WDP — Broken Bones

Daily writing prompt
Have you ever broken a bone?

Funny you should ask. When I was a kid, I broke the pinky finger on my right hand playing little league baseball. As a teenager, on my paper route, I broke my big toe on my left foot when I ran up a set of cement steps to deliver the paper to my customer’s door and jammed my toe into the step. When I was in my mid twenties I broke a few ribs in a downhill skiing mishap. And then I managed to not break any bones for the next 50 years.

Then, this past January, I was up on a ladder cleaning my gutters and as I started to climb down, the ladder slipped. I fell, fractured my left hip and my right humerus at the shoulder. I had to have emergency artificial hip replacement surgery. Below are the before and after X-rays of my hip fracture.

The arrow points to the fracture
The artificial hip replacement appears white in this X-ray

I don’t have an X-ray of my broken humerus at the shoulder, but trust me, it’s there.

It’s going on five months since the injury and I’m still doing outpatient physical therapy rehabilitation for my bone breaks and probably will be through the end of July. This is not exactly the way I planned to spend the first half of 2023.

WDP — Life-Altering Risk

Daily writing prompt
When is the last time you took a risk? How did it work out?

It had been constantly raining for weeks and, finally, there was a break in the rain. I checked the weather app on my iPhone and it said that the rain would be starting back up in about two hours. I thought this would be a golden opportunity to clean out the gutters on the east side of my house, as they were clogged with leaves.

My wife was busy in the kitchen chopping up something for us to have for lunch. I didn’t want to disturb her, so I went to the garage, grabbed my ladder, and headed to the side of my house.

I opened the ladder and noted that the ground directly beneath the gutters was soggy from all the rain we’d been having. For a fleeting moment I thought that I should ask my wife to come out and spot for me, to hold the ladder while I climbed up it. But then I thought, nah, she’s busy in the kitchen and I’ve been up on a ladder hundreds of times. What can go wrong?

So I climbed up the ladder and started pulling gunk from the gutter. I stretched my arm to reach some more of the stuff that was clogging the gutter and I felt the ladder start to slip. I tried to stop the ladder from slipping further, but failed. The next thing I knew I had fallen back onto a cement walkway that ran from the front yard to the backyard along the side of our house.

I somehow managed to pull my iPhone out of my pants pocket, called my wife, and told her that I’d fallen and can’t get up. My wife came running out to the side of the house, and seeing me on the ground writhing in pain, unable to move my left leg at all, she called 9-1-1. Within a few minutes the paramedics arrived, put a hard board under my body, lifted me onto a wheeled gurney, loaded the gurney with me on it into an ambulance, and drove me to the emergency room. Shortly after arriving, I was wheeled into an X-ray room. And then, not long after that, I got the news from an orthopedic surgeon. I had fractured my hip on the left side and my humerus in my right arm at the shoulder. In a few hours I was in surgery undergoing a partial hip replacement.

That was on January 14th. I spent most of the rest of January in the hospital and hospital-based rehab. The next month and a half I was recuperating from home with twice weekly visits from physical and occupational therapists. And since mid-March I’ve been going to outpatient physical therapy for my hip and shoulder three times a week. I’ll be continuing with that through the end of June.

I took a foolish risk by not having my wife hold the ladder for me when I went to clean the gutters on my house and it basically altered my life (and my wife’s life) for the first half of 2023.

If only I could turn back time….

WDP — The Biggest Challenge

What is the biggest challenge you will face in the next six months?

This one is easy. My biggest challenge over the next six months is to fully recuperate from a fractured left hip and fractured humerus in my right shoulder that I suffered when I clumsily fell off a ladder in mid-January.

I had partial hip replacement surgery on the same day I fractured my hip, and spent two weeks in the hospital, including 10 days in post-surgical rehab before coming home. I’ve been going through some heavy duty physical and occupational therapy sessions at home, learning how to walk (with the aid of a walker) and to manage my activities of daily living.

In a few weeks I’ll be starting the next phase of my rehabilitation when I start going to outpatient physical therapy three times a week through at least early June.

So, essentially, my biggest challenge over the next six months is to be back, physically, to where I was before my ladder fall. To be able to walk, run, squat, kneel, and have full use of my leg and hip. And to once again have a full range of pain-free movement of my right arm and shoulder.

Easy peasy, right?


Photo credit: Masterfile (Royalty-Free Division).

It’s Adjustable

Today marks three weeks since I busted my hip and had partial hip replacement surgery. It’s also been a week and a day since I was discharged to home from inpatient rehabilitation. I’ve been back home for just over a week and my rehab is progressing, albeit slowly and rather painfully.

When I was in the hospital, I was in what seemed like an infinitely ajustable bed. You know the kind. It had a bunch of different positions it could be adjusted to. The mattress wasn’t terribly comfy, but I managed, sometimes with the aid of a helpful nurse, to find a relatively comfortable position for sleeping.

Upon returning home last Friday, my wife and I agreed that, for the duration of my recovery, I’d sleep in the guest room. Our 70 pound dog shares our bed, and the last thing I needed was to have her jump or roll over on me in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, our guest bedroom mattress is about 15 years old and my first night sleeping on it was not very pleasant.

So on Saturday I called a local mattress store, asked them about bed frames that adjust and hybrid memory foam and coil spring mattresses with cushion top to go on the adjustable frame. And I said I needed it fast!

This past Tuesday afternoon, my new mattress and adjustable frame were delivered and set up and my old guest room mattress and box springs hauled off. It took me a few nights to get used to it, but with a handy dandy remote control device that offers a variety of positions, including massage options, I’ve fallen in love with my new bed.

Now I have to figure out how to tell my wife that I may never return to our conjugal bed even after I’m fully recovered!

TMP — Activities of Daily Living

Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve prompt, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off.

Okay, maybe I should be grateful that, after having fallen off of a ladder and fracturing my hip, I can still do these things at all. No, check that, I am very grateful that I can still do these things at all. It could have been worse. But that doesn’t mean I can’t grouse about it, does it?

What am I talking about? I’m talking about activities of daily living. Things that those of us who are able-bodied take completely for granted. Things like hopping out of bed in the morning and jumping into bed at night. Like getting dressed and undressed. Like going to the bathroom, taking a shower, grooming. Like walking.

Yes, I can still do these things, but not without a bit of a struggle. Most of these activities take me anywhere from five to ten times longer than they did in the before days (before I broke my hip). Getting dressed is an ordeal. I have to use tools, like a grabber, a hook, a device to put socks on. I have to use a leg lifter to get my leg up on the bed at night.

Sure, I could ask my wife to help me out, but my occupational therapists says it’s important that I learn how to use these aids and do it by myself.

And even sitting down or getting up from a chair takes concentration. I’ve got a 50% weight bearing limitation on my left leg, so I need to focus on what I’m doing so that I don’t inadvertently put too much weight on that leg. Even walking using a walker requires concentration so that I don’t take a misstep.

And then there are the half a dozen or so home exercises the physical therapist has me doing: three sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise three times each day. It’s all so fucking exhausting!

Okay, I’m done with this peeve.