Friday I fell on the ice and I broke my wrist. I visited 2 hospitals and 2 clinics to get help. It was a bad break. Doctors tried to stretch my arm to fix the bone, but that didn’t work. I stayed in hospital 3 nights, and I had an operation to fix my arm. Now, I have a cast for 6 weeks.
As I’ve mentioned before, I like to meet my friends from November Project Canada for a workout, 3 mornings/week at 6 am. Friday mornings are hills at Emily Murphy Park. Thursday night was rainy and it was warm (+5) on Friday morning, so I assumed that the sidewalks would be clear, and I wouldn’t need to wear spikes. When I arrived at the hill, several people said that it was slippery, and they said to be careful. For some reason, though, I started running and I wanted to keep running. I have always had trouble with slipping on ice, so I’m usually very careful when it’s icy outside. I went up and down the hill 3 times, but the third time, I slipped quickly, and I went straight down and landed on my bum. Unfortunately, my right hand was underneath me when I fell. I knew right away that my wrist was broken. Many people offered me help, but I wanted to sit still for a little while before standing up.
It was still before 0630 hours when I drove away, to the University of Alberta Hospital (the U). I parked at a meter but I couldn’t even get coins out of my purse. I checked into the emergency room (ER) and waited, and waited. I could see that more and more patients were arriving, but no patients were going to see doctors, even after the day shift arrived at the hospital. I asked, and the nurses said that all of the beds in ER were completely full, so the doctors couldn’t see anyone until some of those patients had been discharged. Since I believed that I only needed an X-ray and a cast, I felt it would be best to go to a walk-in clinic. After asking a few people I learned that X-ray was available at Allin Clinic. Unfortunately, when I arrived there, I learned that they didn’t have a walk-in clinic, so I went to the Medicentre on Jasper Avenue. First, I got a coffee and loaf at Starbucks. It was almost school time, so I phoned work to make sure they got my message that I wouldn’t be in. One of the receptionists at the Medicentre began to shout at me for using the phone in the clinic, even though none of the doctors had started work yet. I tried to explain that I was just quickly calling work, and I couldn’t open the door because of my broken wrist, but she was too busy shouting to hear what I said. Finally, I saw the doctor and got an X-ray requisition, and my wrist was very swollen. I returned to the Allin Clinic, waited and got an X-ray, and they sent me back to the Medicentre with a disc (CD) that contained my X-rays. When I saw the doctor again, he was at his computer. He showed me that my bone was chipped away at the wrist, so I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon. He recommended that I go to the Royal Alexandra Hospital (the Alex).
At that point, it was about noon, and my phone was dead. I had sent text messages to my kids, to let them know what was going on, but we couldn’t reach each other. I stopped by home to get a drink of water, to change into clothes that would be easy to manage and to get my laptop, so I could recharge my phone. I was able to phone my kids once I parked my car at the Alex since I was using my car charger. My son checked online to see what the waits were like at all the hospitals around the city: more than 3 hours everywhere! I decided to stay at the Alex, since I had already paid for 24 hours parking, and it was closer to home for me. I waited about 1/2 hour in the lineup to see the triage nurse. When they saw that I already had X-rays and I had been waiting all morning for care, they said they would try to get me in faster. I was in a bed in ER in less than 1 hour, and I had an ECG and a lot of bloodwork done, but it took a few more hours before they had enough people available to try to improve my arm without surgery. Finally, there was an ER doctor and resident, and anesthesiologist and resident, a nurse, someone to cast my arm, and a respiratory technologist in the room. They gave me “conscious sedation”, medication that only put me to sleep for about 2 minutes. During that time, they yanked on my arm, to try to bring the broken bone into the correct position for casting. This is called a “reduction”. Following the procedure, I had many more X-rays. After reviewing those X-rays, an ortho Dr. and her resident told me I’d definitely need surgery.
The good news was that I was permitted to eat. My daughter picked up my car keys and brought me some extra clothes, and the charger for my laptop. She also brought me a meal from Wendy’s. When she arrived, the ER was on “lockdown”, so nobody was permitted to enter. Luckily, a security guard delivered my things to me. Soon after that, I moved to the orthopedic surgery unit, across the street. Much to my surprise, I had a private room, with lots of space. Soon, I was on IV fluids, not allowed to eat or drink anything for the whole day. It’s pretty boring when you can’t eat or drink, and you can’t go anywhere. Luckily, I was quite sleepy, and I slept a lot, listening to an audiobook or music while I was awake. Sometime after 7 pm, the nurse brought my tray and said that I wouldn’t have surgery that day. The food was quite bad, but I ate some of it, and then went to the food court, to get a meal from Tim Horton’s. At midnight, I was back on an IV. Sunday was the same, no food or drink, but in the evening, they arrived to take me to surgery. It was about 7 again when I returned to my room and had a meal.
The next day, I needed to take antibiotics twice, to prevent infection. All of my tubes were removed for the last time, and I was given a prescription for pain medication. I went to the main building to get my pills, and for my son-in-law to pick me up. Finally home again! Fortunately, I don’t have too much pain, except at night, when I’m at home, and I can take medication. It’s inconvenient to be unable to use my right hand for now, but I will probably have this big cast off in 2 weeks. In the meantime, I’m avoiding driving and other tasks that are difficult with only one hand.