Alice recalls the injuries she has incurred due to her osteoporosis.
I have had many broken bones. I break a rib and I am used to it. I break a wrist, as long as it’s not my left one, I can still write. One fracture, the worst fracture I have ever experienced, we were camping in our fifth wheel in Happy Jack, Arizona and I was going down the stairs of the bedroom of the fifth wheel and our dog was going up. He knocked me down the stairs and I had a tibial plateau fracture, which was the weightbearing bone in my leg.
My husband came out of the shower and said, “What are you doing on the ground?” And I said, “I am hurt really bad and I need help,” and I said, “I have a really badly broken leg.” So he got dressed and went to the forest service office, which was about five miles away. I had not told him my neck or my back hurt because I knew that that would require a helicopter.
But by the time they came back with the forest service, I was hurting so bad I was scared. So I told them, and an ambulance had been dispatched from Strawberry and it came, and a helicopter was dispatched from Payson and we were driven five miles by ambulance to a landing zone and then I was flown to Flagstaff. I was in the hospital for five days.
The first three days after my surgery I was so drugged on morphine with a drip every three minutes and shots every four hours, and when I finally came to, I asked and they said, “If they hadn’t done it I would not have wanted to survive the surgery it was so painful.” I was then in bed for eight weeks when I went home and I ended up with complications of pneumonia, from not being able to be out of bed.
The only time I was allowed out of bed was to use a wheelchair to go to the bathroom and to get something to eat, and when my husband left for work he would put everything on the counter because I couldn’t even stand up from the wheelchair to get the glass or the plate. And I had a cat and you need a license to drive a wheelchair. I drove over her tail so many times until finally I put her in my lap and we rode together.
I remember the day I tried to use the walker and I realized that I can’t do this and so I quickly put it back and stayed in the chair because I really wanted to be able to walk again. And I remember when I was finally able to go to physical therapy, I was having horrible piercing pain in my leg and my bone was so porous that the screws had shifted ahead and had penetrated the nerve and pierced it, and to this day that nerve is still numb in that portion of the leg.
But I also remember the first day I was able to use the walker and hop because I still could not use the leg and I would hop on one leg around the house and I surprised my husband when I had cooked dinner and he looked to me like, “What have you done? You are not supposed to be doing anything.” I said, “I hopped.” I had a little pouch on my walker and I went and I got all the little fruits and put in it and I actually did it. And I started to begin to feel human again because I was starting to do something that I never thought I would be able to do again. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel with this fracture.
And then I had screws removed after 12 weeks from the surgery. I had physical therapy for six months following that, and I only have 80 percent use of that leg today. And that surgery was five years ago in 2004.
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