30 May 2012

A week ago Sunday, Clara was off for a walk on the beach.  As she was running down the public stairs, she twisted her ankle and fell.  She got herself back up the hill and home, hopping on one leg.  We put on ice packs and administered ibuprofen for swelling.  She said it didn't hurt.  We propped her foot up overnight to help ease the swelling. 

Monday morning, Clara was up and dressed for school - hopping around in the kitchen trying to get ready.  I told her she wasn't going to school until the Dr. had seen her leg.  She said it didn't hurt and was put out by my need to take her to the doctor.  Her appointment was for 12 noon.  When doctor saw it, he said he needed x-rays and wrote the referral.  (That's the way medical is done here - many different shops provide many different services).  We went to the attached pharmacy (also a separate shop but in the same building) and rented crutches for Clara.

We waited at x-ray for 45 minutes.  While the x-rays were being taken, I stood behind the technician in the box.  I could see the images.  I asked if that was her leg - because I could see the fracture.  Yes....digital image.  She has a spiral fracture on her left fibula.  

We drove back to our GP with the x-rays.  He took one look then referred us to a specialist - appointment on Wednesday. The assistants wrapped Clara leg with a back brace.

Wednesday we met the Doctor.  He observed that the ligament was damaged and recommended surgery.  Dave and I agreed.  He wrapped her leg with a new back board.  Surgery was scheduled for Monday.

On Thursday, I took Clara to her school so she could see her friends and take a science test.  We told school she would be out the following week - at least through Thursday (since she was scheduled to get out of the hospital on Wednesday). 

Monday we went to Gosford Private Hospital at 9:30 for check in.  I forgot the x-rays so Dave brought those to me.  I stayed with Clara as long as I could.  She was seen by a nurse who took her blood pressure, weight, pulse.  Waited in a 2nd waiting room.  Then to pre OP where she was given a gown.  We waited there about 30 minutes for the Anesthesiologist to see her.  He explained what he was going to do - light general and also local block.  A few minutes later, they wheeled her into an annex to the Surgery Theatre.  There an IV was set up for Clara - the worst part for her.  She received a medication that "made her feel a lot better about the place" according to the Anesthesiologist.  He put more medication in and gave her an oxygen mask.  Then he gave a local shot to her leg.  Followed by an ultrasound to find the nerve.  The needle he inserted to install the block was amazing.  A pulse was issued and her toes responded at the same rate.  Amazing.  Clara was totally unaware of these events.  After a few more minutes, the Specialist came in to verify the signature on the forms, and mark the correct leg.  Shortly after, she went into the operating theatre.  There she was asked to move to another cot/table.  She was able to respond.  Then they changed oxygen masks and I was asked to leave.

Knife to skin was 11:35am with the entire procedure taking a little over 1 hour.  Dr. showed me this image on our meeting following.  I said she'll find it more challenging at airports.  The doctor agreed that could be the case in the US, but not in OZ.

I was not allowed into post-op until she had responded.  She was still unconscious, when I did come in.  After a few minutes, she was awake enough to be taken to her room.  They keep the suitcase and crutches with the patient - it was placed on the bed with her.  She had a private room.  It was shift change, so the nurses were unavailable.  When Clara asked to use the toilet, I helped her in and held her drip bag for her.  When the post op nurse came into the room, she was astonished - "Where's the patient?"  She wasn't supposed to get out of bed until the next morning.  Oops!

They set her up with pain meds - see below.  She said she accidently gave herself a dose when she rolled over the controller in the night.

On Wednesday morning, she was seen by the specialist and the physiologist.  She was instructed to keep her leg elevated until her appointment next Wednesday. I spoke with all the doctors and agreed to collect her after the other children were out of school.

She was happy to be home - and we were relieved to have her home again.  She has not complained about pain and seems comfortable with ibuprofen.

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