Monday, June 13, 2011

Insult to Injury

Saturday morning Mr. Helen took off to do the special class he has to do every two weeks as he works his way towards his 3rd Degree Black Belt in November.  I was putting around the house sipping coffee and waiting for the rain to subside so that I could try to get outside for a run before the second round of rain came in.

The phone rang but before I could answer it stopped.  I looked at caller ID and it was one of my sister-in-law's cell phones.  I figured butt dial or some such since it didn't ring again right away.  Then it happened again, so this time I called back but she didn't answer. 

I got my running gear on and was going out the door when the phone rang again, but kept ringing so I went back into the house to answer it.  It was my sister in law trying to find Mr. Helen because my father in law was at the emergency room with chest pain.

She calls him every morning at 7:30 and on Saturday he said he wasn't feeling well.  When she heard the symptoms her natural response was to rush to the house and take him to the emergency room.  (Side note:  DO NOT DO THIS.  The correct response is to call 9-1-1, which we cannot seem to make her understand.)  Fortunately, the ER triage nurse recognized what was going on and they started working on him right away.

I called the dojo but no one was answering the phone, which is not unusual.  I figured they were outside running or something so I decided I would have to drive over there.  Just before I left, I tried one more time and they answered the phone.  Mr. Helen left immediately and went to the hospital.

I waited to hear what was going on and Mr. Helen called to say pop was definitely having a heart attack.  The medical team was trying to stabilize him and then he would be transported to Yale Hospital, which is about 45 minutes away.  I immediately called the ambulance company that my boss owns and told them when the call comes in that it was my FIL and I wanted a superb crew.

Then, I went out and tried to run.  I did manage to stagger through 5 miles, but trust me when I say, there is a stress level that can be reached in which exercise might even be counter productive.  My legs felt like lead and I never could get my breathing correct.

After my run, I got cleaned up as I was supposed to have lunch with Em.  Mr. Helen called at around 11:15 and said pop had been picked up by the ambulance and he was one his way home to get cleaned up so that he could go to the hospital.  I waited for him to get there so we could decide if I should go to lunch or cancel.

Mr. Helen walked through the back door and he was limping so I immediately asked what was wrong.  He proceeded to tell me that he had pulled his groin so badly at the cycle class that he was unable to do the sprinting.  We discussed my lunch plans and decided that I should go and in the meantime he would get cleaned up, ice the pull and eat and then we would go together to the hospital once I got home.

So, I drove off and went to meet Em.  Did I tell you guys she got engaged recently?  I've been anxious to see her so I could hear the proposal story and see her ring (it's gorgeous!).  As soon as I reached the restaurant I told her what was going on because really I needed to eat and run.  Just as we were sipping coffee, my phone rang and it was Mr. Helen.  When I answered he was gasping for breath.  Right at that moment I honestly thought my head was going to explode.  Finally I realized he was telling me not to hurry that there was no way he could go to the hospital... that he thought his groin injury was not a pull but might actually be a tear because at this point he could not even straighten his leg out and could barely walk.  Now lingering over coffee and conversation are just a lost cause so we paid the bill, I gave Em a hug and took off for home.  As I reached a red light I hear my text message tone.  Normally I won't touch my phone in the car when I'm driving but as you can imagine at this point I was too nervous not to look.  It was the baby SIL texting me to call her as soon as I got home. 

I arrive home 15 minutes later and go in the house to find Mr. Helen literally gasping because the pain is unbearable.  I helped him get upstairs and get in our bed, propping the injured side up with pillows.  I take a look at it and it is fire engine red and swollen.  It is hurting him so much that when I brush it with my fingers it makes him cry out in pain.  I immediately became Dr. Helen and went into the medicine stash and found a leftover prescription for Vicodin and made him take one.  Then I called my SIL who only needed clarification on FILs medical papers (she was at the hospital at this point) because Mr. Helen had been in so much pain he was not communicating clearly.

I went downstairs, got on the computer and figured out that Mr. Helen had a Grade 3 Groin Tear.  I read information on several sites and determined that I needed to keep him iced 20 minutes of every hour, on antiinflammatory meds and I also gave him a muscle relaxer since the area kept spasming.  I think the only reason he was able to make it through the hospital time until he got home was pure adreneline keeping him from feeling it.  Because he was a giant ball of mess.

I look at my watch and it's only 2:30. I'm not going to lie,  I was seriously ready for Happy Hour.

For the next couple of hours the house was just crazy.  Another SIL came by to pick up the medical papers Mr. Helen had so that she could take them to the hospital and of course, the phone was ringing a lot.  Around 4:00 we had actually had 15 minutes of quiet and I was considering going grocery shopping when the phone rang again and this time it was Mama Helen's cell.  Her cell?  She never calls me on her cell.  She hung up before I could answer so I called right back.  Turned out that she had Miss Gracie at a Beauty and the Beast show at our local playhouse and as soon as they had gotten to the car, Gracie need to go potty and she wanted to bring her to my house.  She was calling to make sure I was home.  They arrived 5 minutes later and as soon as they walked in I could tell something was wrong so I sent Gracie upstairs to the bathroom and told her to check on her uncle. 

Off she went and I asked Mama Helen what was going on.  She started sobbing and told me that my Uncle Earl, her oldest brother (83 years old) had died that morning.  But because my sister was away, she had the kids and couldn't even think about it properly.  She hadn't wanted to call me because she knew my life was crazy - and she didn't even know about FIL's heart attack or Mr. Helen's injury.  I felt terrible because it's not like I could take the kids so that she could go home and grieve.  I did the next best thing which was to call my sister to tell her if there was any way she could get home sooner, she should.

Then I called Shelley.  I'm sorry for that nonsensical, rambling phone call Shelley.  You were a trooper to let me rant and rave for an hour.  After that phone call, I had my Saturday night martini AND a glass of wine.

Mr. Helen called the ortho this morning and they are fitting him in but not until tomorrow morning at 8:45.  They need to take an x-ray and see if his adductor muscles have actually separated or if they are still attached.

My FIL will have his bypass surgery either Tuesday or Wednesday.  They've managed to keep him stable but want the imaging from the cardiac catheterization he had done last week which should arrive at Yale today.

I asked Em for a do-over on lunch.  I owe her big time.

And, I made myself get up this morning and walk/jog.  Again, my legs felt heavy and I sort of feel sore all over which I know, for a fact, is stress. 

How was your weekend?


  1. My weekend was a lot less stressful than yours to say the least. Sorry to hear about your FIL and hubby.

  2. Wow, you must made me rethink the post I was going to write. I thought I had a sort of bad weekend. Sweetie, you've got me beat by a long shot!

    I hope everything is okay. Sounds like it will be, although what a stressful time.

    Yes, the pain is from the stress. I'm very impressed you still went running in spite of everything. You truly are athletic. :)

  3. OMG Helen!! I just want to wrap you all in a gigantic hug!! Praying to the stress gods to let up a little!!

  4. Just sending hugs your way. Know that I am thinking about you and all your family at this very stressful time. Healing thoughts coming your way.

  5. Oh my goodness, I have stress just READING about your weekend Helen! Holy shizz. I keep thinking SOME DAY your life will calm down, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for you.

    Take a deep breath, and try to keep you chin up - sending extra hugs to everyone in your family!

  6. That was a rambling phone call? Felt pretty normal for one of our conversations - we are all over the place even when things are normal! I'm glad you called. Anytime, my friend - call me anytime.

    I sure hope that next Monday you will be posting about a relaxing, peaceful weekend. Oh wait. I forgot what you have in store. Sighhhh. You really deserve not only a break, but a massive Calgon moment. HUGS.

  7. MY GOODNESS!!! Helen, I am so sorry you had such a stressful weekend. I hope Mr. Helen heals quickly, and your FIL comes through his surgery with flying colors. My thoughts are with you all. Take care of yourself while you are taking care of everyone else!!! Hugs.

  8. Oh my, Helen! Hugs and prayer to your FIL and Mr. Helen! And YOU!

  9. I'm exhausted for you Helen! I hope everyone is well!!

  10. Oh, no! What a bummer of a weekend. All those muscles being injured...all that stress. :(

    Major, major, MAJOR hugs!!!!

  11. Wow, what a mess! Sorry to read about all the difficulties. Such is life.

  12. What a weekend, I hope everyone gets better quickly and I hope you have a good week!!!

  13. Helen - hugs to you and your family. You are a strong woman, hope you know that.

  14. Holy crap Helen what a day that has been for you, Mr. Helen and your family. How much can one family take in such a short time.

    I agree with Lori that you're a very strong woman and I admire you for that.

    Big hugs for you, Mr. Helen and the family. Take care my friend.

  15. Wow, Helen. I'm stressed just reading about this. Hope Mr. Helen is okay--do they do something invasive for this type of injury? And bypass surgery for his dad--yikes.

    Even if your legs feel like lead, take time for yourself and walk and think about St. Martin's (was going to say Disneyland, but realized for you St.Martin's is a better choice!)

  16. man Im so very late to this...but wanted to send VIRTUAL HUGS none the less.

    update us when you can?

  17. Oh, Helen, how stressful for everyone! I'm glad you all have each other to get through everything. Hang in there.