Lyn On The Way To Recovery After Fall

Wednesday, 13 August 2014
Portland’s Lyn Newby describes a fall in her backyard on May 20 as a life-changing incident.

The fall resulted in a triple fracture of her right leg and left Ms Newby stranded and forced to drag herself backwards upstairs on her elbows to get help.

Ms Newby fell while preparing to wash upstairs windows on her two-storey home.

I wasn't even on the ladder; I was just setting up,she said. She stepped down on her terraced yard and felt her left ankle buckle. She over-compensated and her right leg took her weight. She suffered a spiral fracture of her fibula, complete fracture of her tibia and broke the front and back of her ankle.

It happened about 10am and Ms Newby wasn't due to work until 4pm and her phone was upstairs on the charger so she couldn't contact her daughter Lora.

I yelled for help while lying in the backyard but I probably couldn't make much sound, she said.

Now in her 60s, Ms Newby admits to being a tough old boiler and after her calls for help went unheard she realised she had to crawl to get assistance.

She propped herself up on her elbows and dragged herself backwards along the back of the house and then up 12 stairs to where her phone was charging.

I knew it was bad but I hoped it might have just been a dislocation, Ms Newby said. But she knew she had no choice but to get to her phone.

I wasn't thinking, I just kept trying to move. I knew I had to get help,she said.

Ms Newby encountered more difficulty as she tried to enter the house but eventually managed to get through the door and dragged down the phone charger chord to call 000 and her daughter. She even let her work know that she wouldn't be in at 4pm.

She was rushed to Portland District Health (PDH) where she was assessed and had X-rays taken. Three weeks later she underwent surgery in Warrnambool before returning to PDH for her rehabilitation and recovery.

Ms Newby is still on two crutches but has started to put some weight on her damaged leg. She will return to see her orthopaedic surgeon on August 26. The spiral fracture was the most serious but I will be able to get back to full mobility,she said.

It's a long, slow haul but I’m progressively recovering,she said.

Ms Newby is undergoing rehabilitation at PDH and has nothing but praise for the care and attention she receives.

We don't realise how lucky we are in Australia to have such a good health system. Everyone is very caring and attentive,she said. The first few weeks I was too sick to think about it but it's always busy in the hospital so time goes by quickly.

Time in hospital has given Ms Newby time to think.

It's a life-changing incident,she said. It made me stop and get off the treadmill and have an enforced reassessment of my future.

Ms Newby works two part-time jobs and hopes to get back to work but admits at the moment she can't even contemplate driving a car, let alone spending too much time walking and standing.

I hope to be able to pick up the threads and enjoy life.

Looking out her hospital window for more than two months has also given Ms Newby plenty of opportunity to appreciate the magnificent views and also the importance of the emergency helicopter service.

Until something like this happens I don't think people realise how important it could be.

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