Christmas Camp: The Kirkwood Adventure

Christmas Camp Day #3
December 24, 2007

Once again my phone alarm went off before 0600 shrieking with excitement of the day to come. We loaded up the car and headed to Kirkwood. This is the home ski resort of the Neuschwander Family. We were very excited to be going skiing despite the lack of snowfall so far this season.

We arrived and enjoyed the warm air as we got our lift tickets and headed to the lift. I had fun ripping down the slopes with Tim, Seth, and Bruce. We had been skiing for a few hours when Tim and I were riding a two man chair and Tim started talking about ways to get more skiing in this year. He wanted to go skiing the day after Christmas. I thought this was a fine idea except Tim's Mom and Dad invited us to go into San Fransisco for the Sak's Day after Christmas sale and to the Boulevard for lunch . Not wanting to admit to Tim I wanted to shop instead I waited one more chairlift ride before pushing him off the chair causing him to fall in a twisting manner and fracture his fibula. I know it sounds cruel, but if you ask any of the ladies in the shoe department of Saks the day after Christmas they would understand.
I feigned innocence and surprise while Tim examined himself. Being an orthopedic resident comes in handy. He thought his fibula was fractured or it was a bad sprain. When he got up to walk to the lift to ride down I knew it was broken. He looked all green. It was then the ski patrol decided they would take him down in the sled. I felt bad at this point and suggested icing his leg. Seth asked where we could get some ice, I started to answer "maybe the ski patrol" in my charge nurse voice when I looked up to see Seth's grin as he made a snowball. Alright I know when I have been had.

They say doctors make the worst patients except for athletes or maybe nurses. Well that about covers all of us. An x-ray was done at the Kirkwood clinic and Tim got to read it himself. Two fractures in the fibula. He proclaimed this was a benign break and better than a sprain. The clinic Doctor advised Tim it would be TTAT or touch touch as tolerated, Tim corrected him and said that it was weight bearing as tolerated. Yes, that is correct. Personally, I would have recommended OOBAT. Out of Bed as Tolerated. We have many abbreviations in the medical field. My favorites are LGFD , looks good from door and PITA ......that one I'll let you figure out. The only problem with WBAT was Tim's leg was so swollen and painful he couldn't bear much weight for a long time.

At first he refused the splint and pain meds as the splint wasn't the right one and the pain meds would delay healing. He convinced the nurse that he didn't need the splint because his snowboard boot would act as a splint. Are you kidding me ? Is this nurse going to fall for that. At this point I told the nurse and to assemble the splint. I could just see Tim wearing his snowboard boot the to Christmas Mass or to the Sak's sale. It is not the job of the injured to think straight, they are in shock. This poor nurse wouldn't make it 10 seconds at Mercy. The Mercy style of Care is to give your patient choices. For example you say sir would you like a cast from your head to your toe or a below the knee splint? See how patient first we are. Despite the Dr's making poor patients Tim was the exception to the rule. He was a great sport and insisted we continue skiing. He said he would enjoy the fireplace in the lodge while eating homemade Christmas cookies and sipping a beer. That's got to be the next best thing to skiing. We skied for a bit longer but it wasn't the same without Tim.
Tim endured a long car ride home with his leg on the center console. He looked forward to a loving greeting from his loyal dog Riley. True to form Riley was waiting at the door but when he saw the crutches he became upset and started barking ferociously. Riley could not be consoled. He knew one thing for sure those crutches were the sign of trouble. Once Tim was settled on the couch Riley was settled as well. He and the other family dogs (Dalmatians Elle and Polly) settled into a comfortable routing of running circle around the living room and occasionally bumping Tim's leg. Eeeyy the plight of a patient.

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