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"I had one of those!"

I was sitting in a wheelchair in the hospital elevator, when I met her the first time. She was an employee of the hospital, in the elevator headed to wherever work was next taking her. She looked down at me, pointed to my leg and said, "I had one of those!"

Before you think, "Of course she had a leg. I hope she still has one. Or, two would be better," let me explain. I was in the hospital because I had broken my leg the day before. It was a serious break, with shatters at the tibia plateau. That's the very place you put weight on your leg and walk. Mine couldn't do that now.

My leg was propped up, and had what looked like a medieval torture device sticking out of it. Ah, that's what she was talking about. The device was an external fixator, meant to keep all of my leg bones in place and give the swelling a chance to go down before the next surgery. Plates and pins would then be inserted inside of the leg.

This is it. Along with a photo bomb by Skeeter, and bruises on my toes.

Broken leg with fixator and cat
External Fixator

Those are big pins sticking out - they were attached to my leg bone. This is what the woman in the elevator was talking about. She'd had one herself.

The day before, I was riding my beloved eTrike down one of our country roads. I had only had it a couple of months then, and loved every minute riding it. And, before you think I was not getting exercise with an eTrike, I was. I pedaled and only used minimal pedal assist when going up steep hills, or when my knees needed a little rest.

I decked my trike out with stickers with a "girl power" theme. My helmet had a few stickers as well. I was really looking forward to fall, when the autumn colors came out in full force. I planned to take lots of pictures. But, before that could happen, I ended up in a ditch on the side of a country road, the bike landing hard on my leg, and the tibia platform giving way.

My journey to recovery started shortly after. When the woman who "had one of those" told me that, we shared experiences. Her's was also a bike accident. Admittedly, hers was a motorcycle accident, but a bike's a bike, right?

She showed me a picture of her beautiful blue Harley. I could see why she loved it. She told me her story. She'd just gotten her Harley, and went out with her brothers after dark one night for a ride. Somehow, she ended up cartwheeling and crashed herself into unconsciousness.

Her brothers got her to the hospital, where she was in a coma for two weeks. And, when she woke up, she had an external fixator like mine. Her recovery was long.

Her Harley survived the accident. As soon as she was able, she got back on that beautiful blue Harley. And, she's been loving it ever since.

I saw her several times during my hospital stay. She was leaving work on the day I was released from the hospital, still with the external fixator in place. She looked at me and said, "You get back on that bike." I said, "I will! And, thank you!"

And, believe me, I will.

My eTrike:

My eTrike before the accident

Note: It has been a long recovery, from weeks of not putting any weight on the leg at all, to slowly working my way back into walking thanks to the help of two home physical therapists, and then the outpatient physical therapists at Wise Physical Therapy in Waterford.

Huge thank yous go out to Brian, Keith, Kaylee, Amy, and Tricia for getting me back on my feet and Stephanie for her humor. Your smiling faces and encouragement meant so much.

And, a bigger thank you to my dear friend and neighbor, Bonnie. You took such wonderful, loving care of me during that time, and I will always be grateful. Love you.


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