Monday, July 30, 2007

The mugging, and medical stuff

This is about the attack and the medical stuff. It includes discussion of bruising, shit, medical immobilization, etc., so some in the group might consider it on-topic. I don't, since I come here to talk about sex and D/S, rather than S/M. But this is essential background for the forthcoming definitely on-topic posts about sex, D/s, relationship, etc.

About 9 pm on June 3 we were walking, with a friend, back to our hotel in East Jerusalem. If you like reading maps, go to
and click on Facts and Maps, then enlarge the map. We were walking south on Harun Ar Rashid street (hmm, are there other fans of Iznogood comics in this group?), about at the "R" in the street name on the map. A man walked up behind as if to pass us. At the last moment he grabbed Mrs. Thorney's handbag from behind her (strap over her right shoulder,) and pushed her forward very hard with his other hand. He got the bag (trivial) and ran back up the hill and turned right into the dark park.

She fell forward hard on her face and shoulder, downhill onto rough paving stones. Facial bruises and cuts, chipped teeth, cuts inside mouth, extensive bruises on the upper body. Eyeglasses badly scratched but, thank goodness, didn't break so eyes undamaged. She lost consciousness, regained it, rolled over on her back, lost consciousness again with her eyes open and defecated (very scary as I watched.) She regained consciousness, wiggled fingers and toes, moved hands and feet, asked what had happened.

We moved her into the hotel (it was a dark and now rather scary street). The police came and asked if she wanted to go to hospital, She said no. There was a language barrier. I cleaned her up. She was not forming short term memories. (She asked six or eight times in succession what happened, and did he get her handbag?)

The nurse (male) traveling with our tour group arrived and asked if she could move her arms and legs. Her right upper arm didn't respond when she tried to move it. We called an ambulance, it got there quickly, we went to Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem (the big world-class hospital in the western suburbs of Jerusalem, where the ambulance people said there were more specialties than at the Mt. Scopus branch of the hospital.)

By an hour after the attack she was forming memories again. The neurology people cleared her (after an MRI etc.) The orthopedic people said the right shoulder was badly broken, with two pieces broken off the humerus (long upper arm bone) at the top end where essential muscles attach. One piece moved a few inches from where it belonged, tearing blood vessels but luckily not nerves (her arm swelled up to at least twice normal diameter).

Doctor's discussion: she's an old lady, we could do minor repairs and she'd have limited use of the arm. Luckily I had pictures of her on a mountain top, and explained that she was 83 going on 30, climbs mountains and rows between islands in the Atlantic. How would they treat a 30-year old?

A neurology resident pulled me aside in the corridor, off the record. "American Jews aren't aggressive enough, they get taken advantage of. Israeli Jews are much better at insisting. Insist on getting what you want. Demand that she be treated by the head Professor of Orthopedics at the Hebrew University Medical School." I followed his instructions.

In the first 24 hours she got about 5 liters of saline dripped into her, plus antibiotics etc. Extensive black-and-blue appeared almost everywhere on her except her knees and lower legs, and her left forearm (it got back-and-blue independently, from all the needles (ports) placed in it to put in fluids.) I can't imagine where the blood came from internally that got into her bottom, but even that turned black and blue. She was carted from department to department for tests, examinations, etc. (e.g. checking for broken teeth, treating cuts in the mouth.)

The second 24 hours was pre-op preparation (chest x ray, blood tests, etc.) The surgery was done about 9:30 PM June 5. They made numerous small incisions in various places in her right upper arm and ran rods into her at various angles, then under fluoroscope (continuous x-ray) they pushed the pieces of bone back to where they belong. They put in long pins (4 inches long?) that hold the bone fragments in the right place and extend to just under the skin; they will be removed in a second surgery after six weeks, once the bones have set. Six of the incisions were large enough to need one stitch each to close, and there are numerous small cuts on the arm that may also have been rod insertion

For the next six weeks, the arm is strapped firmly to her body so that it can't move. The appliance to do this is called a "universal shoulder
immobilizer" and is similar to the picture at
There is a very wide cylinder (size of an elastic tube top) around her chest (very uncomfortable on her breasts) with Velcro closure. a Velcro cuff about her upper arm that is fastened to the large cylinder to keep her upper arm vertical, another Velcro cuff about her wrist to keep the forearm in a fixed horizontal position.

This looks like an interesting bondage device, but I suspect after six weeks in it she will -not- want to ever try it on again. After two weeks, she is already regarding it as quite undesirably sadistic.

She had low and unstable blood pressure etc. for a day or two after surgery. By the evening of the 7th, however, she was wanting lots of things (a very good sign). She was sick and tired of the hospital food and the noise and crowding in the ward (five people in a room that would have been very crowded with four - one a screamer, one who shouted constantly into her cell phone.)

I found a wheelchair in the hall, put her in, rolled her out of the hospital and across the street to a hotel. We got her into bed and I phoned the nurses station to say she was safe and that I'd bring her back for doctors' rounds in the morning.

Next evening (the 8th) the doctors agreed she could sleep in the hotel if I brought her back in the wheelchair whenever they needed to see her. She continued weak - occasional diarrhea and projectile vomiting, probably reactions to food and/or antibiotics, so I had my hands full, but the nurses back at the nursing station provided advice and other things I needed.

On June 13 the doctor said she was well enough to travel once her stomach settled, provided that she went by wheelchair, first class or business class air, one leg a day with hotel rest intervening. We flew Tel Aviv to Vienna on the 15th (Vienna has an airport hotel and is geared to move people from the airplane straight to bed in the hotel by wheelchair). Vienna to Washington DC on the 16th (by now she was able to use a motel shuttle bus, with care, and eat dinner out with friends), and DC to Memphis on the 17th.

On June 18th we saw an internist in the morning and a dentist in the afternoon (he'll patch the chipped teeth next Monday, and we saw an orthopedic surgeon the 19th. New X-rays show that the pins and bone
fragments stayed where they were supposed to during the trip, and they took out the stitches and reduced the volume of bandages. Many of the bruises are starting to pass - face looks OK, bruises are reduced in area on the arms and legs, still there on the top of her rump. I don't know about on the chest and back, those are still too wrapped up to see.

She remains as cheerful, enthusiastic, and loving as ever, and has started editing pictures of our trip (using a left-handed mouse) and even writing a few notes (I juggled furniture to put a keyboard where her right fingers are, since she can't move that hand much but the fingers work.) Moving about and sleeping are still uncomfortable, due to the odd system of pins and rods inside her right arm.

We will cancel most travel plans for the summer (we will go to a
granddaughter's wedding in August) until we see how physical therapy is

Next posting: Wiitwd ("What it is that we do": Sex, love, D/s, and things like that.)


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