Thursday, December 16, 2010

The saga of the shoulder...and the elbow...and the fingernail, etc.

We live in a small town south of a larger city in northern Florida.  The larger city has excellent healthcare.  Our little town?  Not so much.  Now before you local people inundate me with your stories of the (few) good doctors in our town, I know!  I know!  I understand that there are some good ones - I just always seem to find the most clueless doctors and nurses that it is possible to get.  As Mr. Wonderful says, "Someone always graduates first in their class...and someone always graduates last."  I'm beginning to think that everyone who has ever graduated last from their medical schools gravitated to our little town.

Let me explain my history with medicine in our little burg.

Several years ago, I was quite sick (stomach problems).  I went to a local doctor's office where they told me that it was stress and prescribed some sort of a seretonin SSRI medication.  Finally, after not getting better (but thanks to the SSRI, not really caring either!), Mr. Wonderful took me to the emergency room at a hospital in the big city.  It turns out that I wasn't stressed out - I had Crohn's Disease.

Fast forward a few years...I walked into our laundry room carrying a big basket of clothes, stepped on a coat hanger someone (ahem, kids?) left lying on the floor and went flying, banging my elbow against the floor.  This time I went to the emergency room in the local little hospital.  I was sure I had broken something, and thought they could surely handle reading an x-ray, right?  Wrong.  After waiting three hours they finally took an x-ray, the doctor read it and told me he didn't see anything wrong and I had just pulled a muscle.  I was skeptical.  I asked for something for the pain and Nurse Ratchet rolled her eyes, sighed and acted like I was being a big baby.  The next day, when I was still in a lot of pain, I picked up my x-rays from the hospital and went to an orthopedist.  He looked at the x-rays (the same ones the hospital looked at) and showed me the hairline fracture in my elbow.

When C was in 7th grade, I picked him up from soccer practice to find him crying because a girl had stepped on his hand and his fingernail was pulled out (Hi KTP!).  I again took him to the emergency room at the local po-dunk hospital because, again, how hard can it be to bandage a finger?  Apparently, it is more difficult than I realized because, again after waiting for 2 1/2 hours, they  dipped his poor, bloody finger in some saline solution and slapped some gauze on it.  I was concerned about possible infection, so I took him to the pediatrician the next day.  They had to soak his finger for 20 minutes to try to loosen the gauze - which the hospital had applied dry to his finger - trying to pick off the pieces of gauze with tweezers.  When they finally had all the gauze off, they cleaned it, applied antibiotic ointment, and then rewrapped it.  He also needed to take oral antibiotics because it turned out that there was a risk of infection with an open wound.  Go figure.

And now, finally, we come to the saga of my more recent shoulder injury.  I was pretty sure I had done something to my rotator cuff.  I tried to get in to see an orthopedist, but couldn't get an appointment so again I decided to try a local urgent care facility.  I know!  What can I say...I'm an eternal optimist.  Anyway, I went to the urgent care place and they took x-rays.  Then they told me that there was nothing wrong with my shoulder or my rotator cuff, but that it appeared I had deformities in my bones and I should have that checked out as soon as possible.

No, sadly, I'm not kidding.


Yesterday, I managed to get in to see an orthopedist in the big city.  Guess what?  I strained my rotator cuff.  And also?  My bones are fine.


They gave me an injection of cortisone and the doctor told me that the initial injury site may become a "bit" inflamed and irritated, but that it would go away after a couple of days and then I should start getting the movement back in my shoulder.

(Do you remember on the Flintstones, when Fred would hammer his finger or run over his toe and it would get all big and red and throb?  That's what my shoulder and arm feel like with the "bit" of irritation.  I can barely move it.  It feels as if my arm weighs 6,489 pounds!  Thank God for Advil.)

But I digress...the point of this little story is to ask you, dear readers, to please, PLEASE remind me if anyone in my family ever gets sick or injured again - TO GO TO THE BIG CITY!  Remind me that I have the worst luck in the world with medical care in our little burg, and that no matter how simple a matter it seems to be they will NOT be able to treat it.  Or even diagnose it.

The End.

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