Last Friday night was not Teresa's best night ever.
I was in Daytona, just heading back home, when she called. "I burnt myself," she said. "Really kinda bad." She had been getting ready to go out when she dropped her flatiron and tried to catch it, scorching the four fingers on her right hand. A quick call to our friend/housemate/sister-husband/RN Dave and she was soaking them in ice water and worrying about how to get finished getting ready.
By the time I got home, a bit frantic, she was back in the bathroom (with the bowl) going at her hair one-handed. Her fingers were a nice pink, but still blistery. I helped her finish her hair, wrapped her fingers in gauze, and she went out to see My Generation play at Dexters in Lake Mary.
I stayed home. Concerts two nights in a row are a bit much for my dwindling hearing and we had two to go to on Saturday, I always work late Fridays anyway, and I had a backlog of photos to go through.
At 1:12 a.m., I got a text from her: "I think i broemy arm".
On the phone she was upset, and in pain, and panicky. She said she had fallen and her arm was screwed up and it hurt so bad and she left and was by the theater. I was in the car and over there in a probably-very-illegal amount of time. Teres was in her car with the door open. She was lying back with the seat all the way down, cradling her right arm, with the A/C blasting. It hurt to see her, she was so obviously in pain. Pale, eyes streaming, gripping her arm tightly, and crying out every time she moved.
She told me later that she had been dancing and she fell. Some guys helped her up and she started to dance again but it really hurt, and when she touched her arm she knew immediately it wasn't supposed to be shaped like that. Then the pain hit, hard, and she couldn't think and she panicked and fled outside. Some people saw her fall, but even the friends with her didn't know she was hurt till they read the Facebook posts later.
Central Florida Regional in Sanford was the closest. The attending ER nurse took one look at her and got her into a chair, then back to the exam rooms within 5 minutes and got her X-rayed within a half hour, although to Teres I'm pretty sure it seemed like about 35 years. She still hadn't let go of her arm. The nurses got the vest off her but she insisted, through gritted teeth, that they cut the top off rather than try to work it over her arm. We had to assure them that the burned, bandaged fingers were pre-existing. After the X-rays she got morphine, which didn't really stop the pain but it did make her sleepy.
I played Bon Jovi music on my iPhone to distract her. It wasn't the first time I wondered if something was going on between those two, because all the lyrics seemed to be directed at her. "Everybody's bleeding / cause the times are tough / Well it's hard to be strong / When there's no one to dream on / Faith: you know you're gonna live thru the rain / Lord, you got to keep the faith." She smiled through the pain, which would be amazing to anyone who didn't know her.
They wrapped her arm in the temporary-cast stuff and got her into a sling, and then to a room fairly quickly. Shared, but effectively private since no one else was in there the whole time she was. I'd called Dave and texted her brother and our sons. Dave showed up around 4 or so.
The X-rays revealed that oh, yes, it was very broken. Her arm had fractured at the radius, right by the wrist, and then displaced, so that the broken ends were not up against each other but next to each other. It also meant tension against her arm muscles was lessened so her arm had drawn up against her body. Surgery would be required to put it back. Teres took it well but she was plainly upset about the pain and what she'd end up with after it was through.
We'd been told the orthopedic doctor wasn't on call, but he responded anyway — at 3 in the morning, so good on him — and said he'd be in by 10 or 11 later that morning and operate on her the same day.
The rest of the morning was spent trying to keep her as comfortable as possible, as distracted as possible, and counting the minutes till the next dose of morphine (later, dilaudid). I want to say again how amazing Teresa is. Even with the considerable amount of pain she was in she managed to make jokes and laugh (between wincing). She didn't get more than 5 minutes of sleep here and there the whole time because her arm or fingers would move and she'd be wide awake and gasping immediately.
Dave left and came back with supplies and Animal, essential to any recovery. Her brother Rodger arrived and we all waited to hear from the doc. I posted updates to Twitter and Facebook, which exploded as her friends wanted to know what happened. Several of them called and texted but she wasn't up to talking or typing.
Around 11 Dr. Broderick arrived and took her down to surgery immediately. His professional assessment: "You broke the hell out of your arm!" We all went down to surgery — we walked, she got pushed — and Dave, Rodger and I waited while they took her in. Teres said later there was almost an issue with getting her knocked out but they managed. Also, she was still wearing her black party-dress skirt under her gown, but that just added style.
In the recovery room we talked with a very happy grandmother-to-be from the Dominican Republic who was waiting with the rest of the family for the birth. She was born while we were waiting there. Hi, Isadora! Welcome to Florida! Teres was in there for about an hour and 45 minutes, including pre- and post-op.
Teresa now has a metal plate screwed into her arm with 10 screws. It's holding everything tightly enough that a cast wasn't needed, just some bandage over the incision and a sling. I tried to get her to make Bionic Woman noises when she moved it but that'll have to come later, when she's up to it.
She came back from surgery awake and pale, and we were told that she could leave as soon as she could eat something, keep it down, and use the bathroom successfully. This proved to be easier said than done since she was nauseated from the meds and the anesthesia.
Teresa hadn't wanted any friends to come by at the time, partly because we weren't sure how much longer we'd be there and partly because she didn't want anyone to see her like that, but her friend Maria came anyway and helped keep her cheered up. Jane came by a little later, and Lee brought balloons and more, and we had a party.
By the time the anesthesia wore off Teres had a lot more color and lost the nausea (mostly). Also we brought her crackers and ginger ale, which worked better than the turkey-on-white and apple juice the hospital brought her.
We left the hospital that afternoon. When we got home we went upstairs, she laid down for just a moment to rest, and she was instantly out. I spent some time getting her things together and answering some messages before remembering I'd been up for 46 hours and should probably lie down eventually.
Since then Teres has been in her nest of a pile of pillows supporting her arm and head while she rests, catches up on Facebook and tries not to hurt so damn much. She's been exercising the fingers of her right hand as much as she can. She's still hurting a lot but she's more mobile than she was and she's trying to not use all the Percocet she was given. She sees the doctor again next Monday and we'll go on from there.