Personal Blog by Nancy Clemons

Surprise! Surprise!

As we walk thru this life Sometimes there comes a twist and turn we did not expect. A total upheaval of your normal comings and goings. This unexpected turn of events happened to me on Thursday morning September 22nd, 2016 around  8 o’clock in the morning.
The city in which I live had been experiencing an unusually hard rain for the past week. There was so much water that it had begun to flood from the back yard into my kitchen thru the foundation. I realized this when, from under the refrigerator, a puddle of water was creeping its way toward the living room rug.

I established that the refrigerator was in good working order so the conclusion was flooding.  I watched as the puddle grew at an alarming rate.  This was the evening of September 20th . I put several beach towels down in front of the refrigerator to curb the encroaching water, sent texts and phone calls to the maintenance man and the landlord and went to bed.  The landlord responded in the morning. It was a simple fix for them. They would be over to pump the water out of the backyard and all would be well again. Or so they thought.
Let me now paint the picture of the front of the house for you. This 2-story house was built in the 1950’s and at some point turned into 3 apartments. 2 one bedroom apartments downstairs and a 2 bedroom apartment upstairs.

There is head in room for 5 cars to park out in the front. There is a 4 foot wide planter with a 5 foot high wall behind it greeting all those who choose to enter.
There is a 5 foot wide opening with a large wood step down inviting you into the courtyard.  The courtyard has a 2 brick high edging around to separate the cement patio from the planters. It has the potential to become very inviting bursting with color from a variety of perennial and seasonal flowers. It is all very inviting and welcoming except for 1 fatal flaw.  It has very poor drainage. It seems that when it was designed no one gave thought to where the water would go in a heavy rain. I live on the East Coast where it rains all year long. No one has sprinkler systems for their yards as the rainfall is so heavy it is never needed.
On the morning of September 22nd, even tho the landlord had pumped out the water the day before, the continuing rain had created another 4” deep puddle to wade thru on the way out of the courtyard to the outside world.

I placed my left foot onto the wooden step leading out into the world beyond. I felt a slippery gooey mess underfoot and as happens with most accidents the world had begun to move in slow motion. My left foot continued sliding forward then upwards towards to sky above. My right knee landed squarely on the edge of the wooden step and my backside plopped firmly in the 4” puddle I was trying to avoid with a great “splash”.

There I sat with my left leg extended forward and my right knee bent upwards with a ½’ deep plus sign indented in my knee.  I stared at my knee for the longest time trying to visualize what could have made that crosswise indentation. The edge of the step clearly had only 1 edge to it. After what seemed like several minutes contemplating my circumstances my common sense kicked in and I began to yell for help. I yelled for what seemed like an eternity until my neighbor 2 houses down on the corner heard me.  He had been sitting on his front porch contemplating the day ahead when he heard my faint yells.  He came to investigate and found me in my precarious position. He quickly called 911 and off to the emergency room I went.  They took x-rays. (They actually brought the x-ray machine to my bedside!) The doctor on duty looked at them and stated that the Orthopedic Surgeon would need to check them out which resulted in Surgery!!!!  After the surgery the Orthopedic Surgeon told me I had shattered my knee cap into 4 main pieces(hence the plus sign!) and many little shards. He stated that it was a very serious injury.

During the surgery he wired and screwed all the puzzle pieces back together and then wrapped wire around the whole thing before placing it back into its intended position within my leg.

This is the side view of my knee cap.  The black lines in this and the following pictures are the
wires that were used to put my knee cap back together.

 Front view of my knee cap.  The doctor said that in 12 to 18 months I will want another
surgery to remove the wires as they will become painful.
The doctor also said that I had an “atrocious” amount of arthritis behind my knee cap and on the top of my knee bone and was surprised I hadn’t already had a knee replacement.
The arthritis had formed when, more than 10 years ago, when my dog was a very large puppy I opened the door to the back yard one evening and he ran out the door lickety-split taking my knee with him. I knew I had hurt my knee but I just dealt with it.  I have a very high threshold of pain and a great fear of doctors so I never got it check out. That gave the invitation for the arthritis to set in.  The Orthopedic Surgeon said that in 12-18 months I will want another surgery to take off all of the hardware and later on down the road a complete knee replacement. Great!!! 2 more surgeries and rehabs to look forward to! So I was in the hospital for 6 days than in rehab for the last 12 days expecting to go home on Sunday, Oct 9th. God sure does laugh at our plans!!! Hurricane Matthew arrived on Saturday night Oct 8th and flooded my home.  But that is for another blog…