Deb Hilbrands

First post: Dec 2, 2019 Latest post: Jan 3, 2020
If you have ever had the pleasure of being treated to one of our mom's holiday feasts, you know that she goes above and beyond to make sure it is both memorable and delicious for everyone.  There is always an impressive smorgasbord of food  representing everyone's favorites along with a few new recipes she wanted to try.  

Have you ever talked about your favorite food dish with Deb?  Not only will she make your favorite food special for you the next time you visit, but you are also guaranteed to see it show up at nearly every event of mom's you attend after that....sometimes even if you're not there! She's made cherry fruit fluff salad for Trina at every holiday festivity since 1987! 

But preparing food is only half of the festivity preparations for mom.  The other half is making sure the house is CLEAN from floor to ceiling...literally.   And so Deb's story begins.

This past Thanksgiving morning, mom was getting ready to host a small family gathering for a Thanksgiving meal at her home.  As usual, mom had every aspect of the meal planned out.  Food was in the oven, crockpots were warming, and the house was nearly ready.  But mom had one very important (ahem) cleaning task that needed to get done before people arrived:  Vacuum the inside of the kitchen light fixture.

All kidding aside, mom's vacuuming stunt ended in a fall that ultimately earned her two separate ambulance rides to two different hospitals for two absolutely terrible fractures.  

Mom knew as soon as she hit the floor that she was in really bad shape, but she had no idea just how bad her injuries were.  As she lay on the floor, mom realized she did not have her phone on her to call for help.  It would be two more hours before anyone arrived to the house.  Fueled by sheer will and adrenaline, mom army-crawled her way from the kitchen to her bathroom using only the left side of her body in an attempt to locate her phone so that she could call for help.  Despite the excruciating pain, mom managed to reach her left arm up just high enough to pull her phone down off the counter to call Shawna and 911. 

We are grateful to the Sheriff and EMTs for arriving so quickly and stabilizing her for transport to the Emergency Room at Renville County Hospital in Olivia, MN.   The X-rays confirmed two major fractures to mom's right shoulder and right knee.  Because of the severity and complexity of these fractures, mom was ultimately transferred and admitted to CentraCare Hospital in St. Cloud, MN in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day.

Upon arrival to CentraCare, mom had additional X-rays and a CT scan.  While we were all hoping that surgery would happen right away, the admitting physician ultimately recommended that the Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon evaluate her for surgery.  Unfortunately, he was not scheduled to be onsite until Saturday morning.  So, the next day and a half was all about pain management and keeping mom comfortable while we waited. 

On Saturday morning (11/30), the doctor met with mom and got her scheduled for surgery a few hours later.   The doctor used a metal plate and several metal pins to repair mom's shoulder.  Knee surgery will be completed in the coming weeks once the swelling has subsided, but the doctor surgically placed two external fixators (rods) on the outside of her leg to stabilize her knee for now.  Ultimately, plates and pins will also be used to repair her knee, which is broken in several places.

The rehab and recovery process will be a very, very long one.  Several months.  Mom is required to be completely non-weight-bearing on her right shoulder and right knee for at least three months following each surgery with only passive range of motion allowed until her activity restrictions are modified. 

Mom will be transferring to a transitional care facility in the St. Cloud area for rehab in the next day or two  (Location is TBD), where she will stay until she is approved for knee surgery.  Once approved for knee surgery, mom will be readmitted to the hospital for a short stay and then return back to the transitional care facility for continued therapy and rehab.  We do not yet know how long she will need to be at the transitional care facility.

Thank you for keeping mom in your thoughts and prayers as she heals and recovers from her injuries.  We will continue to update and share news to keep you all informed of her progress throughout the coming days, weeks, and months.

Please feel welcome to send a message and/or words of encouragement to mom through this CaringBridge site as often as you can!!

~Alissa, Trina, Shawna, & Brianna
(Deb's daughters)