Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How I Made it Home for Christmas-ish...(part 3)

Ok, so here's the final bit that will catch you up to where things are today!

We arrived in Miami a little late due to a late departure in Haiti(at least some things remain the same) and proceeded to try and find a hotel. The thing was it was the 27th and everything was booked or had smoking only, or they wanted some atrocious amount cuz we had no advanced booking. We finally found a spot at Days Inn(I think it was that one..) and were picked up surprisingly quickly by the shuttle. One of the fellow passengers kept changing accents and languages, so Kristy asked him where he was from. He was British, and when we asked him how many laguages he spoke, the answer was "oh, just four"! Anyway, we got to the hotel, which was a little seedy and our room was quite, well cozy. We got some supper and headed to bed as our flight out was at 6am. Poor Kristy had all these red splotches on her back that were in keen competition with my rash/ringworm, and had a horrible night...we got some great pics though which I might get in trouble for posting, so I won't..probably.
The`rest of the flight was fairly uneventful, and my thumb was not hurting at all which was a blessing. On the flight from Dallas to Calgary Kristy and I split up so we could get window seats and sleep. Which was great, except I had this interesting family in and around my row, who was from Florida heading to Banff for their vacation. And the kids had never experienced snow before. We had a great time chatting about Alberta and Haiti and HCH and healthcare systems and all sorts of things. Before I knew it we had arrived in Calgary. And I began to realize how cold I was going to be in my skirt and my flip-flops...that's all I had in Haiti to wear! But, Russ and Becky came through and surprised us at the airport, and I soon had on some sweats under my skirt and Russ' big warm coat, and socks in my flipflops...very stylish!!
We stopped in Airdrie to find some shoes and pants, and then headed to the UofA Hospital emergency to get things underway regarding my thumb.
We all arrived at about 7pm ( I think...that day is kinda blurry) and the admission nurse took off the small wrapping I'd had on my thumb, and it started bleding again. That was exciting. After she heard what had happened, she called an ortho nurse who took one look and confirmed my tendon suspicions. Then the first nurse wrapped my thumb back up so well another nurse teased her that she was helping me get was funny!
So there we sat, soon joined by my family and Ingie...we chatted and looked at pics...then Russ and Becky went and got Panago...we had our own little party right there amongst all the interesting(and did we see interesting) people.

The tendon called Flexor Pollicus Longus is the one this whole story is about.

Then my brother Caleb got mugged.
For real.
He went to the safeway on Whyte Ave to get some drinks fo us all, and as he was getting back in the car, two guys jumped him, made him give then his wallet, threatened to beat him if he did not give them his pin #, and after confirming it was the right pin#, they punched him in the face and took off.
Fun addition to the night. But Ingie got to give the cute cop her phone number.

Anyway, 7 hours later I got to see a nice doc who immediatly called up to the plastic surgeon and made an appointment for the next day. Then I got to teach the two nurses how to put a splint on my thumb...all that physio training really paid off with this injury!1

So, I went to stay the night at Ingies, and the next morning we headed back to see the surgeon. We waited for a long time, and then one nurse mentioned sending us to xray, and as she went to get a form I muttered something about wondering what the point of an xray was as it doesn't show tendons anyway, and then she stepped in the room and said something about knowing it didn't make much sense, but the doc wanted me to go. Heehee!
Eventually we saw the doc, in real technicolor, and he said he needed to explore my thumb. So that meant he had to frezze my thumb, which is by far the most painful part...Ingie talked the whole time to keep me(or maybe it was herself!)distracted. Now this may gross you out, but I got to watch him pull the cut all open and push and pull things around. It was like being in anatomy class, except it was my own hand!! He showed me the part of the tendon that was still attached to the end of my thumb, and explained how the muscles in my forearm attached to the tendon had pulled the other end down into my arm somewhere. So, yes they would have to do surgery, and they'd have to cut down to find the tendon, thread it back up and attach it to the other end.
He also informed me that there is an issue with infection in flexor tendon injury/repair, but there was NO sign at all of infection, which was amazing as it had been 4 days since the injury happened. This news made me happy I was home, as far as the infection issue went. They scheduled me for surgery at 7am on the 31st, and told me about 10 times no eating or drinking past midnight on the 30th.

Then I headed over to catch the end of my friends' wedding. It was great to be there to at least se them. You should have seen all the shocked faces...not everyone knew I was was quite humerous at times!

Then, Monday arrived and my family and I headed to surgery. We arrived at 7amand then waited, and waited...then channged into the freezing cold shapeless gown, waited, slept, waited...until about 2:30pm, when they told us things were running behind(really!?) and that as it was getting late they would have to admit me for the night. That was fine, but by this time it had been 19 hours since I'd had anything to drink or eat, and I was not feeling all that great. But, no food or drink for me.
Finally at 4:30pm, a nurse named Joanna got quite annoyed that it had been that long and no-one had even thought to hook up an she did. I liked Joanne. I felt better quite quickly.
I got settled into my room, with my very odd, oh so deeply in love, middle aged frumpy roomate and friend...boy were they interesting!
Finally about 6:30 this very humerous S. African surgical assistant cami in and got me all ready to go, and off we went toward surgery. At one point, right after the RN adjusted my IV, I started getting short of breath, which was a little odd as I was not too anxiuos at all about the surgery. But, shortly after that they wheeled me away (after Ingie asked if she could "scrub in"), and the last thing I remember is them asking which thumb it was, and the anesthtist showing up with a syringe, and then I woke up in front of a nursing desk, finding it hard to wake up!!
The night went fine...I had no nasty anasthesia side affects which was wonderful after the stories I'd heard...and soon they brought me some food.Apparently I called some people to let them know how things had gone...don't remember that!!
Headed home to Westlock the next morning, got some Tylenol 3's...those are quite the invention!!

And it's been 9 days with this half cast all wrapped up so none of my coats or sweaters fit over it.It's not painful now, just quite awkward, and thoough my fingers are free, my thumb is wrapped in such a way that makes the whole hand just kinda there...not really good for much at all. Tommorrow I see the surgeon, and hopefully then I will know a bit more of a timeline.

For now, I feel frusterated at the timing...I don't really get God at all sometimes. Yet, I still know that He has a plan in all of this. I'm missing my kids a lot, as well as Haiti itself. I'm sad I missed Christmas with the kids, and seeing 6 of them get to go home. I'm sad that one of them has been really sick and I can't cuddle him. I'm sad that more kids may leave before I get to go back, and the house will be so different.
Yet, it's nice to feel rested, and clean. And to drink real milk and not find worms in the cereal, or ants in my underwear.
Now I'll just wait...