Friday, September 14, 2007


This morning I decided to go in to hospital, for a variety of reasons:

1. The Flatmate works less than a block from a major metropolitan hospital, so he could give me a lift in on his way to work.

2. Public hospital Emergency Departments are generally at their quietest between dawn and 9am. Few people are drunk and/or fighting at that hour, nobody has hurt themselves at work yet, and sick people are feeling a little better than normal thanks to a good night’s sleep. So if I went now, there’d be less waiting.

3. I thought it might be an idea to get some X-rays, just to be on the safe side.

4. I had nothing better to do. Being at home with only one functioning arm is super boring.

When I arrived at the Emergency Department, there were only two other people there, and neither of them were waiting for the same specialties as me. I was hustled through into the diagnostic area almost before I had a chance to sit down.

After the usual readings, I was taken into the dimly lit X-ray room, where a technician took images of my elbow from a variety of angles. The X-ray machine was a new one which uses high-tech digital plates, rather than film, so the technician could throw images of the inside of my arm up onto the monitor within seconds of taking them.

“How does it look?” I asked him.

“It looks pretty good,” he said. “But we’ll need to view these on the special high resolution monitor to be sure.”

And view them they did, and that’s when the Emergency doctor came over and said, with professional bluntness, “Oh yes, that arm’s broken.”

“Really?” I said. “But it doesn’t hurt that much.”

“Well, it’s right here on the screen,” he said, and traced a rather obvious crack along the end of one of the bones in my forearm on the image.

“So it’s just a hairline fracture?”

“No, it’s snapped clean through. But the bones haven’t shifted, so it should heal up quite nicely.” And without further ado he sauntered off, no doubt hoping that the next treatment bay would hold a more spectacular injury.

“So what needs to be done?” I asked the nurse.

“We’ll just immobilise the limb,” she said, and she produced… a large hankerchief, which she folded in half, tied around my neck, and inserted my arm into.

“Is that it?” I asked in disbelief.

“I’ve made an appointment for you to be seen by the Orthopaedic Clinic next Wednesday. Just keep it immobile until then.”

“And that’s all?”

“It’s a neat break. As long as you don’t go waving your arms over your head, those bones won’t be going anywhere.”

“Well… okay. Before I go, was any decision made about my ribs? Is it possible that they might be broken too?”

“It’s possible,” she admitted.

I gave her a look.

“It doesn’t really make a difference if they’re broken or not,” she explained. “Ribs don’t show up well on X-rays, so it’s hard for us to tell, and even if we could, there’s no treatment. It’s not like we can immobilise your chest. We’ve established that your lungs haven’t been punctured, which is the only real danger from broken ribs that low down, so basically whatever has happened to them will just have to heal by itself.”

And with that, they ushered me out, with a cheery admonition to steer clear of scooters for a while.

So if nothing else, I appear to have finally met some people with a more lackadaisical attitude to my health than me. Now I also know why my boss always suggests going to the hospital where I work when one is sick or injured, rather than this one.


Anonymous Colossal girl said...

They may have been more sympathetic if you had explained about the Zubrowka.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous TroyG said...

Even your bones manage to break in a manner aesthetically pleasing!

MST3K sometime perchance?

10:14 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home