Part 5 – The Hospital days 3-6

I woke up the Friday after my accident in a lot of pain. I had slept well overnight, but perhaps I hadn’t kept up with my medication as well as I should have simply due to the fact that I was asleep. I remember in school learning about pain management, and the theory of “staying ahead of the pain” was important because if you let it get to a certain point, it was very difficult to control. I can attest to that first hand, and it took nearly 48 hours to get my pain back under control. By Friday afternoon I was feeling much better and we were waiting on neurosurgery to clear me to be out of bed based on what my x-rays looked like while I was in my brace.

With the help from the CNA, my mom, and Tracy S I got a sponge bath and my hair was washed. We received word that I was cleared to be out of bed in my CTO brace. A few hours later I was visited by the trauma team, who was surprised to see me sitting up in a chair. It turned out I was in fact not cleared to be above 30 degrees. Back to bed I went until a little bit later when I was actually cleared. Each day I felt a little bit better, and I started to taper off of my prn percocet. I was still on MS contin twice a day, which is a long acting morphine. My appetite was improving, and I was able to enjoy my visitors more. I even got a visit from the paramedics who brought me out of the woods and to Baptist. I was very impressed and happy that they tracked me down at UK. Gary, Tyson, Jeff and my dad worked so hard to get the house set up and ready for me to come home. The living room was completely switched around, we borrowed a chair from Regan, and we ordered a sleep number bed. I was anxious to leave the hospital, but a little nervous to be going home. There was talk about going to a rehabilitation facility, and if my parents hadn’t been here I think it would have been necessary. The brace changing was initially difficult, and painful, and instructions were inconsistent. My family requested another visit from physical therapy so we would be more confident doing it on our own. We ordered a seat for the toilet which also doubled as a shower chair. My medications were ordered, and my follow-up appointment with neurosurgery was scheduled for October 27th. That would have been 6 weeks!? I ended up transferring my care back to Baptist with a follow up appointment in the first 2 weeks after my discharge from the hospital. From what I gathered based on my imaging at Baptist and UK I had suffered the following fractures:

1. Anterior ring fracture of C1

2. C2 fracture

3. Fracture of C4 of the lamina through the spinous process

4. Mildly displaced manubrium fracture

5. Spinous process fracture of T2

6. Burst fracture of T3

And possibly more more that were less critical. I think the above list sounds like plenty!

My stay at the hospital had seemed like an eternity. As horrible as my accident was, and as bad as my pain felt, I was constantly comforted by the nursing staff. Each one of them was incredibly kind, compassionate, and patient. I left the hospital that Monday afternoon very optimistic that the worst days were behind me. I knew there would be more, and different challenges to come, but I knew that with the help of my friends and family I would get through it. I also knew that I would be nowhere without the amount of help that I was receiving. The outpouring was absolutely humbling. I could not believe the amount of people who were so willing to help, or the amount of people who reached out to let me know they were thinking of me. It was incredibly touching to say the least. Over the next few weeks following my discharge I tried to work on replying to messages I had received, but I am sure I have fallen short on several. And if any of you are reading this right now and have not heard from me personally, please know that your kind words and messages were appreciated more than I could ever express.

This first photo was from the last day at the hospital. Big Gulps, hu? Well… see ya later! Uh, I look like death!  The second photo is of some of the cards I have received over the past month or so. Thank you for sending them!!!

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