That one time I took a fall at work
A post from 2015 I never finished writing. It was from when I broke my hip.
Original date: 2015-11-30. Apologies in advance for the wall of text writing style I have before I edit a blog post down..
I’ve been meaning to write on this for a while. In-fact one of the first thoughts I had when the pain was under control was “I should write about my experience!” - Honestly I’ve been too down in the dumps until very recently to bother with it. Anyway, things are looking good and I figure late’s better than never!
Let’s go back to fill in any gaps ahead of time. At the time of my hip break I had been suffering an unknown ailment that was causing me to limp pretty heavily for around 8 months or so. I was in the process of getting it looked into but with being busy on both my part and the part of the NHS it was a slow process. I was also mis-diagnosed for a long time too, which I do not blame the GP for in the slightest. It was the most obvious diagnosis - When you hear hooves you don’t think Zebra, you think Horse.
So yeah for the long run of the problem I was diagnosed with Trochanteric bursitis - a condition where the trochanteric bursa (a small fluid-filled sac), between the hip and the muscles/tendons in the thigh, becomes inflamed. This sort of thing should sort itself out with time and ibuprofen.
At a point after this I was in Birmingham with Beth (the [Edit note: ex-] fiancée), we were there to interview a couple of bands for Midlands Metalheads - well, she was. I was just the tech crew there to set up the mic, camera, etc! Unfortunately I tripped on a bit of loose paving and instead of falling over I instead sent my entire body weight plus momentum through my left leg - the injured leg - causing it to absolutely explode with pain. At the time that had been the worst pain I have ever been in. I was absolutely locked in place for a good 10 minutes, only then able to hobble over to a fence to lean on and stick there for another 20 or so. I feel at this point I should really apologise to Midlands Metalheads, I’m really sorry we didn’t get that interview for you guys. My biggest leg-pain regret was forcing Beth to cancel on those interviews. With Beth’s help I managed to hobble all the way back to the station and when back in Stafford got a lift up to the A&E (Thanks David [Edit note: Now deceased. Rest in peace], you’ve done so damn much through this leg wobblyness!)
The A&E did another x-ray and decided I could manage on painkillers, they did give me some crutches though. In hindsight I should have kicked up more of a fuss or at least not got the crutches, the crutches were oddly enough my crutch. I didn’t speed up the process of getting things looked into as the crutches helped too well if anything. I started relying on them for a while and later managed on only the one crutch for the most part. Don’t get me wrong I was still visiting the GP and trying to get things sorted, I would have probably moved things along faster had I not been able to mitigate the limp with crutches. I later had an x-ray scheduled in after one visit from the GP and it came back with something that caused him to book in an MRI scan. At the time I never saw the x-ray or heard the reasoning behind the MRI - just got the message through a secretary phonecall - I just figured he wanted to be super sure on his diagnosis rather than anything looking out of place.
Due to a series of unfortunate events I was unable to get to this MRI - for some reason I’d been referred to Cannock hospital rather than Stafford, being without a car this meant the bus.. The bus I managed to miss each and every time I attempted to catch it. In hindsight I should have just grabbed the bus an hour early and hung around in Cannock until my appointment time. As I say I figured the GP just wanted to double check it so I decided to go back to him and get referred to Stafford, not thinking it was a big deal. I didn’t see the same GP but I did get my referral to Stafford’s MRI. While waiting for them to get back to me with an appointment time all the fun happened.
On a particularly stressful day at work I decided to get away from it all for a moment and cool off with a cigarette break. When walking through the designated smoking area my crutch hit a patch of grime and went completely out from under me. In the half second or so that felt forever after that I managed to get to a wall that lines the smoking area and sat on it. I was then stuck there. This pain now pushed the bar of my pain scale up so far you could now probably cut one of my fingers off and it’d only be a 7. Please don’t though.
I gave it 15 minutes (pretty much the longest I’ve ever been out for a smoke) to see if it’d calm down enough to get back into the office - I still had my crutch after-all, I could manage getting back in with that! I’ll just have to talk to the GP about more pain meds while I’m waiting for the MRI. I am a stubborn person, I know.
When I was still unable to move, never mind attempt to go back in I called the office and got my manager to come out to discuss options (such the diplomat, I know) - we sat there for another 10 minutes or so to see if it would ease up but it didn’t. I made the call to call an ambulance. I like to think I know my limits and at that time I was so far beyond my limits I couldn’t see them any more. I needed to call in the pros.
When the ambulance arrived the paramedics assessed my situation and went back to the ambulance for hushed words, they came back with a stretcher and a canister of gas and air. Just to note one of the paramedics had a little slip on the same stuff I did. Not a complete fall but the sort of one where you slide forward on ice and feel like a tit if anyone saw it.
“This is going to hurt, but this gas will stop you from noticing it. Just breathe normally through this valve”, one of them said in paraphrase.
My brain almost immediately started going loopy. Everything seemed to slow down and the pain dissolved into nothingness. Gas and air is strong stuff, but it doesn’t last long. On it I was able to stand up calmly and sit on the stretcher with assistance. Almost immediately as I laid down on the stretcher it wore off and that 10-level pain came back. At least I was mobile now! They wheeled me into the back of the ambulance to give me something a bit longer lasting than the gas. Glorious morphine, what pain can’t you relieve?
Being a bit queezy at the sign of blood (the drip needle leaked a little) my manager handed off the babysitting responsibility to a co-worker who volunteered to go with me to the hospital (Thank you for that April! Being able to proxy messages to and from Beth and having someone non-medical to talk to was probably the only thing keeping me from panicking!). While my belongings were gathered the paramedics confided in me that they’d have to take me to Stoke, as Stafford isn’t really set up to deal with hip breaks. Yup, I’m the oldest 27 year old there is. I’ve gone and broke my hip. To clarify they didn’t break the news to me like that, that’s just how I remember it. Gas and air is some serious stuff.
Falling back on the only thing I know to handle problems I started joking around with the paramedics, they were good guys and had a decent sense of humour about them. Things like if they could take me to Stafford hospital I could get a lift back with Beth who works up there. Unfortunately that wasn’t on the cards. They were also jealous of my boots, as they were the kind paramedics used to have before budget cuts. I’m pretty sure I offered to buy them a pair each if they could get rid of the pain of a hip break. They couldn’t, though not through a lack of trying! If I recall correctly I went through almost their ambulance’s entire supply of morphine before we had even started moving. Finished off the first canister of gas and air, too. (To note, they did say they weren’t allowed to take gifts from patients, they were just doing their job with the pain thing)
I noticed the sales guys from the company above us at the office kept wandering past getting a cheeky look in. Should have just asked boys, I was in a chatty mood!
We at some point set off to Stoke hospital. If the ambulance had gone over a penny I’m reasonably sure I’d have felt it. Don’t get me wrong morphine, and when that ran out gas and air, helps. But not fully when you’re being moved. We ended up stopping off on one of the roads between Stafford and Stoke for another ambulance to deliver a fresh stock of morphine to top me up for the rest of the trip. Another couple of paramedics with a good sense of humour on them. Maybe it’s a job requirement?
When we arrived in Stoke my first port of call was check-in. This was the first of many shuffles from one bed to another. Let me just point out that meant a handful of people had to scoot my fat ass from one bed to another. Said fat ass was containing the broken hip. I don’t think there was a single bed shuffle that didn’t spike me to that 10-level pain. I’m pretty sure I yelled, but I can neither confirm or deny. Sorry to anyone else there that got their eardrums blasted out that day.
I had to chill in a corridor for a bit while waiting to be triaged, bit weird being used to Stafford’s curtained-off rooms. Probably just really busy though. Going off the paramedic’s report I was whisked off to get an x-ray, which confirmed a hip break. I was stuck here in Stoke for the long run.
I was kept in a holding pen for a while, at this point family and friends started arriving. We nattered for a bit - well, they nattered for a bit. I was lying there complaining a lot and occasionally sleeping. Sometimes trying to convince them to not worry about me and go do something more interesting. In hindsight thanks for coming guys, it was a huge thwarter of panic! - Eventually I was given a room that was going to be mine for a while.
I’ll be honest the rest of my hospital stay may not be completely accurate in the sense of timeline. It all blurred into one long day really. I mean if I really tried to figure out the timeline I’d probably be able to work it all out, but then I’d get distracted by a shiny pen or something and stop writing this post. [Edit note: Aye]
The oddest thing to me was that the first painkiller I got in hospital after the ambulance morphine ran out was paracetamol. Plain old nice and simple 500mg paracetamol! I guess they have to start somewhere and ramp it up as needed. They gave me some codeine to go with it and later started giving me doses of Oramorph (Morphine given orally) that was a regular player in my time at the hospital.
Hey just an interlude here. If you don’t like full uncensored details you shouldn’t read on. Anyone who’s ever listened to Chattin' Bull knows I don’t really hold back, especially when it comes to honesty. I wouldn’t say it’s quite on par with “Radical Honesty” - but it’s not far off. For example I make mention of the time I had a catheter put in while awake. Yeah, that much honesty. It makes for a better story!
Now that I am looking back on it, in all honesty? The hospital stay wasn’t too bad. At the time though was a bit of a different story. Also at the time I didn’t even know a day had passed in the middle of these messages with Fox!
So yeah, the catheter thing. Basically I had trouble using those weird container things. I don’t know what it is, I just can’t pee while lying down and I was in no state to get to the loo. Eventually it got to the point where my bladder was so full the pain from that was almost more noticeable than the pain in my hip! One of the nurses gave me an ultrasound - Yeah that thing they use to look at babies before they are born. Apparently I had over a litre of fluid in my bladder. To put that in perspective that’s half a bottle of Strongbow and counting.
They gave me a bit more time to see if the pressure would just sort itself out when it came to being pee shy with the bottle things. It didn’t, so they arranged for a catheter to be put in. Unfortunately I had an MRI to go to. Let me just say that having an MRI is not too big of a deal. It’s a bit claustrophobia inducing at first but it’s not too bad and you do get a buzzer that allows you to stop the process if needed (be warned though using it means they have to start over in some cases, but don’t be afraid to use it)
Out of everything, the catheter was the weirdest part of my entire hospital stay. I wouldn’t wish one on anyone but to anyone that’s here because they’re having a catheter put in - it’s really not that bad even if you’re awake. It’s just a really, really weird feeling. They use a lubricated anaesthetic so you don’t feel the brunt of it anyway.
I gotta say the worst part of the catheter was after it was in. To sum up the procedure they insert the tube into your bladder and inflate a balloon at the top, no big deal in all honesty. Of course being pressure already in the bladder it means the contents will immediately begin to flow out when it’s in. The doc had a kidney dish to contain this as you’d expect, but when he had inflated the balloon he knocked said dish over me. Yeah. I was swimming in it.
One of my only few complaints of the treatment in hospital was this moment. Don’t get me wrong an accident is an accident and I am understanding, I try to judge people on their intentions rather than their results but I’m not certain he got anyone to help me tidy up. I was sitting like that for a good amount of time and the next person to arrive was a porter wanting to take me for a CT scan probably 20 minutes or so later. I put my foot down so to speak and refused to let the porter move me (not like I had a choice if he’d tried of course, nice of him to accommodate me really).
It got to a point where I’m pretty sure I grumbled loudly “Can I not be swimming in piss before we go for a scan?”
[Edit: And that’s all she wrote]