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Linda's Trimalleolar Fracture


Dutch's story

On March 30, 2004 my friend Linda (really more like a daughter) asked me to go with her to witness a wedding. I had gone with her to the park a few times for weddings, and we didn't expect to have a new experience on that particular day. It had been cloudy, with some light rain, but nothing more than usual for that area. The park is large, with lots of valleys and hills, so it was necessary to go uphill about 300 feet from the parking lot, to where the wedding was to be.


Linda lead the group, looking for the perfect wedding spot, and was faster than the rest of us because the couple to be married were looking around at the beautiful landscape and I was short of breath. I'm a bit hard of hearing as well as slow, so I hadn't heard anything. As I approached the wedding site I was surprised to see Linda on the ground and the couple rushing to see what happened. Linda had broken her ankle by stepping into a grass covered hole. As I got closer I could see that her ankle was very much out of shape. So much so that it made me nauseous.


The wedding couple called 911 for an ambulance to take Linda to emergency. The bride's expression was of total disappointment . She had come all this way to Hawaii for that special wedding, and now the wedding would be off. Linda saw this, and without showing her pain suggested that they say their vows, anyway. While practically immobilized, stretched out on the ground supporting her ankle, Linda conducted the wedding in apparently all good humor while we were waiting for the ambulance.


What amazed me was Linda's ability to hide her pain and appear happy. She never made a painful sound until the paramedic moved her foot. Her scream felt as if it encased all of the agony of the past half hour.


It wasn't long after 9: o'clock when Linda's ankle was broken. The paramedics had her in the ambulance and were leaving the parking lot shortly after ten, with me in close pursuit. By the time I arrived in the emergency room Linda was on a bed with the same blankets and sheet used to carry her all the way from the muddy grass. The sheet had been used as a sling to pick her up and transfer to the bed from the ambulance gurney. It wasn't possible to move her without moving the ankle, too.


It took three people to force the dislocation straight enough for her to be taken for an xray, and the process caused so much pain that I was almost sick. After they were developed, the pictures were placed on a light panel by a young doctor. I asked him where it was broken. He waved his hand in front of the picture and said with amazement, "just everywhere!"


Large doses of morphine were used to help control Linda's pain. From my perspective it didn't seem to help much. Linda was fortunate that the finest ankle specialist in Hawaii was on call. The bad thing was that she had to lie in the ER for close to six hours before she was was taken to surgery and was put to sleep for the procedure. That was her first true relief all day.


After three days in the hospital I brought her to my apartment where we cooperated in the process of getting her well and healed. She recently helped me celebrate my 85th birthday!




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