Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

The Foot as a Brake: Do Not Attempt This at Home

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 5:43 pm on Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thursday afternoon I was finally preparing my outdoor scooter to go wheelchair square dancing that evening. Placing my purple travel bag on my lap with my left leg slightly straightened to balance the load, I headed down the hall to the bedroom.

Wall damaged by foot Somehow the bag got caught in the scooter controls and I lost control of the scooter, which didn’t stop until my left foot impacted against the metal corner frame around the laundry closet. The bottom of my heel and ball of my foot hit the metal piece straight on at full force, damaging my foot and the wall.

The room spun briefly. Oh gracious me were not the words I uttered. I immediately knew it wasn’t good.

Cracked wall after impact with foot Darrell was out and, because he rarely has his cell phone on while out, I emailed and tweeted him to get home NOW. I also sent out a tweet asking if anyone local could call Sunrise Seniors Pavilion to have them send home my husband. (A big thank you to those who called and emailed the seniors’ centre for me!)

I grabbed an ice pack and put up my ballooning foot as high as I could. I didn’t dare remove my shoe; I figured the shoe would provide support and help to keep my foot still. With my athetoid cerebral palsy, pain causes my muscles to twitch, which causes more pain. It’s a vicious circle. Every time my foot twitched, I jumped through the roof.

Breathe. In. Out. It’s not life threatening. In. Out. I’ll be okay. Owww! Damn. Breathe.

Darrell came home and I explained what happened, in between gasps of pain. We formulated and reluctantly headed for Surrey Memorial’s Emergency.

After checking in and a fair wait without being triaged or registered, a nurse collected a few of us in the waiting room to “fast track" us. This is fast tracking?

A few patients and accompanying companions followed the nurse into the secured treatment area. The nurse indicated that Darrell would have to go back to the waiting room because there wasn’t room for two wheelchairs.

Darrell explained that I needed him for speech purposes. But, once he relayed how the injury occurred and other necessary medical details, he was told to leave. The nurse assured him that she would come get him if he was needed. None of the other companions were forced to leave.

In that moment I wondered what were my patient’s rights. Patients who are Deaf wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be denied access to an interpreter. Non-English speaking patients requiring a translator would definitely not be denied a translator; that would hit the news for sure.

Yet, I, with a significant speech impairment, was denied my means of communication. Darrell did hand me my iPad before leaving, just in case, but I wasn’t sure I could coherently type because I was in so much pain. I sincerely hope the $700 million hospital expansion will have enough space to accommodate patients in wheelchairs and scooters.

After sitting there for a few minutes, I was sent back to the waiting room to register. I guess "fast tracking" doesn’t mean the most efficient; otherwise surely I would have registered before being lead to the secured treatment area. Right?

Once registered, I was told to proceed to the x-ray department. This time Darrell followed me, regardless of any objections. He explained to the technician that my foot may not stay still if my shoe was removed. Of course, both the shoe and sock had to come off. Holy momma! My ankle was about twice its normal size. Placing it any where near the x-ray film was excruciating painful; agony that had to be repeated from three angles. The technician then kindly replaced my sock and shoe. Holy frick!

Once back in the treatment area, the ER doctor examined my x-rays. I think my previous ankle stabilization surgery – triple arthrodesis – stumped him. Removing my shoe and sock again for a quick look, he asked whether it hurt. You went to medical school for how long to ask a brilliant question like that?

He said he didn’t see any breaks, but the radiologist would call on Friday if he saw any breaks. No news is good news.

The doctor told me to take 1-2 Extra Strength Tyenol every four hours and to use a warm pack, and sent me home. No word on what damaged had been done or what to watch for. And no questions about whether I would manage okay at home with only one good foot. Gotta love fast tracking.

My ankle is still hanging over my shoe, which I have yet to remove. And my foot still hurts like stink! I have mastered getting on and off toilet; the couch not quite, the bed – forget it.
I have no clue how long I will need to maintain the flamingo stance for; I am definitely building up other muscles though.

Thank you everyone for your tweets, Facebook messages and emails. I appreciate your support and well wishes.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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3 Comments »

Comment by Ute-s

March 27, 2011 @ 3:55 am

Get well soon!
And apart from sending your husband out, leaving you alone for that “fast tracking”, I don’t consider it normal having to tell how it happened with other patients around. I would need more privacy to tell about an embarrassing accident.

Comment by Isha

March 27, 2011 @ 11:01 am

Glenda, how horrid for you :(

Am thinking of you and hope your non-breaked foot gets well really fast so that the associated pain goes to heck and stays there.

Isha x

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