Sunday, April 30, 2006

Here I am shoveling away!!

This is almost 5 tons of dirt. I had taken about a third of it out already and spread it around the yard.

You got 16 tons and what do ya get...

Well, life is moving on out here. We are learning how to do things with one man down. It is amazing how when you function as a team, you really take for granted how you divide household duties. I am having to do EVERYTHING and it can be a little overwhelming at times. Chris is back at work, and that seems to be going ok. He was really getting bored around here, so I think it is good for him to finally be allowed to go do something with his time. We got him a new mouse that he can operate as comfortably as possible, and it seems to be working. By the evenings however, he is pretty stiff, so he still uses the pain medication as he needs it.

One of the things that is really hard is that we have been planning all winter to gut our back yard. We have basically a blank slate back there. The guy who lived here before (who looks like Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump...the one post-Vietnam with a bandana and tatoos and stuff. Nice, huh?) had "2 Pits" (said with a country accent, and he means he had 2 pit bulls) so he had hauled in tons of sand, and penned off half the yard for a dog run. We took all that down, and today we had over 5 tons of top soil hauled in that I single-handedly (thank-you-very-much) distributed all over the yard. This just kills Chris because he REALLY wants to roll up his sleeves, dig in and help. Once I distributed a wheelbarrow-full, he was able to kick it around and lightly use a rake to distribute it so he did get to help some. Next step is to roto-till (sp?) the top soil into the ground to create a mixture, and then plant grass seed. We are kind of fighting nature out here. We basically live in the desert and it is rare to see a full beautiful lawn. I am going to give it a try darnit!!! Funny thing is, we made all these plans intending to do it together of course, and now I have to do it all by myself. I was pretty darn proud of myself when I distributed that last wheelbarrow-full of dirt. I am capable of doing more than I thought!! By the end of this, we hope to have grass all over the back yard, a more established veggie and herb garden (which Chris's hops plant that he put in last year has come back with a vengence. He is SO excited about that), a bulb garden, and a large spot for perennials. We will post pictures to show the progress! Above is what we (mostly I) worked on today.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

As per Chris's friend Adam's suggestion, Chris went with blue to match the bike he crashed...

After the doctor's visit...

Just got back from the doctor. Here’s what we know…

Both hands – x-rays look really good. The doctor was really pleased and expects a nice recovery. It was kind of gross looking at what they did. And his hands are SO BRUISED. It doesn’t hurt at least, which is good. The doctor removed the stitches from where they operated. That was kind of gross. I won’t go into detail on that.

Left hand – This hand is healing well. Because his broken bone in his thumb is pinned to a bone in his index finder, it needs to be kept completely still. Since that is the case, they put a cast on it. It will be in the cast for 3 weeks. In 3 weeks, we will go back to the doctor, they will x-ray it again, and see how it looks at that point. Chris can’t lift anything with this hand, or get it wet. He can use his other 4 fingers to do things if he wants.

Right hand – Also healing well. Surprisingly, no cast. The doctor just wanted it splinted with a more permanent splint and not a cast. He can use it some and start working on getting some of his mobility back. This means moving his fingers…not doing rehab stuff with a ball. That may come later. Who knows. He can’t lift anything that weighs more than a pound with that hand. We can remove the splint when he takes a shower. His hand can get wet. There is a bandage covering where they made the incision when he had surgery. That can come off in a week.

All in all, it was an encouraging visit. Everything is looking good which is a relief. I think he will go back to work on Monday, and they have given him a note that says that he needs a modified work schedule. He is starting to act more like the usual Chris. Which is nice. So that’s all we know for right now!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Thanks for all of the sweet notes you guys have sent! I keep passing them on to Chris and it makes him smile. He is getting stronger every day. His fingers have been so swollen and bruised, and slowly that is getting better. I think he will be ready for his casts come Thursday. That will be so nice. His hands are just splinted right now, and it makes me nervous that it isn't as secure a bandage as it could be. We finally had the chance to check out his GPS which he had on him (and yes there have been jokes about "retreiveing his black box," etc) to see just how fast he was going. Turns out he was going 31 mph when he crashed. For those of you more familiar with bike riding, that is just ridiculously fast for one to be going on a mountain bike! I think he has learned his lesson. We had a small victory yesterday. We took him to our regular doctor to have his stitches and road rash checked out. The doctor says that the road rash looks like it is healing well, and that we need to keep going like how we have been. His stitches came out (he had stitches in his chin) which is a huge relief! It has been hard being able to keep him clean without getting all of his cuts and scrapes too wet, and now we don't have to worry about his chin any more. We just have to keep some neosporin on it to minimize how big of a scar he will have. Aside from all of that we are just hanging out here, helping him do everything becuase he can't use his hands. He is really getting bored and antsy and not liking not being able to use his hands for basic things. That's all for now. I will write more after we see the doctor on Thursday!

Friday, April 14, 2006

God Forgives, Rocks Don’t

This post is huge...sorry! (Scroll down to see pictures at the bottom.)

Chris saw this phrase on a bumper sticker recently and it made him laugh. Unfortunately, Tuesday night, Chris learned the hard way about how unforgiving rocks can be! He came home from work, and decided he wanted to go for a mountain bike ride. He got his gear ready, kissed be goodbye, and then headed off to go try out a new mountain bike trail in town called Red Rock Canyon Trail. About an hour later, he called me and told me that he had fallen, that he needed me to come get him, and that he thought is wrist was broken. He was pretty out of it and couldn’t really tell me where he was. I just knew he was in the Manitou Springs area. He was out in the middle of the woods, and was hurt badly. He was able to walk still, so I told him that he had to keep walking to try to get to a place where I could find him. We hung up, I jumped in the car, and drove in the direction of Manitou. I was just going to drive around until I found him…there are so many trails around there. On the way, I called my parents to ask them to meet us at the hospital. I was just panicking driving around down there…I couldn’t find him. I tried his cell phone again. By this point, Chris had run into a hiker on the trail. The hiker helped get him out to the road, and was able to give me some good directions. I floored it and got on over to him. He looked horrible. He was bleeding all over. He had his broken wrist tucked into his bike jersey to keep it stable. I told him to get in the car, threw the bike on the back of my car on the bike rack, and drove like a maniac to the hospital. At first, I tried to drive safely, but Chris just looked at me, and said “Sweetie…I think I’m your get out of jail free card today…just drive” so we went about 60 and ran every red light. We got to the emergency room, they checked him out, and then we started waiting. He started going into shock, so (and by this point my parents had arrived) we did our best to keep him warm and still until it was time or him to go back for the x-rays. The x-rays revealed that he had definitely broken his right hand wrist in a really bad way (that much was obvious just from looking at it), and that he had also broken his thumb on his left hand in a bad spot, just by the joint at the base of his hand on his palm. Both would need to be operated on to be fixed. He got stitches in his chin as well. They called in a orthopedic surgeon to take a look. He decided that the best way to go would be to have a hand surgeon do it because of the nature of the fractures. He wouldn’t be available until the next day, so they splinted his broken limbs up as best as they could. The whole thing took forever. While he was laying there in the ER waiting for all of this to be done, he had his hands propped up on his chest. He said “Hey Sarah, can you come look at my side? I feel like I have a little something there.” I carefully moves his arms over, and peeled back his shirt, and it revealed that he had MEGA road rash from the middle of his side, all the way down to his knee. I grabbed our RN, who immediately helped me get him stripped down so we could see what else we may have missed, and then they got that cleaned up. Fortunately that was the last big thing we found. He has cuts and scrapes all over his body, but the worst of them have been bandaged up. They had to put a topical anesthetic on the road rash to numb it up, and then they had to get a plastic brush thing and brush all of the gravel and rocks and things out of his scraped up side. Fortunately, the topical anesthetic worked so well, he didn’t feel a thing. Eventually, he was admitted to the hospital, and we were there for the rest of the night (or what was left of it anyways by that point) and a good part of the next day. His hands swelled up like you wouldn’t believe, which made his splint that they put on him the night before REALLY tight and uncomfortable. We reached a point where we had to pitch a fit to get some orthopedic trauma nurses from another floor in the hospital to come down, check him out and give the “ok” for them to loosen his bandages a little to give him some relief. They kept him doped up on pain medication that mostly just made him sleep the whole time, which was probably best. Eventually we were able to get a time from the hand specialist for when the surgery would be done (Wednesday night), so then they were able to move us to the orthopedic floor of the hospital. That was really great because the nurses on that floor were much more knowledgeable about how to take care of him and keep him comfortable. Finally it was time for the surgery. Chris did really great. The doctor was really pleased with how everything went back together. His broken thumb was kind of a mystery. I don’t think the x-rays were able to tell him as much as he would have liked. Once he got in there and was able to see what was going on, I think it went back together again easier than he expected. He expects that hand to recover nicely. His right wrist will take some more time. They had to put a plate and some screws in there. And now after it is all over, that is definitely the most delicate of his 2 hands. He has splints on his hands now. He will get full on casts in a week. Since swelling was such a problem before the surgery, I think the doctor wanted to see how everything healed first before doing the casts. He has to be home for a week at least. The doctor will let him know if he needs to stay home longer after he sees him in a week. The pain medications he prescribed seem to be working well so far which is great. Chris got home from the hospital yesterday. His mom flew in to help since Chris can’t use his hands at all. I am so glad she is here! It is definitely a 2 person job at times taking care of him. Once he gets his casts he should have some more independence, but for the time being, he needs to lay down and just be still. I will keep you posted as we move through this. Please keep Chris in your prayers as he heals. This has been major…working though all of this. The worst is behind us, and now he just needs to rest and get better. He can’t ride his bike for 3 months, which means the Tour of Colorado is off limits. He is REALLY bummed about that. I told him that we will just have to be creative about how to keep him in shape. Find things where he doesn’t have to use his hands. Like do a lot of hiking this summer maybe.

For the more bike savvy: I forgot to say exactly how he fell of his bike. He was going downhill, and it was kind of rocky. His front tire caught on something, and he went over the handlebars. He landed primarily on his right hand which was what broke his wrist. He also landed on his left hand. Most of his wounds are on his right side. He said that the trail was really smooth and flat, so he was going faster than he should have. He had never done this trail before, so he didn’t know to anticipate that downhill part.

Here's the Patient. VERY glad to be home.

Chris's Bike Helmet - Thank GOD he was wearing it!!

Chris's Left Thumb - After Surgery - They had to put pins in it.

Chris's Right Wrist - After Surgery