Late September, 2015, changed my life forever.
I was standing at the door of my apartment, talking to my friend – and neighbor – Tanya. I can see the moment that altered the course of, well, EVERYTHING as clear as day. It was dusk and a beautiful, clear night. She was getting ready for a visit to Florida and we chatted about Disney World – which, for as much of a badass that I am, I fucking love. I was in the middle of defending why Epcot was full of the awesome when it happened.
It felt like a gunshot had gone off inside my leg.
I felt the bone crack. There are no words to describe how it feels when the biggest, strongest bone in your body breaks.
Grasping for something, anything to break my fall, I grabbed Tanya.
And I began screaming.
I didn’t stop until they gave me something in the Emergency Department.
Emergency surgery made my femur bionic. It also infected me with a group D streptococcus bacterium.
Rehab followed the surgery and, in looking back, did not help in the slightest. The rehabilitation center kept me for a week, not the month I should’ve had, but not knowing any better, I was just glad to come home. Until, of course I got home. I was in such agony that I could barely move, let alone DO anything for myself, which is especially hard when, y’know, you LIVE by yourself.
I went back to work a couple of days after I returned home. I was summarily fired on a technicality I knew nothing about. I’d been preparing for it – another one of the nurses had been fired for going on FMLA (not, of course for taking it – that would make it illegal! – but on a technicality. Same old song and dance.
There were bits and blurbs I can remember from October to December, but really, most of that time was erased from my memory banks. I was told that in cases of severe stress and pain, our brain (thankfully) “forgets” those times. Permanently. I do remember that every time I went to see the orthopedic doctor who’d performed my surgery, my leg made no progress toward healing. I do know, thanks to my Facebook feed, that I, much like Chicago’s voters, I fell early and I fell often.
At the beginning of December, I fell again. This time, there was no cute Facebook post whining about a fall. This time is completely black. I can remember waking my child with my screams. He called 911. I remember parts of the ambulance ride and what I described in the post below.
What I now know is that my orthopedic doctor called in a trauma surgeon to treat me. I’d managed snap the titanium rod into pieces. And, as a precaution, both my femur and the hardware were swabbed for bacteria.
My second femur break:
I didn’t wake up following the second surgery.
I didn’t wake up for weeks.
I ran extremely high fevers.
I was septic. No one knew why.
9 days after the surgery, the cultures taken by my infectious disease doctor grew a rare form of Strep D. They pumped me full of more antibiotics and prayed they weren’t too late.
ECT snapped me out of it, albeit slowly. When questioned as to why that happens, I was reminded that the brain is a mysterious organ and the exact reasons behind my awakening were unclear.
They used the term “miracle” a lot.
Once my fevers cleared, I was sent to a rehab facility located in a nursing home. I remained in and out of consciousness (in this world, at least). Finally, I became aware in the middle of January.
I came home in the middle of February, alone. While the rehab facility strongly suggested having someone else with me, no one really wanted THAT job. As frustrated as I was, it was – by far – the best thing I could’ve done. I’ve gone from being dependent upon my walker (who I named Mrs. Hernandez) to walking alone, even though I walk like I’m drunk 8373% of the time (which, of course, is NOTHING NEW TO ME).
At my most recent ortho appointment, he showed me the x-rays taken minutes before. See all that swirly stuff? That’s BONE, bitches! I done got me some motherfucking BONE GROWTH! (I’d use more exclamation points but I tend to multiple exclamation points only when being ironic and/or obnoxious)
Now? If you can read this, the bitch is, indeed, back.
And? It feels fucking divine.