So the trip was booked, outings planned, excitement rising as the day fast approached. I was leaving via Dublin, stopping with friends there to see a concert at the National Concert Hall before catching the early AA flight to JFK. Previously, just after booking, Paul had a status assessment and it was decided he would need more care than they could give. So a week spent looking around Care Homes, deciding which was best, taking into consideration the frequently high ‘top-up’ cost of some of the better ones. Then correspondence with his own family to see if they could help with top up costs or not. As it happened, not. So the one closest with no top up was chosen, and a date set. And there being no-one in either family able to help with the move, it was really all up to me. Items which had to be bought for The Fold were mostly provided at Clandeboye, and also there were items he had been using which he would not be using again, ie TV, DVD player, set top box, cables and remote controls.
As the day of departure drew near, I was getting pretty tired. My knees were hurting more than usual, especially the right one,and there was a strange feeling right up to my thigh which worried me a bit. I booked a GP appointment, got a new medication which I was told would help my mood as well as the pain. Unfortunately this made me sick so a less potent one was given. Not entirely happy, I booked an acupuncture appointment with my chiropractic. Still concerned about my knee as I was having to use a stick, I booked another GP appointment before leaving on holiday. My usual doc was busy that week and on holiday the next, so I had to see one I didn’t know. Someone came out in tears just before she called me in, which brought my emotional mood to the surface, and 5 minutes with this doctor and I too was in tears. This was partly frustration as she did not examine me, nor offer any advice or help. Next day I went on the train with U3A friends to see Florence Foster Jenkins (set in New York!) and had to take a taxi home as walking was getting too difficult. A warm bath later seemed a good idea, but that was when the fun started!
As I live alone, I always take both my mobile and house phone into the bathroom and keep within easy reach. About to get out, I had one leg out on the floor, when suddenly I fell back into the bath, at the same time hearing a sharp crack! Worried, but quite comfortable in the still warm water, I felt my right leg which seemed a bit wobbly. There was no pain, just an impending sense that something really bad had happened – either a break or a dislocation. Either would require medical help, so I was glad the phone was nearby!
After requesting an ambulance I phoned a local friend, and two arrived just before the ambulance. I had recently installed a ‘key-safe’ box in my porch, containing a front door key, and a pin number to open it. Unfortunately I had left my keys in the lock so they could not get in, and they had to call the locksmith who had fitted the locks to open the front door! I was quite comfortable and was not panicking, though concerned that my holiday to New York might be cancelled!
Getting me out of the bath was a challenge to the ambulance team! But using a large towel they hoisted me up and onto their stretcher. Next problem was getting me through the bathroom door, but the door was removed and I was soon in the ambulance.
At the hospital, an x-ray revealed that it was a spontaneous fracture, apparently caused by the very drug I had been taking for 8 years to improve my bone density! The thigh was operated on, and a thigh-length rod inserted into the broken femur, held at hip and knee by two screws. Waking up I wondered how I would ever be mobilised to use the leg as before, but with appropriate medication, helpful physiotherapists, gentle exercises, a zimmer frame and time, in a week’s time I was walking slowly, and by two weeks ready to go home with a care plan set up. The holiday was of course cancelled, with only a £50 excess to pay, and my New York hosts happy for me to rebook when the time was right!
Next course of action, to query my GP about why I was still taking the offending drug for 8 years, when it should have been stopped after 5! Beware, those on alendronic acid longterm!