Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sew, an Accident

Yesterday I was on the phone with Bob when Nathan and Luke came downstairs.  I could tell they were flustered, and Luke pulled up his pant leg to show me a little spot with some blood on his thigh right above his kneecap.  I was looking mildly concerned while still trying to listen to Bob when I heard them saying something about a needle.  I told him I needed to go, and then I heard the full story (although even then I didn't really understand what had happened, so I wasn't quite right in the details when I posted about it on Facebook).

Luke was doing push-ups in his and Nathan's room.  When he finished, he brought his knees forward really fast, up to his chest, so he could get up.  Somehow he hit a needle that was somehow stuck upright-ish in the carpet.  The needle punctured his thigh and broke off right above the kneecap.  It's still a mystery how the needle got up in their room, and how long it had been there.  I mean, they sew on patches and mend little things, but no one remembers doing anything like that lately.  And Luke was right by their door into the bathroom, where he and Nathan both walk barefoot or in socks a zillion times a day.  What are the odds that a needle would lie in wait for however long until someone's thigh hit it at just the right angle?!  Luke hit the jackpot!

We all cast about for things to try.  (Hint:  if you google "broken needle in skin", you will be brought to a bunch of forums for drug users, with foul language and absolutely horrible stories . . . gah.  No drugs for me!)  I called the Tricare nurse helpline, and she told me to have Luke be seen "in the next 6 hours".  This was around 4:30 in the afternoon, which is prime rush hour, plus we were expecting a "snow squall", with bad visibility and high winds, so that didn't seem like a good time to hit the Beltway on a trek to Bethesda.  The Tricare lady agreed and gave us a pre-authorization code for an urgent care place just a few minutes away.

Bob was on his way home, so when he pulled in, Luke got in the car, and they headed off.  The urgent care place took x-rays, so they could see the needle point, but the doctor didn't feel able to deal with it, so he sent them off to a local ER.  The doctor there also did not feel comfortable trying to extract it.  He consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, and there was talk of trying something on Monday. Well, that made it pretty much not an emergency anymore, and we have heard horror stories of Tricare deciding not to pay for situations that it didn't deem as real emergencies for people who had gone to off-base ERs.  At that point, the snow storm had passed through, and rush hour was over, so Bob and Luke stopped home to grab some dinner and a backpack of stuff, and then they headed off to Bethesda.

There happened to be an ortho doc in the ER, so the doctor that was examining Luke consulted with him.  The ortho guy decided he would like to try getting the fragment out.  He made the attempt there in the room, with a CT machine hooked up so he could see where he was aiming.  Alas, however, he could not get it out.  That means the next step is an actual surgery in the OR.  Unfortunately, there weren't any spots open for non-emergency operations today or tomorrow, so as it stands now, Luke will go in Monday afternoon for a pre-op appointment, and THEN they will tell us when the surgery is scheduled, which is a bit inconvenient, since that means I'm not sure what part of my weekly schedule will need to be rearranged.  Tuesday is the only day that really can't work, which of course practically guarantees that will be when it will be scheduled.  In the meantime, Luke has to keep his leg straight, so the fragment doesn't go in farther.  He's missing basketball practices and games, rugby practices, etc., and we don't really have any idea how long recovery will take, assuming they can get this thing out next week.

Bob and Luke got home last night around 2:30 AM, so that was a long night for pretty much nothing.  We would appreciate prayers that the surgery will be successful next week.  What a completely random accident . . . so weird.

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