Saturday, there was a really nasty ice storm here in Philly. A light rain was quickly freezing, creating black ice all over the sidewalks and streets.
I walked out of my house, on the walkway to the steps that take me to the sidewalk in front of my house. At the top of the steps I slid on a patch of ice and was up in the air. I crashed, with my full weight hitting the edge of the top step. After a few minutes of excruciating pain I managed to stand up and go back in the house. I could walk but the pain in my side was really bad.
I decided that I wasn't that bad and I'd wait until Sunday morning to go get myself checked out, with an X-ray, because I didn't want to wait many hours in an ER. It was a rough night. Laying down was hard, getting up was really, crying out loud painful. I slept in a chair that night.
I went to the urgent care facility and was taken care of right away. They did two X-rays.
They told me I had three broken ribs, with displacement, meaning the break had separation. Their policy was to treat a patient with three or more broken ribs as a trauma case and told me I should go to an ER, that an ambulance could take me. They told me that as a referred trauma patient I'd be seen right away and not to be overwhelmed if three or four people approached me at once.
I chose to let my son-in law drive me. I was able to walk and I walked in to the Torresdale ER/Trauma center at about 11:15 AM. They instructed me to sit down and wait to for an intake. That happened pretty quickly. Then they sent me back to sit-- they didn't even look at the X-rays. I sat for about 90 minutes and finally asked the triage nurse what was going on. I was not being handled the way I was told to expect. I showed them the images above, that I had on my phone. They started to move and set me up for a CAT Scan. The purpose of the scan was to determine if I had internal perforations-- of my spleen or lungs. As you can see, the broken edges look like sharp knives.
I have a pretty high pain tolerance and as long as I sat still I wasn't in much pain.
Before getting a CT scan I needed to get a blood test to be sure my kidney function was okay-- a requirement because of the use of radioactive contrast material so non-bony tissues can be seen. That was clear and I went for the CT Scan.
The hardest part of the CT scan was laying down and getting back up. It was done by about 4:15 and I was informed that I actually had four, not three broken ribs.
I had a lot more details written up but I lost them. Suffice it to say that after eight hours at the hospital, waiting for a bed, so I could see a doctor, I decided to say screw it and went home. The CAT scan found that I did not have any perforations, so I felt safe enough. After eight hours waiting I never saw a doctor.
The next day, one of my Facebook friends, an MD, suggested I might need rib plating-- a surgical procedure using plates and screws. I asked for more info and she suggested I contact a thoracic surgeon. Very quckly, another friend commented that her husband was one. and she messaged me with his phone number. I called and was in his office two hours later. He ordered a second CAT Scan to confirm that I had no perforations of my spleen or pneumothorax-- lung perforation, and to see if the distancing of the broken ribs was staying steady, in which case I wouldn't need surgery.
I had the second CAT scan yesterday and it was all good news. It's kind of amazing that with breaks like you see in the X-rays I will be able to heal without surgery. But my brother pointed out that if you look at a rack of ribs that. you eat, the bones are so tightly held by muscle, they really can't move much. Of course just that conversation made me laugh-- and laughing hurts.
So... I'll be sore when I move for at least a month, but thank goodness, when I'm sitting still, I have no pain. I still can't drive my car, which is a low slung Prius, which is too hard to get in and out of. And last night I was able to sleep in my recliner, instead of a chair. So... progress. And I'm back at the computer.