Collapsing Into Grim Reality

Nyel, October 4, 2018

Yesterday Nyel fell.  It has happened dozens, if not scores, of times before.  It is a fact of life for a man whose lower left leg is not securely attached to his upper left leg.  Long story.  Suffice it to say that after a successful knee replacement his quadriceps muscle tore loose from its moorings and despite two surgeries, it is still virtually non-existent.

So, despite his orthopedic surgeon’s strong words of advice, “DO. NOT. FALL.”, it happens.  For four years, despite all caution and use of his constant cane companion, Nyel falls.  He falls in the house on the carpet, in the garden on the grass, in the garage on the cement – he has even fallen on the tarmac between the Ocean Beach Medical Clinic and the Hospital.  It is a fact of our lives and there are no happy solutions.

Until yesterday, the worst damage during a fall happened early-on when he fell in the kitchen and whacked his head against a drawer pull.  He didn’t lose consciousness but he did lose a lot of blood and gained six stitches.  Since then, he’s been lucky – until yesterday.  At five o’clock in the morning, as is his usual procedure (required by his cardiologist), he stepped on the bathroom scales to weigh himself.  Make that ‘almost stepped.’  Before he could complete the transfer of weight to take the necessary step up, the left leg collapsed and down he fell – despite having supports under both hands – a towel rack and a shelf.

Temporary Measures

There ensued a 911 call, transport to our local hospital and X-rays which revealed a broken tibia (which will require plates and screws) and a spiral fracture of the fibula.  The ER at Ocean Beach Hospital was thorough and efficient, giving him a temporary cast, and making arrangements for his transfer to Peace Health SW Medical Center in Vancouver where Nyel’s previous orthopedic work has been done by Rebound surgeons.  For whatever reasons, Peace Health said “no ambulance transfer” as they would not accept him as an emergency patient.  So… the OBH nurses got him into our car and I drove him to the Emergency Admitting area at Peace Health, myself.

And here we are.  Nyel was finally tucked in about one o’clock this morning.  Me, too – in a regular hospital bed in a double room here!  Surgery will “probably” be tomorrow and he will “probably” be discharged on Sunday. Nyel will then have to stay off his left foot for at least six weeks.   Meanwhile, ‘they’ are keeping him on the edge of comfort with pain meds and we are trying to get used to yet another hospital.  Nyel, as always is stoic.  Me… maybe not so much.  We are both looking forward to getting back to Oysterville and figuring out next steps.  So to speak.

39 Responses to “Collapsing Into Grim Reality”

  1. Bonnie says:


    I am so sorry to read of your and Nyel’s horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day. I know I can’t begin to understand the toll that so many days and weeks in hospitals has taken on you both. Sending healing thoughts.


  2. Betty/Jan Paxton says:

    OMG!!! We are sorry for you both! Will be praying daily for a smooth recovery and that you Sydney will take care of yourself! Get some help from home care!! ????

  3. Discovered you blog today. What a sorry day to find you. Terrible what’s happening to Nyels and you must be exhausted. Too bad you aren’t in Portland. At least I could take you out for coffee or lunch and give you a break. Hope the best for the pair of you.


  4. Jane E Smith says:

    Sydney, I am so sorry to hear of Nyel’s bad day. I am just up the road from PeaceHealth in Ridgefield. Even though we have never met, I consider you a friend. If I can bring anything down to you, just give me a holler. In the meantime, I shall send powerful healing thoughts.


  5. Elizabeth Harris says:

    Well this isn’t good! I’m glad we just did your hair! I might have to do a visit and a house call since you won’t be here in Seattle anytime soon! Give Nyle my regards and tell him to get well soon!! As for you my dear…. please take care of yourself!!! Xoxo

  6. sydney says:

    Thanks, Elizabeth! At least we are lookin’ good for all the cute doctors and nurses! But we’ll probably be pretty shaggy when we next see you! Good thing you give us such a perfect “new beginning” every time! We grow out beautifully! Love, S&N

  7. sydney says:

    Thanks so much, Jane. Actually, you’d probably never find us! (And, anyway, we are well taken care of.) In less than 24 hours we’ve been in two rooms and they are talking about moving him to a third! I’m feeling a bit like Charlie on the MTA!! Just keep thinking those good thoughts! They help more than you know!

  8. sydney says:

    Thanks, Caroline! It was grand of you to write! We are being well taken care of and probably won’t be here very long at all, so not to worry! Just keep thinking good thoughts! They help a lot!

  9. sydney says:

    Yep! Betty and Jan, we already learned, first thing out of the box yesterday, that there is someone at the O.P. Fire Station whose job description includes not only doing a safety check/inventory of your house, but being “on call” to change smoke alarm batteries and high-up light bulbs! Wow! Another old-age Perk we didn’t know about!
    Hope all is well with you two!
    Love, S&N

  10. sydney says:

    Bonnie — love “the horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day” reference!! You’ve surely got that straight!
    But… so far, so good. Hope to be home Sunday.

  11. Marion & Larry says:

    We are both so sorry about Nyel’s fall! He is a tough guy and faces things head on and does what he has to do. What an unfortunate deal and we wish him well. Also you too!

  12. Nancy & Roger says:

    Well, this is a sad state of affairs! We are so sorry. You guys were doing
    so good and now this happens. Keep the faith.

  13. Aaron says:

    Wishing him a quick and full recovery, and you both a bunch of rest.
    Good wishes from Boston!

  14. Rita Smith says:

    Healing prayers coming your way. Hope the surgery goes well and that you can head back home soon. Healing at home is the best medicine. Both of you take care!

  15. Paul Brent says:

    Give Nyel our best. Take care of him and yourself too.

  16. Cuzzin Ralph says:

    Dear Cuzzin Sydney, I’m always on tenterhooks when you miss a blog—fearing some medical emergency for you or Nyel—and unfortunately my worry was spot on this time. Hoping the best for you and for Nyel in his surgery and recovery!

  17. Marlene says:

    Wowee!! You two …. so sorry about Nyel and hope he is literally on his feet (safely). Take care of you too Sydney. ??

  18. Sara J Chase says:

    Nyel so sorry for your most recent medical emergency! I pray those bones heal well! Sydney it is no easy task being the care giver rest when you can, and do something nice for yourself!

  19. Ruth maloney says:

    Ahhhhhhhhh. I too worry when no blog. This just cannot be, my buddy bed bound again. My superpower thoughts to you both.

  20. Jo Lucas says:

    Oh my goodness! Sending hugs and prayers for a good recovery. Jon remembers “no weight on that foot/leg for 2 months”. Hang in there. ???

  21. Glenn Briscoe says:

    If bad things happen to good people, you and Nyel must both be saints. Our very best to you both. Please have a safe trip home.


  22. sydney says:

    Thanks, Jo.
    Actually, for Nyel’s situation they are saying THREE months!! He’s hoping for one of those knee-scooters for in-house use. YIKES!
    Actually, they look kinda fun. Maybe he’ll share.

  23. sydney says:

    Thanks, Ruth! Hope to see you soon.

  24. sydney says:

    Well, Sara, Nyel is hoping for one of those “knee-scooters” and I’m hoping he’ll let me borrow it! I’m thinking that would be pretty much fun!!

  25. sydney says:

    Thanks Marlene. They say “three months” until he can put weight on his bad leg. Should be interesting!

  26. sydney says:

    Thanks for your concern, Ralph! I was afraid that people would worry but it just couldn’t be helped! We appreciate your positive thoughts!! Maybe if we see you at Christmas time Nyel will be upstanding and upright! They say he’ll have to be off his bad leg for three months!! Quite a challenge.
    Love, Sydney

  27. Peter Janke says:

    I am so terribly sorry to hear this. Please give Nyel my very best wishes in this most difficult situation. I know you two have endured many difficulties and are strong people and my hope is that you will soon get back to a more enjoyable and livable life.

  28. lee ellis says:

    sooooo sorry :( Hope he can transition to a walker soon. It gives much more support than a cane.

  29. sydney says:

    Thanks, Lee. Maybe by Christmas! For the next three months, no touch-down with his left foot! He’ll probably be spending his time in a wheelchair. Stay tuned!

  30. sydney says:

    Thanks so much for your kind thoughts!
    All of this has slowed down my writing but your story is still on my mind. It will happen eventually! Stay tuned!

  31. sydney says:

    They are saying “three months” for Nyel. We are hoping for Christmas.

  32. sydney says:

    Thanks so much, Aaron! (I’d say “one step at a time” but there won’t be any stepping for Nyel for the next three months, I’m afraid. He may be able to graduate from wheelchair to walker in time for Christmas…)

  33. sydney says:

    Thanks so much, Rita!

  34. sydney says:

    Thanks for your good thoughts! One step at a time, as they say — although Nyel won’t be doing much “stepping” for a while.

  35. sydney says:

    Thanks so much, Larry and Marion!

  36. Dayton says:

    Well, it has all been said…
    We are sending good thoughts!
    Love, Dayton and Jeanne

  37. Janet clark says:

    Praying for a complete recovery. We are so sorry for this accident. Hope you are doing ok. Call if we can help.

  38. Deborah L Wells says:

    Sorry to hear about Nyels malady and hope and faith and blessings and prayers are needed now for both of you and in hopes can get him steadier on his feet after PT. Best to both of you! Deb

  39. sydney says:

    Thanks! He won’t be “on his feet” for at least three months, more’s the pity. The PT in his case was to make sure he could make it from bed to wheelchair and back again, etc. without touching down his left leg. Difficult but do-able! He’s a trooper!

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