Friday, July 22, 2011

In Which I Go to the ER

I got myself a general practice doctor before my big trips this summer since, you know, it's the grown-up thing to do.  She was surprised that I didn't have a doctor beforehand; that is, until I told her I was the daughter of a doctor.

"Oh," she said.  "By my experience, the children of doctors are either hypochondriacs or they won't go to the doctor unless there's a bone sticking out.  Which one are you?"

"Definitely the latter," I said.  I mean, why bother someone else when you can have stitches removed at the kitchen table?

Which is why when I had some soreness in my neck last night after the accident, it barely occurred to me to take some aspirin, let alone go see a doctor.

I spent the morning on the phone with various people getting the insurance stuff on it's way and making appointments for my car to be fixed.  I also called my insurance claim adjuster back to get a medical claim going.  My parents pointed out that even if I didn't act on it, if my neck starts acting up in the future it will be easier insurance-wise to get help if there's a record established.  Plus, I got a whiplash injury when I was in high school (car accident # 4) that led to years of neck and shoulder pain.  I figured I should at least let someone know about that, just in case the repetition of my head getting thrown about with a violent force turned out to be, you know, not good.

The insurance people told me to call my doctor and see what she says.  I did, leaving a message for her at the front desk about my headache and soreness.  Within minutes they called me back and said, "Go to the hospital.  Go right now.  Don't wait.  It doesn't matter if you're feeling better already or if there's no pain.  Get to an ER.  Now."

Well, then.

So I got in my dented-but-drivable car and drove myself to the ER.  I felt rather ridiculous doing it.  I didn't want to bother anyone, especially without blood or bones showing or anything.

The ER was quiet.  I signed in and within a few minutes a nurse called me back.  He took my vitals (turns out I have a fever too!) and put me in a neck brace.

Great.  I was really hoping to avoid that because, in addition to looking ridiculous, the neck brace is kind of the cliche fake-injury accessory.  It didn't help with convincing me that I wasn't wasting people's time.  What did help, however, was the growing soreness in my back and shoulder.  It was definitely getting worse.  Logical and educated medical person that I am, I decided to blame the neck brace.

Another nurse led me to get some x-rays (Fun!  Also, remarkably what I imagine getting a mug shot would be like), then the ER doc came in to examine me.  Happily, the X-ray films was negative - no fractures, yay!  He gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxer and an anti-inflammatory medication, plus a big list of symptoms to watch for in the next little while.

In the end, I actually enjoyed the trip to the hospital - everyone was really nice and efficient.  Besides, hospitals have pleasant associations for me - growing up, going to the hospital meant getting to see Dad at work.  Best of all, the doctor decided that I didn't need the neck brace anymore.  Hurrah!

P.S.  Again I say how glad I am that this happened when it did.  I can't imagine trying to fit in all the phone calls and car repairs and the ER trip during the school year.  Good timing, Guy-Who-Got-Distracted-In-The-Yield-Lane!

Neck Brace
Sexy, isn't it?

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