Those of you who have been following my wife, Brenda’s, injury and recovery (Story One) (Story Two) (Story Three) (Story Four) might be interested in today’s update. As a nearly lifelong resident of the town in which I practice she has many friends here, as well as some who keep up with her from around the world via the Internet.
Today we went to see her orthopod for a followup visit. He checked the cast on her right arm and the surgical incision on her left leg and pronounced himself happy with her current status.
Brenda starts outpatient rehabilitation on Monday and we’re looking for big progress from that.
As you can imagine, orthopaedic surgeons are busy folks. Between replacing arthritic joints and fixing trauma patients, they don’t have much spare time. But, I did manage to get the doctor to play CSI with us for a few minutes. We have been perplexed by the nature of Brenda’s injuries: fractured radius and ulna on the right side and fractured femur on the left side. Several medical professionals unconnected to Brenda’s case have suggested that a torsion or twisting of the left femur might have cause her fracture there. Brenda was walking just behind me on the deck when she fell, and when I heard the thud and turned around I found her lying on her right side.
So, I proposed the following sequence of events to the surgeon: right foot takes a step and hits the slick spot on the deck; left foot plants in an effort to support the body and prevent the fall; fall continues with the left foot obtaining good traction, twisting the femur in two and the sharp ends of the bone lacerating the vastus lateralis muscle; with the left femur broken Brenda collapses onto the right side and either falls on the right wrist or attempts to break her fall with the right hand, thus fracturing the distal radius and ulna, just above the wrist joint.
The doctor responded with a disclaimer, “I’m not a CSI expert, but that sounds like it would fit to me. Even though the portion of the femur that broke is the strongest part, the twisting motion could have broken it. The only part that might not fit is that such fractures are usually spiral, and hers wasn’t.”
A spiral fracture is common in the femur because of the shape of the bone. The fracture follows a curved line, much like the stripes on a candy cane.
We will probably never know all of the facts in her accident, but the good news is that she’s making progress.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.