Thursday, August 24, 2017

No one prepares you for the trauma of being in a car crash....

No one prepares you for the trauma of being in a car crash, so let me offer a few insights. 

It’s chaotic. It’s confusing. It’s debilitating.

All logical thinking leaves you once trauma hits and your body goes on auto-pilot or ‘survival mode’.

Tuesday July 25th, I was on my way home from work when I hit a patch of still water on the motorway and hydro-planed off the road and into an embankment into a low stream. I didn’t hit anyone else, or any land markers/signs, etc. I somehow managed to roll my car several times before landing on the driver side of my car.

Not that I remember ANY of it. I was told my car rolled. I was assured that no one else was involved and I didn’t hit anything besides forestry/brush on my way down. I was conscious the whole time, but I barely remember anything and it’s all in flashes. 
I remember hitting the water and losing control of the car.
I remember trying to correct it several times before going towards the side of the road.
I remember landing, everything going still.
I remember looking up and seeing my blood on the roof of the car.
I remember thinking “I need to get out of here”.
I remember my shoes and the bottom of the car being wet.
I remember grabbing things I thought were important and packing them in my bag next to me.
I remember handing my bag of stuff to someone.
I remember someone jumping into the car next to me.
I remember seeing someone on the far bank—a pedestrian, in hindsight I think it was the guy who stopped and called for help.
I remember standing up and trying to hoist myself out of the car.
I remember my arm hurting like hell.
I remember hands coming towards me, trying to help me out.
I remember crawling on the ‘top’ of the vehicle.
I remember a ladder going from the back of my car to the embankment.
I remember standing and walking across the ladder rungs.

I don’t recall going from the car to the ambulance but I know I got there. I know that I was well taken care of and that everyone on scene was nice. I was treated in the ambulance. They thought my shoulder was dislocated, hence the screaming pain in my arm, so they gave me some gas and air. They took me to Hereford Hospital and I called hubby, who met me there and stayed with me when I was seen in the ER.

6pm until 10:30pm I was in the ER waiting to be seen
10:30pm until 3am Hubby stayed with me while I was treated in the ER

After a bit of a clean-up of my wounds, being in and out for several X-rays, having 7 stitches and a diagnosis of a fractured Scapula (broken shoulder blade) they admitted me to a Ward where I was to stay overnight. I told hubby to go home and get rest and I’d contact him in the morning.

I was given lots of medication for pain, but I figured out very quickly that a broken shoulder blade made it VERY difficult to do even the most basic of tasks. I couldn’t do anything with my right arm, which is my dominate arm. Brushing teeth, going to the loo, getting dressed, sitting up, laying down, turning my torso….everything made my shoulder hurt.

I ended up spending the day in Teme Ward, which meant I got to experience IV drips, hospital food, hospital gowns, and ‘visiting hours’.  It was an experience to say the least and one that I wish I never have to experience again with a broken limb.

For a few days I felt hopeless. I felt weak and pathetic. I was unable to do a lot of things by myself and had to ask for a lot of help for a while which for someone who is as independent and self-sufficient as I am is VERY hard to come to terms with.

WEEK ONE: For the first week of my recovery I was in a sling. Couldn’t move anything past my wrist on my right arm and had to adapt to using my left arm for everything—brushing my teeth, getting dressed, picking up things, eating. Hubby had to get me in and out of my sling, bathe me, help me get dressed, administer some of my medicine (that required drawing liquid into a syringe), and cook/clean everything.

I took comparison photos at about the 2 week mark. The
pictures on the left were from after the accident, then the ones
on the right are 2 weeks after. I had a slash across my chest
from the seatbelt, and a gash on my head from where a piece
of glass lodged itself in my head. 
WEEK TWO: I started seeing some improvements. Through my exercises that I was given by the hospital physio I could see my range of motion increasing, but only when I did my exercises. I would lean on a desk or something and let my arm dangle down, then swing it like a pendulum in circles, side to side and up and down. My range of motion increased there, but when I straightened back up I still couldn’t move my arm without assistance. Towards the end of the 2nd week, I could manage moving my arm all the way up to my elbow. 

WEEK THREE: I was managing most things by myself. I was out of the sling and even though I still couldn’t lift my right arm without assistance (my left arm picking it up), it didn’t hurt to have it moved/placed anywhere other than straight down at my side--as long as i had it resting against something. I was also able to carry things as long as they weren’t too heavy. I saw a Physio and she gave me some new exercises to help increase my muscle strength.

A nice little bruise on my right thigh I probably acquired when
the car landed on that side. Taken during the 1st week. 

She explained to me that the bone probably had healed up nicely and the pain I was feeling was more to do with all the muscles in my shoulder that attach to one another. So, now it was my job to build back up the muscle strength so I could go back to normal. She also mentioned that normally when there is a broken bone, doctors/physios recommend avoiding high-impact activities (contact sports or any hobbies that risk falling on the area) for 3 months after the break occurs….so no Aerial arts—Pole, Hoop, etc—for me until about November time. L

It’s been 4 weeks now and I’m more or less able to do everything I was able to before but with a few aches and pains. One of the last things the physio said would come back to me is the ability to put my hand behind my back (because it creates the most movement in my shoulder). I am now able to do that among other things, including raising my arm straight up, with minimal pain (pain, none the less, but I can do it).

Most of my superficial cuts were on my left arm. Left is in the ER, top right is after 1 week, cause I still had my a bandage on my stitches, and the bottom right is from the other day (the 4 week mark). 

The wound from my seatbelt. Top left is from the ER (still with glitter glass on me), bottom left is from about 2 week mark, and the right is at 4 weeks. 

It seems minuscule but over the past month I had these little accomplishments I could celebrate:
  • Able to eat with my left hand without spilling. 
  • Able to move my forearm
  • Able to take my medicine by myself 
  • Able to get dressed by myself including putting on a bra 
  • Able to brush my hair, with help
  • Able to bathe by myself
  • Able to put my sling on by myself
  • Able to hold things in my right hand
  • Able to go without pain meds for a day when it doesn’t hurt as much
  • Able to hold my hand/forearm up, keeping my elbow into my side as an anchor
  • Able to lift small things, using elbow as an anchor
  • Able to style my hair in a side braid
  • Able to go out without the sling
  • Able to tip over and use my dangling arm to put my hair up.
  • Able to push/pull a door open with my right arm
  • Able to assist my right arm over my head without it hurting. 
  • Able to move my right arm along a surface
  • Able to lift my arm partially away from my side (minimal pain)
  • Able to lift my arm straight out in front of me (minimal pain)
  • Able to raise my hand (minimal pain)

When I was in the hospital, and while I was struggling to do these things over my recovery it seemed like I wouldn't ever be able to do the things I used to, but looking back on it a month later I’ve done extremely well in my recovery. 

Next week I start driving again and I’m back to work as well so there's that to look forward to....

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