Thursday, January 15, 2015

Miracles of Modern Medicine

Happy New Year!*

I hope you all had a good holiday, however you celebrate. I got to have both Jewish Christmas Eve (Chinese food with a friend's family) and Christmas dinner with another friend. All lovely.

My mom also came to visit. That is where my holiday went off the rails and is the subject of my blog post. My 2014 ended scarily and 2015 started with me appreciating Duke University Hospitals.

My mother, as mothers are wont to do, offered to take on a cleaning project while she was visiting. In this case, my mom offered to clean my upper cabinets. Of course, I accepted this with alacrity and while I was at work on Tuesday, January 30th, she got started. I was only working a half day and I was going to stop at the gym before I went home.

I did stop at the gym and, luckily, before I got out of the car, I checked my phone. There was a voice mail from my mom and a text asking me to come home immediately. When I got home, my mom was lying on the guest bed. She'd been climbing onto my counter (!!!) to clean the top of the cabinets and fallen off. She'd landed on her butt first, then her head had slammed into the drawer pull on the other side of my narrow galley kitchen. She didn't pass out and had made it to the guest room and her phone to call me.

Needless to say, this was very scary.

She didn't have signs of concussion, but when people say head wounds bleed a lot, they aren't kidding. Off to urgent care we went. They bandaged her head, but we learned anyone over 65 with a head wound has to get a CT scan, signs of a concussion or no (and, they said, her head wound was bad enough they would have sent her for a CT scan anyway).

Off to the ER, where we spent 5 hours getting CT scans, x-rays, and stitches. The ER was packed. It's prime flu season in North Carolina and there were lots of people there. They were handing out masks at the door.

The ER only did x-rays because my mom kept complaining about pain in her hips, but we're so glad they did. While she didn't have anything other than a gash on her head, she suffered a compression fracture when she fell and we were told to schedule surgery for the next day. Compression fractures will heal without surgery, but the pain would be too great for my mom to fly home.

Surgery it was. And on December 31st, my mom had back surgery. Not many people get outpatient surgery on New Year's Eve, so amazingly, there were only three other people in the outpatient surgery area.

All of this has a happy ending. The surgery (a kyphoplasty) was amazing. The surgeon said it would provide instant pain relief and it did. My mom was able to walk around the block on New Year's Day and we went to an art exhibit on the Saturday. She flew home on the Sunday, having been scheduled to fly home on the 31st.

She still has to do physical therapy and wear a back brace, but really, this was a miracle of modern medicine and about as happy an ending as I could hope for.

Got your own stories of happy endings, medical or otherwise? Share them in the comments. I'll give away a paper copy of A Promise for the Baby (which relates to the above story) to one random commenter. I'll post the winner on January 24th.

*My library's deputy director said in a meeting yesterday that he learned you have until January 15th to wish people a "Happy New Year." I just made it!


Mary Preston said...

That all sounds quite scary.

I can recall my son complaining that his arm hurt after school one day. The teacher had said that he had a fall during the day. His elbow looked swollen to me, so up to the children's hospital we went. The xrays showed nothing. The next day he couldn't move his arm without crying, so back up to the hospital we went . More xrays. This time they found a very, very fine fracture. It did not warrant any treatment, but time & TLC. At least then we knew.

Unknown said...

Knowing is important. Even if my mom hadn't had surgery, it was nice to know what was wrong.

bn100 said...

can't think of any

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, Ss glad your story had a happy ending. Mine did too.

The most harrowing event was when my daughter was 7 months old. She was born with craniosynostsis which means one of the joints in her head closed prematurely so her brain would not grow normally. They had to cut her head from ear to ear to put in disolvable plates and moved bone from the back of her head to build up her forehead. She needed two blood transfusions and week long stay in the hospital. When she was 7 years old , she had to have the same surgery again to fine tune things. Her eyes swelled up so badly she could not see for 5 days. Another week long hospital stay. My daughter was so brave and strong that week - she truly amazed me. We went back to the Plastic Surgeon when she was 14 and got the news I was praying for every day. She did not need another surgery and her head is completely normal now.

Laney4 said...

My most recent story is about myself (easier to remember that way, LOL). I have had plantar fasciitis in my feet since 2001 and have worn orthotics since then. Had a flare-up two years ago that ended after five long months of not being able to play sports "properly" (if at all), eliminating my walks, keeping my feet elevated, etc. Not fun.
Fast forward to between Christmas and New Year's recently. My heel hurt like crazy. Went to the doctor for anti-inflammatories, only to be told that with p.f. you don't get anti-inflammatories (so much for my memory!) but will need orthotics. Said I already wear them. Nurse shrugged; nothing else they can do; I know the drill. Came home and got the mirror out. Twisted and turned as much as possible to see outer heel. Looked like a sliver! Got my daughter to check it out soon afterward. Nope. "Mom, you have really really dry feet! They have both cracked - one big gouge on that foot and three smaller ones on the other heel!"
I tell you, I am thrilled beyond belief. Cracked heels are so much easier and faster to heal than p.f. I have been applying lotion several times daily and have seen a marked improvement. I am SO THANKFUL that that is "all it was". Yes, they still hurt, but now I can wear socks again (important in the middle of winter), plus I can wear my orthotics again (as they dug into the gouges and made things worse).
It's not a "miracle of modern medicine" but it's a miracle in MY life!

Kaelee said...

My great nephew had viral meningitis and spent a lot of time in the hospital. He then developed a further complications and was in a coma for quite a while. All his extended family is so happy that modern medicine worked a miracle for him.

Unknown said...

Thank you, everyone for your comments! I posted a comment before, but it didn't seem to have posted, but I appreciate you all reading and participating in the Superauthors blog.

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