Philip (philaros) wrote,
Philip
philaros

hospital

I've had some comments that my account of the crash was compelling, riveting, harrowing, upsetting. Thanks for reading it.

The aftermath at the hospital is less compelling. As I mentioned, I was brought in strapped to a board on the stretcher to keep me immobilized until they could check me over for broken bones and such. That was a bit upsetting, because being wheeled about while strapped down was making me motion sick; even in the ER lobby, as they prepared a bed for me, the little jolts to the stretcher made me feel worse. 

Thinking back, though, I was remarkably calm throughout the entire ordeal. I'm pretty sure I gave a short scream of alarm just before the first impact, but after that I never really freaked out. I suppose unnatural calm is its own form of shock; I certainly had enough presence of mind to mention to the emergency crew that I realized I was probably going into shock when I asked for help finding my glasses. That was the only thing that made me feel a bit alarmed, really, not being able to find my glasses and not being able to see clearly. But otherwise, the accident had happened, I was not immediately in severe pain or aware of anything seriously wrong with my body, so I was okay with just waiting for help.

Anyhow, back to the hospital. It wasn't long before they got me into a bed in the ER and a swarm of doctors and nurses (and/or PAs, I guess) came over to tell me what was going on. There was an initial burst of activity checking me over for obvious damage and asking me where I hurt. They carefully took off most of my clothes, asking whether it was okay to cut off my sweater and t-shirt. It was a nice sweater, one of my favorites, so I asked them to remove it intact if possible, which they did; the t-shirt was my Freezepop one, which I also liked a lot, but as it was a tighter fit I let them cut it off, figuring I could always get a new one. The doctor was very apologetic about having to check for internal bleeding by inserting a finger in my rectum, which I thought was funny; I'd just been in a horrible accident, I certainly didn't care about what he had to do to make sure I was okay. They sent me off for CT scans and x-rays, which continued the general theme of making me feel worse due to being wheeled around, though fortunately I never got nauseous enough to be sick. That was probably the most trying part, because I was still strapped down to the board, very uncomfortable, and I also had to be patient while they went through the processes, which seemed to take a long time.

I was brought back to the ER bed, and eventually they came to remove the board. I hadn't realized that my head was actually taped down until they peeled the tape off my forehead. I heaved a big sigh of relief as they removed the board, making them chuckle, and then they made me more comfortable. They put a heart monitor on me, and promptly got out an EKG as the monitor indicated my heart rate was unusually low. I said yes, it's normally low, and yes I understood they should still do an EKG to check it. One of the attendants remarked that she'd never seen a heart rate that low. I learned that I had a slight fracture to my right knee, but otherwise I seemed to be mainly bruised and battered. I learned that I had "seatbelt sign"—a particular pattern of abrasions and contusions consistent with wearing a seatbelt when in an accident.

After that, the night stretched out with various people checking in on me infrequently and providing some updates. Because I live alone, they kept me around for observation overnight; they were waiting for the x-rays/CT scans and some test results, anyhow. I quickly found it was quite painful to shift my position at all; for some reason I found the difficulties and pain of movement to be mildly amusing. I started mentally composing my account of the crash for this journal; opening with the single sentence about the other three cars breaking was there from the start. I did manage to take a photo of myself while in the hospital bed, which I posted here later on Monday, and also posted a quick announcement to Facebook to let people know what had happened. I also got out an email on a business matter I'd meant to deal with that night, but then my phone battery died. I didn't sleep at all, though I did try to rest once the main round of checking me over was done and my phone battery died.

I forgot to mention in the account of the crash that after the police officer first appeared at my car door, I called my friend Tony to alert him that I'd been in an accident and would probably need a ride home from the hospital later on. I worried a bit that they would release me at 2 or 3 in the morning, seriously cutting into Tony's sleep, but in the end they had me call him around 5:30, which I hoped wasn't too bad. So around 6 am, I lurched on crutches out of the ER and into the cold morning, clad only in my underwear and a very oversized set of paper shirt and pants, with my right leg bound up in a knee brace/immobilizer. Bruised, battered, slightly broken, aching, alive.
Tags: car crash, health, me
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