Friday, October 3, 2014

Broken Ribs Hurt!

Two weeks ago, I celebrated the Autumnal Equinox by having a Great Fall, much in the style of Humpty Dumpty. As I am wont to say, laughter is great medicine but ice cream is better; but there is not enough chocolate ripple supreme in the whole world to replace morphine for the pain of broken ribs.

Very early on Sunday morning, I fell backwards onto the metal frame of my bed whilst attempting to return to bed after a trip to the loo . In hindsight, it would have been much kinder to my hubby to have turned on the light to find my bed at five in the morning, rather than wake him up with my screams.

Later that morning, I went to the ER. They x-rayed my ribs from several angles, none of which showed any fractures. The doctor sent me home with a prescription for Tylenol 3 and Diclofenac Sodium.

The next day, I finally read the product info sheet from the pharmacist; and discovered that Diclofenac is the generic name for the NSAID ingredient in Arthrotec, a drug that I already take. I called the pharmacy, and the pharmacist told me to discontinue the Diclofenac immediately.Since both the hospital and pharmacy have computerized safeguards against duplicate medications, I really have no idea how neither the doctor nor the pharmacist picked up on this error. This was a good reminder for me to always read the information that comes with prescriptions and to ask questions if something seems wrong.

Back to the saga. The details and chronology get a little fuzzy in my brain, but I think it was Monday night that I woke Hubby and everyone in earshot with my screams again. I told him I needed to go to the ER again, but when he tried to help me up, I started screaming again. He called 911, and it took 3 paramedics and a very snazzy wheelchair that can climb stairs to get me out of the house and back to the ER. My ribs were x-rayed again, and once again I was told that there were no fractures and sent home.

Then I think it was Thursday that I contacted my family doctor and requested that he take a look at the x-rays. He called me the next day to say that there were no fractures, and I just needed to be patient and let the bruises heal.

On Sunday, a week after my fall, I went back to the ER and insisted that my pain level was too intense for bruised ribs. I have had bruised ribs before, plus I gave birth without drugs twice, but I had never experienced pain like this before. So they gave in and x-rayed my ribs once again. This time the technician took a good look at the bruises and scrapes on my back, and the x-rays that he took clearly showed at least two fractures.

The doctor in the ER didn't know what to do for me. There were apparently no beds open, and I insisted on staying, so they moved me around from room to room and asked if I would be okay with spending the night in a treatment bay in the ER. I said that would be fine, but  the doctor finally found a bed and admitted me - almost 12 hours after I got to the hospital that morning.

Once they had me, the doctors were reluctant to let me go. My ribs had been "clunking" for a week now, and it took several days of morphine to catch up to the pain. I started to get a bit more relaxed once each dose kicked in, and I finally settled down and let the nursing staff take care of me. I rang the call button whenever I needed to get up. My doctor was reluctant to send me home with a prescription for morphine pills, but the doctor who saw me on Wednesday and Thursday when my doctor was off gave me a prescription on Thursday, and said I could go home if the physiotherapist agreed.

The physiotherapist had me climb a stair and get in and out of bed on my own, and pronounced me ready to go home. I slept well last night, and today the pain is bearable with regular help from my new friend, hydromorphone pills.

The End (for now).

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