July 10th, 2011:

MY HOSPITAL SAGA – COMPLICATIONS & A NEW ARM AND LEG CAST

When I returned to Harbor Hospital a couple of weeks later, they took off the two casts to make X-rays of both areas. By leaving about 6:30 a.m., Heidi and I had showed up at 8, but it was still an all-day process going from one department to another. At X-ray, they forgot about me until Heidi went to check and discovered the order hadn’t even been received.

One of the perks was meeting a French clerk in X-ray registration. She came looking for Victoria Giraud and asked how I had a French name—was I French Canadian or what? I told her my ex husband had been adopted by his stepfather whose family originated in Alsace-Lorraine. She showed me her name was similar—Gerault. I spoke a bit of French to her and we enjoyed our brief chat. With her flaming red hair and small, pointed chin, she looked very French. I told her I loved the French even if I wasn’t technically one (at least in this lifetime!).

Making friends with the X-ray machine!

When they looked at my X-rays, the wrist hadn’t healed properly and there was a bit of a problem with my kneecap. They had me demonstrate my leg strength and were impressed that I could raise my leg so high. The doctor who saw me wanted me to come back Monday to see the hand specialist to determine the next step. Then I had to get new casts. The leg cast was lighter and shorter and didn’t come down to bite my heel. The arm cast was larger, which was very irritating since I felt claustrophobic in it. At least it would be removed again in a few days.

Over the weekend my friend Sally took me to a summer concert featuring a tribute band for Fleetwood Mac and a fireworks show.  It was marvelous sitting outside in the early evening sunshine, eating pizza and enjoying chocolate/strawberry crepes for dessert. I was getting quite adept at eating with my left hand, and I was able to negotiate the bumpy grass area with my crutch and cast. Sally brought regular size chairs and an ice chest, which doubled as my footrest.

On Monday Heidi and I spent over 5 hours at Harbor Hospital—home away from home! The hand specialist was apparently swamped with hand consultations, and it was 4 p.m. before he saw me.

No, this isn't my right hand, but it adds interest!

In the end it was a fairly simple case of another operation to remove the metal plate from my wrist area. Because the metal  had apparently moved and was too close to the tendon, if they didn’t take it out, wrist movement would’ve been inhibited. I needed a great deal of humor and patience for that operation. I waited over 6 hours to be admitted to a room the night before, (time enough to read an entire book) and a “newbie” assistant gave me a big bruise in her attempt to find a good vein for a blood withdrawal. On the positive side, the next morning my anesthesiologist from the first operation recognized me on the gurney waiting for the OR and came over to chat. What a way to get popular!

I could probably call this adventure: My Summer at Harbor Hospital! Or: How Many Casts Does One Need for a Summer Wardrobe?

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