I spent several hours…somewhere between twelve and fourteen, in the emergency room. I had X-rays and a scan and a careful physical exam. Then I was parked in the circle at bed A….
One of the staff gave me her phone to call whomever I needed. My first call was to Frank to let him know where I was. I knew that he was in a meeting so I didn’t expect him to answer, but I left him as detailed a message as I could. Then I called my office and left a message for my boss and then talked to our director who agreed to give a follow-up call to Frank. Frank came to the ER and spent some time with me. The staff let him know what was going on medically. He was stressed and fearful while I was in shock and not in all that much pain as long as no one moved me.
In the course of my time in the Trauma ER, I heard about at least two other people who came in that day because they had been hit by a car. One man had been hit while riding his bicycle. He had a broken pelvis. And another pedestrian, I didn’t catch what his injuries were.
As the two other human versus auto accident victims were sent up to rooms and I was still lying in my spot, other trauma patients rolled in. Several patients parked near me arrived with police escorts and not the friendly, “we’ll make sure you are okay” kind of police escort, but the “make sure this person doesn’t get away” kind of escort.
A man near my gurney was drunk and disorderly. He yelled obscenities for a while, then started pleading with the medical staff for various things, then began to threaten the medical staff. After several hours, I assume he sobered up and then started apologizing for his behavior. Since I was immobilized I tried to come up with an escape plan if he should try to attack me, but twisting around on the gurney I was able to see that he was handcuffed to his bed. Gotta love those bright orange plastic cuffs; I was moderately reassured.
Around two in the morning, the medical staff decided the best course for me was to wait to see if I could heal on my own without surgery, so I was sent up to a bed on the floor. I also got to have a little water to drink and an oral pain med. I was offered something to eat…still in shock, I wasn’t hungry and couldn’t even make myself want to eat.
The night nurse and her aide were friendly and helpful. I think they had to tell me several times what had happened and what the treatment would be, but always gracefully and kindly. They repeatedly expressed outrage at the driver and assured me that if I needed them to do so they would contact Frank for me. I fell asleep.
My room-mate had undergone surgery for her broken ankle sometime ago and was returning for a follow-up surgery to clear out an infection. I was relieved that at least for now, I might not have to have pins and things, but I had no idea what avoiding surgery would mean for me and my recovery.