What Not to Do When You Fall and Break Your Hip
by Arlene Weiss
I have relived that one moment a thousand times. It was the end of winter. So of course it was impossible to take out my bicycle and go for a spin, But when the temperature crawled up to about 65 degrees, I filled the tires in my trusty one-speed Schwinn, and away I went.
…. That is, folks, away I went – into two lovely ladies! I just did not realize how fast I was going. I desperately twisted the bicycle to avoid hitting the two ladies, That was the moment – if I could only do over that moment --- how my life would have changed. It was a day in infamy. That day was a Wednesday and I thought no more about it. . Then came Thursday. Okay. Friday still “okay”…. but by Saturday I knew that there was NO WAY that I could avoid the Evanston Hospital’s Emergency Room. I was in serious pain. My regular physician, looked me square in the eye and said, “It looks to me that you may have broken a bone in your hip.”
So there I was -- in the ER room at Evanston Hospital. Those kind, hard-working doctors and nurses took me in and immediately sent me upstairs. A little too quickly, I thought. I was informed that surgery would be performed “in a day or two.”
What bothered me most was that I was notified that I would not be given any food on the day of my surgery, and the doctors were not sure when that would be. Even with a serious operation looming up, I knew I would still get hungry!
As it happens, I did have the operation the next day. Now came the worst part: the surgery was completely successful but the nurses were all notified, “Do not let this woman bear any weight on her right leg. Make sure she HOPS with her walker on ONE foot only !
Well, I am no athlete but I just couldn’t lay there for two or three weeks… so I confess that I did hop around but sometimes – sometimes - I did walk on my ”bad” foot. The nurses kept peeking (or should I say “spying”) into my room, “Get off that foot. Get off that foot!” Another thing that was far from helping me to relax me or give me any rest at all, the curious nurses continually kept coming into my room, usually when I was sleeping … so who could relax ?
Well, let s skip to the next scene. The doctors figured they did enough for me and I should go into a nursing home for a week or so. I was anxious to get home ,. So without checking with my primary care doctor, I told the manager of the rehab center that I would just be staying a few days. BIG mistake. My primary care doctor came to check on me at home. He was angry with me: I was doing everything wrong. And, as he left, telling my son that not only did I NOT obey his instructions, but it seemed very clear to him that I was also “losing my marbles”!
A few days later, after I returned home, the wheel of my walker slipped and I was down flat on the floor. This was not funny. They sure were ready for me when I got back to the orthopedics ward. “We told you….we told you!” Yes, another operation. And more misery for me. My son rented a lap top and we watched movies. Whatever you do, please avoid Jacques Bell living in Paris.. Please
So, eventually there I was – laying in a bed at a rehabilitation hospital.. All the nurses and the nursing assistants were kind and considerate (oh, you’re the lady who fractured her hip a SECOND time!”. But, indeed, everyone expressed amazement on how quickly I did recover.. But please should you ever fracture you hip, please, do what your doctor orders.
AND DON’T HOP.