Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Waiting for Parts

It has been freezing, snowy and generally too wintery for this time of year in this part of Virginia... nevertheless, 2010 has brought many such "too's" and so we have simply responded to winter's early arrival.  Grumbling and groaning about not having sufficient time to gather the firewood, or properly protect the various out-structures around the old farm, wishing the pond house would sell so we could focus our attention on the farm house... etc. etc.  Forget it, it's winter... find some projects inside to occupy ourselves.

So, when I arrived at choir rehearsal Saturday, having braved the too cold, too windy outdoors to make my way to the church, I was ready to commiserate with others.  It is, after all, a fashionable thing to do, bemoan those things completely outside of our control. As it turns out, however, I had no opportunity to whine about the weather, since my attention was quickly diverted to my friend's announcement to the choir.

It seems that on Friday, after the snow had fallen Thursday and turned to hard packed ice during the night, our friend and choir director, Kitty, had fallen.  As I understand it, she went out on her front porch to do some mundane chore, slipped on the ice and went down for the count.  She could not get up.  She could only call to her husband, who was inside the house, and who, eventually heard her and came to her aid.  As she waited for help, the eave's dripping icicles kept her alert, and, moderately ticked.... she could not move to get out of the icy dripping.

At the emergency room she was treated to what I could best characterize as incompetence.  She has a history of diabetes and lupus, and took a wicked spill three years ago, crushing several bones in her arm and shoulder.  A year later, she'd turned, while filling the dishwasher, and fallen to the floor, unable to move, lying this way for an hour and half until her husband arrived home from work.  She'd broken her femur -- a break her doctor speculated actually stemmed back to the wicked fall a year prior.  The femur break required surgery, with plates and screws and pins and more than three months incapacitated....

Kitty KNEW when she went down, this time on the ice, that the news was not good.  She KNEW her poor, plated, bolted leg was in trouble again.  However, at the hospital, the young doctor read the X-rays, came in to examine the leg, argued with Kitty when Kitty told her it was the left leg NOT the right leg that was the issue....  It turns out the X-ray had been incorrectly labeled as RIGHT leg...............................

Still, once the LEFT leg was examined, the young doctor informed my friend that there was no break and that she should get dressed and go home..... Kitty, her husband, her friend, all were dismayed.  This could not be.  Kitty was in REAL pain.  The doctor suggested she could see her regular doctor on Monday if she was still in pain. Kitty explained her history to the young doctor, and explained her level of pain, to which this, obviously self-impressed doctor responded, well, "you're just going to have to suck it up for the weekend."  Clearly, this doctor does NOT know Kitty, who complains almost not at all, and "sucks it up" where most of us would be whining like babies.  As they were trying to get her dressed, there was a little commotion in the ER, where, as luck would have it, the surgeon who'd performed the bolt and plate fix not yet two years ago, happened to see the X-ray hanging.  He recognized his work and inquired what patient was in the room....

As it turned out, the more competent surgeon saw the break, not only to the femur -- same location as the last break, but to one of the screws that had fixed the broken femur.  Kitty wasn't going home.  She was to be put into traction while they awaited the "parts" required to operate on her leg again, giving her another chance to be able to one day walk on that leg.  The surgery was scheduled for Sunday at 8 AM.

Sunday, at church, I inquired about her surgery and my friend told that the parts were not in for the surgery, so it had to be put off until Monday.  It had been a rough night for Kitty and her family was growing increasingly ticked at the "night shift" at the hospital.  She kept complaining of the pain and they were not helping alleviate it. 

Today I had to go to have some printing done at the local office supply store.  My friend works there and as she was doing my printing, we chatted.  I asked if Kitty's surgery had been successful.... it turns out, they are still waiting for the parts.  However, my friend told me that another of our choir members, a retired nurse, had gone to visit Kitty Sunday afternoon.  She recognized that, while they had Kitty in traction, the set-up wasn't right, resulting in unnecessary pain for Kitty and ineffective stabilization for the leg, as they awaited surgery.  I'm not clear on HOW they were able to get a doctor in to verify Sally's contention, but it turns out she was correct.  As a result of getting her PROPERLY in traction, Kitty was able to enjoy a much less painful night last night.

Her doctor had originally promised Kitty he'd have her out of the hospital, in a wheel chair, in time for her to attend the Christmas Eve service at church.... that is not looking so promising now, as they await the arrival of "parts."

Tonight, as we watched the Winter Solstice, Lunar Eclipse, I from the warmth inside, Joe from the freezing, but much better vantage point of outside, I wanted to bemoan this ridiculously cold weather. I wanted to complain just a little more about winter getting here before her time, etc.  But I didn't really have the heart to do so.  All I have to complain about is a little discomfort when I ELECT to walk outside.  My friend is in the hospital, awaiting parts so she can, hopefully, elect to walk outside again, one day.

Still, despite the pain and incompetence, despite the inconvenience of missing the Christmas festivities, despite the fact that this is just ANOTHER in a long line of "life never promised she'd be fair" for my friend, I can be pretty certain that when she is back, directing the choir, she will have some pretty funny stories to tell of the experience.  For she has always been able to find the humor in her own challenges.  I look forward to her speedy recovery -- I just know she'll have a doozy of a story for this one.


Sharon said...

My most heartfelt sympathy for Kitty! Doctor incompetence and blowing things off can really screw up one's body and recovery. I hope the parts come in soon and her surgery will be successful!

Tracy said...

Poor Kitty!
I actually came for a visit and was entrenched in the story about Kitty. I have her healing in my prayers and look forward to stopping back again!
Have a blessed day!

Judy's Corner said...

Thank you Sharon. I hope they came in today and that she is out of surgery and on the mend. I'll find out tomorrow.

Judy's Corner said...

Nice to see you, Tracy. Stop by any time. Thank you for your prayers for Kitty!