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Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Full Story

Tuesday night Adam was at his hockey game and I went to bed around 11. At around 12:3o I was woken up my someone in my living room, yelling my name. I shot out of bed, groggy and disoriented, and ran into the living room to find our friend and Adam's teamate Victor in my living room with a girl I had never seen before. Victor said to me "I don't want you to panic, so let me tell you first that Adam is fine". Which of course made me immediately start freaking out. They told me that he had an accident and broken his leg. At this point the world started to spin so I sat down as they went into more detail: he was at hockey, he skated into the wall, they had called an ambulance, he was at Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

They had come to tell me because I wasn't answering my phone, and because Victor drove Adam's car back to our apartment while his friend (Tina I think her name is? I wish I remembered!) followed him in her car. I can't even express to you the awesomeness of these two people, I don't know what I would have done without them. I called Adam, who answered his cell sounding really out of it and asking me to come. His friend John, another awesome person, had gone with him to the emergency room and assured me he would not leave until i got there. Then Victodr ove me in my car to Lahey, because I was in no shape to drive, and Tina followed him so she could then drive him back to his car.

So we arrive at the emergency room around 1AM and I go in to see Adam. He is in rough, rough shape. They are splinting his ankle for the second time that night and he was in agony. His friend John got me up to speed on what had happened so far and a nurse then told us that since Adam was not doing so well it would be better if we waited outside, they would come get us in 10 minutes or so when they were done.

So we go and wait in the waiting room and John, who has worked in the medical field for longer than I have been alive, told me in detail what had happened, how it had happened, what the next steps would be. I am so grateful he was there to talk me through things since I had no idea what was going on and when I am in freak out mode, I respond well to facts.

So 10 minutes passed, then 20, then 30. Finally they came to get us and we found out the reason they had taken so long was because Adam had a problem with the pain med they had given him and stopped breathing. So they had to revive him and reassess his meds. When they said this, I couldn't be in that room anymore. I told them I needed a minute and ran out to the ambulance bay and sat on the sidewalk to regroup. I hate hospitals, I hate sickness, I hated everything about that night. John came out to talk to me and I told him I wasn't good at this, that I didnt want to go in there and freak out in front of Adam and upset him. John told me that what had happened was normal for people who have terrible bone breaks, because they are so tense that he pain meds dont hit them right away, and then once they untense a bit they are flooded with meds and lose conciousness. He told me he knew I would be fine, and to get back in there.

So I went into the bathroom, splashed water on my face, told myself "You HAVE to be good at this, you dont have a choice", took a deep breath and walked into Adam's room.

Although he was really happy to see me, he was so out of it. They had given him a really strong narcotic to manage the pain that made him really sleepy, but since everytime he started dozing off his breathing slowed down to an alarming rate, I was told to do whatever I could to keep him awake, keep talking to him, slap his hands, whatever. And so I did. And when he wasn't dozing off he was vomiting from the pain meds. And when he started dozing off I would yell in his face or slap his hands or arms to wake him up. And then he would vomit again. It was heartbreaking.

This went on for three hours.

Once he was more stable, his nurse took me to look at his x-rays which made me physically recoil. His ankle bone (the round one? I am not so technical) had basiclaly pulverized, destroyed the ligaments around it and one of the longer bones had snapped in half as well. The nurse, and orthopedic surgeon we later met with, both said it was among the worst internal breaks they had ever seen.

I told them Hey, when Adam does something, he does it all the way!

Around 5AM we finally got him into a private room and somewhat stabilized. He was still getting sick but he was much more coherent and happy to be able to rest in a non ER setting. I stayed with him for a while, made sure he was settled in, then I left around 6:30AM to get some sleep. I went back to the hospital around 1 to wait out Adam's surgery. Since his ankle was so swollen, they couldn't do the surgery and put all the screws and plates in neccesary to hold the ankle together. If you open an ankle when its that swollen, it is impossible to close. So instead he had a different surgery in which a metal contrapton called an external fixator was screwed into his heel, the top of his foot, and his shin to stabilize the ankle until they can really get in there and fix it (which is scheduled for next Thursday)

Anyway, at this point Adam's brother Dennis had arrived so we waited in his room for a while. Around 3 they let us go down to the PAC-U to see him. He looked great! I was expecting him to be all sick from the anesthesia but he looked good, was alert, and very happy to see us and we were to see him! I was so relieved. They told us he would be back in his room shortly so we shouuld go wait for them here.

This begins the only part of the saga so far that made me mad we were at Lahey. Dennis and i waited in the room until 4:30 and Adam had still not been brought up so we went to the nurses station and they said "any minute now!" and then the surgeon came in to tell us how awesome he did and how great he looks and how he should be up any moment. 6PM rolls around, and still he is not there so we go and ask again "Oh he should be up in any minute, don't worry". So 7PM rolls around, 7:30. Keep in mind we have been waiting 4 hours now, when they had said he would be up "right away". Neither of us minded the waiting though, we just wanted to know WTF was going on. I mean why cant they just say "We don't know when he is coming back up" instead of lying and saying "any minute now". And I say "lying" because finally Adam's mother called down to the PAC-U (from New Hampshire) and demanded to know what was going on (she is more forceful than us) and that is when we found out that Adam had stopped breathing a few times from the pain meds again and THAT is why they hadn't brought him up. Can you imagine? So instead of telling this to his brother and girlfriend who are worried out of their minds waiting in his room wondering what is taking so long, it takes a phonecall from his MOTHER who isn't even there. And Dennis is his next of kin on his forms so it's not like it's a privacy issue. I was livid. While we are upstairs complaining about waiting Adam is downstairs fighting to breathe and no one even told us.

I can't even tell you how mad I was, Dennis too.

And we are scary when we are mad. We had it out with one of the nursing managers in the PAC-U and she was really cool about it. She apologized profusely for the lack of communication and then all of a sudden I really didn't care. I just wanted to see him. So they let us go back down to the PAC-U and Adam looked fine, thank god. Dennis left soon after that to get home to NH, and to make up for the screwiness earlier, the nurse let me stay in the PAC-U with Adam until they brought him back to his room, finally at 9PM. They set him up in his room with an Apnea monitor, to make sure his breathing stayed regular, and a morphine button that he could drug himself as needed. Although he was still in a lot of pain (a 6, on a scale of 1 to 10 WITH the morphine), being back in his room helped a lot as did he Red Sox game he quickly settled down to watching. With the nurse's approval, I got him some gingerale and crackers and ended up leaving around 10:30 to come home and FINALLY get some sleep. (3 hours of sleep in 40 hours is no fun).

And so here I am at home, about to shower and get ready to go back to this hospital. I took the rest of the week off from work, and if all goes well he should be back home tomorrow!

I'll check in again later. But I want to say a HUGE thank you to Victor and his awesome friend, and John who really made a horrible situation so much more manageable. And to everyone who left comments, sent emails, texts and phone calls. We appreciate it so much, THANK YOU.

19 comments:

RED said...

I'll most certainly be thinking about Adam. Isn't it terrible that in order to get answers you have to be forceful? I think it's terrible that being friendly/understanding doesn't always get results, pretty F-ed up if you ask me.

Suz said...

how awful for you; way to pull it together though and get things done. You guys are still in my thoughts.

Question - aren't you on the 2nd floor? does your apartment have an elevator?

Nicky said...

Oh man. Leave it to Adam to not do anything half-assed. Including destroying his ankle. We're thinking about ya. I know PJ's already placed a couple calls to the hospital. If you need us to come down, do a couple errunds for you guys, or whatever - just let us know.

Peg said...

Wow, hope it they get those meds tweaked out soon. That's insane.

Hope it gets better for you both.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

Sarah I just want to let you know I'll be keeping Adam in my prayers - and I wil say a prayer for you to keep up the stregnth an limitless support you give so much of. I am sorry you were so frightened - I would be too - we're all with you

Jackie said...

Easter is coming - Adam just had the foresight to get into training to be the bunny - he'll be hopping around for weeks to come :)

Ok that was my half-assed attempt at humor :)

Best Wishes!!

Jenny said...

Wow, Lahey handled that badly. I'm thinking of you both and I hope he is able to come home tomorrow!

Amanda* said...

Bless your little heart! That is so hard. I hope that everything is better again soon. :-)

Meg said...

Whew. Hang in there. I'm thinking good thoughts for both of you.

AmyD said...

What a NIGHTMARE! Wow, I'm so sorry you had this much trouble, and such a bad scare. I hope Adam's pain is lower today. I do know that being there (and taking time off to be with him) makes all the difference. He is lucky to have you!

Try to take it easy, and have fun being his nurse! ;o)

Stacey said...

Hey Sarah,
Didn't read this until today. So sorry to hear! Glad, though, to hear that Adam is stable. You sound like you're handling this fantastically! I'm sure he appreciates it. Make sure to take care of yourself, ok?

E said...

Holy shit, what a story. You ARE being good at this and thank god Adam has you. Let us know if you need anything at all. I will have you in mind tomorrow as I pay up all my parking tickets, soul sister in parking ticket hell.

tulipmom said...

You guys sure have been through Hell this week. Adam is lucky to have you. I hope he makes it home tomorrow.

Rebecca said...

Ugh, that's awful!!!
I had a severely broken ankle years ago - fortunately not that severe! But they sent me home and wouldn't cast it because it was too swollen. It was hairs away from being a compound fracture - but it was a clean break. They had to wait until it stopped swelling before they could cast it.

I hope he's home resting comfortably soon.

Mandy said...

Sarah, that sucks. Good for you for being such a great girlfriend. I hope things are better from here on out!

Jenni said...

I'm so glad that Adam is doing better. Hang in there and know that we're all thinking of you two.

Libby said...

Oh, Sarah, how scary! I hope he is checked out and back home tomorrow.

kim said...

oh wow, that sounds like a hell of a scary couple of days/nights. i'm so sorry you guys have to go through this. i hope he will heal quick and feel better very soon! *hugs* to you both!

Perfectly Plump Preppy said...

I am so sorry you had such a nightmare experience at the hospital. How utterly awful the entire ordeal sounds. I'm glad Adam is doing better. Please keep us updated on his condition. You are both in my prayers.