Why you won’t see me around the ballfields

About 8:30 Monday (May 8) night, I was lying in bed watching TV. Our cat Bitsy was lying on the floor beside me. She had been meowing and wanted me to follow her to her usual spot in the back bedroom, basically one of only a couple of paces in the house where she likes to be petted.

I had gotten home a couple of hours before after laying out the BPT’s sports pages for the May 10 edition. When I got home I stopped to check the mail. All of a sudden I just fell right in the street. I didn’t feel any dizziness and I didn’t black out. A few neighbors saw me but I kind of laughed, got up immediately, got in my car and drove to the garage. I thought I had just kind of lost my balance somehow reaching for the mailbox handle.

For about a week before this, I hadn’t felt good but not particularly bad either. It was mainly a loss of appetite and fatigue. I was eating my main meal of the day; I just wasn’t feeling hungry at other times I usually am. In fact, I ate most of my supper I brought home from Piccadilly Monday night — chopped steak, rice and gravy and mashed potatoes and gravy.

As far as the fatigue, with how active I am on the job, I often feel worn out. So I wasn’t really that concerned. I figured whatever was wrong wasn’t that big of a deal and I would be back to normal soon.

Which brings us back to Monday night. I got out of bed to follow Bitsy as I’ve done thousands of times. Remembering the earlier fall, I steadied myself by grabbing the back of the chair behind my desk/bookshelf, which is about three feet from the bed. Then I started to step out the bedroom door, which was partially open. There is a suitcase Bitsy likes to lay in just outside the closet next to the door, which bangs against it if it’s open too wide. It has been there for years.

The next thing I remember is being on the floor on my left side with my face toward the floor. I was yelling in pain, calling out to my housemate (and dad Lee Hedges) for help. He has a hard time hearing but it didn’t take him long to hear me.
Writhing in pain, I glanced back and saw the tip of one of the bones in my right leg going up and down the skin of my calf. I even reached back with my hand and touched it. The result was agonizing pain.

As it turns out, both bones in my lower right led had broken in two but neither punctured the skin. Apparently, as I fell my foot had gotten stuck somewhere, maybe between the suitcase and the door, maybe just in the suitcase, or maybe somewhere else. I just don’t know. When I fell, my foot wouldn’t give as I twisted around, thus the broken bones.
My dad called 911 and the paramedics arrived in what seemed like just minutes. I was taken to Willis-Knighton Pierremont.

Tuesday evening Dr. Scott Bicknell performed the surgery. I don’t know how long it took but it was several hours. He told my family members that it was one of the worst breaks he’d seen. The surgery went well. I now have a steel rod in my right leg from my knee to my foot. There is a steel plate in the ankle area. Bottom line: There is a lot of steel in my lower right leg.

As I’m writing this five days after the surgery, things seem to be going in the right direction. But there are no guarantees. There could still be complications like infections, but Dr. Bicknell said I should be able to walk normally again.
The next step is going to a rehab/nursing facility.

Dr. Bicknell said I will not be able to put full weight on my leg until eight weeks. I can’t put any on it now. If complications don’t arise, Dr. Bicknell will take the wrapping off and put a boot on the leg in a couple of weeks.

The probable reason I fell is because I was suffering from severe dehydration. I have had issues with my kidneys. My creatine level, which measures kidney function, was already high. It was basically off the charts when the lab work came back that night in the emergency room, shut-down level.

Thanks to infusions of gallons of fluids, my creatine level has come back to my baseline level or what’s normal for me. Of course there are things I wish I had done differently, but there is no looking back. That can only have a negative impact on my recovery. What happened happened and I can only look ahead.

So you won’t be seeing me with my camera at any events for awhile. I will miss being at places where life’s moments happen, like Dak Prescott’s football camp in June. The BPT will be there, of course.

But thanks to modern technology, I can still do some things. As I said before, there are no guarantees in life. Nothing is certain.

God willing, though, I will be contributing to the BPT’s sports coverage during my recovery as much as I can with my limitations.

Many of you have reached out to me on Facebook and other ways. I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers you’ ve sent my way. Please keep them coming because I’m going to need them.

It also feels good to see that we’ve made a positive impact on your life or a family member’s life through our sports coverage at the BPT.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com