Last night, this happened:
I dislocated my kneecap (patella) at home – I banged it on a chair leg while it was flexed (bent) and I was off-balance as I was pivoting (turning) using the other foot. Smack and ouch. As you can see from the image, the good people at our local (private) Emergency Department fixed me up, though I was woozy and uncomfortable afterwards. I’m managing now – it’s a rest day at home for me and I’m in good hands, so don’t stress.
It was painful last night. Collapsing-on-the-ground painful – we were all a bit surprised I didn’t cry much. Then again, I think I was in shock. Mum and Dad drove me to the hospital while I whimpered and tried to control the pain using my breathing. The dislocation was pretty obvious, especially when Mum found a wheelchair for me to sit in, so they took me straight through. The night nurses and doctor saw to me, getting me onto a bed in the ED and starting me on drugs for the pain, once they’d evaluated me. I talk faster and slur my words a bit when I’m shocky, it seems.
One of the drugs they gave me separates the brain’s processing from the body. That’s why people say weird things sometimes. I talked a lot about deja vu because I kept repeating myself. I also thought I was on a Metro train, going for a ride, even though the disconnected part of me knew I was in hospital. If you want to imagine what that “disconnected” feeling was like, it was as if a part of me knew what was going on and could tell I was saying some strange things, but couldn’t and didn’t want to stop the other part which was speaking. Aware enough to think and say, “this is weird“, but not caring too much, because all details of one’s surroundings are blurred. No wonder people call them the “good drugs”….
While I was “out of it”, they re-set the kneecap and took me for an x-ray to ensure no lasting harm had been done. Then we had to wait for the drugs to wear off, as one of them (morphine, I think) caused nausea. Bleargh. That was a pain.
By half-past midnight I was home in bed, with a clunky “zimmer brace” keeping my lower limb straight to support the knee. I’ll be stiff and sore for a while – hobbling rather than walking and moving into and out of chairs very gingerly. But I will recover. I’ve got an appointment (referred by the ED doctor) to an orthopaedic doctor next week. We’ll see how things go from there. I’m glad it’s nearly Easter break…recovery won’t cut into uni time too much.
I’d like to say a giant thank you to the ED staff on duty last night. They were busy with lots of things – apparently the night before last had been a full one and the hospital itself (not the ED) was at capacity. I was told that my town has grown to the point where there are discussions about building another private hospital, to take the total number of hospitals up to three. Despite all that, they were very careful, friendly and helpful. Thanks!
Another few things I’ve learnt:
* First Aid training helps you help yourself in these situations. I knew I was going into shock, so was able to deal with that.
* Distractions and information help me manage my pain. It’s a good, if ironic, thing that my latest anatomy lecture had been about the knee, as I used the information I remembered to distract myself.
* People really do experience deja vu
So, there you have it: my ED trip.
What sort injuries have you had?