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Two Broken Legs

Hi all! My name is Alex I'm 20 years old and on the 20th of September 2011 I was hit by a car. I was on my way home from a friend's house at around 11 in the evening when the accident happened. I had just crossed the road at the pedestrian lights and just as I stepped onto the path a car driving at high speed hit into my left side. I was thrown over the car and into a wall. My left leg took the impact of the wall but I landed heavily on my right foot and wrist. After realising I was hurt I blacked out and woke up two weeks later on a respirator in hospital with both of my legs in a traction sling to the hips and a cast on my wrist!
 
I later discovered the severity of my injuries and that the driver of the car had fallen asleep at the wheel. A kind passer by had phoned the ambulance and I was carted straight to hospital.
 
 My Left leg took the worst of the brunt with ten tibia shaft fractures two clean through displaced (also through fibula),one unstable at an angle, a tibia plafond fracture to the ankle, one half way through at the knee and several hairline fractures. I had several broken metatarsals due to the impact against the wall. My ankle and knee had been dislocated and I had three severe fractures to the lower femur. It was also discovered later that my Achilles tendon had snapped and needed repairing alone with some of the ligaments in my knee.
 
My right leg was not left undamaged with a plafond tibia fracture at the ankle a straight through break at the knee and a hairline stress fracture up the shaft.
 
 My hips sustained several hairline fractures the worst being the left hip which sustained a fracture at the joint itself.
 
My wrist sustained numerous stress fractures and a clean break to the lower radius.
 
Upon reaching the hospital after the accident had occurred I was rushed straight to surgery to try and stabilise the fractures to my left and right legs. The surgeons were successful in partially stabilising the right leg with two titanium rods and a number of screws. They
were not so successful with the left and even though I now have five rods and many bolts in there the fractures remain unstable.
 
Anyway Like I said I woke up on a respirator two weeks later. My body had suffered so much trauma it was safer to keep me unconscious.
 
Due to severe swelling in my legs the orthopaedic surgeon had not yet placed my legs in hard casts which would be required to immobilise the fractures. Also the wounds from surgery had to be monitored. Instead I had two backslab plasters with several bandages around them from my toes the my thighs and was placed in a sling to elevate them and my hips.
 
The first thing I remember was the sting of an ice pack on my left ankle. Then the shooting pain up the same leg. Even though I was bombarded with elevation and ice packs the swelling in my legs didn't go down enough to set in plaster until week three of being in hospital.
 
When the time came the doctors and nurses slowly and carefully removed the bandages from my legs and began gently cleaning and inspecting my wounds. I was to be put in a spica cast from the tips of my toes to the line of my waist. As a team set out applying the plaster to my right leg one of the doctors holding my left tripped and fell dropping my leg from height. I screamed out in a lot of pain and rightly so! The fractures in the leg had been moved and had to be painfully reduced with speed to limit the swelling this error would cause. When I was finally set in my new awkward annoyance of a cast my vital signs were taken and I was too ill to leave hospital until another week had past.
 
After four weeks in a hospital bed it was a nice change of scenery to be home although I couldn't sit up straight due to the spica cast and was bed bound for at least ten weeks with no weight bearing.
 
That brings me up to about now really. At week eight (four weeks out of hospital) my wrist was taken out of plaster and in my hurry to get it on the mend I started wrist excersises immediately. I'm still unsure if that was a good or a bad idea as my wrist was very stiff and became very swollen to the extent that I had to stop for a few days. It still swells up if I use it two much which is a pain because I am an artist and would if it wasn't for the accident be attending my fourth year of art college!
 
I've been in the spica ten weeks now. mainly in my bed, but I have had to get up every now and then to reduce the likeliness of pressure sores... Well when I say get up I mean lie in a reclined wheelchair. I haven't been able to leave   the room really nevermind the house and have been drained with exhaustion due to little sleep with the pain at night and just sheer tiredness. I find having poeople to visit makes this worse and I'm exhausted when they leave.
 
I have an appointment this monday the remove the spica but I have been warned by my doctors that my left leg will probably be placed in a full long leg cast for a further eight weeks depending on how well I'm recovering.
 
My question to you is has anyone been in a spica before and if so how long until they're hips could take the weight of walking with crutches?
Also if anyone has suffered the same kind of tibia fractures that I sustained to my right leg, how long was it before they could put full weight on it when it was out of plaster? And thirdly if anyone has broken their wrist before and used crutches after does it cause a lot of discomfort in the wrist?
 
I ask these because obviously I've had a good while to think about things but also I want to get back to college as soon as possible! I was thinking will a full leg cast be as awkward tiring and heavy to get around in, if so do you think I should return to college and use a wheelchair? Or will my right leg be well enough straight away to move about on crutches?
 
My left leg now is quite a different story I know that is gonna take a lot of rehab to get right but as a temporary how long do you think I should wait after getting rid of the spica cast before returning to college?
 
If anyone can answer even parts of that (I know it's a lot to take in) it would be much appreciated. Thank You, bored out of her tree, Alex xx
alexmcdonagh alexmcdonagh 18-21 2 Responses Dec 31, 2011

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Just wondering if you had been blessed with a foley catheret and if so how did that feel and what was it like after it came out.

Hi Alex! was touched to read your story and sorry that this terrible accident occurred and that you were the recipient of anothers' carelessness. I hope that you are doing much better in 2013, and back to college.