July 10, 2012

A Trip to the ER (Not Me)

All this time we have been anticipating the month of July, knowing that at some point I will be in labor in the hospital. Well yesterday I was in the hospital, but I was the one doing the hand holding next to the bed. My very best friend, my lovely wonderful sister, broke her ankle yesterday. She is currently waiting patently (or impatiently?) at Harborview to see if she can have surgery today.

She was out hiking with a friend when she slipped, caught her foot on a tree root and while her body went one way, her foot stayed put. She knew right away it was broken. Luckily her amazing friend (and member of the U.S. Coastguard!) was there and knew just what to do. They were only a half mile in, but had no cell service so Jen ran to the car to look for help telling Emily to yell as loud as she could if she needed her before she got back. Jen returned shortly with a first aid kit but hadn't found any people. She then decided to just run a little way up the trail and shout "HELP!" That did the trick. Two women (who happened to both be veterinarians!) were hiking nearby and heard her call. They could tell immediately that her ankle was dislocated and probably broken. After making a makeshift splint Emily tried to hop, but it was impossible, they would have to carry her out. As the three of them carried her back down the trail they came across another couple. The woman didn't say a word and stepped right in to help carry her weight. This brings me to point one: women are amazing. When things like this happen, it reminds me why I have faith in humanity. Complete strangers. No questions asked. Someone is in trouble and they are on it. Her husband however was not much help and apparently a bit chatty. At one point the wife asked him to just stop talking for awhile, ha!

Once back at the car they called 911, asked where the nearest hospital was, and they were on their way. Point two: real friends are indispensable. The whole drive to the hospital was, I'm sure, excruciating for Emily. To distract her Jen sang songs at the top of her lungs the whole way. That is true friendship right there. Not to mention being a rockstar keeping her calm from the moment she injured herself. I am so grateful Jen was with her, thank goodness Emily knows never to hike alone.

They got to the ER, pulled off her sock and immediately heard "we need to get her a bed, now." Not a good sign, but thank goodness they knew to act quickly. Because her foot had been dislocated, blood flow had been cutoff for two hours. If they hadn't gotten everything back in place and flowing things could have taken a very quick turn for the worse. Body parts need blood people!

Once I heard from my mom that it was definitely broken I immediately called my dad with a suggestion. Strangely, two of the attorneys in my office have had very serious ankle/foot fractures in the last couple of years and they found THE GUY. While I'm sure the on-call doc at the hospital would have been fine, you do NOT mess with ankles! My sister is young and healthy and active. She runs half marathons like it's just another Tuesday. Running is her happy place and the last thing she needs is a screwed up ankle for life. After a million and one phone calls and lots of name dropping, we had THE GUY and his whole team on our side. He denied the hospital's plan to send her home to wait for surgery and immediately had her transferred to the ER in Seattle. Point three: inner city Emergency Rooms be cray. Excellent for people watching, not so excellent for the immune system.

{And then I posted this picture and everyone thought I was in labor. Whoops!}

Everyone was so amazing and helpful. Once she was admitted we met with part of the (amazing and unusually attractive according to my mom... and everyone else) ortho team and they set about re-resetting her ankle. They were only 95% happy with how it was positioned and were determined to get that last 5% before splinting her for the night. Point four: my sister is a bad ass. There really isn't much to say on that point, but I'm just telling you... if she wanted to, girlfriend could pop out 100 babies. I'm glad I was there to hold her hand.

The funniest part of the night for me was when I ventured into the hall to ask where the nearest bathroom was. The place was crazy busy and every person I asked got huge eyes looking at how pregnant I was and then looked a little panicked since NO ONE KNEW WHERE THE BATHROOM WAS. What the heck? Don't you people have to pee? Anyway, it was hilarious to see how scared they were of me in my current state. Finally a nice EMT informed me it was just around the corner.

We are hoping her surgery happens today, we are also hoping I don't go into labor while she is in surgery. I am only a little over 38 weeks, but I had my doctor's appointment yesterday and in order to be non-graphic and highly unspecific: things are happening. It could still be another week or so, or it could be today, who knows?

Ok, this was a long post, but to sum things up: women rock, friends are amazing, Harborview ER is insane, and my sister could probably, I don't know, kill a mountain lion with her bare hands. 

Not that she would.

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  1. One tough cookie! Hope the surgery happens today and she can get to healing before baby girl arrives!

  2. Yikes! I'm glad you're sister is okay. What a brave one. I know ankles just kill because my daughter has sprained and fractured hers before. I certainly hope "The Guy" does her right and gets her back to her happy place of running. I've learned you have to be your own advocate when it comes to dealing with doctors and hospitals. I had to laugh about your bathroom adventure, though. Good luck with your impending arrival!

  3. Emily JohnsonJuly 10, 2012

    Love you, sister. Thanks for letting me practically break your hand. And no surgery until Friday so if anyone has any Netflix Instant suggestions to get a girl through 2 more days of hospital waiting, they would be much appreciated.:)

  4. Wow! What an adventure! Hope your sister makes out ok.....and you do too! Hope all goes well with the arrival of your new little one!

  5. Ouchies!! glad she is okay and I hope the surgery goes well x

  6. So glad she's in good hands! And I literally laughed aloud when I read your caption to that photo!


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