Posted by: shelleyjo's life beat | December 9, 2008

Whew! What a Long Haul!

Hi, everyone!

It has been a while since I have been online, especially taking the time to write a blog!

My brother has been in pretty good health after the kidney dialysis treatment, and didn’t need any more. He has been to prompt care a time or two since then, but is better overall than I have seen in a long time.

My sister, Diana and her husband Fred came to visit. They are here to help through Gene’s surgery time.

My husband, Gene had a hip replacement surgery on December 2 at a hospital in a neighboring town. He did very well, the best I have ever seen through his surgeries, and an even better recovery. It was amazing! When he came home in the evening of the 5th, he was able to walk up the full flight of steps to our apartment without stopping, and using both legs one after the other as normal. He just used a cane for assistance. He moved about the house a lot, with no difficulty. Then, that night as he would get up to use the bathroom, he had a bit of trouble due to darkness and medication. So, I would hear him, get the flashlight and make sure he found the way.

At about 6 in the morning on the 6th, I was finally into a good sleep and didn’t feel the bed move or hear a sound…until the thundering crash, that is. Sickening! I knew instantly what had happened as I was jolted out of a deep sleep. The adrenaline pumping through me made me so nauseous that I was fighting to not be ill as I leaped up and over the bed to my husband’s body lying in the floor.

All I could say was, “Oh, no! Oh, no!” Sure enough, our worst nightmare was happening. He had fallen, and straight on that hip and leg. He hit so hard that Fred ran from the next room once he realized what he had heard. It was so loud that he thought it was a vehicle accident outside!

His right leg was sideways and would not move, no matter what the poor man tried to do. We brought him pillows to prop him so he didn’t have to sit up or lay down. We called 911 and the firemen arrived first, then the EMT. They were good with him, respectful and not forcing anything on him.

I have to say, that when they were moving him to lift him and he was screaming I almost threw up! It was horrifying to see him go through this after such a successful surgery and recovery. I would have cried, but I honestly couldn’t!

At the local hospital, it was agonizingly slow in finding out the damages. I kept praying I was wrong about what I thought. They gave him enough morphine to take the edge off, but it only lasted 10 to 20 minutes. My honey was so sweet and polite to everyone, trying so hard to not moan or cry, cooperating with everything they were asking of him.

Unfortunately, we were way too close to the desk and we were hearing too much of the conversation about his condition. I was handling it pretty well, but it was starting to wear on me. Not only all this trauma, but he is a diabetic, and so am I. Neither of us had food since the night before and the day was wearing long. We hadn’t showered, shampooed, washed faces, brushed teeth, or even put on deoderant and I was feeling it. They wouldn’t let him have water in case a surgery was pending and he was dehydrating badly. I felt so powerless!

After hours had passed, they took him for x-rays and brought him back. Then, we heard the words fracture, and a special orthopedist was called. She took a couple of hours to get there. Fair enough. It was her Saturday off.  I could hear as they were all talking, calling the hospital he had been operated in, arguing, yelling, getting angry, all the pleasant stuff of life in a crisis.

Eventually, a nurse came in. He asked me to come and see the x-rays. I saw all the views and almost vomited, then nearly fainted. I can never faint, no matter what. It looked more impossible than they were saying it was. Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. They say he had every kind of fracture possible and right around that new prosthesis. I believed it with what I was seeing. In addition to this, they were refusing to admit him or operate. Partly because another surgeon had done the hip replacement, but also they had been saying they just couldn’t do this one.

My Gene was hearing enough of this to ask me if they were going to take his leg and hip off! I said, no. We are going to Feather River Hospital where they give such good care and can handle this. In fairness, the staff were sweet with him, and respectful, but they just didn’t seem to realize what not to say within our hearing or to our faces. They were saying it was hopeless.

I suddenly started crashing like I needed food now. Linda called and I asked her to get me some boiled eggs. LOL! I left and went to get Diana and have Fred sit with Gene while we went to the cafeteria. We walked to the chapel where my brother, Myke and Fred were praying, and I suddenly hit the wall…literally. I had a total meltdown and leaned face first into the wall sobbing, crying so deeply I couldn’t breathe. Not only were my family there to help me, but a young lady who worked where you check into the ER followed us, watching over me. She touched my back and stroked it soothingly and asked if I wanted someone from social services to help me. I must have been a total mess! She was precious and I will not forget her compassion and kindness.

I calmed enough to get to the cafeteria and get boiled eggs and toast. Linda came by and we stopped her from buying them. Bless her heart, she had brought me a diet coke on crushed ice. Thanks Linda!

The wonderful thing was the ones who were with the other patients in the ER. They were telling me how calm I sounded and how it was so obvious that my husband loved me and how sweet he was to me. They told us we changed the atmosphere in there. We heard this from each one of them, which made it more believable. An EMT in training stayed nearby, encouraging me to take care of myself, too and just being sweet and attentive.

We had him ambulanced to Feather River Hospital, where his surgeon’s on-call replacement agreed to see him. That evening, still with no fluid or food, still with his leg sideways, they saw him and the surgeon agreed to do surgery the next day. It was a very long night for us all, after a very long and traumatic day.

The next day, the local hospital sent up needed equipment, and in the evening on Sunday the 7th, he went in for his second surgery. It was only 2 hours long, and was completed with no need for further surgeries. The dynamic of his recovery has changed dramatically now, as a longer pin from the hip joint was put in so they had something to work with to stabilize his leg. The surgeon was brilliant and seemed so calm, like this was no problem at all and he just went in there and did it. All hope and positive, expecting success.

What a difference! So much more peace, no fear, and lots of hope and encouragement. In the one place there was an atmosphere of fear, anger, hopelessness and weariness. In the other, an atmosphere of confidence, peace, hope and strength. In both places we experienced good and caring staff, and I appreciate them all. But the overall atmosphere was completely opposite from one place to another.

So, now we are back in the mode of all day at the hospital, and late nights. This one is going to go long, much longer than we had originally thought. But, he is already having a good sense of humor. They did his blood infusions today and he may be able to sit on the side of the bed and even stand on one leg tomorrow. We will see.

It will be 6 weeks before he can bear weight on that leg now. Everything has changed, but it is not hopeless. Just different. It will be interesting to see how he handles coming upstairs this time. I thought he would be in rehab until after Christmas, but he should be able to come home in a week or so!  :O)

The night before he fell, I was with dear friends worshiping God and praying, having my “tank” filled. I was surrounded with love, gifts, good food and fun. It was so refreshing! God had seen what was coming and took care of me ahead of time, making sure I had what I needed to get through this time. He is so good and faithful! Because of this, I had enough faith, peace and strength to carry me through but also to make a difference for the other people going through their ordeals. I am so glad I know God and have His hope for our lives and future.

The only thing I wanted for Christmas this year was to have him home with me, and healthy. It looks like we have hope for that. What a gift it will be!


  1. I am praying for you. Thanks for checking in on us as well. Love you so much.

  2. Wow, sorry it took me so long to read this, I missed it somehow! How is Gene now? Do they still say he will be home by Christmas! That’s amazing that he won’t need rehab and what a difference between the two hospitals! I’m glad Linda was able to be there for you & that you had all that family around! God is good and I know he will take care of you & Gene through this time! I wish I could give you a hug! Hang in there, we’re praying! Love you!

  3. Hi, honey!
    No, Gene won’t be home by Christmas. At this time, they are saying 6 weeks. Long haul for sure.
    Poor guy. He finally got up with walker yesterday and hops on one leg. No weight bearing at all on the right one for 6 more weeks. We live upstairs, so this will get interesting.
    He is in Twin Oaks, a convalescent hospital for rehab. He has had a rough recovery, but has turned a corner now so it is more hopeful.
    He is a trooper, so I know he will pull up out of this.
    My brother just got put on dialysis 3 times a week and had to resign from his job yesterday. He is depressed, too. We will all get IHOP breakfast to go this Christmas morning and go to Gene’s room and share time together. Christmas is where you are and who you are there with, so we are fine.
    Love you, honey.

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