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1. Lisa had some people over on Friday for her monthly "Friday Night Thing." She invites women over from her church and usually we provide the main meal and guests will bring potlucky sides. Right as the main bulk of people were coming in the door my phone rang. It was my mother.

"Hello Jeanette. Your father has had a terrible accident."

Needless to say I felt myself grow icy cold. It's an interesting sensation...one I don't really recommend but it's amazing how many thoughts can go through your head and how cold and sick you can feel in a fraction of a second.

She proceeded to tell me he had fallen off a ladder which (I don't remember saything this but Lisa heard me) caused me to yell, "OH DAD!!!"
For several months now he has wanted to insulate his shed. My older brother was going to be helping him do that on Thanksgiving weekend but Dad got over eager, started by himself and in a fluke accident he wound up breaking his foot.
I guess he really wanted to get going on it since he was spending more time in there and baby, it's cold outside. I had talked to my mom a little earlier in the week and she was telling me that he had rigged up an ingenious rope and pully system and was doing the project himself. I was sure it was ingenious...but I still felt a little nervous. My dad is one of the smartest and most capable people I know...and while it's a strange thought to wrap my head around...he's 2 years out from 70. He shouldn't HAVE to be doing insulating by himself. He's totally Mr. Service around the neighborhood...and while he certainly doesn't do it on a "tit for tat" system...I couldn't help but think that the neighborhood OWED him.

Apparently Friday night he was working in the shed and was showing my mom how smart and clever his system was. He was on his ladder...which was on a stack of boards (dumb Dad! Dumb! You'd yell at me if I had done something like that!) ...and I'm not entirely sure what happened but the ladder slipped and he rode it down 8 to 10 feet breaking his femur just above the knee.

I am so grateful my mom was there in the shed with him. If she hadn't been, who knows how long he would have been there. As it was, she couldn't find his cell phone and had to race back into the house to call 911. I guess they had a bit of a time getting him out since he was back in the shed and they had to clear a lot of stuff to be able to get him out. I can't imagine the amount of pain he was in.

My mom called me shortly after the ambulance left. She was going to be following him to the hospital and one of the neighbors was going to be going with her.

Made it kind of difficult having guests after that but the evening went well. The theme was SOUP. I had made a potato soup and a roasted pepper and creamed corn soup which I doctored quite a bit. Both were a hit and we had a pretty good number of people show up. This is good because in some months past we've only had ONE person show up. I was getting so annoyed I told Lisa that we were going to cancel having it. On the other hand...at least the place gets cleaned really well every month.

I talked to my mom later that night and have been calling every day to get updates. The doctors said it was an ugly, ugly break. He was scheduled for surgery on Saturday morning but had to delay it to the afternoon as he kept throwing up. It was supposed to be a 3 hour surgery but mom says it went a few hours longer. He really messed the bone up. The had to put in a plate...mom said his bone was like mush. He also cracked one of the condyles on the femur so they had to take care of that as well.
He's going to have to spend a few weeks at least in a convolescent home where he'll continue to recover and learn how to get along on crutches. The doctors tell him he's not going to be able to put any weight on his leg for three months. That makes me worried. There's a LOT of muscle atrophy that can happen in 3 months. He's going to have to work very, very hard to walk again and build that muscle back up.

It's so unnerving seeing your parents age. It's a weird shift, from being the one fussed over and protected and helped...to fussing over and trying to help them. Even over Christmas I would get alarmed seeing my mom outside in the snow sweeping the cement steps down the terraces to the shed and cottage. While I know she's perfectly capable of doing it..I also know she is less than 3 months out from having hip surgery and one little slip could really mess her up. I shooed her back inside and swept the steps for her.

I am thinking I should maybe go home for a few weeks again, this time to help hold down the fort while my mom helps my dad adjust at home. Lisa joked, "YOU can lift stuff AND you can walk!" pointing out that my mom has no upper body strength and my dad now can't WALK. I'll be like a superhero back in Farmington! I jest but I need to talk to my mom and see if I'll actually be useful or if the 5th ward will be sufficient.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2010 12:37 pm (UTC)
We had a chance to talk to your mom sunday evening Utah time. I hope she is taken care of while your dad is in the hospital. I only wish we were closer to help out.
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
Oh god, your poor father! I sympathize so very much...

The doctors tell him he's not going to be able to put any weight on his leg for three months. That makes me worried. There's a LOT of muscle atrophy that can happen in 3 months. He's going to have to work very, very hard to walk again and build that muscle back up.

Let me ease your mind a little. Yes, muscle atrophies incredibly quickly. However, "non-weight-bearing" doesn't mean "doing nothing." If your father has a good surgeon and a good physical therapist, the atrophy will be minimal - he'll be doing quad sets and leg lifts in about a month. His musculature will be built up more than you think by the time they give him permission to go to partial weight-bearing, and it should only take a few months after that - another 2-3 - before he's walking with a normal gait. Even with an injury as severe as his. The bone will actually be stronger after this, especially with the plate, which makes it easier and faster to recover.

Also, 3mo of non-weight-bearing? Is REALLY GOOD for the sort of injury he's had. It means the surgeon is really confident in the strength of the patch and of the bone.

He's gonna be just fine.

Jan. 19th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You have helped ease my mind greatly. He's a tough guy.
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
Even if he doesn't have physical therapists right away, and even if he's in a cast, there's things he can do to minimize the atrophy. Leg lifts after about 2 weeks would be GREAT for him - even with a cast on.

Just make sure that tough guy doesn't do any more stupid ladder tricks after this, eh?

Jan. 19th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
What about water exercises? Our "Y" has a big ramp into the pool, down which wheelchairs can go. If there's anything like that in Farmington, maybe Jett!Dad can do leg lifts in water? Or something.
Possy thots & prayers to Atwoods.
Jan. 19th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Can't happen until you're weight-bearing, actually. The resistance is intense enough that it can harm a graft/plate/prosthetic that's trying to settle in. Isometrics aren't as intense.

After weight-bearing is approved, though, water exercises are GREAT. I'm just about to the point where I'm allowed to join the rec center and start doing slow swimming...
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
Ohh, wow. Sending good thoughts to you and your family.

A few years ago my dad had surgery and I spent several weeks at my parents' place, just being there to help out. They were initially all "oh, we don't want to put you out" but once I got there they were incredibly grateful for the help. So if you feel that going to Utah is the right thing to do you should do it, even if your mom seems reluctant at first.
Jan. 19th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
Oh- and- speaking of superheroes in Farmington....
Jan. 19th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear about this! Wishing your Dad a speedy recovery.
Jan. 20th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
I was so worried and sick as I started reading this. Your dad is such a great guy. I really wish I could do something and want to help. Maybe I can at least come visit him on our way down that way sometime.

I keep thinking how miserable it might be for someone like him to be held back for a while from doing the things he likes... working on things or flying. I really look up to him.

Anyway, my thoughts and prayers will be directed their way for a speedy full recovery.

Maybe I missed it, but I assume the surgery went well?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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