Posted By RichC on July 30, 2015
The above is a pretty innocuous photo: pine trees, a tree trimming pole and a ladder on the ground. It was the beginning to a difficult week as my wife Brenda started to trim a couple larger white pines (as she often does with magnolias and other smaller trees and bushes around our home). She enjoys yard work on her days off and particularly likes to get out early in the morning before it gets too hot … Tuesday was no exception for her.
I was fortunately still at home after changing my work/travel schedule due to my father being taken to the hospital in the morning due to shortness of breath (that’s another story). After getting the details and texting my brother, I went outside to update Brenda. There she was laying on the ground under the trees. She had placed the ladder up one of the pines and was proceeding to lop off a higher branch … the ladder slide and down she fell. My chest hurts even repeating this story.
I ran over listening to her moaning in pain and unable to move more than her arm or her head … although never losing consciousness. She could semi-talk with me as I looked and moved her gentle around even wondering if I should move her? Eventually she convinced me to help (I had to cradle carry her) into the house and laid her painfully down on the bed thinking at the moment that I was going to need to get her to at least an urgent care. While icing her and I wondered how I was going to even get her in the car (she was in terrible pain whenever she moved), so I (we) decided it was time to call the rescue squad (a first for everything … and hopefully last!)
They came and we headed off to the hospital and the 11 AM Tuesday. It was the start of a long day (of course it already started at 4:30AM … she was up to swim her laps). When relaying the “fall” to the emergency room, I could tell they were all wondering how a fall did all the damage … shoulder, arm, hips, back. Unbeknownst to both of us, she actually landed on the ladder … and only after seeing the damage ladder a day and a half later, I realized why her upper Humerus fracture was so severe. The X-Ray is not pretty … below is a comparison of the undamaged right shoulder to the damaged left shoulder (look at the ball and top part of the humerus in the below right image).
By far the arm/shoulder is the most significant damage and will require Orthopedic surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Thankfully they have an excellent shoulder surgeon and he is currently studying the imaging (took additional CT scans) and coming up with a repair plan that will give her the most mobility and strength after recovery. It is going to require some expert work and he does not want to rush into the procedure – so the surgery is scheduled for Friday.
Unfortunately this was not the extent of the injuries. Most of her pain is currently from the pelvis and sacrum (tailbone area) fractures. It is not comfortable to sit, lay, move or even “think” about putting weight on the femur pushing up on the hips. The good news is that they do not plan on surgery … the bad news is that the physical therapy for these fractures is going to be excruciatingly painful. She experienced a taste of that today with PT trying to figure out how they are going to work to get her to sit up and “pivot” on the right leg (better of the two) so she can use an elevated toilet seat or get into a wheel chair. As you can imagine, once the shoulder/arm surgery is finished, the recovery for all injuries is going to take a long time.
Please pray for my wife Brenda and her surgeon on Friday and keep her recovery in your prayers over the next few weeks. I suspect I’ll probably update at some point.