Thursday, March 26, 2009

Healing -- Part 3

i arrived at the hospital near 1:00am. as tired as i was, i was still awake enough to appreciate the fact that i had my own private room with a large window next to my bed. by then, the spinal had pretty much worn off, so i asked for pain medication, which was given to me along with magnesium sulphate to relax my uterus and hopefully stop my contractions. by the next day, my contractions had slowed down considerably. i was brought downstairs, still laying flat in my bed to have a series of x-rays taken of my leg to make sure that the surgery was successful. it was strange to see pictures of a rod and screws going straight through my bone. next i was brought into the ultrasound room where an extensive study was done on my little baby boy. my abdomen was quite bruised from where the steering wheel hit me (or rather, from where i hit the steering wheel) and the ultrasound was quite painful for me, but it was wonderful to hear the technician say that the baby looked great, the fluid levels were perfect and the abruption to the placenta must have been very minor because no damage showed up on the ultrasound.

by then it was lunch time and i was ravenous, not having had anything to eat for a full 24 hours. the nurses kept giving me ice chips and small drinks of water, but they had to wait for the orthopedic specialists to come have a look at my leg to make sure that they wouldn't have to do more surgery before they would allow me to eat anything. it took them FOREVER to come to my room and i seriously was feeling faint by the time they entered. they cut the soft splint right off of my leg, looked at the wounds (i closed my eyes) and then wrapped my leg back up again, declaring the surgery a success. as they left the room i hollered after them "does this mean i can eat lunch?" "yes!" one of them hollered back and i cheered. there's only one way to make hospital food taste good and that is to starve your patient before feeding her. that meal was one of the most delicious i've ever tasted! funny how the rest of the hospital meals i had weren't so great...

by the afternoon, the magnesium sulphate was really doing its job and the contractions had all but stopped completely. they lowered my dosage and kept monitoring the baby, hopeful that the contractions wouldn't increase. i had many visitors that day and felt very uplifted, though i was still in a considerable amount of pain. the last of my visitors left right before i was ready to go to sleep. i had waited longer than normal to ask for my dose of morphine, but i assumed that the longer i waited the better. i was SO wrong! the morphine was put directly into my bloodstream with a syringe that was shot into my IV tube. immediately, i felt the lovely wooziness that i assumed would lull me to sleep. warmth spread all over my body erasing my aches and pains...and then the warmth seemed to stop just short of my broken leg. i was sleepy and pain free except for the throbbing in my leg that was was worsening by the minute. i called the nurse back to tell her that the morphine seemed to have not done anything for my leg and she said it was probably because i had waited too long to ask for it. when i asked her if she could give me anything else, she apologetically shook her head and told me i'd have to wait another 6 hours before i could get more morphine.

i was in agony! it got to the point where i honestly felt as horrible as when the accident had just happened. i kept falling asleep because i was so tired, only to be awakened by searing pain ripping through my leg from ankle to knee. i couldn't help but moan and cry and keep watching the clock through my heavy eyelids. finally the nurse called down to the orthopedic specialists and 2 of them quickly came to see me. they cut off my soft splint all over again to make sure that my leg wasn't swollen and infected. when they were sure that everything looked okay, they asked the nurse how much morphine i had been given. she told them and they were shocked; they said that the day after such a surgery, most of their patients would have been given double the amount every 3 hours. of course, being pregnant changed all of that for me. they advised the main obstetrician on my floor to keep my dosage low, but to try to give it to me a little more frequently, at least for the next couple of days. i was so relieved that i only had to wait a couple more hours before relief finally came and i was able to sleep.

by my third day at the hospital, i was completely off of the magnesium sulphate and the baby's heart rate was looking good. i would have irregular contractions every now and then, but nothing that was painful for me and nothing that the doctors were terribly worried about. still, the high risk pregnancy specialist told me that she wanted to keep me in the hospital for a full week, to monitor the baby, making sure that everything stayed normal before i was discharged. though i really didn't want to stay any longer, it was quite nice to have the benefit of physical therapy every day for my leg, as well as a full week of no responsibilities to help me rest up and heal more.

the first few days after the accident, i felt worse and worse as more bruises and soreness seemed to appear every morning. my ribs were quite bruised and my arms felt as weak as spaghetti noodles. i hadn't left my bed at all, and it took all my energy just to sit up in order to eat. i had all sorts of things entering my body via the IV, plus the nurse administered a daily shot of blood thinner to my abdomen to ward off blood clots. no longer on morphine, i was on a painkiller called norco every 4 hours, which worked well for about 3 hours. because of my bruised ribs, inhalation was quite painful, so i was on oxygen nearly constantly, and my blood pressure cuff regularly squished my bruised arm. all of those wires and tubes combined with the 2 strapped to my belly probably made me look like a very freaky version of my former self, especially from a 2 year old's perpective.

poor tristan, unable to understand much more other than "mommy has a boo-boo and can't come home yet" wanted nothing to do with me during most of his visits to the hospital. even after i took the oxygen tubes out of my nose, he still hid his face in daddy's shoulder when i asked for a hug. as much as it hurt my heart not to be able to snuggle my little guy when i missed him so much, i still enjoyed watching him playing on his own around my room while josh and i visited. josh, still getting over his pneumonia, had taken a full week off of work to stay home with tristan until my parents arrived the following monday night. i am so thankful for his strength and willingness to step into my role as a stay at home parent without a complaint. knowing that tristan was happy and well taken care of eased my mind so much.

finally, the day came when it was time for me to get out of bed. unhooking me from all of the machines took some time, but when i was free, it felt so good to sit up in bed with my legs dangling over the sides....until the blood rushed down to my broken leg and i realized that it wasn't going to be as easy as i thought! i started out using a walker and hopping along on my left foot. the first day, i think i made it only 4 steps before i begged to go back into bed. each day, though i made it further and further across the room until i was finally able to hop to the bathroom and back. (hooray, no more bed pan!) eventually, the tubes and wires were able to come off one by one until all that was left were the two monitors attached to my belly, keeping track of my baby's heart beat and my contractions. the day after my parents arrived, my mom came to visit bearing gifts of soap, shampoo and conditioner from home. it had been a full week since i had had a proper shower and, despite having my leg wrapped in a garbage bag and propped up on a chair, i didn't want to leave that shower, it felt SO good!

that day was also the day that my leg dressings were changed and i finally felt brave enough to get a good look at my leg. i even had the nurse take pictures of it on my phone so i could show josh. it was pretty crazy looking with jagged cuts held together with railroad track-like staples. i have a long incision down my knee where they had inserted the rod, a crooked one on the left side of my calf where my bones had protruded, and another smaller one near my ankle where the rod and screws had gone in. there were probably close to 30 staples in my leg and i was already cringing at the thought of having them taken out!

when wednesday morning dawned gloriously sunny, i couldn't contain my excitement: i was going home!! my parents arrived at the hospital early with tristan and waited while i signed papers and received strict instructions from the specialist, warning me to go immediately to the hospital at the first sign of early labor. i had a walker as well as a nifty wheelchair with a leg extender to keep my leg elevated on, and as i was wheeled out to the car, the fresh air felt wonderful after a full week of being indoors.

it has now been just over two weeks since the accident, and one week since i've been home. my parents have been angels, entertaining tristan, cooking, cleaning, helping me to and from different rooms, etc. josh has also been beyond wonderful in that he has been working full time, and then coming home to help out instead of veg out, which is what i'm sure he'd rather do! i had an OB appointment on monday which included a no stress test for samuel and he is still looking great. yesterday i went down to get the staples taken out of my leg (oh my goodness, OUCH!) and my heavy soft splint was removed and replaced with some gauze and an ace bandage. the incisions still haven't healed completely (which is what made the staple removal so painful), but after a few days i should be able to take a real shower with my leg INSIDE of the tub!

my recovery has surprised me in how quickly i've been feeling better. there are still days where i feel as if i've taken a step backwards and feel more rotten than the day before, but for the most part every day i feel a little bit better. i've also had days of completely breaking down in tears, thinking too far ahead and wondering how i'm ever going to do anything on my own with a 2 year old plus another one on the way, unable to walk on my own for at least another 4 weeks. at those times, God always seems to wait until i've cried my heart out, vented my frustrations to Him and then He reassures me through His word with verses that just come suddenly to my mind. the main verse that i repeat to myself daily is found in matthew 6:34, which says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." and He has been so faithful in providing for our needs every day! i'd be lying if i said i had no worries about next week looming before me, with my parents leaving us. but the truth is that i take all those worries before God before they get the better of me, knowing that He will see me through.

thank you for taking the time to read this incredibly long story, and for your sweet comments. i appreciate every one of you and am so thankful for your concern and especially for your prayers.


Aria said...

It's so good to hear that you are on the mend. Your story is no less than incredible. I am so thankful that you and little Samuel are all right, keeping you and your family in my prayers :)

klassic1 said...

Heidi, thanks so much for telling your "story". After crying through Parts 1 and 2, I couldn't wait for this 3rd part of the story. You have been in our prayers, and will continue to be.

inquisitivesensitive said...

Thank you for taking the time to tell the whole story to us. I haven't been able to go to friday coffee and have just been praying for you and your whole family..... prayers will continue! FEEL BETTER!!!


Heather said...


Easton and I love you and are so happy that you are doing so well. We are so sad that we have been too sick to come and see you. We are begining to be on the mend, but know that you are in my prayers and I think about you and your family often throughout my day. If I can do anything to help you do not hessitate to let me know. I can sit with you, watch Tristan, cook you food, whatever you name it.
love you!
Heather and Easton

turningoveranewleaf said...

dear blogger friend heidi,

what an incredible story and what a gifted writer you are. i teared up a couple of times while reading and i am beyond amazed at how strong you are and continue to be. prayers with you and your little family during all the transitions that have been and will continue to be.


Dena said...

i'm so thankful that you're okay, that baby samuel is okay, that you're home, that your parents are there, that josh has had a full week of work (i nearly broke down in tears doing his paycheck yesterday, so thankful), thankful that you've shared every detail, what a testimony, even in your fears and sorrows He is there. Hugs to you.

J@net said...

It is great to hear you are getting better everyday. It was especially GREAT to have you attend bible study for so us to see you and to spend time with the Hallam's. We all love you so much =) Great verse to repeat. We all have a tendency to look beyond our control.

Shannon said...

thank you for the update. I keep coming back to check.

I'm glad you are on the mend. And yes, each day will bring troubles of its own. But each day you will be granted just enough strength- and just when you feel you have no more, someone will bless you with their help. (and make sure to ask if you need to!) I'm glad you have real and church family surrounding you.

Kelly Benita said...

wow, what a journey. continuing to pray for you and baby Samuel as you heal and recover, and praying for God's peace through these next few weeks especially!

Heather said...

What a journey you have been on - I think you are definitely allowed to have a few momoments of feeling overwhelmed by it all! I will be praying for you as you continue to mend and for your family as you being to move back into some semblance of "normal"

lil said...

Thanks for all you've shared Heidi!! Today is the first time I read all three parts to your story. I'm glad my boss isn't here today, because I sure had the tears flowing!! :)
I was SO surprised to hear your voice when I called last week. What a blessing that your mom and dad could be there for the transition time. I'm praying for you still, that you will totally heal up and be in full strength when Samuel arrives. Wow, won't he have a pre-birth story to tell!!

monk:s said...

Hi Heidi,

We are relieved that you and baby are doing well. We are still praying for you.

Many blessings,
-Mark L.

monk:s said...

I think I am the only guy following your blog. Is that wierd?

Oops, gotta go, it's time for my pedicure!

-Mark L.

Christy said...

Thanks Heidi for this last installment. I've been waiting to hear all the nitty gritty details of your ordeal. Now, I can fit all the pieces together.

Don't forget, my offer still stands. No one else can get time off, so I have no vacation plans. My boss said I can have all the time off I need, whenever I take it.

Prayers are still heading your way.

Love ya,

Charlene said...


so glad you are on the mend. will keep praying for you :)!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi..your aunt Flo had told me about your accident and I have not stopped praying for you. Three years ago I broke my ankle and had to have screws and a plate put in, and I took all the help that was offered,and I didn't have little kids to watch ! So, my kind advice to you is, accept ALL the help that your friends offer ( I read some of the comments here :).Whether it is bring meals over, babysitting, cleaning or doing errand, or later to take you to physio, let them help. The "jobs" might not be done the way "you do it ", but that is o.k. your job right now is to get better,rest and enjoy your sons. Once you are back on your feet, you can do things your way. That is what friends are for, and you would do the same for them. And keep Kleenxes beside you, cuz the tears are part of the healling :)I pray that you will continue to rely on the Lord day to day,and know that others are praying for you and your family. Oh, ya, stitches in the leg OUCH ! !Sorry this is so long, I will continue to think and pray for you and Rachel Rempel

James A said...

Don't worry Mark, I follow too.

Sister Heidi, I am so amazed at how God has kept you safe. There have been a lot of prayers issuing to the heavens from here, everyone from HoJ sends their best.

Love you sis.