punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

How to Mend a Broken Bone: Wait

Okay, this really pisses me off.

I banged up my wrist and arm on Sunday night, and it swelled up like a softball. But I still had full motion of the hand, wrist, and arm with little to no pain or bruising. The swelling went down. Yesterday, there was maybe the smallest HINT of a bruise, deep in my wrist, but apart from being mildly sore and a bit puffy, it was fine.

But people kept saying how bad my wrist looked, how they could see it bruising, and they talked about blood clots and spiral fractures and future degenerative arthritis all sort of stuff. "It has to be broken!" they said. My wife, boss, coworkers. Okay, okay! But I know how this crap goes, it's going to be nothing. And then I have to spend money, sit in waiting rooms, and all this commotion and inconvenience for it to end up to be "a bruise" or something. "Better safe than sorry!" they all chant. Whatever.

So I bow to pressure, and go to the doctor. I love my doctor, when he's available, which is only by appointment a week or so in advance. The rest of the doctors in that practice can, for all intents and purposes, go to hell. That includes most (although, with notable exceptions) his staff, too. Most are rude, clueless, and seem to be way to busy to speak to you. So I get the last appointment, and even then I have to wait for an hour to see someone who looks at it and goes, "I have no idea, let's X-ray it" (literally, the doc comes in, looks at it, says he has no idea, writes a request for an X-ray... 15 seconds, tops). But no doctor's office ever has anything anymore, so I have to go to another place to X-ray it. The X-ray technician twists and pulls it to get a better shot. Now, up until now, the arm and wrist were sore, but not in pain, mostly because I have been taking care of it (by not pulling or twisting it). Now it's in pain. The X-rays are faxed off, but the doctor's office is closed. I have to wait until tomorrow for a diagnosis.

My arm/wrist hurts all night. Visions of what's wrong with my limb float in my head due to one hundred people speculating something based on a story they heard and swear is true about arms that do not heal right. Damn subliminal fear. I wake up in the morning, groggy, but my arm is fine. There's even LESS of a thick bump. Even LESS pain. All indications are that my arm and wrist are healing normally. Maybe a hint, a small green/gray shade of a bruise is deep under my wrist, but I am typing this, and there is a lot of it, with no pain.

I call the doctor's office. They say they got the X-rays, but doc won't be in until 11. I call at 11:15, they say they didn't get the X-rays. I said Monique said they got them in, and then I get "they must be on the doctor's desk, he'll call you back." Noon. Doctor is at lunch. "When will someone call me back?" I ask. "The doctor is very busy with other patients, maybe about 1 or 2." Really? Well, goddmait, I am not important enough for the 15 seconds it takes to look at an X-ray and have someone evaluate whether it's broken or not? "I can't answer that," she says. Of course not. I ask, "Well, if it is broken, do you do the cast there?" No, they do not. I have to make another appointment with an orthopedist. By the time someone gets back to me, I probably won't be able to get anything until tomorrow.

Now, if this were just me, screw it. I have a flexible job. But since my wife has to ferry me everywhere, she had to switch her days in Baltimore with me in case I had to get a cast on. A cast I don't want, and probably don't need. I told her, "Go to Baltimore tomorrow anyway, I'll wait until Thursday to get the cast. But because Christine has a good heart, she switched days for me to get the cast. Of course, I couldn't say, "Oh, don't do that, it will screw you over," because when someone sacrifices themselves for you, even needlessly, that's rude. So I don't argue the point, even though I knew this kind of stupid thing would happen and screw everyone up. Now my pain, which should be my own personal problem and not anyone else's, has screwed up someone else's life. Someone I care about. God dammit!

So this is what's going to happen. The best scenario is that I get a call back, and it's a bruise, just put some ice on it, it will go away. But knowing my luck, nooooooo! It will be some hairline fracture that must be dealt with RIGHT AWAY that you can get an appointment. If it can wait for an appointment, it can wait until Friday, when my wife's back in Fairfax. If, and I say "if" because I am still not convinced, some bone is broken, it's started mending on its own by now, and will be set by Friday, if it hasn't already, and then since it's not causing me any real discomfort and inconvenience, why bother getting a cast at all? Screw it. I spent the first 15 years of my life getting beaten up by bullies and even my own dad once in a while, and even with no medical help, I survived, even when I have a split skull (hairline fracture), bleeding lungs, sprained ankle, and a host of other maladies that I just had to suck up and deal.

What makes me the maddest is that most people don't think like me; they care about themselves and their body and I can't imagine what someone normal would be doing right now. I am madder for them than I am for me. This system must SUCK if you're a little kid with a swollen ankle or something.

[Added later]

No broken bones, just badly bruised with a "muscular contusion," and to refrain from using it for heavy task for the next 4-6 weeks. Just to get that info out of someone was like pulling teeth. I ended up getting it from Monique, who was surprised the doctor didn't call me, nor did the previous people I had spoken to checked the notes on the X-rays.

A friend of mine who was a hospital intern once said, "Remember, there are legitimate, practicing physicians out there who graduated at the bottom of their class. You hope they don't make it professionally (and many don't) or they end up being personal physicians specializing in diseases of the rich. But many end up in hospitals, where they either wise up and leave before they are found out, or get arrested."

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000113.html
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