Calamity – Update

I really didn’t think this would be stretching on for this long – it was only a graze, it was only a bad bruise. But it hasn’t exactly turned out that way. My leg is still limiting me and making me really cranky because I either can’t do or can only sort of do all the things that I need or want to do. It’s unbearably frustrating, and at this stage, it’s looking like 6-12 weeks until it’s fully healed. It has already been almost 3 weeks. Totally over it.

So, here’s the update: my GP and the ER doctors agreed that I had likely torn a vein in my leg to have caused so much bleeding. I had an ultrasound to determine a few things. The good news was that I didn’t have deep vein thrombosis or muscle damage, but the bad news was that the bruise was a solid mass (i.e. non-drainable) that was about 14cm by 9cm, and about 3cm thick. I was referred to a plastic surgeon to potentially have the whole thing cut open and scraped out, but he decided there was a better option – physiotherapy and ultrasound therapy.

That’s where we are now. I am doing treatments with ultrasound and massage twice a week, stretches and exercises to help with how my calf muscles on that side have wasted a bit, elevation and heat packs, and lots of swimming and wading to help with mobility. And lots of rest. It will be a long road and I hope that there won’t be any permanent damage, but we’ll have to try our best.

The most annoying part of all of this is that since the shower collapsed, we’ve realized the extent of the renovations will require us to move out for a little while. Because a 3-6 month rental apartment that allows two dogs is a total fantasy in this real estate climate, that means staying at my mum’s for a bit. But it also means having to pack up the entire house until it’s just boxes and large furniture – something that I can’t do right now while my leg is like this. Which means that *I* am the reason that renovation plans have stalled, which isn’t a nice feeling.

It’s also the reason that I haven’t been posting and haven’t had anything exciting to talk about – I’ve said it before, but pain makes you tired and fuzzy. It’s hard to do anything worthwhile with your brain when it’s devoting all its resources to coping. And the pain, although it’s getting better now, has been pretty constant. It has meant I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep since it happened, because there is no comfortable way to lay my leg and I’m notorious for thrashing around when I sleep. I feel like I’m walking around in a mental fog all the time, not exactly conducive to great blog posts, unfortunately.

So, all I can say at this point is… I will be back. Life will get back to normal. But it’s amazing how an injury can knock your whole life around. Really looking forward to everything getting back to normal so we can get things moving!

Oh Calamity!

The moment I plan about kicking my butt with huge amounts of exercise – calamity strikes! I think I need to start from the beginning of this crazy story, because it is just too bizarre to sum up in a sentence or two.

So – when we bought the house, we loved the bathroom. It had a screened-off area with a shower over a claw foot bath, which we thought was so cool. And it was, for about five seconds until we realized that there was no possible way to clean underneath the bath and the whole thing was disgusting in no time. We ditched the bath and have been using the tiled cubicle as a shower ever since.

There was increasing evidence of water damage on the other side of the bathroom wall, in the hallway, so we knew that a new bathroom was on the radar for the very near future. The tiles on the floor of the shower also started to sag a bit. I was really worried about them and at one point, I put my foot down and told Nathan that it was too dangerous and that we needed to shower at a gym until we could get it renovated. He told me I was overreacting and that it would be fine, and he put some silicone sealant between the tiles so that no more water would fall down between them.

Fast forward a few months, and no, the house has still not been restumped which is the major obstacle between us and a new bathroom. I was in the shower at about 5:30pm. We were going to visit my parents to do a make-your-own-pizza night with them. I put conditioner in my hair and suddenly the floor gave out underneath me. I fell through all the way to the dirt underneath the house, maybe 2-3 feet down. Because water had been dripping on it for god knows how long, it was all mud under there. My right leg grazed the side of the hole as I fell. I hauled myself out of there in two seconds flat, because it was that gross and terrifying, and started screaming for Nathan.

And there I was – sitting on the floor of the bathroom, covered in blood, mud and conditioner, sobbing and hyperventilating, with a gigantic hole in the floor beside me. It was honestly one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me. There is something about being in the shower, where you are relaxed and just thinking your thoughts, humming a song, thinking about the pizza you’re going to make… and then to be plunged into a slimy, wet, horrifying hole through a trapdoor… well, it was the worst. I was still crying about it the next day.

I ended up going to the doctor about my leg a couple of days later, who referred me to emergency. They took an x-ray – nothing is broken – but there may be soft tissue damage in my knee. What they were worried about was compartment syndrome, which I luckily avoided (VERY luckily, because the surgery for that is pretty scary) – I just have a massive, rigid, constantly draining-and-refilling haematoma with some superficial grazes. I can still not bend or straighten my leg, and can only walk short distances without crutches.

But it could have been so much worse.
It could have happened when Nathan was in the shower.
The tile gave way in one piece, but it could have snapped, and I could have had jagged shards tearing a huge gash in my leg.
I could have hit my head.
I could have cut myself really badly.
Nathan could have been at work, and if he was and my phone wasn’t in reach, I could have had paramedics breaking my door down to rescue me, naked, from my bathroom.
Or I could have bled to death before they got there.

It’s kind of scary thinking about all the ways that it could have very easily happened, and how close I was to an even worse calamity.

When we examined the damage to the shower, we realized that there was no proper beam running underneath the tiles. It seems like it was a shoddy renovation job from before we moved in. I’m not sure how this wasn’t something that was inspected before we bought it, and we’re investigating whether or not this will be something covered by home insurance – we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m just resting my leg, eating even more bad takeout food, and watching made-for-television movies from the eighties. This whole thing has been a bit of a nightmare, but it could have been so much worse, so in a weird way, I’m kind of grateful.