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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just After Lunch Last Wednesday...

Most of you know by now that Doug took a bad fall last week and broke his leg.  We originally thought it was his ankle, but x-rays revealed cracks in the fibula and tibia.  About 1.00 pm last Wednesday, I received a frantic phone call from Doug and I knew right away that something was terribly wrong because, well, Doug is hardly ever frantic.  Fortunately, he had fallen near church so I raced over there, arriving at about the same time as the ambulance. 
The slippery downhill slope
It was kind of surreal to hear an ambulance approaching and know that it was heading towards my husband!  Our associate Chris went with me, and minutes later, Geri, our children's director arrived on the scene.  She takes care of Tanner often when we are away so she grabbed the dog and dealt with him.  He was great by the way and wasn't even the perpetrator of the fall!  When I arrived, he was snuggled next to Doug, protecting him, knowing that something was not quite right.  It was very comforting in the midst of a distressing situation.  The paramedics were fantastic and soon enough Doug was on his was to S:t Görans Sjukhus. (St. George's Hospital, about 10 minutes from where we live.) I dashed back to the house, said hello to Tanner, assured him that everything would be OK, and then took off for the hospital.  Our experiences with hospitals while we've lived in Sweden has been very limited, thank God, but it's amazing how all those feelings of being a foreigner come charging back once you are involved in an emergency.  Thankfully,  I figured out where to go, where to park, and how to get to the emergency room.  I found my husband, just after he came out of x-ray, with a big plaster cast on up to knee. Everyone was terrific.  The verdict was an overnight stay in the hospital with surgery in the morning.  I had to run back home, deal with the dog, check in on our first Confirmation meeting of the year, pick up some things for Doug and then get back to the hospital.  He was in his room when I arrived and was doing pretty well.  It was very hard to leave him that first night as we were so uncertain about so many things.  But the next day, he went into surgery around 11.30 am and was back on the floor about 5.00 pm.  A couple from Pakistan who are active in our church stopped by with some delicious food and it was very helpful as it gets difficult to eat right in these situations.  I was so happy to finally see Doug when they wheeled him onto the floor.  He was sharing a room with a young professional ice hockey player who plays for one of Stockholm's teams.  He's Canadian and the two of them had a nice time commiserating with one another through what was going to be a long night of pain.  But Friday morning rolled around and Doug was much better.  We got our discharge instructions after Doug had a little physical therapy to make sure he could manage with the crutches and the stairs and off we went.  The crutches are great.  They have crampons that can snap into place to help you deal with the winter weather.  Swedes really do think of everything when it comes to function!  We were very happy to get home and get settled into more comfortable surroundings.For me, I have been reminded again how quickly life changes and what I thought was going to be a busy week getting caught up on a million and one things came to a screeching halt when my husband broke his leg.  I ended up in the hospital for 2.5 days and spent the weekend just happy to be together, trying to get this new way of life figured out.  The help from friends with food has been a lifesaver.  I have gained a new appreciation for why bringing food to people who are going through a rough time is such a great help.  And stupid as it sounds, the encouragement and prayer support that we've received from Facebook updating has also been a huge blessing.  You feel very alone when something like this happens, and the social network really helped me feel connected to a larger world.  The church has been wonderful and last night the choir popped over to sing for Doug after their rehearsal.  It was a special act of love that touched us both.
Doug is on the mend!  He's wielding his crutches well and learning to get around better each day.  This morning he had a mishap in the shower with the plastic bag and the cast got quite wet so we took a little trip back to the hospital so they could take a look.  It was good that we did because they said it would've likely rotted from the inside out and made things quite unpleasant for the rest of us.  So they took the cast off and replaced it with a brand new one!  We got to see the offending wound and all in all it looks good.  If you are interested in taking a peek, just look at the next picture!
Seriously, we are very grateful for the love and concern that has been poured out upon us.  Doug will heal.  It's a slow process and of course, we've had snow every day since the accident and the streets are like sheets of ice and it's Advent season, etc.  But somehow in the midst of it all, I feel strangely calmed and at peace.  I am grateful for the community of care that surrounds us, locally and globally.