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Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Elbow

I'm writing this one handed.

No, that is not a euphemism for masturbation. My Mom reads this.

No, I mean this:



Yes, my elbow decided I was working too hard and took an unscheduled break by catching the brunt of the impact when a scaffold I was on tipped over and dropped me to the ground.

The best thing about working with teens? Being the calm voice of reason while others are freaking out. "I think my elbow is broken. Call 911 and get me some ice. From the office. First, call the ambulance. Calm down, I'm going to be OK."

The best thing about working in a rural area? Volunteer first responders! The first guy on the scene said I looked familiar. "Wait, I know! I changed your oil last year!"

The other best thing? The nearest ambulance is 8 miles away. When the paramedics arrived, they had to figure out a path for the stretcher to get to the stage. The floor was crowded with equipment during the load out. I said I could walk, but they didn't want me to since I could have had back or head injuries. After sliding me onto a back board and neck collar, they dragged me over to the stretcher by the edge of the stage. (While commenting about how I needed to lose weight. Thanks guys!) They got me on the gurney, when I said it felt like I was sliding off. Just then, the gurney dropped down about a foot, because it wasn't locked in place.


Another crack first response squad.

Once I was loaded on to the ambulance, things were a lot smoother. Especially once I got some Fentanyl! Wheee! The 30 mile drive went by quite fast.

The hospital ER was extremely busy for a Tuesday afternoon. I had bed 18H. H is for hallway, meaning I got parked in the hall outside of a bedspace. Which meant I got moved around everytime someone got moved in or out of a bedspace. 

You know those parking puzzles? Where you have to move twenty cars around in a parking lot to free a taxi from the back of the lot. Kind of like that. 

But with me.

Still, the staff here were great to me. I was brought in at 1 pm, given a once over by the ER head, got two sets of x-rays, a CT scan, and a splint, and I was admitted to a room by 6 pm. Lisa & Lee, my ER nurses, were great. They kept me good and doped up (Morphine! Whee!) and relatively comfortable.

The ER orthopedics took a look at my x-rays and congratulated me on how well I had shattered it. I have learned a lot more about my elbow than I had ever cared to know. Your elbow has three bones. The humerus is the bone that goes from your shoulder to you elbow. (Mine was fine.) The ulna in the cap bone in the elbow. (Shattered!) The radia goes from the wrist to the elbow, and my radia head was badly broken, to the point where I might need an artificial one. Time for an operation!

Once I found this out, it was time to call my lovely, saint of a wife.

Oops. Half a bar of cell service in the ER. I could text though. Told her a 140 character version of my condition. After several frantic texts and attempted phone calls, she got a hold of someone at the hospital who told her I broke a collarbone. (What?) After more frantic texts and attempted phone calls, she had got a hold of my parents and was then on her way to see me. 

Now, a sidebar about my wife's travels. She got my text in Staten Island, NY. Our car was in the Berkshires. I was in Springfield, MA. She got my news at 2:30 pm, and headed right for Amtrak at Penn Station. 

This was in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, so there were a lot of trees and power lines down throughout the area. Especially around the train tracks. Amtrak knew this, and knew that there was no train service to Springfield. Did they tell this to my wife? No. Instead, they sent her to Yonkers, where she was told to go back to Penn Station and wait till Wednesday.

Let's all pause to give a hearty "Fuck You" to Amtrak. You owe us at least $50 in cab fares and tickets.

Hey Amtrak! Ride this rail!

And let's give a big thanks to Greyhound Peter Pan for getting my wife out to Springfield without any problems. 

So, finally, at 1 am, after over 10 hours of travel in a state of panic about my arm, she got to the hospital. Where I gave her a one armed hug.

(UPDATE: My wife would like me to add that she was on a film set as an extra when I called her. She had to leave and the production company refused to pay her for the 6 hours she had already spent on set. So, again, a hearty fuck you to the "Untitled Drake Doremus Project.")

This post has gotten much longer than I thought it would, so I'll stop here for tonight. Tune in tomorrow for tales of hospital life, Law & Order, and an unexpected side effect of pain killers.

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