(Last Updated On: August 8, 2019)
I was discharged from the hospital on Friday, July 19th. But, we didn’t feel like it was good for me to go all the way home to Crested Butte right away. Both Frank and I felt like it was a good idea to stick around the Front Range for a few days with family so that I could see how I was doing out of the hospital, yet have medical services nearby if I needed it for some reason. I also had a follow up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who put the rod in my femur scheduled for the following Tuesday morning. So, it didn’t really make sense to go home until after this appointment.
We stayed with Frank’s mom in Golden. I immediately was happier and more comfortable. I didn’t miss being constantly connected to IV’s and woken up in the middle of the night multiple times by nurses. And I was able to enjoy more time with family. My pain subsided considerably and I stopped taking all opioid based painkillers in place of CBD oil.
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Update 7/20 – Amazing progress. Haven’t taken an opioid-based drug since leaving the hospital and my neck pain and strength continues to improve. I was even able to hold my head up long enough to have a family dinner at the table. Down to one crutch for walking. Feeling so good to be out of the hospital! #imgonnabestrong #trauma #traumasurgery
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In Golden, I was able to be more independently mobile, which helped my healing and strength. But being disconnected from the IV’s also made me realize that my left arm was considerably weakened still from the injury. Though I had good grip strength, some movements, like pushing down on a soap dispenser, were unusually hard.
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Update 7/21 – Dancing with the crutches to battle the stir craziness that I have! Though recovery is going well, I think this will be the hardest recovery yet to face. The broken femur seems to be healing well, but since leaving the hospital I have realized I have lost some function and strength in my left arm due to the nerve damage from my broken neck. I hope that with time and physical therapy, a lot of that function will come back. Though I am relatively mobile, every daily routine is a chore, more because of my neck then the femur. I can’t twist my head, or lean forward or back or side to side. So, my movement is very limited. Getting dressed takes the same energy as a decent bike ride. Taking a shower is like climbing a mountain. Honestly, I’d probably be in a rehab facility if it weren’t for the gracious support of my family and my husband, Frank – helping me with all the little things I can’t do like picking up crutches when I drop them. I remain positive and incredibly grateful for what I do have, and that I am alive…. #warrior #trauma #traumasurgery #traumarecovery
My dad and stepmom left early on Sunday morning to return to Ohio. I continued to work on physical therapy and regaining my independence through daily functions and routines. More friends came to visit, which I was thankful for. But, I was still really yearning to get home.
Finally, Tuesday morning came… It was time for me to follow up with the orthopedic surgeon about my femur. In the hospital, I wasn’t exactly given a choice as to who performed any of my surgeries. It was emergency care, after all. The femur was supposed to have been done by another surgeon, but then a couple hours before the actual surgery, I was given another surgeon. But, in the end, I’m thankful, because Dr. Roland did a great job on my femur. He normally practices out of Panorama Orthopedic in Golden (convenient for us for the follow up), but he spends some time at St. Anthony’s helping out with cases like mine. I am forever grateful that he performed the surgery in such a way that allowed me to be weight bearing on my femur right after surgery. How is that possible? I certainly did get a lot of questions about that! I addressed some of that below:
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Update 7/24 – Had a visit with the doc that put the rod in my femur yesterday. As I walked into the room and put my crutches aside and stood in front of him, he exclaimed, “You are already weeks ahead of where most people would be wit this injury!” I replied, “Well, I’ve had a lot of knee surgeries for practice!” – Many people have asked or commented about my broken femur and why I was allowed to walk on it as soon as the rod was put in. I found it strange myself as I know over a dozen people to have also broken their femurs, but none of whom where allowed to put much weight on their broken bone, if any, for about 6 weeks post-op. The doc explained yesterday that because my fracture was so close to the hip, they had to use a longer rod that basically went close to my femoral head. Because of this, he used two screws to secure the top of the rod, instead of one. It is something to do with the placement of these two screws that allows me to put weight on my femur as the fracture heals (the bottom is secured with only one screw, scroll through the photos). – Admittedly, I would feel the bone shift a tiny bit sometimes when I moved for the first week. But after a week, it began to calcify enough that I no longer felt it. I sometimes get aches in the hip when I walk, likely due to the large incision there.. But I don’t feel much on the fracture itself. – I am very to thankful that I can walk on my femur as it makes my recovery a little easier. Trying to manage a broken neck with a non-weight bearing leg would be extremely difficult! I have said times over that this incident has been unlucky lucky. Breaking my femur was unlucky, but I am lucky that the healing of it is relatively easy😃
Another thing I didn’t mention in that post – if you look closely you can see a chunk of bone still in my thigh. That was leftover from the trauma. Dr. Roland explained that he chose not to remove it because he was trying to minimize the damage to my muscles, and it would be likely that my body would naturally absorb it eventually anyway. Currently, I don’t notice the bone in my thigh or feel pain from it.
After the appointment, we headed back to Golden where Frank proceeded to pack up the car. It turns out after a two week stay in the Front Range, we had acquired a lot of things. A lot of it was necessary items to help me in my recovery – like a pillow wedge to sleep on, a shower chair, etc. Either way, it took awhile for Frank to pack up. But, eventually we were on the road.
Driving…. Well, riding as a passenger anyway, is uncomfortable for me at the moment. My neck feels every acceleration and deceleration, every turn and corner, every stop and go, and of course every little bump. Putting a pillow behind my head alleviates some of this, but it is still painful at times. But, I dealt with the pain because it was worth it to get home.
When we arrived in Crested Butte, I made Frank take me to one of my favorite overlooks – before we even stopped home. I wanted to see our town, the wildflowers, and soak in the sky.
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Update 7/23 – On July 6th, when Frank and I left our home in the dark hours of the morning, we had no idea what that day would become. We didn’t know that I’d get run over by my own car, take a helicopter to Denver, sustain dangerous injuries like a broken femur, broken neck, and occluded vertebral artery, and undergo 3 surgeries with a 2 week stay at the hospital. During our time of need, we didn’t expect the incredible outpouring of support. But we were happy to have felt so much love. And now, 17 days later we have finally made our journey home! I still have months of recovery and a lot of hard work ahead, but this has been a huge goal I’ve been looking toward for these last couple of weeks. There really is no place like home 🤣☀️🌻🌲🌈 #imgonnabestrong #warrior #recoverywarrior #trauma #traumasurgery #traumarecovery #traumasurvivor
I was finally home. Ever since I was admitted to the hospital on the morning of July 6th, that had been my goal – to get home…. At home I could heal better, be more comfortable, sleep more soundly, cuddle with my cat, enjoy the fresh air on our deck, hear and see the hummingbirds at feeder. It was good to be home.
I knew my recovery was just really starting, and that this particular road to recovery was going to be the hardest one yet. But, being home made any challenges that I faced ahead seem a little easier.
Back in the hospital, a doctor had told me that I would be there for up to weeks, and would probably spend some time in a rehab facility upon discharge too. No one was with me when I spoke to him, but I wish they had been. It was maybe that conversation that drove me the most… I told him, “I’m strong. You just wait and see. I’m going to surprise you.”
Perhaps I surprised nearly everyone by my quick recovery given the extent of my injuries…. everyone except for myself 🙂