05 May 2009

Live at the Hospital Bowl

Hospital bowl

I went to bed, relatively early, with a planned 0300 start to my shift, but a bit after midnight I was awake with the pain from my wrist. I'd hoped it would settle and I'd be able to drive, but no, this was serious. No strength in my grasp and if I held my hand the wrong way or bumped my wrist, the pain would make me gasp.

I took another dose of painkillers and resigned myself to attending hospital. Kerri had warned me that if I had a break there and I toughed it out, then I'd likely have pain and arthritis for the rest of my life. One thing about having a doctor in the family, we might hide splinters and minor injuries from her, but if it's serious, we listen carefully.

She dropped me off at Accident & Emergency on her way to work. I was prepared for hours of waiting in a crowded room. Computer, painkillers, nice thick book.

But within a few seconds of entering the room, I had a nurse taking the details, probing my arm, testing the extent of injuries, tying a sling - "Um, could you bend down a little, please?" the tiny woman asked as she looped it over my head.

They wanted me to take off my wedding ring against potential swelling, but it hasn't been off my finger since Kerri put it there quarter of a century ago, so I promised I'd keep an eye on it.

That was triage, a few details from the clerk, then I barely had time to open my book and a doctor was calling me over. She looked carefully at my wrist, agreed that an x-ray was necessary, and escorted me to the waiting area. Just a page read, and I was inside, getting the images taken.

A little longer afterwards, but I took the time to twitter updates and take a picture of this lovely great silvered mirror dome on the ceiling above a four way intersection, which incidentally showed me with arm in sling and book on knees.

Pete in sling

"Yes, it's broken," the pretty young doctor said said, "but not badly."

The x-ray showed a tiny fracture line along one knob of my radius bone. Didn't look too bad, but she said a cast would be needed for a week, then review by an orthopod.

She then took me into the plaster room, and under supervision from a jolly nurse who called herself the Plasterqueen, I got a cast. What they call a volar slab, so it's not a big heavy thing, just a stiffener secured with some gauze.

Kerri says that's in case of swelling, and a full cast will go on for another five weeks after review.

And that was it. Quick, efficient, even enjoyable. Kerri picked me up and I was back home for a late morning tea in the sun.

I told the cab owner. I doubt he was happy, but if I can't drive, I can't drive. Somone collected the cab in the arvo, and I won't see it again for a week.

What worries me is the prospect of six weeks off work.

No sick leave or workers compensation in the taxidriving game, and I've got an ongoing tax liability, not to mention a world trip coming up in seven weeks, for which I've got no savings. I might have to find something else to bring in some money.

This is all a bit of a worry.

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