayley on the trail. I turned the bike to point back. I turned it to sharp and it all just went so wrong. I can remember thinking to myself that the turn was to sharp for the speed I was going (wasn't going that fast but in relation to the turn yeah) and then the bike lurched and next thing I knew I was flying through the air. It all happened so fast. There was no time to think, no time to scream, no life flashing before my eyes.

I can remember the exact second my ankle broke, the sound it made, the pain... I can remember hitting the ground and screaming. Y'all I put horror movie actresses and their screams to shame. I don't know how long I laid there, screaming, crying, and finally calming down while waiting on Mike and Hayley to catch up. It couldn't have been more than five minutes. I honestly don't remember time passing at all, it was all very stand-still-ish. I knew my leg or ankle was broke and I knew I couldn't move because of the 4-wheeler being on top of me.

When they did crest the hill Mike turned and saw and I can remember him screaming for Hayley to stop (she was driving his) and him bailing off of it. I can remember her sitting there (a good 10 yards away) and seeing how terrified she was, I remember the fear in his voice as he called for me. I can remember being actually rather calm during it all. My biggest concern at the time was not scaring Hayley anymore than she already was. I didn't want her to see me hurt, I didn't want her to hear me scream in pain.

Mike managed to get the 4-wheeler off of me, then he used an extra t-shirt she had with her and secured my ankle with it. At this point, I hadn't looked at the damage. I refused to, any form of calm and bravery I had would have immediately disappeared. Once I was table Mike called 911, told them where we were and what had happened. The realization then hit us that we had to get me out of the woods. We had one option only, I had to drive myself out while Mike drove Hayley out. (She was too scared to drive herself). I still don't know how we got me onto the back of the 4-wheeler but we did.

I drove myself out for over a mile with one leg hanging over the side of the 4-wheeler, ankle just dangling there. Every tiny bump was sheer torture.  Again time stood still, I don't know how long it took to go that first mile or so easing along stifling screams with every bump. Eventually, a Wildlife Management agent found us. He wanted to look at the damage to my leg (remember at this point only Mike has seen it). I knew how bad it was going to hurt and I begged Mike to get Hayley out of there. There was still a mile left of the trail before we could reach the ambulance waiting for me and all I could think was Hayley needed to be far far away when the agent cut the t-shirt of my leg and pulled my pants leg up. 

Y'all that first slight glimpse at my leg nearly made me pass out. There was so much blood and I could just see the bone. I still get queasy thinking about it. My ankle was just dangling there hanging on by some skin and muscle. The agent put a tourniquet on my knee and we waited just a moment more for my husband and an EMT to get back to us. From there, things are a bit of a blur. I remember the EMT driving me out, me hanging onto the back of the 4-wheeler praying I didn't pass out and fall off. I then remember being lifted off of the 4-wheeler and put on a gurney which hurt like hell, then put into the back of the ambulance, which also hurt like hell. I remember begging, literally in tears trying not to hyperventilate as I begged over and over for them to make the pain stop. I didn't care how I just needed it to stop.

There was one moment after they finally gave me some meds that I can remember looking down at my foot. It was so surreal, my leg was straight and my foot was literally on the side of my leg. Like if you had two blocks end to end and you pushed the last one over to the right so just 1/4 of it was touching the first one. It was the weirdest and oddly coolest looking thing I'd ever seen. I remember asking about Hayley and Mike and being so concerned with how she was. Through it, all the most pressing thing, even more so than making the pain stop, was to make sure she was okay.  She's so easily traumatized and I was so worried. One of the EMT's was wonderful in reassuring me she was okay, that Hayley was worried but calm.

Taken an hour or two after surgery
Flash forward to the ER.  By the time they got me into the back the pain meds had started wearing off and every time they touched me was torture. Again I remember begging for pain meds, cussing as they moved me around to get the pants off and such, and one old bitty of a nurse being a twat because I was so vocal. They quickly removed her... my anger is quite palpable when in pain and this was severe pain. I was having none of the 'you need to be quieter' attitude, especially seeing how I was trying to be quiet.

From there, things progressed quickly. I was put to sleep while they set my ankle the first time and then brought back too while I waited for the actual surgery. In surgery, I received a total of eight screws, a plate, and a rod. Again no idea how long any of this took. I woke up or came too as the doctor was telling me he would tell me more in-depth about what he did but for now Mike knew.

My left leg a few days after surgery and before the bruising started turning deep black. I also had a huge
scrape on top of my knee and my left ankle was lightly bruised. 
For those who are squeamish you may want to stop reading here.  Below I'm going to go into the details of exactly what damage I did and include the post-op two weeks check up pictures.  It's bad, really really bad. Suffice it to say I'm very lucky to have my foot at all.

So damage done...

When the 4-wheeler flipped my right ankle caught on the foot pedal, as it did it cut me from the very back of my ankle all the way along the inside of the ankle to near the middle of the front of it and it also dislocated the tibia from the ankle joint.  This is why my foot looked like it was hanging on the side of my leg because literally was.  I shattered my outer ankle completely and tore every tendon and ligament on the inner ankle.

When I say it is a miracle I kept my foot I'm not exaggerating.

This is the outer side of my ankle two weeks after surgery. I had a total of 14 stitches. This is where they went in to help place the rod near the tibia to help secure the ankle in place. From what I can understand even after they placed all 8 screws and the plate in my ankle was still flopping to the side because there was nothing left on the inner ankle to help support it. So now I have a rod literally running from the bottom of my inner heel/arch area up to my ankle into the leg to hold everything in place. The weirdest part, the rod is sticking out the bottom of my foot and will remain that way until I see a second surgeon sometime in January.

This is the least gnarly looking of the injuries. And it looks so much better now.
And this is my inner ankle, where most of the damage was done. Y'all I'll be totally honest, I knew it was bad but I never fully understood how bad bad truly was until the two weeks check-up. I never looked at the injury fully before surgery. I was too scared too.  When I saw this I had a full-blown anxiety attack and came near to passing out again. At this point, the pain had started to abate and just sitting there while waiting on the nurse to remove the stitches didn't hurt.  But mentally I was freaking out. 

There were a total of 12 stitches on the inner ankle and despite the damage done to it I never lost movement in my toes or any feeling. There's amazingly no major nerve damage. The hope is the scar tissue grows back enough to support the ankle so the rod can fully come out. I won't know for sure until my next appointment but for now, the consensus is I will need one more major surgery, another 3 months in a cast/splint and then I can finally start rehab to learn to walk on it again.

This post is quite long enough and honestly, I'm mentally drained from rehashing this all. I think I wrote it all out more as therapy than anything. I've had a hard time facing the fear it caused but more on that later. I'm going to try to get back to posting semi-regularly but there won't be many homemaking type posts for a while yet. Seeing as I am pretty much immobile for the next four to five months.

Until next time... be careful, hug your loved ones and take a walk around the yard for me.

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