Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Spiritual Moment

I walked into Emily's room and woke her up from her nap by whispering.


She sat straight up and looked at me, eyes wide.

"Do you know what day it is?" I asked quietly.

"Um....Thursday?"she responded just as quietly, obviously puzzled.

"Yes.  And do you know what happens on Thursdays?"


"It's boneless wing Thursday at Buffalo Wild Wings."

Her eyes grew even wider, "It is?" she whispered.

"It is," I whispered back.  "It only comes once a week, like a little present from God.  And we haven't been for quite a while, which is really quite rude of us."

Emily crossed her self and blew a kiss up at the sky.

"I think we should go," I said.

"To honor God," Emily responded somberly.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Surgery day came quickly.  Katie wasn't allowed to eat from midnight the night before, so Emily and I didn't eat either.  Solidarity, sister!

When they put the IV in the back of Katie's hand, she squeezed my hand so hard I thought she was going to break some of my bones and they'd need the surgery room for both of us.  Katie didn't cry, but you could tell by her face that it hurt a lot.

As soon as that was done, Emily stood up and said, "I'm going to go find something to eat."  The nurse, who was still bent over Katie's hand, took one look at Emily and said, "Sit back down!"  Then she turned to another nurse across the room and said, "Get some juice and crackers!"  Emily had gone white, even her lips were pale.  She can handle getting shots on her own, she just doesn't like seeing it happen to Katie.

We had to wait quite a while, but the time for surgery finally arrived.  They gave Katie something to relax her and then wheeled her out.  I didn't like them taking her away while she was still awake, I wanted to be with her when she went to sleep, but she doesn't even remember being wheeled out of the room.

Three hours later the surgeon came and found us in the waiting room.  "The ligaments in her foot were just blown apart," he told me.  "Blown apart."  He had put in a metal plate and five screws. 

They let us back to see her and she was having juice and crackers.  She looked at Emily and said, "I really want to throw this juice box at you."  Apparently anesthesia makes her aggressive.

The nurse told me to put ice on her foot for 30 minutes several times a day.  I looked at Katie's foot which was wrapped in three inches of padding and asked, "Do you think the cold will get through all the bandages?"

"Probably not, but do it anyway."

They let her leave the hospital before she could even walk.  She conked out on the way home.

Back at the house, she asked Emily to make her a hamburger because she hadn't eaten all day.  She had a little trouble actually eating though!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fractured Foot (Part 3)

Thursday morning we headed back to the hospital to handle pre-op.  I had to sign another dozen papers.  Then we had to meet with anesthesiology, then Katie had to have blood drawn, then we had to go to the pharmacy and get all her medications for after the surgery, then we had to go to physical therapy for lessons in how to use crutches.

Katie had already been using crutches for six days so I really didn't think there was much they could show her.  I was really surprised at how much more information there was though.  I had mainly been thinking of just walking with the crutches but they also showed her how to sit in a chair while using crutches and how to navigate stairs.

They even had her practice on a little staircase.

The physical therapist asked me who the surgeon was and when I told him he said, "Good.  If I was having surgery, that's who I'd want doing it.  And I'm not just saying that."

That made me feel much better.  Her surgeon is only thirty-three years old.  It's one of the first things I asked when he asked me if I had any questions after he had explained all the details about the surgery to me.  He laughed when I told him I needed to see his diploma from med school because he didn't look old enough to be a doctor.  He said, "I know, people tell me I look like I'm twelve."

He told me that Katie was scheduled to go first the next morning but that could change based on what other cases came up.

"I have a lieutenant colonel who decides all that though," he said.

"Well, I have a lieutenant colonel too, and he says Katie should go first," I told him.

Katie did not end up being first, but that wound up being a good thing.  Had she been first, we would have had to get up around 3:30 in the morning.  Going second let us sleep in a little later.  We were still trying to overcome jet lag and emotional trauma and a few extra hours of sleep were very welcome.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fractured Foot (Part 2)

 So, Katie had to spend the weekend with a fractured foot.  She kept it elevated and iced it when possible.

The same day we found out it was fractured, there was a party being thrown for us to give us a chance to see friends we hadn't seen in four years.

At one point during the gathering I looked over at Katie and realized she was really hurting while waiting for her pain meds to kick in.

I got a live bunny and put it in her lap to distract her until she felt better.

It worked!

The flight home was awful.  It was a red-eye - meaning we flew out at 8:00 PM and landed at 8:00 AM the next morning.  Then we had to catch another flight which lasted for three hours.

We were supposed to have a wheelchair assist between flights but when we got off the first flight in Dallas the wheelchair wasn't there.  Katie struggled off the plane using her crutches but was exhausted by the time she got up the ramp and into the airport.  Emily and I were carrying three purses and three carry-on bags and we were pretty wiped out too by that point.  Finally an employee flagged down a passing cart and got the driver to take us to our next gate.  A wheelchair was brought to us at that gate.  The guy handling it was very fun and personable.  We chatted with him a good bit.

The flights didn't do Katie's foot any good.  There was no way to prop it up in those seats and her left foot was significantly more swollen by the time we landed. 

At our final stop, someone was waiting for us with a wheel chair.  He barely spoke to us as he wheeled us down to baggage claim.  The guy who had helped us in Dallas had been very fun and chatty.  This guy was having none of that.  When we got out to the curb where our ride was supposed to meet us, he literally set the brakes on the wheelchair without saying a word and left us there.

Thankfully, our ride met up with us and we were able to drive home and get ready to go to Katie's doctor appointment the next morning.

Unfortunately, jet lag kicked in and we woke up shortly before we were supposed to be at the doctor's office.  I called and managed to get the appointment pushed back by two hours.

In the military health care system (which is usually very good - we've had great care over the years) we had to see our regular doctor first and get a referral to orthopedics (even though we saw a military doctor at a military hospital and x-rays done by a military tech and in my opinion that should have been enough to send us straight to orthopedics but what do I know).  Our regular doctor wasn't available on such short notice so we took the first available doctor.

When the doctor came in to examine Katie he already had the x-rays and discharge papers we had brought from Hawaii.  He told me he had put in a call to orthopedics and had left a voice mail because they weren't answering.  He examined Katie's foot and put a referral in the computer for her to go to orthopedics.  He told me, "If you haven't heard from them in twenty-four to forty-eight hours, give me a call and I'll see if I can contact them."

I just looked at him for a couple of seconds and said, "Where is orthopedics?  Is it in this building?"  He told me it was one floor below us.

I've played the "go home and wait until we call" game before.  It never works out well.  And there was no way in hell I was just taking Katie home and waiting.

We headed straight to orthopedics.  I had Katie sit in a chair while I told the receptionist, "We were just seen by a doctor in family health, he put in a referral for Katie to be seen here.  We've already been to an emergency room and we know it's a lisfranc fracture; I have the x-rays from the emergency room with me."

She looked in the computer, found the referral and asked me, "Did he send you for x-rays here?  He knows we need x-rays!"  She quickly got permission for Katie to go to x-ray and we headed over to get that handled.

When we got back to ortho, we only had to wait a little bit.  The x-rays were brought directly to an orthopedic surgeon who met with us and told us Katie would be scheduled for surgery Friday morning.

I was (once again) in shock that she needed surgery and that it would happen so quickly.  The surgeon was telling me they would either need to fuse the bones or put screws in.  He explained the pros and cons of each procedure to me.

"Do I have to decide which procedure to do?" I asked in horror.  I couldn't imagine having to decide between two extensive procedures either of which could result in permanent loss of mobility, gangrene, amputation, or death (as was all so carefully explained to me).

"I'll decide once I'm in there and can see the extent of the damage," he told me.

I breathed a sigh of relief that the decision was not placed squarely on my shoulders.  The extent of my medical knowledge is how to put on a band-aid.  To add to that, the surgeon had lost his voice so he was whispering all this info to me and I was worried I was missing something.

I signed dozens of papers and made appointments to come back the next day and handle pre-op.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fractured Foot

We were able to take an unexpected trip back to Hawai'i.  More about that later.

This story is about what happened to Katie in Hawai'i.

Katie was invited by a friend to go to iTrampoline with a youth group.  Ten minutes into the evening she jumped on a trampoline, landed oddly, and hurt her foot.  She said it was as if her toe was pointed straight down and her foot rolled forward (with the top of her foot towards the floor) instead of backwards (with the bottom of her foot towards the floor). 

Here is a picture of all the teens at iTrampoline.  Katie is on the sofa with ice on her foot.

Kerry and I were at a Bible study at our church.  I got a call from Katie where I thought she said she hurt her knee.  She was laughing and joking and it didn't sound too bad.

Then we got a call from the trampoline place letting us know that Katie had hurt her foot but it didn't look serious and they were putting ice on it.  We saw her later that evening and her foot was a little puffy.  We thought it was possibly sprained and she went home with a friend to spend the night.

The next morning, her friend's mother texted me that Katie's foot was more swollen and that she might need to go to the doctor.

Kerry and I got dressed and headed over to pick her up.  We took her to the urgent care center on post.  

 Since she could put no weight on her left foot, they provided her with a wheelchair.

They took some x-rays and put us in a little room.  After a wait, the doctor walked in and said, "She has a lisfranc fracture and it may require surgery."  Kerry leaned toward the doctor with his elbows on his knees in a "you have my attention" posture.  My brain stopped at the word "surgery".  Part of brain was thinking, "He said thank goodness she doesn't need surgery" and another part of my brain was saying, "I don't think that's what he said".  

I  think we were all in shock.  We thought maybe an ace bandage if it was sprained, maybe a cast if it was fractured or broken.  But surgery???

They wanted to do another set of x-rays just to make certain.  I mentioned that I would go pick up some breakfast for us since none of us had eaten.  The doctor grimaced at me and said, "I don't want to be mean, but she shouldn't eat anything in case they take her into surgery today."

Today??  I was in more shock.

After some more time and the second set of x-rays, the doctor told us that orthopedics would be able to see her Monday.  We told him that we were scheduled to fly home Monday afternoon.  He told us that if he asked for an opinion from four different orthopedists, he would get four different plans of treatment.  He advised us just to go back to Virginia and see an orthopedist there since that's who would be doing the actual treatment anyway.  

They gave Katie a stabilizing boot and crutches and sent us on our way.