Coming into Davis Square, there are two lanes, and the righthand lane in't a right-turn Only. I was going forward and I heard a honk behind me and felt like, "You wanna pass me? Fine?" [since people do genuinely pass me on the left when I'm turning left from Russell onto Mass. Ave. starting from a stop, 'cause I'm slower than them] and pulled over to the right. Except the driver went to make a right turn (thinking it was a Right Turn Only lane), so I had to kinda veer out of her way, and I skidded and pitched over onto my rightside. (I often think, "I should just own the lane, because if the person behind me is turning right, this could end in disaster for me," but owning the lane makes me nervous -- one of those examples of the thing that *is* safer *feeling* less safe, and vice versa.) I got my bicycle to the side of the road but wasn't up for getting it up onto the curb. The driver behind me pulled over and helped me and sat with me for a bit. My legs were shaking, but I figured that was just shock. Also, my right elbow really hurt -- mostly when I went to move it out of its L-position. We locked my bike and she drove me to HUHS.
I knew that HUHS opens at 8am and that they have an After Hours Urgent Care. It was about 7:50am when I got to the 5th floor where that is. I saw a woman with a toddler walking around, but no one at any of the desks, including the Stillman Infirmary desk. Fine, I'll take the elevator down to regular Urgent Care on the 3rd floor and wait. I started crying in the elevator, I think from stress and frustration.
I had stopped by the time I actually got there but started up again when someone asked me if they could help me or whatever -- "I crashed my bike this morning, and my elbow really hurts, and I went upstairs to after hours urgent care and there wasn't anyone there including at the Stillman Infirmary desk, so I decided to just come down here and wait for the regular hours to open, and I'm not actually in *that* much pain, I'm just stressed and in shock..."
There was a nurse who had come in early who checked me in and gave me a sling and some icepacks and did the paperwork to get me set up with the Emergency Doctor. So out I go to the waiting room, glad I brought book club book in my bag.
I wait 10 or 15 minutes and get called into Emergency Doctor's office. Which is overly air-conditioned (I'm in shorts and t-shirt, 'cause planning to bicycle ~12mi) and after about 10 minutes I start crying again -- I want painkillers and new ice packs (the snap-and-pack ones die after like 20 minutes) x-rays and to get to not be here anymore.
When he does finally come in (at which point I've calmed) and asks how I am, I say in pain and tired of waiting &c. He says, by way of explanation, (in a very neutral tone) that they have patients who already have appointments; and I don't argue because it doesn't feel dismissive or anything (which is a presentation thing I'm really impressed by, because I'm totally not capable of that) and of course I understand that as a fact. (And our relationship did improve.)
He sends me down to x-ray. When I come back and he goes over the films with me, he says a first year medical student could tell there's a fracture. It's the point of the elbow, which is currently basically a free-floating piece of bone, so surgery is non-optional -- as it's not gonna heal on its own. That'll be Monday, with an intake appointment today. They'll get me round-trip taxi vouchers to the orthopedist in Brookline (they don't have one in-house, but all my follow-up appointments can be at HUHS). He asks if I have any other questions, and I ask if he can pull up the phone number for HR at my work so I can tell them I'm not coming in today or Monday (it's not about 9:30). He lets me use IE and I call Amber.
I go to check in at the orthopedist's office and the receptionist is like, "I can give you an appointment on Tuesday," and I'm like, "You don't understand -- I broke my elbow this morning, and I got a referral to come here so I can have surgery on Monday," and I start crying again ('cause stress and frustration and shock). I get intake paperwork ('cause they're non-HUGHP, I guess), which intails more crying, because I'm frustrated and my dominant hand is on the injured arm and yeah.
While I'm waiting:
Scott [Fri Sep 13, 11:01apm] Yoiks! Hugs! just heard the news. anything i can do To help?I felt a lot calmer, less stressed, etc., in my actual meeting with the orthopedist -- which was probably helped by the fact that Emergency Doctor had given me 2 extra-strength Tylenol (actually 3 regular ones, which is apparently basically the same thing).
me [Fri Sep 13, 11:04am] Aww :) How did you even hear? You visiting nom today?
Scott [Fri Sep 13, 12:10pm] Yup. apparently i picked the wrong day To come visit
I had to call BI [where the surgery will be] to register as a new patient, and I experienced that in the way I normally would, instead of a frustrated, stressed, tearful experience.
My surgery's at 4pm on Monday, so I'm supposed to be there at 2pm, and I'll be out around 6 or 7pm. It's out-patient, but I'll be under general anesthesia, so they recommend I take at least the next 2 days off work to recover.
Sonia [Fri Sep 13, 1:58pm] Hugs! Let me know if i can help. (And don't worry about replyinng to all your well-wishers, we understand that hand use is at a premiunm)I got home at like 1pm and posted to fb [which Sonia also commented on after her txt msg -- "Yikes! Let me know if you need anything before surgery or after recovery (food/errands/etc). I know life with only 1 hand is hard and exhausting :(" I'd forgotten she'd had a wrist injury or something not all that long ago -- so I'm not sure if Scott told her first or if she was just covering her contact bases] and proceeded to check my work email [I logged in largely to tell HR I'd be taking Tues/Wed off and to put up an out-of-office message].
Prof.B. had left me a voicemail at like 10:30, and my immediate thought was, "Has Amber been in meetings all morning and so hasn't gotten my voicemail and my boss is like, 'Where are you? Are you dead?'?" But no, he was calling to say he'd gotten an email from Amber and hoped everything was okay and where was my surgery on Monday going to be &c.
So after I got home, I emailed him to thank him (and give him some additional info about the surgery) and say we're moving so we have no place for a vase but chocolates would be lovely. ~3pm our doorbell rings. Flowers.
I was expecting Brattle (because that's who we always use, but it was from FloralArtDesign.com (in Arlington). Having seen photos from other people we've ordered for before, I feel like I would have gotten a bigger bouquet if we used our allotment at Brattle (though certainly I'm not above paying slightly less for occasions I think are less of a big deal), but I didn't actually want flowers, so really it's fine. And they are lovely. I do appreciate that it's yellow and blue (and pink) flowers -- that it feels pretty and springy and festive and not super "feminine" (in ways that mean a style that's not mine).
ELIZABETH, THE NOM UNIT SENDS OUR WISHES FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY.I don't recognize the phone number on the card, so I don't actually know who ordered the flowers (not Prof.B. or Michael, apparently).
FEEL BETTER SOON!!!
gchat: "[Housemate]'s new status message - roommate broke her arm, requests you send her chocolate. 3:18 PM" ♥
(A few hours later, Prof.B. replied to my email: "Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for the update. We already ordered flowers for you. So now we ordered chocolates too. :) be well. Best. B[.]." So now I feel a little bit bad -- mostly because I feel like everyone thinks this injury is a bigger deal than it actually is.)
My work email included sympathy emails from co-worker Charlotte, boss!Max, and this from Prof.D.:
Subject: Are you ok?I replied to say I was basically fine, mostly frustrated, etc. He replied:
I just heard from Amber that you had a bike accident. And it didn't sound good.
Are you ok?
Is there anything you need?
Please let me know.
Ugh. So sorry to hear.I had told facebook, "I've been noting recently that my not having taken a proper staycation this summer has had a negative effect on my overall well-being, but this was really not what I had in mind for a makeup staycation." So I was amused that he had the same thought :)
Let me know if there is anything I/we can do to help.
The frustration seems pretty warranted given the situation. But hopefully ye recovery will be fast.
In the meantime, try to think of it as a forced vacation and try to enjoy parts of it.
Tiffany commented on my fb status: "Oh, no! that is just awful! So, it's not the staycation you would choose...but having a few days to simply be could be a good thing. Get well soon!"
My mom posted to fb:
My beloved first born, @Elizabeth S[.], has a broken wing. She fell while biking this morning and is having outpatient surgery on Monday. She's basically fine; her housemate is an incredibly sensible person; but prayers would be gratefully received.First comment was from Janna (Elyse's mom): "oh yuck - thinking of Elizabeth. Sorry she's broken :("
So I've gotten 6 sympathy comments on that post -- and 30 on mine (12 from FCS folk -- which makes sense, since that's where the largest number of people I'm in ~regular contact with come from in my life; I also thought of Molly's This Week at First Church email from this morning, though obvs. I am v. self-sufficient and all that), plus an individual fb msg.
The outpouring of sympathetic well-wishes and offers to help has been really sweet. [I do find it somewhat ironic that so many of them are *hugs* given that I can currently only hug one-handed and arguably need to be hugged gingerly.]
Lisa C. will drive me home from surgery, and Heather E. (M.) will drive me to. And a couple people are encouraging me to take the full week off to recover, and Carolyn (one of those two) also said, "Also, do you need soup and/or casseroles? As a Methodist, I feel it's my duty to provide such things should you be in need!"
There's lots of culling/packing I haven't done yet, and we move in exactly 2 weeks (Friday), so the timing is not great. (And I don't really like other people going through my stuff, so I need to figure out how to get done what needs to get done and what I can ask people to do that I would actually experience as helpful.)
M-E comment on my fb status: "MEEP! Let me know if you need anything." [and also sent me an email with helpful tips] and then my mom commented:"Double MEEP. YOU BROKE YOUR ELBOW???? Do you need any parenting? (Since I learned this on FB; I'm thinking "no," but keep us posted). Big hugs <3"
I'm feeling zero stress about missing 4 days of work, which is good. (Usually I have a complex that the department will fall apart in my absence, and it definitely helps that I got a lot of stuff taken care of yesterday and we're not in the middle of anything that I feel like really needs tons of my attention.)
I'll only have the post-surgery cast on for like 7-10 days, which is nice. Mostly I'll be really glad to be post-surgery and not have the arm be so tender to move. (Friday is not a good time to acquire an injury that requires surgery but doesn't absolutely have to be done same-day.)
The orthopedic surgeon said I could e.g. do a stationary bike, but I think really I'm just gonna quit working out until I'm healed -- which has the bonus side-effect of granting me an extra hour of sleep every weekday.
I'm not pleased about losing the freedom of movement that biking grants me (book club this Sunday, which is a walk from any bus/subway stop; EarthSpirit!Sarah's housewarming in Watertown; etc.) or losing out on weeks of potential driving lessons. And I'm already short on (work-appropriate) clothes I actually like, nevermind ones that are ~easy to maneuver ~one-handed.
On the upside, I was around to go to Target with Housemate this afternoon, so I acquired a set of sheets for my new queen bed, plus 2 pillows. And chocolate, at Housemate's insistence. And also filled my Vicodin scrip -- also at Housemate's insistence (this is largely the source of my mom's reference to her) ... I'm likely to be in more pain tomorrow, esp. from having jostled the arm in my sleep; and Vicodin is only one step up from Tylenol-3, so if I find the post-surgery meds make me too loopy, I can have this as a backup.
My arm has mostly been feeling fine -- until I go to pick something up with that hand or go to move it beyond that L and it twinges. The biggest pain has been the pull of the sling on my neck (I also dislike the ache that develops in my wrist because it hangs out of the sling). I eventually figured out a way to elevate such that my arm and the laptop were level but my arm wasn't directly in front of me (and thus useless for typing) -- so long as the arm is steady such that it's not at risk of moving out of that angle, it doesn't need to be in a sling! \o/
Early on, Housemate said I'd get the hang of it -- and then it'd be time to be done :)
She invited me to come out to dinner with M-E and Trysha and suggested All Star Sandwich Bar and I said the Grilled Falafel Burger looks good -- oh wait, eating a sandwich with one and a half hands, maybe not such a good idea...
So we went to Veggie Galaxy instead, and I ate my omelet with my left hand.
I could feel the ball of swelling around my elbow this morning, and as it leveled I thought the swelling had gone down, but at one point at home I happened to glance at my arm and saw how swolen the elbow area was in relation to the wrist area... Yeah, looking forward to being post-surgery...