The broken hand: the Emergency Room

Oct 27, 2013

Part of The Broken Hand series

The Emergency Room

We got to the ER around 5:30 pm. I first saw the receptionist who took my information and pointed me to a triage nurse. The nurse took my details (fell down from bike a few hours ago) and pointed me to a waiting room. “It’s no big deal”, I said. “Probably just a bruise, but I’m here for an X-ray just to make sure.”

I sat in the waiting room for maybe half an hour until another nurse came and took me to X-ray. I went and did the X-ray, which involved somehow taking off my shirt and putting it back on around the arm that I could not move. I was then shown back to the waiting room. After a while, they called me again and I saw a doctor.

My doctor was a middle-aged woman. She spoke English, like most people in the ER, which was great news. People in Luxembourg are good with languages.

“It’s broken”, she said.

I had hoped for it to be just a bruise, so that I could get home that same night, and be done with it. This introduction didn’t sound encouraging. “So?” I asked.

“It may be expensive,” was the response. (Grrrrr…) “But I can’t really tell from the X-ray angles. We have to do a computer scan.”

Back to the waiting room, my mind being depressed with the expenses and the associated trouble. I sat there for a while until I was called for the CT scan.

I’ve had the good fortune of not being in an emergency room before, so all this X-ray and CT scan was kind of interesting to me, a mix of expectation and anxiety. I was laid down on a platform and told to not move, and was then conveyered into the CT machine. I tried my best to hold still, and was taken back to the waiting room.

After some time, I was called out and saw the same doctor again, “It’s broken but not dislocated. You don’t need surgery, but you should keep it still for several weeks. A nurse will be here with an arm immobilizer to show you how to use it, here’s a prescription for painkillers and other meds. Come see me in ten days for recovery progress.”

That was it. Pretty unceremonial. I got my immobilizer, we went to the night pharmacy for the meds, and then home.