Phyllis Donovan: ‘Break a leg’ not so funny in reality

Phyllis Donovan: ‘Break a leg’ not so funny in reality

       It started out like any other day. We spent the morning doing our usual household chores before going out to Huxley’s for an early breakfast/lunch. I always eat breakfast when I get up at 7 a.m. but my husband likes his breakfast in the  brunch range so it works out well.

We did our shopping chores after that and I was pleased to find just the right birthday cards for my sister in Florida and a local friend who were celebrating the next week. Returning home, we decided to put out the trash for the next day before bringing the car into the garage of our raised ranch.

After I emptied the cat’s litter box, I decided to set up a box of fresh new litter in the downstairs hallway while my husband rolled the barrels out to the curb. That chore done, I went to sit down on one of the lower stairs until we could bring up our earlier purchases.

I don’t know if I felt light headed or just lost my balance, but the next minute I felt myself going down. I recall grabbing for one of the sturdy stair railings and missing and scolding myself as I knew I was falling.

Next thing I knew I was flat on the floor with the smell of the cat’s nearby clean litter box in my nose! Of course, the first thing anyone does in that situation is to assess the damage. First I checked the hip I fell on and it felt okay. Next came arms and legs. Everything seemed to be working except my right foot which wasn’t where it was supposed to be.

I found my poor foot curled up under me and sticking out from under my left hip. Oh-oh! That couldn’t be good.

When my husband came in from the garage he was shocked to see me lying on the floor. “What happened?” he asked and I told him he’d better call 911  because I could feel a bone poking out the side of my leg as I lined it up with the other one.

 I must have been in shock as I felt no pain. Before I knew it, the firemen from Meriden’s Engine 5 were pouring into the house and administering to my leg followed by Hunter’s Ambulance people. Someone put my leg in a makeshift cardboard splint and I was whisked down to Midstate Medical Center as my poor husband forlornly watched me go.

I felt totally unprepared to be away from home without any essentials: no purse, no iPhone, no batteries for my hearing aids. At least my glasses had stayed on my nose.

Before I knew it I was in the ER at Midstate and people were caring for me. My poor right leg kept spasming, and each time it jumped, I felt new pain. They took me to get a CT scan which showed I had broken both the tibia and fibula and shattered bone in the process.

It was decided to admit me so I could have surgery the next day. My daughter came with my purse, makeup,  iPhone and batteries and to keep my worried husband company. Things started getting back to normal as my life began to settle down.

At Midstate I found old friends, hospital workers from a back operation two years ago – John, Debbie and Nicole – and Ann who expertly took my blood every morning. Although I couldn’t eat before surgery, I was kept comfortable until Dr. Aldrich could put a rod in my bone and stabilize the leg. Much as I had tried not to fall and become incapacitated, soon there I was,  on my way back to a rehab facility to recuperate and learn to walk again.

Moral of the story: I will never again tell anyone in show business to “break a leg” for good luck. Somehow,  It really isn’t that funny any more!


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