September 2 I got a call from Cowboy’s boss saying that an ambulance just left to take him to the ER. They took him to UAMS, the local Level 3 Trauma Center, and she said “Its bad, real bad.” When I get the full story from her, something happened to Cowboy’s breaks and the tractor of his big rig rolled over his right (driving) leg.
I quickly made arrangements for The Mini and got to the hospital just as they were bringing his back from x-ray. The x-rays were negative, so he did not break his ankle (which amazed everyone). He was diagnosed with a severe high ankle sprain, given an Ace bandage and crutches, a script for 5.0 hydrocodine, and sent on his way.
This photo was taken in the ER
I went with Cowboy back to his company’s headquarters so he could do some paperwork and I got a few things out of his truck, since it was obvious he would not be driving for the next 2 weeks. After the paperwork, we were sent home to follow the doctor’s orders of ice, elevation and compression.
The next day, he went into work for the day shift, since he is on light duty, he needs to work 40 hours a week in the office. He also had a doctor’s appointment and physical therapy, and he was set up with three times a week physical therapy until he is cleared to go back on the road.
Physical therapy gave him some stuff to do at home to get mobility back. Everyone was impressed with his range of motion, especially after having 5 tons of truck on his ankle and leg. People were amazed he didn’t break his ankle, or anything for that matter.
He continued with the physical therapy, icing, wrapping, and elevating it. On Friday, he had another appointment with the doctor, who said he looked to be getting better. The swelling was getting better, then worse, then better again, and he was not in pain.
Then, September 10, the swelling got worse, alarmingly worse, and new bruising showed up on his toes. We kept doing things the way we originally were. We decided to hold off on raising alarms because he had a follow up appointment with the doctor on Friday, September 12.
Notice how bad the bruising is? Cowboy said he could feel the skin at the base of his toes stretching! His foot also looked like a grapefruit. The doctor was very concerned and decided to do another x-ray before ordering an MRI of the foot. This time the x-ray was higher, though.
After taking 2 out of the 4 x-rays that were ordered, the x-ray tech said “Oh, that is broken.” The level 3 trauma center did not think to take an x-ray of the entire part of the leg the truck rolled over, just the ankle. It turns out, his fibula is broken, clean through, nice, clean break. The bone is not displaced, which is a positive.
They caught it before the bone started to knit back together, so they do not have to rebreak it and there is no need for surgery. They put the leg in a boot and have canceled his physical therapy, obviously. He has a follow-up with the orthopedist on Monday to see what our next step is.
In the last 24 hours with the boot, the swelling has gone down, so has the discomfort. Thankfully it was caught, even though the original ER did not think to x-ray everything, just the ankle. The bone is not shattered, and no joints are broken, so we got VERY lucky.
Recovery and all future plans have been delayed by a few months, and he will be home, on day shift, for a few months. There are some positives in the situation, though, and we have to look at them. He will be home for the Razorback games now, and he probably will not have to take his vacation to ensure he is home for Christmas and New Years, since the office is closed those days. Gotta look for the silver lining.