I didn’t stay around for the group picture on Friday!
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.
My swollen wrist
An “ice” pack they gave me at University Hospital: didn’t work!
X-ray of my wrist: the bone on the far left of the image is chipped away.
Anesthesiology student (seated) and nurse (standing) in ER
Anesthesiologist and his student. There was also an ER Dr. and his resident, a nurse, and a respiratory technologist for my first, semi-conscious procedure
View from my room
I was chilled when I first arrived in my room, happy to have my down vest and my buff, to stay warm!
Waiting for surgery
My first cast left my fingers fairly free to grab things.
My hospital room
My “food” for most of the weekend came in IV form.
Late in the evening, I got to remove my IV and go to eat in the food court. I enjoyed the artwork there a lot!
I was pretty comfortable with my laptop and phone, and one small blanket I brought from home
More of my room: it was really big!!
When I got home, my pain medication was too childproof for me. Luckily, I had a hammer!
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.