Broken Bones

I have a broken husband!

So, as I mentioned briefly in my August post, Sean had a rather nasty fall at the school fête, and ended up breaking both bones in his lower leg, his elbow and damaging his wrist. Not a simple fracture, oh no. When Sean does something, he doesn’t do it by halves! Imagine cracking a chicken bone after a Sunday lunch – the bone kinda twists and rips apart rather than snapping, that’s basically what happened to Sean. Take a look at some of the x-rays; a lot of metal for one leg!

All I can say is how THANKFUL I am for our NHS. They’ve patched him up pretty well. He was straight into a 3 hour surgery the day after the accident, where the surgeons were able to reconstruct the leg using engineering skills akin to that seen on the Eiffel Tower. To think that all of this, plus the follow up consultations, and months of physio rehabilitation, is free! We are so lucky!

You can tell the cuts in public funding have hit hospitals hard, even though, in the main, Sean’s post-op care was good, the ward was getting by on a skeleton staff, who looked rushed off their feet! The odd mishap did occur, but the humanness and warm smiles did a lot to reassure this nervous wife every time I had to leave.

We’re now in September, it’s been almost 3 months since the accident; Sean is doing so well, but I can tell you, it’s been tough! The worst thing from my perspective, is the feeling of helplessness, there is very little I can do to make the bones heal faster, or reduce the considerable amount of pain Sean is in (thank goodness for morphine, that’s all I can say!).

Initially, the elbow fracture was missed, and Sean was discharged, when in reality, he was nowhere near ready to go home. He could barely operate his crutches, as the pain in his elbow was immense. Indeed, when climbing the stairs to our flat, he would have fallen back down the steep flight, if I hadn’t have been there to catch him when his elbow gave way. Scary.

At the time of the accident, we’d only been married 4 months (and still hardly anybody knew about that). We’d been riding that blissful golden wave of honeymoon happiness, which came crashing down to earth the moment Sean came…crashing down to earth. I was absolutely petrified of losing him. It was so difficult watching him suffer, knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop it. As he lay in the resus area of A&E, being injected with countless pain reducing drugs, he took my hand and whispered ‘I love you’. The whole thing felt like a nightmarish episode of Casualty. We were newly-weds, the last thing we were thinking about was how to deal with a potentially life changing injury.

So yes, 3 months in to recovery, and it’s going well, we’ve both learnt a lot:

Patience – it takes time for bones to mend, and no amount of wishing will speed this process us, we’ve just got to respect the body and let nature take its course.

Appreciation – isn’t it amazing how we take walking for granted. Next time you get up to move, take a moment to appreciate all the different muscles and bones moving as one to allow you to get from one place to the next. This whole experience has reminded us both to appreciate the little things, like being able to get up and make a cup of tea. (Juggling crutches, a teapot and cups is impossible!).

Kindness – People really are kind, we’ve had so many good wishes, and offers of practical help. Our neighbour went out and toured the local recycling centres until she found a commode which she cleaned up and gave to us. A lady from church lent us her deceased husband’s wheelchair, which meant we could actually get out of the house! Another friend regually popped into see Sean whilst I was at work, just to keep his spirits up.

Love – Sean and I knew that we loved each other, that’s why we got married. But I don’t think either of us appreciated just how deep that love flows, it’s like an infinity pool, it just keeps going and going. It’s one thing to say you love one another when things are good, but another to live that love at 2am in the morning when your partner is having a panic attack. Ironically, the breaks, and therefore weakness in Sean’s bones have highlighted the strength in our relationship. I love Sean more and more every day, and for this I am so thankful!

I had never appreciated the psychological impact an injury can have on the people involved. Sean is probably the most mentally strong person I know. This was tested during the first few weeks of being home, it was hard for him adapting to this new situation where his body wasn’t doing what he needed it to do. It caused a lot of frustration and guilt, for both of us. We’re both really into Mindfulness, and used this when times got really bad- it warded off a number of panic attacks, and made the whole experience a little more doable.