About 1 1/2 weeks ago I fell and dislocated my shoulder. This in and of itself isn't stupid, what followed is a different story. I fell a little after 9 p.m. and managed to get myself up off the floor at about 9:30. I was in a lot of pain and could tell something was seriously wrong with my left arm. I suspected it was dislocated but I wasn't sure at that point, I just knew I was in a lot of pain. I could also tell my life wasn't in any immediate danger so, out of some misguided sense of consideration, I decided to wait till morning to call anyone. Believe me when I tell you that no one was impressed by my selflessness and courage. Instead they were all rather incredulous that I would be so stupid as to spend the night with a dislocated shoulder rather than disturb someone.
The second act of blatant stupidity was to go to my regular clinic rather than the emergency room. They just took a couple of x-rays, gave me a painkiller, and packed me off to the emergency room. X-rays are no fun for a dislocation and I ended up getting two sets. If I had just gone to the emergency room in the first place, I would have only had to suffer through one set. In addition, the P.A. that saw me was a little miffed because he was going to have to set a shoulder that had been dislocated for some 14 hours by this time. Evidently dislocations are easier to set if they are fairly fresh.
They put me on a Demerol drip (the first IV I've ever had) and then proceeded to use me as a pull toy. That sounds harsh but they were actually anything but rough. I applaud them for their skill and care, but I must have looked really stupid being pulled between them. Form following function or somesuch. I knew immediately when the shoulder went back into it's socket, because the majority of the pain instantly went away. Life was...well... not good, but better.
I spent another hour on the table chatting with my mother and waiting for the Demerol to wear off. Then another set of x-rays (not nearly so painfull this time) to make sure the shoulder was properly back in it's socket. After that it was time to face my adoring public and call my boss to bring him up to date and since it was now about time for my fiance in Tokyo to be getting up for work, I called her too.
I'm sure my irrational actions gave her a bleak view of U.S. healthcare, so I'm going to have to take some time to explain to her that is not the system, but her idiot fiance that made such a mess of this. I can't have her fearing for her health once she gets here.
In the 14 years since I was discharged from the military you can count the number of times I've seen a doctor on the fingers of one hand. When I got hurt I didn't have any idea how to act or where to go. As hard as it may be to believe, when I fell I didn't even know where the emergency room was; had I the sense to go there. So between that and my marvellously poor decison making, I made a real botch job of it.
Do yourselves a favor. Try not to follow my example.