I had just gotten done working a short shift at the hospital, it was late, I just wanted to go to bed. I couldn’t, I had to take my dogs out yet. I got home and quickly threw my purse down and grabbed the dogs. It was February and it had been warmer during the day so the snow melted, but now being 11:30 pm it was below freezing again and had iced up. I was still wearing my work shoes- my hard soled “nursing shoes”… I didn’t pause to put my winter boots on! It was late and I just wanted to go to bed.
I don’t even remember exactly how it happened- I was walking across the parking lot carrying my Boston Terrier who had decided his paws were just too cold…I started to slip- I threw him out of my arms and landed with a thud on the parking lot…what had just happened? My dogs ran off, I attempted to get up, but my right leg felt funny, I couldn’t stand. I yelled for help… my dogs ran off (luckily back to our front door) how was I going to get back in? I was still a good 500 feet from my apartment, not to mention I lived on the second floor, how was I going to get back upstairs…to my phone that I left in my purse. I couldn’t walk! No one heard me screaming for help! I started to “crab crawl” back to my apartment, made it to my front door, opened and scooted up the stairs. I got to my phone and called my sister. I am an ER nurse, I wasn’t calling an ambulance! It was a long 30 minutes that it took my sister to drive to my apartment from Green Bay. She had flagged down a police officer (who flags down a police officer?!) to help carry me to the car. When they arrived, they determined it was too icy to risk them carrying me, so they called an ambulance. For crying out loud, I am 24 years old! I don’t need an ambulance because I fell on the ice!
My worse fear- I broke my leg! Spiral tibia fracture- I may need surgery…surgery? I am a healthy 24 year old!! I fell on the ice, people fall on the ice all the time! Luckily I didn’t need surgery- it was only mildly displaced- the solution for that? 10 weeks in a thigh high cast- on week 3 they partially broke the cast, placed a wedge against my bone to help it grow in alignment and replaster over that… I had to move into my parent’s house for 12 weeks- I couldn’t live on my own, I couldn’t work (a ER nurse on her feet for 12 hours…does not happen with a broken leg) I couldn’t shower, I didn’t leave the house for 10 weeks, I gained weight.
At 24 years old, or at any age, no one wants to depend on others to care for them. I think about it all the time- if I only had put my snow boots on, would it had made a difference? If I would have taken my time to see that it was too icy there and taken the longer way back perhaps I wouldn’t have been out of work for 12 weeks.
Amanda Daniels went to Nursing School at Bellin College of Nursing and graduated in 2008. She was an ER nurse for 8 years in ThedaCare and joined the Trauma Program at ThedaCare 2 years ago. She believes Fall Prevention is important in every age group.