Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Broken Arm: The Aftermath

As I wrote in a previous post, my daughter fell off a horse and broke her arm a few days ago.

Yesterday I took her to an orthopedic specialist to get a cast on it. Odd thing about his office: the waiting room and the examination rooms are adorned with poster-sized photographs of athletes in extreme reach, like the one at right: straining to slalom and carve, catch and kick, leap to the max – the very activities that bring the doctor most of his patients!

This orthopedist examined the original X-rays, decided he needed a better look, and sent us to a neighboring hospital for a C-T scan.

So we walked over to its Imaging Center. We had about an hour's wait, so I let Dana get something to eat in the hospital cafeteria. She chose a tuna sandwich, a bag of chips, and something to drink.

We had to register at the hospital. One of the many forms I filled out asked whether the patient was there as the result of a fall. Dana fell off a horse, so technically, the answer was yes – and I checked the little box.

What it really meant, I later learned, was, Will you need a wheelchair? We didn't. Nevertheless they banded Dana with the wrist strap seen at left, which she thought was pretty damned funny.

We expected to be waiting about an hour, but hospital folks amended that to we'll take you right now. They ushered Dana back to their little room and left me waiting in a chair in the hall.

As I waited I consumed half of Dana's sandwich. As soon as I bit into it, it began falling apart. A blob of tuna salad plopped onto the open (library) book in my lap. I cursed through my mouthful – "Fuh!" – and tried wiping it up with my hand. The sandwich continued falling apart. My cell phone rang and I answered it with slimy fingers.

But that's where the merriment ends. The C-T scan revealed the radial head fracture, by the elbow, is more severe than the X-ray showed. Surgery is required. El Daktari is not worried about her wrist, which is the only good news we got.

They cut her open on Friday. Slice into the elbow and muck around. They may insert a metal plate. They may remove bone chips. We don't know yet.

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