Tuesday, February 21, 2006

If I only had known

Isn't that a sad title? Are you crying yet?

Well, don't. This whole fiasco with my arm has now entered the realm of the ridiculous.

I waited all weekend for the results of my x-rays. Come Monday and two calls to the primary care doctor's office later and they finally call at 5:15 PM to tell me that my elbow is fractured.

Ya think? I mean, Dan only had to listen to me yelping trying to pull the covers up so many times, I only had to recruit my children to zip up my coat or robe or pick up a freakin' can of biscuits since I was unable to do it, even though carrying a full cup of coffee did not even hurt and you would have suspected that there was something busted in there somewhere, right?

So why didn't the PC doctor tell me to hie my butt to the ER, instead of assuring me that once I got the results of the x-rays, that I would be able to get into an orthopedic surgeon that day to have a splint put on? Because, let me tell ya, that ain't how it works.

Instead, I went through a huge run-around. The first OS office I called (the number the nurse at PC doctor's gave me) was naturally closed by the time I called. When I call today, they don't take my insurance. Ohhh-kay....

So I once again call the PC doctor (hope yo don't get too confused with the abbreviations, but I'm typing with only one hand) and get another name. I call. They take my insurance, but can't fit me in until Thursday. They give me ANOTHER name. I call them. Same story, except they don't have any openings until Friday.

So I at this point got upset. I was told that I needed to go in today and that any OS would see the urgency and get me in. I am supposed to be at least splinted and the prospect of going for two or three more days with this fracture doing gosh knows what to the nerves in my hand, a very vital part of my anatomy, not to mention enduring the pain of the odd unplanned movement causing me to make noises reminiscent of a hound with its ear shut in the door ala The Christmas Story movie did not, for some strange reason, appeal to me very strongly.

But it gets better. Despite the effort I made to calm down (hey, I even CLEANED to try to get the anger down), when I called back I blew my cool asking the triage nurse what I was supposed to do now? I didn't yell, btw, I cried. I know that triage nurses and receptionists are just trying to do their jobs. I don't blame them. At least not until after this next response.

So what did she do? Did she ask me if I was having more pain? Did she ask me if I noticed any coolness, numbness or tingling in my hand? (all of which I was experiencing, though not constantly.) No, she did none of these things. She gave me two more names.

At this point, I know this is useless. No one is going to see me today. But I call one of the offices anyway. I get the same response. I explain my plight. She says, "Did you go to the ER?" I say no and explain why. And she says the first sensible, workable thing I've heard all day: "You still should go in ANYWAY. Today."

So, dear reader, I did. I drove myself to Ypsilanti, since my doctor is out of there, and there are barely any clients there. They get me in and out in about 40 minutes. They splinted me and sent me on my way with a referral to an OS to get a cast and, as seems to be the norm, I will get in there on Thursday.

While I was in the triage, they asked me, "Why didn't you just come to the ER to begin with?"

Well, maybe because my previous experience with the ER involved HOURS of waiting around. I hate the ER. Usually I can knit to pass the time, but not this time. I also am married to someone who hates going to the ER even more than me. I thought it would be EASIER just to wait and see my PC doctor the next day. Hah! If only I had known. I asked the nice ER nurses if they could treat self-inflicted butt-kick wounds.

If only I had realized that our medical system has become so specialty driven that your PC doctor can't put a cast on your arm anymore and you have to have a specialist, I would have not even waited. If you don't go to the ER for any suspected break, you are left in limbo for days until someone tells you to go where you should have gone all along.

Now, why the PC doctor didn't just say on Friday, "GO TO THE ER! DO NOT PASS GO! DO NOT COLLECT $200!" I may never know. Oh well!

Despite the fact that the splint covers my fingers, knitting is not impossible...just different that's all!

So what color of cast should I get? Blue to match my eyes? Or a livid yellow to match the bonk on my head?


Mary said...

Oh my gosh. What a runaround you got on this. So sad the state of health care sometimes. How are things going now? I can't (well actually I can) believe that you picked up your knitting. Guess something needs to help you keep your sanity through all this.

Michelle Laycock said...

Jan - this whole medical system just sucks. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that rigamarole. All that carp and they charge you an arm and a leg - no pun intended.

Jan said...

Hope you get things fixed soon. I agree with you about the pain of bumping it. I still have swelling left from a pre-Christmas infection deep in actual elbow joint. Pain is still acute at times from bumps etc. Take care!

And medicl care everywhere seems much the same. My eldest son, early 30s, thought he was stepping off the bottom stair of three. Actually on middle stair. Ankle was already wak from a 15 yer old injury. ER took X rays and sent hime home with it bandaged. No progress. Yesterday he had an entire ankle reconstruction. It was so badly damaged that orthpaedic surgeon could find nowhere to re-attach torn ligaments. He's now full of metal pins. That was 14 days later after hospital said it would heal by itself.

So don't do what you shouldn't be doing with it. Let it heal!
Another Jan