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Thread: So I broke a big bone
02-20-2011, 02:10 AM #1
So I broke a big bone
Been a lurker for a while, but I've been reading some threads here and decided to come to you guys for some help.
Last Tuesday I was riding at Ski Bowl, landed switch in pow, flipped and nailed the only damn rock in a beautiful untracked pow field. I'd never broken a bone before, never had any serious sprain or injury, but I finally discovered what that feels like. I flipped a few more times and finally slid to a stop, and my leg ended up just way too close to my head - I broke my femur.
I'll spare the unpleasing affairs of having the splint the ski patrol put on pop off during my move to the sled, almost choking from the snow being kicked up by the sled on last stretch to the aid station... not fun. I got my leg set in traction once I got to the hospital, and then had surgery Wednesday - pin through my entire femur, screws holding it at the knee and top of the bone. The break was about 2/3 of the way up the main shaft, so pretty close to my hip, and luckily I only have a few fragments that are still free and floating.
I got home yesterday, and today was my first full day on my own in my apartment. I'm really lucky to have great roommates who have been going out of their way to help me however they can - they cleaned our apartment last night, place looks sparkling. What I'm lacking though knowing how to deal with the small things.
Crutches are a huge obstacle. I set up a couch today with a pillow to elevate my leg, but getting food over there is like impossible. Carrying a full glass of water anywhere, nope. I finally bagged a few pieces of microwaved pizza in a ziploc and hobbled over to eat them with the ziplock between my teeth. I need your tips, I need your advice - how do you live on your own when you're absolutely crutch bound?
I also got some drug questions - Oxy makes me really disoriented, like I see double WAY bad, and getting anywhere on crutches when I'm on two or more pills is sorta scary. One doesnt do crap to kill the pain though, so I'm wondering if I might want to ask my doc for something else... suggestions? I have valium because my quad occasionally freaks the shit out and goes into muscle spasms, but I only have 8 of those compared to 100 oxy.
Sleep - been waking up every three hours like it or not cause of pain or needing to pee (drinking a ton of fluids to help drain my hematoma). Ideas to help me find better rest?
In return for help, I'll post some glorious images of what that friendly little rock managed to do to my leg. Thanks in advance, and any advice would be welcome over here!
02-20-2011, 04:25 AM #2
use a shopping bag to move everything. the canvas bags are better. Load the bag and then carry it in one hand on the crutch.
If the handles are long enough, you can loop it around your neck like a feedbag (it swings less that way).
trying to move a plate of food from microwave to couch is impossible - move the microwave closer to the couch or use covered containers.
Use or have friends buy nalgene or tupperware with screw tops for moving liquids, or any other food that wont work in a ziploc bag.
Also, get a pee jar. Getting up to pee all the time sucks - esp when overmedicated or undermedicated. I kept the urinal from the hospital and found it hooked over the crutch bottom nicely. i also had a coffee travel mug that had an open handle that I hooked over the bottom of the crutch as well - used it for all kinds of drinking.
As for pain, keep the oxy, but ask from some percocets. Its the same drug, but oxy is time released.
I found 1 oxy as a base dose to be good, but 1 or 2 percosets as needed every 4 hours on top of the oxy allowed me to balance pain control with coherence and avoiding overmedication.
I think 1 oxy = 3 percs
Good luck - hang in there. It does get better eventually."Fakers are Maggots" - T. Hall, 2011
only a fake Rasta could make a claim like that
02-20-2011, 11:44 PM #3
Bummed to hear about this (via Japan of all things...). Hope you heal up fast.
I think things like food, etc just need to be turned into a regular problem solving drill. There is probably no one easy answer.
Better rest also may not be in the cards for a little while. Just go with it as best you can 7x24 for a while. Along the lines of the comments below, lots of the sleep inducing drugs can be addictive after a few days too. So careful if the docs want you to go that way.
One thing that might help is getting off the drugs ASAP. They cloud up all kinds of things. And really drained me of will power with respect to my physical therapy (actually not due to bone break - but massive wounds/grafts). Dropping the drugs can be easier said than done when dealing with pain - but getting off them has two big benefits: 1) your head will clear wrt the previously mentioned problem solving, and 2) you'll reduce the odds of addiction. As much as the pain may suck, being curled in a ball in total disgusting misery for a couple weeks of withdrawals is no fun either. The docs tend to way underestimate the addiction issue - so beware of this.
Good luck & feel better ASAP.
02-21-2011, 08:46 AM #4
Pee jar for the win. As big as you can find. After I broke my femur I found I was filling 4 litre milk bottles every few hours. I was like a leaking tap! You get better at moving things around when using crutches. I even managed to put socks on my feet using the crutches, when I couldn't raise my leg high enough to do it by hand! Having a bag to carry things in is great idea, maybe even a little backpack. Plus maybe some screw top bottles instead of glasses as they won't spill.
It's 10 months since I broke mine and I'm just back riding downhill and skiing. It's a very slow healing injury and full of ups and downs.
The internet can be a very bad thing - if you google femur fracture you're only going to get a bunch of horror stories that don't do your mind any good! Everyone has a different recovery, some are easier and faster than others.
The best advice I could give is to keep working the leg but not so much that you get too frustrated. Because it is frustrating. There's only so much you can do at first to aid recovery but the body has to heal itself. And it's not a linear process - over the first few weeks you notice improvements regularly but later it can be a long time before you feel a significant change. At times it felt like I was getting nowhere but you must remember the body is always busy repairing itself even if it doesn't feel like it.
An injury like this definitely puts things in perspective. In my case I was very lucky to not be dead in the accident, so I always try to remember that when I felt fed up with the leg.
One thing is for sure - the next time you ski pow will probably be the best ever. I havn't managed it yet but getting back on the bike has been great for the psyche.
02-21-2011, 09:55 AM #5
+1 on getting off the meds if you can
lidded containers FTW...just label them so that a drugged up moron can determine at a glance which is which!
one of the good things about getting pins is that you will have a nice solid leg quicker than if they just tried to splint it in place (IF they could even get it straight)...get better soon!
02-21-2011, 02:51 PM #6
One thing I did when Kinosoo broke his femur was get a couple of thermos and fill with tea and coffee, placed them on the table next to the couch with a cup. He didn't have to try and carry a hot drink if thats what he wanted. water bottles place in bedroom and living room as well. lunch boxes with food, food thermos for hot food placed. added 30 minutes onto my morning heating food up and making hot drinks. I then when skiing."So what's a homeless instructor do? Teach people how to build houses outta cardboard boxes and build good trash fires?" - Phuckhuck
02-21-2011, 04:08 PM #7
make a Beer holder and grow a sweet 'stache
-big gatorade jugs make for nice piss jars
Get better and feel better, you'll be back at it soon
02-21-2011, 10:36 PM #8
Get a few one gallon bottles of water that have screw-on tops for piss jugs.
Get some vicodins for a kicker on the oxy. Eat a vic two hours after the oxy. Awesome combo.
Get Colace if you discover yourself constipated.
Get Netflix and watch every movie you can.
Learn to chill totally.
02-22-2011, 12:26 AM #9
Sorry to hear about your leg Rowen. I was at skibowl last Tuesday night As well. I also hit a hidden rock While skiing accelerator and was sent into a massive tomahawk sequence. Happened around 8pm. Wonder how close location and time wise I was to your incident. Your story gives me the creeps about what could have happened to me.
During my time on crutches I became very good friends with my backpack to help carry things around. Probably more of a factor for you as you become more mobile..... and you will! All the best for a speedy recovery!
02-22-2011, 12:42 AM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
Damn, my long reply was deleted when I accidentally hit backspace while not clicked in the window. Extremely brief synopsis:
1. Get off the drugs ASAP. Everything is better after you stop seeing stars.
2. If it seems like you're getting constipated on the drugs, start taking laxatives early and often. I know that I get constipated so I always take the max dose as soon as I start taking the drugs. Nothing worse than trying to push hard when you're in pain.
Good luck man.
02-22-2011, 09:08 AM #11Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
Man that sucks... but look at it this way
6 months= August
8 months= October
10 months= December
1 year= February
I'm not sure on the rehab and recovery time but the up side is you should be able to enjoy Fall biking and hiking and be ready to ski next season! A few mid summer float/fishing trips should also help pass those long hot days. The wife and I traveled to a good number of small outdoor multi-day concerts, for example... http://sawtoothmusicfestival.com/music/
As for sleeping i ended up going off the oxy and went with vallium and tylenol pm to aid in my duration of sleepy time, it was great to be able to rest!
02-22-2011, 02:35 PM #12Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
Heal up quickly, Rowen.
Agreed with weaning yourself off the oxycodone as soon as you can, but can be hard only a week out...start alternating one and two pills, two every six hours instead of four, etc - save some for sleep and times when you are especially active (ie, PT). If it really makes you lightheaded, consider changing to Vicodin which would be a little easier on the system. As for the Valium, no magic bullet for spasms and lasts in your system a while, so wouldn't necessarily keep taking them past what you have remaining.
The good news is that you generally start getting exponentially better after the first couple weeks...Originally Posted by jm2e:
To be a JONG is no curse in these unfortunate times. 'Tis better that than to be alone.
02-22-2011, 06:43 PM #13
Piss jug x10 (the ones from the hospital are great - surprised the OT didn't give you one)
<a href=http://www.medicalsupplygroup.com/AIDS_TO_DAILY_LIVING/ACTIVITY_HELPERS/ISG11720000/product.aspx>Grabber</a> thingey. (Very useful. You get really good with it after a while)
I used to hop around the house on one leg to get everything. When on crutches it was all nalgene bottles or 3/4 full plastic cups held in my teeth.
You're not supposed to smoke, but I just sat around getting stoned all day & played a ton of video games & watched every movie ever made.
You'll adapt & overcome. Hope you heal up quickly.Going where the wind don't blow so strange
Maybe on some high cold mountain range
02-25-2011, 01:21 AM #14
You guys freaking rock. Definitely going to pimp out my crutches a little more, already looking around for a carabiner for the new stainless steel water bottles I bought at costco - ones for water, ones for juice, ones for latte's and coffee.
I hear you on the painkillers. Painkillers luckily dont seem to agree with my body too much, I cant say I find much joy in them, I go cross eyed and disoriented.
Went to the docs yesterday and got checked for clots via ultrasound. I have one heck of a hematoma that I can now feel now that a lot of the swelling is gone. Its about the size of a dinner plate, I'm constantly sitting or resting on it unless my leg is elevated just right, but thats for sure the source of any pain I'm having. Strangely, no other pain elsewhere, just some soreness, and tomorrow I'm going to try ditching the oxy and newly prescribed hydrocodone and go with a muscle relaxer thats replacing my Valium. Stuffs called Flexeril (aka Cyclobenzaprine), and I suspect that the hematoma is causing muscle pain just because everything down there is so tight... if it works and I can ditch the oxy and norco, I certainly will... getting addicted doesnt sound fun.
In the meantime, keeping busy with stuff I can do for work from my computer, cutting stickers and managed to help out and detune and mount some prototypes going out to Jackson next week for Powder week. Its strange, but it was kind of comforting being back at work for the last few days.
Discovered today that I can actually put quite a bit of weight on my leg if its in the right position... like my entire weight, but I'm not walking around yet. Setting up PT tomorrow now that I have a pass from the doc, but in the meantime I've been trying to just articulate the leg and get some of these muscles moving again - muscle relaxer drugs assisting - which is definitely taking down the swelling in my leg. I'm almost tempted to pop some of the staples on the little incisions that have already healed, but I think I'll just have to wait till my appointment next week, dont really want to piss of my nice doc by doing home surgery.
Oh, and first proper 8 hour block of sleep last night! Other good news continues... I'm going to trust what my PT says over my doc, but the doc said I should be running and skiing again by summer. I almost done believe it, but I couldnt believe that I'd cutting stickers in the office, helping box skis, and hobbling around the block to the supermarket and coffee less than a week after my surgery, week after my actual injury... I'm very thankful to the docs and nurses and medical technology I had access to.
Spindrift, thanks for the advice, hope we might be able to meet up once I'm healed and everyone's back from abroad. Thanks to everyone for the advice here, now I just gotta go find some good sidedishes to match up with the steaks I've got from Costco! Two weeks of steak dinners justified by a super-high protein, calcium, Vitamin C diet. Any meal suggestions guys?
Oh, and picture I promised of the leg post op, or ya'll good?
03-02-2011, 01:34 AM #15
I'm+5 years out from my femur. A few things that haven't been mentioned would be:
1. After the first week, I was able to lay on my side with a pillow between my legs (broken one on top). This as a Godsend and much more comfortable to sleep.
2. Start walking with a cane as soon as the doc will let you.
3. Get the rod taken out. You'll start noticing it around a year from now. Once it's out, you'll never know you broke it.
Heal up soon!
03-03-2011, 11:17 PM #16
Get well soon Rowen.. I was on vicondin for a month and that stuff really helped / until I had to stop and then it really sucked.. Try to go drug free asap..
The one thing that I haven't read mentioned is a backpack.. I use a backpack everyday for stuff and I now use one crutch which really makes things easier.. Some have mentioned a bone growth stimulator, google this... I also have been taking vitamin D and calcium which apparently help a lot..
Get well dude!
03-07-2011, 10:44 PM #17
I've heard some people with similar injury say that I should get the screws removed after its all healed, but nobody mentioned the rod... can they actually remove that once its healed? I was told my leg will be stronger with it inside, I wont feel it, etc...
And its going good, can bend my leg a fair amount and am working slowly to regain range of motion. Much more mobile, rely on crutches much less, and have been off pain meds save for today (today really sucked for some reason, just debilitating aching deep in my quad when I woke up). Starting tomorrow, will be off all drugs, hopefully for good. You guys have helped a lot with the little things, thanks. You filled in where the docs couldn't, I really appreciate it.
03-30-2011, 09:10 AM #18Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
I broke mine back in dec 2010 and now in march, i'm walking pretty good. I have been occasionally working 6 hours on my feet, but have to take a break in the middle.
My doc basically released me 2 weeks ago. Told me to come back a year from the accident. He briefly asked me if i wanted the rod out or not so i could think about it over the next 8-9 months while the bone completely heals.
I can bike enough to relax, but nothing serious. Running is out of the picture too, but then again, i did zero PT. I went back to college 3 weeks after breaking it, so i got plenty of exercise with it.
04-19-2011, 09:06 AM #19
I also could really feel the rod any time i went above 11,000 feet (air pressure change). Also, if you ever re-break your femur with the rod in there, that is a messy and complicated surgery. When you are completely healed your bone will have a large callus at the old fracture site that will inherently be stronger than before. I would put money on your femur never breaking at that same spot again.
But if the rod doesn't bother you leave it in. I'm guessing your screws will be your biggest complaint.
04-26-2011, 11:41 AM #20
Any updates Rowen? One vote to post the nasty pics.
08-09-2011, 06:21 AM #21Minion
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
Oh gosh, thats awfull whats happened to you i am sorry. it is sceary as hell tho isnt it! im still recovering from a quad bike accident. I have had 2 pins in my ankle bone but i have another brake wich they cant fix wich they say is the worst 1. its been 6 weeks since my opp. i am freaking out now really sceard whats going to happen when the cast comes off. keep thinking when i get down thank god i am still alive!.. it is hard to think positive but its so importent to try and not stay negative all the time. i have days were i am in a ok mood n then others when i just wanna cry and worry whats coming round the corner. it is extramly hard to do things on ur own... i know it is so fustrating, i am sick of loosing balance all the time and nearly falling over even if am using my crutches i dont feel safe on them. Try and excersie the rest of your body if you can? its importent to keep yourself fit, try use sum weights keep ur arms strong. i have only just been using weight for my good leg and gosh wot a killer, i dint realise i wud be so unfit within nearly 2 month. sit ups are good keep both legs in the air.
Yeh u need to carry stuff in a carrier bag, i found it alot easier after carrying my dinner on a plate and trying to shuffle in the living room on my bum then go back for my drink then again for the crutches haha wot a nightmare by the time u have sorted urself out its time for bed! i usualy make a sarni and wrap it up in tin foil then put wotever els i want add to a bag and hook it on 1 of ur handles on ur crutches. Ive gone from that to just not eating alot now loosing all energy for this now haha.
as for ur sleeping, thats just the way it is really, try and go to bed the same time every night as if you would normaly... stay in a routine and try get up same time in the morning. i started off with going to bed wen my pearents did. sumtimes i wud doze straight away but i was very tired ad been in egypt for 2 weeks and not slept at all really then had the opp straight after so i had alot of catching up to do. was gettin about 4/5 houres a night wich did me, i found myself dozing for a hour or so in the day. but found it harder to sleep at night then. some night i dont sleep at all feels like the cast is digging into my heel? kills like mad.After the opp i didnt really sleep was in too much pain. i was on god knows wot at the hospital but the meds they were giving me made me have double vison and i felt really sick and really bad headaches but i cudnt sleep on them, eventualy wen i got home i got changed to codine wich is alright they taste horrible but seem to do the job. i got told to carry on with the meds even if u dont have pain because if u come off them and get pain it can hit u alor harder and take longer to get rid of it.... so just try and ease off the tablets slowley then maybe just take em at night or wen neccasery......
Good luck with everything, and just try and chill, i no u cant enjoy it, myabe take up reading... i never ready, n av ready about 4 books now, u just seem to gaze into the story and u do forget , might help anyways. take cear x
09-15-2011, 01:00 AM #22
Injury pics from the hospital.
You can see the spot where I made contact. Almost severed my IT band, came close to my sciatic nerve, broken bone was awfully close to the femoral artery as well. I've had a PT tell me that all things considered, I came out pretty lucky.
Creepy. One entire quad swollen and twice the circumference of the other.
This is a hematoma.
I did get a sweet cane and became House for a month or two. After feeling pretty good and walking alright without one, I decided to give skiing a try. April 25th I headed up to Timberline to get a few runs during West Coast Sessions. Sounds crazy if you figure I broke it Feb 15th. Been skiing at least a day a month since, grand total of 10 days I think since. Last few times a few jumps and bumps didnt feel unsteady or hurt anywhere. Went cliff jumping at Moulton Falls last weekend, doing inverts for the first time again felt very very good. Just walking on a hike and things feeling normal feels really really good.
Been up on an airplane a few times and havent set off airport scanners.... and I have a titanium rod filling the largest bone in my body. K.
So now that I guess I'm relatively back to normal (going to start running pretty soon I think if PT approves tomorrow), big question is, rod. Its weird to think thats a piece of me now. I notice the screws after exercising sometimes, especially the knee ones. Those take time and so on and whatever, but still hearing more than a few people say to remove the rod. Docs say its probably not worth it unless its acting up, wondering if people have maybe had experience with something other than the full two foot long solid rod I do.
Girlfriend thinks the scar is cool.
09-15-2011, 09:08 AM #23
i have no idea on the rod
thx for the update...glad to hear you're ready to get back to it!