Thursday, September 10, 2009

The most entertaining injury of the ER

Last night Bill came home from work and we started our early evening routines. He mowed the lawn, Logan picked at his dinner and I wrangled Carter. After Bill had finished the lawn, we hung out on the back deck for a little while and let the kids run around to burn off some energy.

We were talking about the sliding screen door and how it needed to be replaced. Buddha had scratched some holes in it earlier this year (last year?) and now that he wasn't there to scratch anymore, replacing the screen made sense. Bill remembered that we had an extra screen in the garage and he went to grab it while I stayed in the back yard with the boys.

The kids were laughing and playing and all of a sudden, my ears perked up a bit. I heard a faint yell. It was Bill yelling my name. I just figured he needed my help with something, so I left the kids in the back yard and went into the garage.

Clearly distressed, Bill told me that he was stuck. It didn't quite click with me until he reiterated but with more detail that he was stuck, foot impaled on the corner of the dog kennel. He had used a two-step stool to grab the screen from the top shelf, lost his balance and stepped back with all of his weight on his right foot. He stepped right on top of a blunt hook on the kennel and it went all the way into his foot. He was stuck.

Taking a deep breath, I ran back inside to grab the kids and put them in the living room where they would be safe. I came back out into the garage and dialed 9-1-1 knowing somebody would have to come and cut him out of the wire. The whole time I tried to stay calm while I heard the kids crying in the house and Bill writhing in pain. He tried to first pull the hook out while I urged him not to. He then tried to take apart the side walls of the kennel to reduce the pressure on his foot, but it was caught on a corner. He breathed heavily in a cold sweat and was turning pale while a pool of blood collected underneath his foot.

After the call for an ambulance, I ran next door to one of our neighbors houses and asked if they could watch the boys while I went to the ER with Bill. They were really nice about it and were super helpful. Soon the fire department arrived in a big fire truck and three EMT's came to Bill's rescue. While they were cutting him out, a few more EMT's arrived with the ambulance. They were cutting Bill out, putting him on oxygen and giving him heavy doses of pain medication (where he almost passed out) and I got Carter to bed and coordinated with our neighbor about taking care of Logan. Neighbors I have never met offered to help, which was really nice. All of the neighbors in our cul-du-sac were in their front yards watching as Bill was wheeled on the gurney and loaded up in the ambulance with his foot wrapped up to support the TV antenna-like rods that were protruding from his bandage. I drove the car and followed close behind on our way to the ER.

We arrived in the ER on a very busy night. We were one of the lucky few to get a bed at the time we came in. With Bill's foot wrapped up securely, he was hooked up to an IV and was given doses of fentanyl. The drugs worked for a short time and wore off quickly, resulting in a roller coaster of pain for him. He was constantly asking for more medication between joking around with the nurses. He was the model patient with a rusty metal hook lodged up in his foot and we thought his smart ass demeanor probably made the staff think he wasn't in that much pain.

After being there for hours (three or four), getting x-rays and taking pictures of his injury, a Doctor finally came in to take a look at it. He wiggled the metal pieces around and Bill begged for more medication. He actually had asked for it before the Doctor took off the bandage but was ignored (and that really made him mad, understandably). He was given morphine and his foot was shot up with lidocaine. The Doctor came back and messed around with it some more to see if he could pull it out. Unfortunately, he thought it was stuck on tendons or ligaments and it needed to be surgically removed.

The first Doctor sent in another Doctor, the OR Doctor, who was a bit more aggressive and pretty much twisted and ripped the hook out of Bill's foot. On on hand, saving us hours and massive amounts of hospital Bills and on the other hand, risking more internal damage. I asked about about possible damage and the Doctor just kind of shrugged and asked Bill if he could move his toes. He could and we were told that because of the lidocaine, it was difficult to tell what kind of damage was done. Either way, Bill was relieved to finally have it out of his foot and on the road to getting out.

The next step was a tentaus shot, getting pumped full of antibiotics and a detailed irrigation of the puncture wound. The staff helping Bill out were really friendly and chatting us up. In some ways, it was kind of awkward that we were so jovial when there were people next to us in the same ER room waiting for results of their child's CAT scan, possibly getting the news that he had cancer. On the other side there was a student who had mono and down the hall, a crazy person who was off their meds and needed to be sedated before going to the psych ward.

Bill's injury was the highlight of the night in the ER mostly because it was an amazing story with a happy ending. Nurses and staff from all around came in to take a look at his foot before the hook was removed and after. Everyone was passing the x-rays around in amazement. It was a shocking injury because the hook was so blunt and rounded. A spoon was sharper than this! The first Doctor was equally entertained and told us stories of other random foreign objects he's had to remove (you don't want to know...)

They left the puncture wound open and wrapped his foot up in bandages, giving us discharge instructions to watch for infection and to follow up in about 10 days. We are SO LUCKY that it was just Bill's foot and not a different body part, like his leg, torso or head. Those could have been deadly. For now, Bill is loaded up on vicodin and hobbling around the house on crutches. Miserable, but alive and healing.


angie said...

I absolutely cringe when reading this and looking at the pics.

Joanna said...

I can just say OUCH! I can't even imagine going through something like that on your or his part. Praying for a speedy recovery!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. Wow. So glad he is okay.

"Doctor just kind of shrugged and asked Bill if he could move his toes." <--- this could have been my father, I swear. Any time we got hurt it was, 'can you move/wiggle it? good. it isn't broken, you are okay.'


Casey, Tracey, and Kids said...

Holy crap! I can't believe those pictures! What good neighbors you have and way to go on being such a cool and collected person during it all! I don't know what else to say! I am glad it wasn't "more serious?" Wow!

Ashley said...

I'm going to go puke now.