The unexpected

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You may not believe this. I am having trouble believing it myself – the irony of it all. In the post before last, I wrote about how much I hate to visit doctors, and now they surround me.

I had a full day yesterday helping my youngest daughter prepare for her school formal. She had been given the task of arranging flowers for the tables, all fifteen of them. My husband took her out early in the morning to collect the flowers from an inexpensive florist. The school gave her a low budget and so she decided to use old jars for vases, a large collection, all shapes and sizes that her older sister had collected in March for her wedding.

Some of the glasses still needed their stickers removed or a final clean so at the last minute, I ran a load through the dishwasher, packed the jars, rushed her off to the hairdressers and then onto the Boulevard in Kew where the formal was held.

We managed to get to Kew by three and began to arrange the flowers. One of the teachers was trying to stick electric lights on a column. She had brought masking tape to hold the lights in place, but it was visible against the white and since I was already going to the chemist to fetch some nausea medication for my daughter who was feeling poorly could I please get some clear sticky tap. I drove down to the nearest chemist in High street and parked outside the Kew post office, now known as the QPO.

It was my fault, I know. I was in a rush. I was like a ‘headless chook’ as my husband sometimes complains. I crossed the road in High street to get back to my car. The lights were green, the little man was flashing. I held my purchases in my hands and perhaps to save time I took the end of the crossing at an angle.

It happened in slow motion. I did not see the car, a little white Cortina I think, driven by a P Plater. She stopped at the crossing but not before she managed to interrupt my final few feet at the end of the crossing.

It’s hard to know whether the car hit me. I have a vague memory of a thud, certainly the scrape of wheels on bitumen and then I was on all fours on the road trying to pick up the sticky tape that had gone sprawling down the road.

I felt something hurt in my leg, as if I had twisted it and sat on the curb with the driver, a young woman and her companion, as we tried to decide whether or not I was okay,

I was in shock I suppose.
‘I have to get back to my daughter,’ I said. My car was nearby I told them but when I tried to stand I could not.

My husband arrived ten minutes after I rang him and after reorganising my daughter via her sisters, he took me to the emergency department at Cabrini hospital, where several years ago I gave birth to three of my daughters. Several x-rays of my left leg and it seems I have a broken tibia up near the knee joint.

I cannot bend my leg for the pain. The doctor applied a cast from the top of my thigh to my ankle. He insisted I stay in hospital for a couple of days until the orthopaedic surgeon visits. So here I am in a four bed ward on 3 North the orthopaedic ward, surrounded by three old women, one of whom is demented following surgery, and another the exact opposite, an articulate and intelligent eighty two year old who is about to go off for rehabilitation following her second hip replacement.

I am adrift on painkillers, something that is a derivative of morphine, they tell me. So please forgive my writing. I thought to let you know why I might be slower than usual to respond to your previous comments on my latest post.

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35 Comments on The unexpected

  1. Ruth
    September 5, 2010 at 9:48 am (7 years ago)

    Oh my! Elisabeth! This is a first for me in blog land. I have never written a comment to a person with a recently broken leg who is now sitting in a hospital ward.

    But I'm not happy about it, and I do hope you will not be in much pain and will be released at just the proper time, after they are sure of the best treatment. Enjoy that eighty-two year old, the age of my MIL, who is also wonderful.

    Goodness!

    Reply
  2. Jim Murdoch
    September 5, 2010 at 10:26 am (7 years ago)

    Life may take one of our bones away, the use of anyway, but it always tosses us another to play with. Just think about all the material you will have when you leave there. What I want to know is how you managed to persuade your family to bring you a laptop. I was knocked down as a kid – didn’t break anything although I gave the driver one helluva scare – but I did break a couple of bones in my hand when some concrete slabs fell on it. I’m amazed I got away with so little damage. Anyway, your body may not be capable of travel but you can’t lock a writer’s mind up, can you? I’m thinking of you.

    Reply
  3. River
    September 5, 2010 at 11:55 am (7 years ago)

    oh no! a broken leg! I'm betting that cast is pretty uncomfortable. Thank god for morphine. I hope you don't have to have surgery to set the bone, now that I think about it they probably would have done that immediately, wouldn't they?
    I hope you feel better soon, in terms of much less pain I mean, since the leg will take time to heal. Catch up on some sleep while you're in there.

    Reply
  4. Woman in a Window
    September 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm (7 years ago)

    I suppose we should all be careful of what we write of. It is as though our words open doors and then we are face to face with what is on the other side.

    Next piece, Elizabeth, write of lottery winnings and loads of chocolate.

    Sweet and quick healing to you.

    xo
    erin

    Reply
  5. Kittie Howard
    September 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm (7 years ago)

    Ouch! I feel for you! We've all taken rushed cuts like you did. Don't beat up on yourself. Recovery is going to take awhile. Please don't look back, only forward to when you're feeling better. Hugs! (After too much going on, I'm back…hoping to get caught up!

    Reply
  6. Ms. Moon
    September 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh my. Oh no! Elisabeth!
    One second can ruin every one of your plans and land you in the hospital. So strange.
    Please rest and get better and let us know what the orthopedic doctor says.
    And take your drugs!

    Reply
  7. standing on my head
    September 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm (7 years ago)

    oh, elisabeth, i'm so sorry. i wish you a speedy recovery.

    Reply
  8. Kit Courteney
    September 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh my goodness.

    I do hope you feel better soon and that you become 'mended' in double quick time.

    Very best wishes :0)

    Reply
  9. The Weaver of Grass
    September 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm (7 years ago)

    So sorry about your accident – do hope you soon get rid of the pain and things begin to be normal again. Remember it could have been much worse.

    Reply
  10. Come Back Brighter
    September 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm (7 years ago)

    I'm so sorry to hear about your accident — but thank goodness you are not hurt more seriously!

    That aside, I am jealous how well and coherently you write while on strong pain medication. Get well soon!

    Reply
  11. Lorenzo
    September 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm (7 years ago)

    Really sorry to hear this Elisabeth. I hope there will be no lasting harm. Sending you healing thoughts and wishes from Spain…

    Reply
  12. Eryl
    September 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm (7 years ago)

    I hardly know how to say what I mean here, Elizabeth. I hope you mend well and fast, and that the enforced stillness this entails does you the world of good.

    It's astonishingly good of you to let us know why you might be slow to respond to comments, but no worries if you never respond to mine. Just relax and heal and enjoy being slow.

    I had to take morphine derivative painkillers after an operation, they killed the pain but made me feel terribly sick, hope they don't do the same for you.

    Reply
  13. June Calender
    September 5, 2010 at 10:27 pm (7 years ago)

    You write extremely well for someone on a morphine derivative — must prove your natural instincts are strong. Good luck with your healing.

    Reply
  14. Elizabeth
    September 6, 2010 at 12:17 am (7 years ago)

    Oh, good gracious! I am so sorry that you had such a terrible accident. I'm sorry, too, for your pain and hope that everything heals quickly.

    Get better!

    Reply
  15. Kath Lockett
    September 6, 2010 at 1:06 am (7 years ago)

    Oh My GOD! It's a complete credit to you that you're writing at ALL, Elisabeth!

    I hope that the pain subsides very very soon (like right now would be good), that your daughter's formal still went swimmingly and that you are waited on hand and foot when you get home.

    Reply
  16. little hat
    September 6, 2010 at 2:12 am (7 years ago)

    from the dentist to the orthopedic surgeon. You're on a roll. This could be a series.

    On a serious note I hope you recover asap. How did the formal go? And how did they manage without the sticky tape – which i doubt would have worked very well anyway.

    Reply
  17. Anthony Duce
    September 6, 2010 at 3:41 am (7 years ago)

    I'm so sorry to hear about your accident. But as you pointed out you do have your laptop, and can communicate beyond where they are holding you now. I hope everything goes well and the pain isn't too bad.

    Reply
  18. Art Durkee
    September 6, 2010 at 5:44 am (7 years ago)

    I love the lucid old ladies. They're great fun to talk to, full of life-stories and memories. I was getting my next IV drug treatment (for my chronic illness) a few days ago, and even with the needle and tube stuck in my arm it was a pleasant long conversation with a lovely lady who used to ride motorcycles on long roadtrips across North America with her husband, who used to rebuild Triumph motorcycles. About the only motorcycle I'd ever own is a Triumph, not that I'm into cycles. I used to know a group of Vietnam veterans who had their own informal motorcycle club, and they all rode Triumphs.

    I'm glad your fall was not worse, and that you'll eventually walk in triumph out of the hospital.

    Reply
  19. Rachel Fenton
    September 6, 2010 at 8:31 am (7 years ago)

    Elisabeth, I saw your comment over at Mike's (Annotated Margins) and wanted to wish you a speedy recovery!

    Reply
  20. Elisabeth
    September 6, 2010 at 9:00 am (7 years ago)

    Hi Everyone

    Thanks for all your good wishes. I shall endeavour to respond properly over the next few days. Hopefully I'm home tomorrow carting a huge plaster cast from my ankle to the top of my thigh but that's only for ten days and then we reduce, all being well. I'm delighted to be going home, but I must take it all a day at a time.

    Im trying hard to avoid the need for surgery and the surgeon is happy to go slowly slowly, to let it heal of its own accord but it's a fracture of the tibia plateau, if that makes sense to any of you medically inclined anatomically knowledgeable folks. In other words, it's around the knee joint and it will take some time for me to bend again. the surgeon is concerned that my bone does not move, If it does it'll need surgery and later rather than sooner is not ideal for surgery but we'll give it a try.

    I'll keep you posted.

    Reply
  21. Mary
    September 6, 2010 at 9:12 am (7 years ago)

    Elisabeth – I think given the circumstances that individual responses are not required!!! Wishing you a speedy recovery !

    Reply
  22. Alesa Warcan
    September 6, 2010 at 9:27 am (7 years ago)

    I can only add my voice to those wishing you a speedy recovery.
    I'm glad to hear you weren't more gravely injured.

    Reply
  23. Niamh B
    September 6, 2010 at 11:29 am (7 years ago)

    You poor thing elizabeth – wishing you as speedy a recovery as possible.

    Reply
  24. persiflage
    September 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh how awful for you, and it does not sound like your fault at all. I hope you are not in much pain, and that it all heals well. You will be very glad to be home, I bet. Much more comfortable for you, so long as the family does not let you get away with doing things you ought not.

    Reply
  25. Golden West
    September 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm (7 years ago)

    So sorry to hear of this. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery. It will be wonderful to be in your own home again!

    Reply
  26. Dick
    September 6, 2010 at 9:28 pm (7 years ago)

    First of all, commiserations and hopes for a speedy recovery. Secondly, I wonder whether this experience will in any way modify the fears expressed so poetically under the post title 'The demons lie behind my tonsils'.

    Reply
  27. Chris Wolf
    September 6, 2010 at 10:00 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh my. I'm new to your blog and will wait to hear your next steps with some impatience. But certainly not as much impatience as you may be having. To change your frame of mind-Can you tell us of the formal event from the daughter's view? Did she attend? Were the flowers lovely? If you don't know, can you tell us a story anyway? Perhaps it won't help. Peace to you, Chris

    Reply
  28. Marja
    September 7, 2010 at 6:31 am (7 years ago)

    Oh poor Elisabeth That was a bad experience Hope you're feeling better soon and take good care of yourself. Here we had a pretty relaxed day. No aftershocks They might come back tonight though We'll see

    Reply
  29. Alberto Oliver
    September 7, 2010 at 9:08 am (7 years ago)

    Oh my god!! But Elisabeth, i am so terribly soory to hear this. What a bad horrid experience. Indeed, i can believe it,,yes, we all were just discussing on the topic a few days ago and now this happens. Fortunately you are alive, yes, is a fortune. This kind of events make us feel quite vulnerable and show how fragile the existance is. And in a certain way, it proves what i was talking about, it is only when something terrible happen when we sit and begin thinking on all those valuable things life have and that we use to ignore due of the daily routine. I wish you to get better soon, well, meanwhile you can consider it as a little break, a time out, for you and your soul, to sit and be idle, it is true that moms are always the busiest members of a family, well, now is your time to rest and take a pause, what a bad way to get a break, that is for sure, but, you know, sometimes it is better to be a little mr. or ms. brightside, even when there is not that much positive to think on.
    My best regards dear, and then again i wish you to get healthier soon. =)

    Reply
  30. Ann
    September 7, 2010 at 9:13 am (7 years ago)

    So sorry. I hope that driver stopped/

    Does the hospital let you use a lap top to while away the time?

    Reply
  31. angryparsnip
    September 8, 2010 at 1:57 am (7 years ago)

    I just stopped by to see how you were and I see my comment from before wasn't published….
    I have had internet problems for several days ( thanks a bunch crummy comcast the worst internet ever) anyways
    I hope you are well and feeling better each day !
    REST !

    cheers, parsnip

    Reply
  32. Christine
    September 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm (7 years ago)

    Gosh!!! I know that crossing well… and can see how your accident could happen. It's lucky you weren't hit by a tram!!! Fortunately the traffic is slow moving. Take care of yourself and recover well.

    Reply
  33. Zuzana
    September 10, 2010 at 11:54 am (7 years ago)

    Oh so sorry dear Elisabeth to learn this (way too late)… I am so hoping you will get better soon, this is something we hear about but never believe can happen to us…
    I am so glad to know it was not worse…
    Please get better soon,
    xoxo

    Reply
  34. TaraDharma
    September 11, 2010 at 8:03 am (7 years ago)

    An amazingly cogent post, especially for one under the influence of morphine! Kudos to you for getting the word out under the worst of circumstances.

    Wishing you healing.

    Reply

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