Our Italian Vacation

For those of you who haven’t heard, our trip to Italy did not go as planned.  On the second day, we were on a Hop On / Hop Off Bus taking us around Rome.  It was raining, so the next time the bus stopped, we decided to go down from the upper deck to the lower deck.  Unfortunately, I slipped and fell on one of the steps and broke my lower leg in two places, plus some radial fractures.

They rushed me to one of the Italian hospitals where I was admitted.  This was last Saturday.  They have a waiting list system here so I was given a bed and told they would get to me maybe on Wednesday or Thursday, although it might not be until the week after.  As a temporary measure, they drilled a hole through my heel, put a wire through it and then put a weight on the end of the wire.  The goal of all this was to keep the bones in my leg pulled apart so the broken edges did not clash together, which is where the real pain comes from.  Then, of course, you have to lay flat on your back day and night to make sure you don’t have any further aggravation of the injury.

Surgery was, thankfully, on Wednesday (only a four day wait).  It went well.  I ended up with a titanium rod inserted through my tibia (plus a couple pins to hold it in place).  The broken fibula apparently will heal itself as long as it has a nice strong tibia to support it.

To my surprise, I don’t have a cast.  Also to my surprise, my leg is very stiff (ankle and knee), and every time I get some mobility back in one part, I lose it just as fast in the other.  I have some crutches, the kind with the curved  grips around the wrists and I made excursions (hopping on one foot) to important places like the bathroom (a pure joy to be able to go yourself).

Marge has been a great help during all of this.  Providing me with moral support, canceling parts of our trip, arranging for faster return home, and much more.  We met some local people who have been terrific in helping with translation issues and transportation.  One of them even brought in some non-hospital food for us to share.

I was discharged on Friday night, and one of our new friends took us to the hotel.  He will pick us up Sunday morning and transport us to a new hotel closer to the airport.

Marge managed to get our flights changed to Monday, so we are just waiting for the flights.  She managed to get them upgraded to first/business class which is critical because I have to keep my leg elevated whenever possible.  The second I lower it in the direction of the floor, it fills with pain and starts swelling up like a sausage.  My doctor said he wrote this requirement into my treatment plan.  Do you think Blue Cross will cover it?

We have had several volunteers (Jerry, Ken, Dad and Roger) to help get us from Grand Rapids back home for which we are very grateful.  Not sure what that plan looks like but I know they were talking about it.

I am grateful for all the prayers and well wishes and good vibes being sent my way.  Thank you all for your support.  We both appreciate it very much.



16 thoughts on “Our Italian Vacation”

  1. Wow Steve llll………I was hoping for pics..What a terrible accident..!!!
    .Praying all goes well on your trip home ….
    …. Have a safe flight…

    1. Hey Steve, sorry to hear about your misadventure. We have the van with bed in back if you need a ride from Grand Rapids. Give a call if needed. Bruce Rambo

  2. What bad luck, being in the land of food and wine, reduced to hospital food in bed!! Hope you mend quickly and properly.

    1. Tom, I was surprised how good the food tasted. One day they served one of the best fish dishes I have ever had. As for the wine, one of my ward mates had a bottle of champagne he shared with us. Apparently, he had also completed his waiting period; he went under the knife the next day. I am not sure the others thought the food was that good though because most of them had lots of their meals brought in by family. If it wasn’t for the pain, we could have had a lot of fun there.

  3. We are now relocated to a hotel near the airport. Boarding time is noon on Monday (tomorrow) flying Rome-New York-Detroit-Grand Rapids. Closer and closer to home.

  4. We now know why you were in Italy. The cruise was just a cover. Marge and yourself were on the “A” list for the Justin Timberlake wedding. Have a safe trip home.

  5. We were sorry to hear of your situation – what a bad break. Too bad you did not have much time to sample the food and wine. See you soon . Ciao – Phill & Diane Tardani

    1. Thanks, Phill and Diane. You are right. It happened on the second day we were there. The only chance we had to sample anything was the night of the first day. Unless you count hospital food. It did have a lot of pasta dishes which were pretty good. But we are not discouraged. We will be back there again.

  6. STEVE!!!! sooo sorry to hear about all your “troubles” and soooo glad to hear that there are such good people over there helping you. When you come home, don’t hesitate to call if you need anything. I am sure we will be seeing you then! sending love and prayers to both you and your super wife Marge! xxx ooo Cindy Steve and Evan Henderson

    1. Thanks, Cindy, Steve & Evan. We appreciate your offer. I am feeling badly over how helpless I am. Marge has been forced to do so much. It was a god-sent that we met some wonderful helpful Italians. Of course, could we expect anything less right there in the shadow of the Vatican? 🙂

      See you soon.

  7. Hi Steve,

    I got this link by an email from Karen Moore. Here, I was feeling bad for having my hip replaced but that was planned! Yours sounds like way more fun! NOT! You had made some cryptic comments on Facebook about pain pills but I could not figure out what the association was. Our prayers are with you as you enter the healing process. I guess you and I will be sitting out the dances for a while. Say “HI!” to your bride from us. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

    Dale & Connie

    1. I didn’t know you had a hip replaced !! We have to stay in touch better than this. I will send a few prayers your way too. My best to Connie.

  8. Last night Ken and Ken met our late flight and gave us a ride home from the airport. It was 1 AM when we got to bed, but it sure was great to finally sleep in our own bed. The trip was long and exhausting, mostly because I couldn’t keep my leg up except for the overseas leg from Rome to New York. My leg looked like a balloon by the time we got to Grand Rapids. Today mostly just sleeping and trying to recover our strength.

    Tomorrow I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who will review x-rays and get me started on a course of treatment. At this point, we really don’t know much about what will be involved.

    Thank you to all of you who sent their best wishes and prayers and good vibes. I will make another post here when we know more.

  9. We went to see an orthopedic surgeon today. To my great relief, he informed us my Italian surgeon “did a beautiful job.” He even pointed out some nice work in getting some of the bones fragments reassembled in a nice tight pattern. Now the main thing to worry about is getting well.

    Thanks again everyone for all your support. I appreciate it very much.

Tell me what you think!