Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Broke My Face -- Fri., Sep. 21

Literally, I broke both cheekbones, my nose, top of my left eye socket and a small fracture into my skull. Believe me when I say, you just never know what will happen in life. 

Here's what  happened as I remember it.

Bob and I went to Corpus Christi for the weekend. We planned to do two volkswalks and tour the USS Lexington and maybe the aquarium.

Friday evening, 5:35 p.m. we started our volkswalk of downtown Corpus Christi at a hotel downtown. Temperature was perfect at 84 degrees with a nice breeze blowing off the bay.

I will tell you about the volkswalk in another blog. We were 5-1/2 miles into our delightful walk. I was so happy because we saw so many interesting things in downtown and it was such a beautiful evening. After our walk we planned to go to dinner at a seafood restaurant by the water. That was not meant to be.

We were at a stoplight waiting for the "Walk" sign to cross a road. I thought I was standing on the wheelchair ramp to go down onto the street. When the light turned to "Walk," I tried to take a long stride. My foot caught on a curb and I fell so hard and so fast, I didn't have time to put my hands out to stop my descent/protect myself. My face impacted full force on the pavement.  I am extremely lucky I did not break my neck.

Bob was standing next to me and didn't have time to catch me. Again I'll say, you just never know what will happen.

I immediately went into shock. The next thing I remember was a lady from the restaurant across the street running over to see if I was okay. (I wasn't, I was bleeding like crazy and hurt like hell.) She ran back across the street and brought back a bag of ice. I was lying on my stomach. Another couple who were walking across the street from us came over to help too. By this time I was lying in a pool of blood. Head wounds bleed a lot.

Everyone helped me get up from the street. I sat on the curb with the lady from the restaurant and the good samaritan couple while I waited for Bob to bring the truck to pick me up. The lady from the restaurant told us how to get to the hospital. I knew things were very bad because I couldn't close my jaw and my whole face hurt.

At 8:50 p.m., Bob took me to the Emergency Room at Shoreline Hospital. They got me into a room right away. Then my memory is a little sketchy on the round of events there. I remember getting a chest x-ray and a CT scan. When a doctor finally saw me, he put six stitches into a cut in my left eyebrow. They took another CT scan to go with me to Memorial Hospital, a trauma center.

Then they had an ambulance transport me to Memorial Hospital about 1:30 a.m. Photo of my face cleaned up with stitches over my left eye:

At Memorial Hospital they put me in a room in emergency. Bob had followed the ambulance over and was in the room with me. We waited and waited. Finally an intern came in to talk to us. They were going to admit me to Intensive Care Unit and a neurologist, trauma doctor and maxillofacial surgeon would all consult on what surgery and treatment needed to be done.

I was taken for another CT scan. They found a small fracture into my skull above my left eyebrow, and a small amount of air had gotten into my brain. They were very afraid of a meningitis infection, so started me on antibiotics immediately. I was also put on morphine for pain relief.

After that they seemed to forgot about me. Bob and I dozed in the emergency room. A trauma doctor came in to tell us that I would be going to the Intensive Care Unit and they would have a maxillofacial surgeon put plates and wires in my cheeks and wires to secure my teeth. I have what is called a Le Fort fracture.

About 6:00 a.m., Bob left me in the emergency room because we were told I was going to be moved to Intensive Care Unit. He had to go back to the 5er and feed the cats and get some sleep.

I waited in the emergency room until they finally moved me for another CT scan to Radiology, then on to a room in Intensive Care at 9:00 a.m. It had been a little over 12 hours since I fell. Bob came back around noon. He stayed until about 4:30 p.m. and went to feed the cats, said he'd be back around 6:00 p.m. to see me off to surgery.

They monitored me in Intensive Care throughout Saturday, giving me antibiotics and morphine. They wanted the swelling to subside before surgery. At about 6:00 p.m. they took me to surgery. I called Bob to let him know, but he was still about 20 minutes away. I told him I'd see him in the Recovery Room.

Surgery lasted about three hours. I had multiple facial fractures. The doctor decided not to put in any plates. He said the bones will heal better with blood flow from the skin and muscles. Instead he wired my teeth into place and put about ten bands to close my jaw. I can barely move my mouth and my tongue is trapped as my teeth are closed so tightly. I wll be on a total liquid diet for two to four weeks. I also have two broken teeth which will need caps, hopefully before we go to Australia. It hurts to talk and all I can do is mumble and maybe people can understand me.

Here is my photo after surgery:

Lots and lots of swelling. After surgery I was so out of it. I don't remember much at all until around 10:00 p.m. At around 11:30 p.m. I was moved from Intensive Care to a regular hospital room.

Today my face hurt so bad! I've been on pain meds and antibiotics. They finally started me on clear liquids this morning (Sunday). It's the first time I've eaten since 3:30 Friday afternoon.

Bob has been wonderful, taking care of calling our relatives to let them know what happened and taking good care of me too. Mom sent me some pretty flowers. Thank you, Mom.

They wanted to release me today, but I felt so out of it and my mouth hurt so bad, I told them I'd like to stay another day. So I will be checking out Monday morning I will post another blog with photos of our Corpus Christi volkswalk when I feel better. I will not forget Corpus Christi for the rest of my life.

Injured Travel Bug out.