August, 2012

Here's the story: We had just gotten home from dinner, and I saw that the neighbor dog was out. I knew that Zach (our 95lb Pit Bull) liked to play with her. However, by the time I took Zach out, she was back inside, and the other dog that Zach doesn't get along with was out. I decided to take Zach to "do his business", so I took him behind our garage. When Zach finished, he was still very excited to go see the neighbor dog, so he was running at a pretty good pace. He looked like he was going to go to my right, so I turned to the right. Suddenly, he went to my left. All of my weight was on my right leg, and it was at an awkward twist. When I saw he was running the other direction, I hit the button on the retractable leash, which was in my left hand. Usually when Zach hears the button being pressed, he stops. This time, he didn't. When the leash engaged, I heard a pop in my right leg. I thought I had broken my leg. I remember thinking, "What am I going to do? My leg is broken, I can't walk." I was so focused on my leg, I don't know what happened next. The next thing I know, I hear a crunch. It sounded like the crunch you hear when you hit your head. I knew I had fallen, and I thought my leg was broken, I knew I needed help. I reached for my phone, which was in my left pocket, and felt pain in my arm. I quickly realized I had broken my left arm. It was broken so badly, I was bleeding. I had an open fracture of my forearm. I managed to get my phone out of my pocket, and called Georgia. I told her that I'd fallen, and was hurt bad, and needed help (I was a bit frantic). Before I even hung up, Josh was out the door to help me. I told him that I thought I had broken my leg, and I knew my arm was broken. He asked, "How do you know your arm is broken?" I held up my arm, blood dripping from it, and said, "My arm is broken!" I believe his words were "Oh ****, you're arm is broken!" By this time, Georgia had joined us. She went back in the house to get a towel to wrap around my arm. Josh helped me up, and told me my leg wasn't broken because I was standing on it. I managed to walk about halfway along the garage, with his help. I soon realized that even though my leg wasn't broken, there was a problem. He helped me the rest of the way into Georgia's truck, and we were on our way to Iowa Methodist Hospital.

Even though I had been to that hospital before, I wasn't feeling very confident in my ability to give her directions. So I told her to call OnStar to ask for directions. They misunderstood us, thinking there was an emergency and we needed help. By the time they got us the directions, we were about to turn into the hospital.

The doctors took X-Rays of my arm and leg, and told me I had ruptured the quadricep tendon in my right leg (you can see a bulge in the X-Ray), and broke the radius bone in my left arm, and that I required surgery on both. I had surgery about 2 AM Saturday morning. When they opened my leg to reattach the tendon, they discovered that my quadriceps muscle was also torn, so they repaired it too. They repaired the tendon by drilling a hole, threading the tendon through the hole, and tying a knot in it. My arm was so badly broken, it required a plate on my radius, and a pin just behind my wrist. The pin came out about 6 weeks later, but the plate in my arm is permanent.

I was out of work for 2 months while I recuperated. After that, I continued physical therapy for 3 more months, and occupational therapy for 4 months. By the time I was done with OT, I was able to bend my elbow so my arm was straight, and I could almost make a fist. I still can't bend my wrist as far as I should be able to bend it, and I still have tingling in my thumb and index finger. It feels like they are permanently asleep. I had two EMG tests to see if the tingling was a carpal tunnel issue, or something else. The first test indicated a carpal tunnel issue, but the second test was inconclusive. Personally, I think there is scar tissue pressing against the nerve causing the tingling. If I have surgery, there's no guarantee the tingling would go away. The other concerning issue with my hand is there is separation between the radius and ulna bones at my wrist. This could also impede my mobility now and in the future. My leg is doing better, but I still have difficulty getting up out of a chair, going down stairs, and running. I'm confident my leg will be close to 100% eventually, but I don't think my arm will ever by 100%. Oh, did I mention, I'm left handed?