Sunday, October 16, 2011

Broken -- Screams of Pain

In June 2005, I was walking from my apartment in the early evening along with Edward. He wanted to go to a nearby restaurant for a quick bite. I had already eaten dinner but agreed to join him for conversation and perhaps, dessert. As we made our way towards the car, I apparently fell. I have no clue as to what exactly happened. I do recall feeling the sensation of falling .. and as the hit the ground, I felt an excruciating pain that tore through my entire body. “My leg!” I screamed. “My leg!” Hysterically crying in pain, I could not even imagine what had just occurred. All I knew was that the pain was intense. Extremely intense. I could not move my body and I only felt this horrific pain searing through my right leg. In blood curdling screams I kept shouting: “My leg!” My screams were heard all over the complex. 
Edward immediately called 911. My two children, both of whom heard my screams, came running from the apartment. They were both dialing 911. So were more than a dozen others in the complex who heard my screams. I later learned that some reported a woman in the parking lot was being “murdered.”  Emergency paramedics arrived on the scene and apparently began to access the situation. Per my family, the leg was obviously broken -- they could see the unusual appearance of it, and knew I had a serious break. Of course, at this point, we did not realize what I had actually done. 
The paramedics (God bless them) had to put up with my loud, non-stop screaming. I never stopped, despite being asked to try and calm down. The pain was too much to handle. I had never experienced anything so horrible. I would later tell others that even childbirth was a bit easier, although I am not a big fan of any pain. And unfortunately, nothing the paramedics did alleviated the pain I was in at the time. They did administer a pain medication via IV, but it did nothing. I continued screaming my head off. And they had to listen to me all the way to the hospital. 
I arrived in the emergency room of Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, FL and was assessed by the ER physician. I cannot tell you about any aspect of this, since all I could do was continue crying and screaming. Even when the nurse asked me to calm down, I kept on shouting at the top of my lungs. When I arrived in the X-ray department, the two technicians told me I had to calm down -- they literally said I could be heard throughout the hospital. “I had to stop screaming,” they said. At least, until they saw the X-ray and the actual break. Yes, it was my right femur and per the technician who finally saw the severity of it .. instead of telling me to stop screaming, I was told that the break was extremely bad and I could scream all I wanted. So I did! All night long.
Once in my hospital room, the nursing staff now had to put up with my blood curdling screams. And they kept telling me I was scaring and disturbing other patients. Do you honestly think I cared? I kept on screaming! For almost three days, I did not stop crying and screaming in pain .. and even with the non-stop pushing of the morphine button (which of course was monitored to only administer the right amount of medication) I was in unbelievable pain and nothing could stop it except for surgery. Unfortunately, I learned from the doctor who would perform the procedure, I had to first be weaned off the Coumadin, a blood thinner I was taking at the time. That is why my surgery was delayed; and thus, my journey into a three-day pain-a-thon. When asked for the pain level (using the standard scale of 1-10 for pain with 10 being the most severe) I kept saying that my pain level was 100. And it was! Ten was controllable with medication, but my pain was beyond anything that the Morphine drip could handle. It was 100 on a scale of 1-10 I said, and I never backed down from that. For those few days, I could only wish they would “shoot me and put me out of my misery.” Eating was extremely difficult -- I could not move and thus, could not have my bed adjusted so I could eat without the food all over me and my hospital gown. Eating was not a real priority -- getting my Coumadin levels down was the priority and the sooner, the better. Only when a safe level was reached, could I finally undergo surgery.

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