Monday, December 04, 2006

Beware the Christmas Decorations

I had to run out and start the car a bit before we headed out this morning as I thought Mondays are icky enough without dealing with a cold car, too.

I have had the mother in law on my mind with her broken kneecap here at Christmas time. Her accident is further evidence to me that this is a perilous time of year.

Mother in law fractured the kneecap of her right leg. She was out in her garage gathering boxes of Christmas decorations. She was trying to get the seasonal decorating done with on her free day. A very common accident happened. Her heel of her shoe caught an upturned corner of a throw rug and she went down. She landed directly on both knees. Just visualizing this sends a jolt up my spine. She is lucky it was only one kneecap fractured. She is lucky it isn't an entire leg or hip, for that matter. She is in a brace, removable for showers and dressing, so she does have a bit of leeway there.

This brings me to my own Christmas decoration accident. In 1998, we moved to a suburb of Houston. We rented a house for a year so that we weren't rushed into buying a house right away, as we weren't familar enough with the city to know where we wanted to live. This rented house was carpeted throughout. The Christmas tree was displayed in the living room of this house in front of the big picture window. It was a real tree, brought home by husband and son and decorated by son and me on afternoon. Husband supervised after getting the thing into the stand.

A real tree, of course, must be watered. On Sunday evening, after dinner but before bedtime, I went into the living room to check to see if the tree needed water. I brought the watering can and placed in on the floor as I plopped down on the floor. I stretched out and checked. Upon rising, I somehow managed to get my feet tangled up and went down. My tibia was fractured rather badly, as it turned out.

I couldn't move. The pain was so intense I couldn't even yell loudly for the husband. He heard me and instructed son to dial 911 for help. The ambulance came and I went out on a stretcher into the cold night in my flannel nightgown and a blanket over me. The next door neighbors were kindly inquiring if son would like to pack a little bag and spend the night at their house but he stayed with his dad. They followed the ambulance to the hospital.

My ankle was swollen and x-rays were taken. They told me to take Advil, a remedy they say helps swelling better than regular aspirin. They gave me the business card of an Orthopedic surgeon after making an appointment with him for the next morning. Remember, this was Sunday night. I was sent home on crutches.

I am not the most coordinated humans on a good day, so the crutches were quite a challenge. Husband took son and me back to the house and went out to the drugstore for a jumbo bottle of Advil.

Next morning it was determined surgery was in order. That night I had surgery - a steel rod was placed into my leg with bolts. Lovely scar, too, from the ankle bone halfway up my calf (?). You know what I mean.

I was in a cast for 6 weeks, a walking cast 6 weeks, and then physical therapy. Yeah, good times.

I threw out that flannel nightgown. Bad karma. Three months later I had my gall bladder removed. I was relieved when the lease was up and we moved into the city into a new (to us) house of our own.

We now have artificial trees. The latest is a three foot tall tree, placed on the large, wide hearth in the great room and it is lit with fiber optics. Quite fun to watch.

And much safer for me, too!


Anonymous said...

What an painful story. It is late, but here is a bunch of balloons (please envision)

"Nobody can be uncheered by a balloon"

srp said...

I've never had luck with live trees. Cats drink the water, even if it is nasty. I had trouble getting one that was even, and if even at the tree farm, it wasn't in the stand. And the ornaments are usually too heavy.

I can see why you would get rid of that night gown. So glad this is now just a fading (hopefully) memory.

Jennifer said...

Knock on wood: I've never experienced a broken bone. Your own experience sounds EXCRUCIATING.

I'm glad your MIL can get around somewhat, at least. That must be a relief!

Beverly said...

Oh, ouch, Karen, that break sounds awful. I had a bad fall last year and I was so afraid that I had damaged my knees, but fortunately I was none the worse for the wear after a while.