Friday, May 23, 2008

Broken pelvis

Yes, me. Bicycle riding home, I was descending a steep hill in the rain - 3 blocks from Bill Gates' now former office. I have ridden the route many times before. But, despite the intent and attempt to control my speed, my front wheel slipped. Wheel right. Ron down on left hip. Severe broken pelvis.
I am very fortunate that at bicycle speed my other injuries were limited to road rash and a minor bump on the noggin and broken helmet. But my break is severe - about the worst pelvis fracture. Evergreen Hospital sent me to the trauma center at Harborview Hospital in Seattle. 5-hour surgery. Oxycodone for pain. Avoid it! Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC
Fractures of the acetabulum are harder to treat because access to this bone is more difficult, and because of the acetabulum's proximity to the major blood vessels to the legs, the sciatic nerve (the major nerve that arises from the lower spine and provides sensation and movement to the leg and foot), the intestines, the ureter and the bladder. Unlike a hip fracture, which can be treated relatively easily, to repair an acetabular fracture, the orthopaedic surgeon, must, in essence, fix the broken bones from the inside out.
I will not be able to put weight on my left foot for 6 to 8 weeks. Weeks! No weight on my left foot! Walker and wheelchair first, then crutches. Update - July 3, 2008 Six weeks have passed and I am still weeks away from putting ANY weight on my left foot. Healing of this type of injury is so slow that they don't even take an Xray for 6 weeks after surgery. I passed the first milestone - I got to start the real physical therapy last week. (PT came to our home to help us figure out how to take a shower safely and other in-home needs.) But I am still weeks away from putting any weight on it. I was so weak that I used a walker at first. Imagine using a walker as crutches. I had to carry my full 195 on my hands. And on the worst spot, where there is no padding at all. For two weeks I bragged that the standard folding walker is great engineering - strong and light. Then I started complaining that it is woefully inadequate. Why doesn't anyone make a model for this need? Obvious: A million people use a walker as a super cane - to avoid falling. But a tiny number use it as crutches carrying full weight; there is not the market to support the model I needed. I was at Harborview for 6 days, housebound for one week. Then getting out, but not driving for 4 weeks. Now I can drive, but my energy is so low that I have to plan 30 to 60 minutes rest before any outing. And I am limited to about 2 hours on any outing. Everyone thinks that I tricked Boeing out of 2 plus months off with 80% pay. I am so weak that what I do in a day any healthy person can do after working 8 hours! I expect to return to work the second week of August, which is after 12 weeks. First, I will see how far I can carry grandson Benjamin while on crutches. Just kidding! Update - August 9, 2008 I might have been the only person at Whistler on crutches, but all the other people with broken pelvises missed a great 12 days. 9 days with daughter, SIL and 4-year-old and 20-month-old. 4 days with younger daughter. 8 with son. Whistler is filled with active people: active people have accidents, so I spoke to a couple people with pelvis or hip breaks and lots who were on crutches for months. A few construction accidents, but mostly sports. I started weight bearing July 24 after 10 weeks: one week 25% - a start; one week 50% - little better; now at 75% - a big improvement. I can use one crutch and put very little weight on it. A quantum improvement. I couldn't walk far while there. Twice I pushed myself - like walking 3/4 mile - and had to cut back a bit. It was not easy, but sure beat sitting at home talking to our dog. My energy level is still low, but I have to start working next week as much as I can. Probably 40% at first. The MS society has a bike ride September 13-14. No, it looks like a couple of months after that.

39 comments:

Clement Wan said...

Ron - I'm one of your anonymous blog readers with google's rss reader. I've enjoyed your blog for I think about a year now. Sorry to hear about your accident and I hope you get better soon!

Heidi said...

We're thinking about you and praying for you!

Steve Beren said...

Ron, sorry to hear of your accident. You will certainly be in our prayers for a successful recovery.

Anonymous said...

Ron,

I'm another of the anonymous readers. God Speed to help you heal quickly.

Ken

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about this. I pray you'll heal quickly and completely.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, forgot to sign my name---Michele

Anonymous said...

I wish I could help you more. Take away all
your pain. Kiss the owy and make it all better,
quickly. Instead, we will just enjoy each and every
day having you home this summer as a preview
of what retirement could be all about!
Love,
Gini - the Wife

AnonJimmyT said...

Hi Ron,

I pray (In Jesus' name!) & hope you are feeling better today...and healing up strong and are able to ride that hill again!! (maybe with a 3-wheeler!! ;^)

AnonJimmyT from 25B1

Ron said...

Of course I will ride that hill again. Going down! But very carefully! And Bill Gates retired and moved.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how much energy it takes for the body to heal. But so awesome that the healing is taking place. Hubby had some oral surgery a couple months back and it was strange to observe how just that could make him tire more easily the first week or so.
Take care and enjoy the sunshine as you can. Thanks for the update, and may you recover soon and completely.

Barbie said...

Hi I know what your going through. Aug 27, 2008 I was crushed by an 800 lbs ATV. I broke my pelvis in 6 places, broke my leg, shoulder blade , 3 ribs & punctured a lung. Please tell me this will get better!! I have an external fixator on plus a screw inside. They attempted to ake off the x-fix last friday, but felt like I was coming apart so it's back on. I am only 36 & a mom of 4 littlest is 5. I miss running & playing with him. I am scared I will never run again. I've heard of people breaking the pelvis just by running! I am so grateful to be alive. I was told I am about as broken a pelvis can be & still be fixed. Please let me know how you feel now, so I can know what to expect. Thanks, Barbie

Ron said...

Barbie, Your injuries are more serious than mine. I have been full-weight-bearing for a month and a half. I still have to take ibuprofen for pain and inflammation control. I have discomfort in walking. Despite that, today I resolved to walk more. (That's good!) I just have to make sure I do it right - so it makes me healthier, does not do damage. I have to make sure I don't favor my left leg and misuse it or something else. God bless you on your healing.

Anonymous said...

Was looking up how long till i would walk normally. I to broke my pelvis. 18 years old fell from a tree lol.My break was not as severe as yours but i feel for you.
They told me i wouldn't walk for 8 weeks.
A month after my break im walking not with full weight maybe 50%. But it's all determination!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend suffered a broken pelvis from an accident. Just curious how long does it take for the "good stuff" down there to start working again? We are trying to have a baby.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

TRUCK RAN OVER ME IN JANUARY i AM WALKING WITH A WALKER STARTED THIS WEEK, i HAVE 7 SCREWS AND 7 PLATES HOLDING THE PELVIS TOGETHER, TODAY i FEEL GOOD i'M GOING TO MOVE AS MUCH AS I CAN TODAY.

virginia said...

Hi,
I broke my pelvis in many places, the worst is the pubis bone which the break went clean through. I could barely walk with crutches, was very very slow. A lot of pain. It happened while I was riding a horse. The saddle was an endurance saddle (not supposed to sit on) I didn't know and the horse had a bumpy jog. So I bounced pretty hard in the saddle when she went fast. That started the fractures. Then my Primary Physician told me there was nothing wrong with me after an x-ray. So I went walking and exercising which did the trick for me I guess. Found out the reality when I went to a surgeon and he took proper x-rays. It will be a year or two before I am able to get back on a horse or dance. Virginia

Anonymous said...

I am recovering from a severe acetabular fracture from a motorcycle accident. I was wondering how your injury has healed. I am 9 weeks in and am starting rehab with pretty much full weight bearing, but I am having concerns about how this is healing and where it'll be in the future. Please tell.

Ron said...

Anonymous: You are improving faster than I did. Maybe age? I was 62 at the time.

The surgeon told me early that I might be in the 15 per cent that needed a hip replacement after 2 or 3 years. Not so fortunate. My progress plateaued in October/08. I kept going back to the surgeon. He sent me for a hip replacement. Got that in March/09. I was on crutches for 9 weeks because they had to do a bone graft for an area not healed from the first injury. I stopped using cane in June - after 3 months.
(The fact that I needed a second surgery does not mean the first was a failure; it rebuilt the acetabular to be able to take the replacement. But my healing didn't form the hip socket properly. But I was badly smashed up.)

Since then my progress has been slow but steady. I haven't had a noticeable limp in probably 6 months.

In December while shopping I heard someone saying something about my hip doing well and it was the surgeon who did the original reconstruction.

I hope you heal making steady progress and don't need a second surgery.

virginia said...

Omg, so many wonderful people responding to my broken pelvis! I will pray for each one of you that you heal....mine was from a horse back riding incident. I have Osteopenia and my fractures are insufficiency fractures. I still have pain in the seat bones and sometimes I limp sometimes I don't..Physical Therapy has helped me. I go to the pool...it's real gentle therapy. Thank you for your kind words they help so very much

virginia said...

eneske

Anonymous said...

Ron,

I'm 37 so I'm sure that is helping. My main concern is that I keep getting a sharp pain when doing some PT exercises that feels like it's coming from the joint. My therapists keep insisting that it's soft tissue related but I can't tell. What did your joint pain feel like? How would you describe it? My leg also wants to turn outward and if I bend forward at the waist my leg pivots from the motion. Of course my therapists say that is caused from the soft tissues being weak and unstable and not due to the joint itself. Did you experience any of this with your leg? I appreciate the info as I haven't found anyone else with this type of fracture. Thank you and my name is William.

virginia said...

Hi William,
Pain is an indication that something is wrong. I had sharp pain in my pelvis when I walked and pain in my right hip joint. I found out through having a cat scan and a radio active isotope x-ray that my pubis bone had a big fracture and I had several smaller fractures throughout my pelvis on the right side. I only do water therapy because it is less stressful on the fractures but I only do that about 2 x a week. I hope this helps Virginia

richphoto said...

I just got out of Harborview, same thing.. front wheel slid out on a familiar turn on lake Washington Blvd. I am sure my front tire hit a small round pebble that cause it to go, because it was like i hit oil. I went down hard on my right side, my ride partner tried to stop but hit me and flew over the top. I broke my pelvis in 3 places, tore my rotator cup and ripped half the skin off my right side and left arm and he broke 5 ribs. 8 hours in the ER at Harborview is an eye opening experience on a Saturday night. At least the Nurses listened to my request not to cut my racing bids and jersey off me. Not so happy about the recovery time, I am self employed and the bills don't stop but he income does.
Richard Brown
http://www.richardbrownphotography.com

Justin said...

I'm 28 and had a bicycle fall north of UW on my mountain bike. I initially went to UW. When they found out I had an acetabular fracutre I was transferred to Harborview as well. Luckily my fracture was not displaced enough for the orthopedist to recommend surgery (he actually seemed a little bummed that he couln't cut me open). But he said that my before xray looks like an after surgery xray. I did the whole 6 weeks of toe touch weight bearing. Now I'm on week 10, walking around like normal, though according the surgeon's suggesting I should be only 75% weight bearing on the bad leg. Not running at all, the surgeon actually said he wouldn't recommend that I ever jog for regular exercise. Things seem to be going pretty well.

I wonder if we all had the same surgeon at Harborview.

Anonymous said...

OMG!! I am so glad I found this blog. My 23yo nephew was cycling and hit by a truck. He has a broken ankle and a crushed pelvis. He had the surgery yesterday and has an external halo afixed to his pelvis. Right now we don't know if he will have more surgery, be discharged to a rehab/skilled nursing facility or come home.

My question is what are some of the most important home health aides/supplies that any of you felt you could not have done without. I have been trying to navigate websites and use logic and I know the hospital/MD will supply info, but the family doesn't want to have to rush to get everything at the last minute. Please give input as quickly as possible. Thanks!!!!

Jim C. said...

I am 52 years old and I broke my pelvis in a car accident on June 24th. It came appart in the front 1-1/2" and broke in the back. I had surgery on June 25th - plate in the front and two big screws in the back. I was put on crutches and told to have no wieght placed on left side. I was too active with my physical therepy and work outs and broke my metal plate after 5-1/2 weeks. After x-ray doctor says it was still staying together and should be all right. After 9 weeks the x-ray shows its still holding together, however I complained that I could feel it moving around and he said that it was ok. I am told to start puting wieght on my left side but my pelvis feels very unstable with clicking and movement. Doctor says thats ok. Anyone else having issues like this? Love to discuss. JIM C.

Anonymous said...

My childrens dad was in a motorcycle accident on june 16,he was struck by a drunk driver in a big silverado pick-up. He had a broken pelvis what they called an open book fracture. He had injuries to internal organs due to the impact of the crash. 2 severed arteries one in the pelvic area the other had to be found through exploritory surgery.He lost 60 units of blood he had just turned 41 they told us with his injuries 1 in 10 die. He is a very healthy 41 year old. His recovery is also very slow. External fixator about 7 weeks. Started no weight bearing to right side at first. He was left with an open belly wound from the exploritory surgery. They were unable to close him do to his organs swelling from all the blood he had to be given. So throughout his theraphy he has had to learn to walk again with no core to balance him.He also started with a walker he found it easier to use two canes instead, he is still on two canes but can walk with 1 at a much slower pace. He's not as sure of himself with one but he gets better every day. His biggest problem he has is getting stretched out he can do it himself but not as well as when he has assistance. He feels stiff every day due to the tightness of his hamstring muscles and calf muscles. He is done with therapy for now until he has surgery on that core of his. He has been on coumadin since they discovered blood clots in his legs in august. He just had an altrasound on his legs at the end of february 2011 they are still there, smaller but there. So he needs 3 more months of coumandin therapy. Pains still in his pelvis area where he has a screw that was put in place to stablize his spine. He says it feels like he is being stabbed from the inside out. The orthepedic surgeon says it is pain from the injury not the screw. Hopeful of more recovery just hard for him to deal with how long it takes and if he'll be able to go back to the gym and lift weights at the time of the accident he was benching 400lbs now he can barely lift a 10lb dumb bell. He also feels weak tired after just a short time out going to therapy but he pushes himself to go that xtra mile it takes to get better. He has started himself on a treadmill walking at a slow pace but he does about 3/4 of mile several times a week. We'll see how the next few months go we'll have to be his physical therapist at home for now. We pray for anyone else who has to go through this he told me the other day he would not wish this injury on his worst enemy.

advantage plan 2012 said...

Ron,

I am sorry to hear about your accident.I understand how you feel because my husband has also been in an accident, that kept him going in and out of the hospital for almost a year. But unlike you, he had a broken shoulder too, along with his broken hips. He had screws and wire on most part of his right side that looking at him was really painful. But he managed to get back on his feet, with a bit of a limp, and with wires still inside his right leg and right arm. So remain focused on your healing Ron and remain strong. I, among the rest here are wishing for your speedy recovery.

Ron said...

Thanks for the encouragement. My big injury was three years ago. I had a second surgery - hip replacement. About five months later I was astonished to observe that no one noticed how I walked - no limp.

Here is my one-year-after report: http://blog.ronhebron.com/2009/05/one-year-of-recovery-fun.html. I am doing very well now. I walk, hike and bike ride, but only minimal running.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments I feel way better, I broke the left side of my pelvis clean off the sacrum as well as my left humerus on the 5th of June 2011. In two days time I have my x rays to see if I can start full weight bearing, initially I was in traction but the broken left side started to pull upwards and needed two large screws to secure the broken part to the right side through the sacrum. The result is that despite trying to pull the side down eventually it was secured in a position which leaves my one leg an inch shorter than the other. Having been in hospital for 50 days and in a wheelchair for around a month I have not placed any weight onto the leg until today, I can feel the muscles are very weak but it feels good except for a feeling in my crotch that feels like it's coming apart, asthat was not broken I assume it's muscular. Anyway Monday will be d day to see if I can start walking again with crutches. Problem is a need another arm op to remove the plate in it as it's not worked out well. So crutches may be a problem. I don't feel so bad now after reading what others have been through, based on what I have read here i think my running days are over. Iain, Durban south africa

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier in this as richphoto, I am now a little over a year after the accident, and am riding stonger than ever.
The biggest problem was the mental block to cycle again.
I do want to tell you all to please stay active as possible durring recovery, I was doing everything on crutches including working, moved my business, installed a wood floor in my new studio. My doctor was dumbfounded on how I healed so quickly. What worked for me..
1. Stay mobile and active, do not lay around depressed.
2. Take vitamins, especially c and d
3. If you can't continue working, get up and walk around or do anything to keep blood moving around your body as well as anything to keep cardio up a bit, even if it's only using upper body.
Best
Richard

Anonymous said...

I fell off a two foot high porch onto my left side and broke my pelvis in 2 places. I have always been skinny and active, but I'm 63 years old with osteoporosis. The fractures were "good" closed fractures, requiring no surgury, but one was situated above the "cup" into which the leg bone meets the pelvis. I was therefore told that I could touch the ground daintily for balance, but I was to put no weight on it at all or I might break that cup completely.

I have used a walker and besides going back and forth to the bathroom, fixing food and doing light chores around the (upstairs...yes..I'm stuck upstairs) condo where I live, I have been pretty much confined to bed or my couch for the past 6 weeks. It still hurts my outside hip area but the inner thigh area seems to be getting better as I feel no pain there any more. I do the 3 stretch exercises they told me to do while I was in the hospital.

I have no medical insurance, so I am wondering what exercises I should be doing now, if any, as I am noticing muscle atrophy in my left leg. I plan on making an appointment to see a doctor in another 4-6 weeks when hopefully I will be that much better and I'm guessing he will order another MRI to see if it is safe for me to begin walking on that leg. I'm not going to be able to afford a physical therapist, so I need input as to what sort of exercises I will need to do to strengthen my pelvis and left leg. Any input would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
Bev

Anonymous said...

Ron, I have what you had; was bucked off a horse, 5 breaks and part on my lower back. This Friday will be 8weeks!
At 11 weeks the doctor says that he will show me how to start walking. I am 54. I weigh a lot more than you but I have strong arms so lifting myself on the walker isn't impossible. Anyway, help! Encourage me please!

Rakesh Rajput said...

Get acetabular and/or pelvic surgery in India done by Dr. Rakesh Rajput – and stay away from all worries about post-operative complications.

rebecca neist said...

I'm am 31 and 5 weeks in to an acetabular fracture. I was lucky enough to not need surgery and was sent home from the er on crutches. I was able to go back to work part time overnights. I wish I knew How long before I can walk without crutches

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