I'm calling this the Emergency Room, but I was never actually in a room. It was more like the Emergency Hall. My gurney was parked next to an office where the Emergency Doctor and several other people went in and out.
I was in a lot of pain and was told I would be given some pain medication, but I didn't get any pain medication for a couple of hours. My recollection of this whole part is fading, so my timeline might not be accurate.
I was very cold. A man came over and asked some questions, and put some blankets over me and gave me some water to sip. He came around a couple of times and took some tests, like blood pressure and temperature.
Fortunately I had my cell phone with me. I hardly use a cell phone, but I keep a prepaid Go Phone with me for emergencies. I had just charged it, so it had plenty of juice. I needed to let my neighbors know what happened in case I needed a ride home. I phoned my neighbor and she said she would give me a ride home when I needed it, but she said I should stay overnight in the hospital. I thought I should stay overnight too because I didn't feel up to going home.
My neighbor contacted another neighbor who has my house key. She was home early from work that afternoon and took care of my cats for me. That neighbor has been the most helpful person in this whole situation so far. More about her later.
I remember being wheeled into the x-ray room after about ½ an hour. They needed to remove my bra and have me stand in front of the x-ray plate. I'm sure I still had not been given any pain medication and this was tough. But they took two x-rays of my back and spine and wheeled me back into my spot in the hall.
I think the emergency doctor came over and told me I had four fractured ribs. I told him I still didn't get any pain medication, so he said he'd get some for me.
I also said my neck and shoulder were hurting, so he had the x-ray people take me back to x-ray my neck. Fortunately there were no injuries to my neck or spine; so only ribs on my left side were broken. I kept being told that's the worst possible pain. Thanks I needed that!
A young man came over and seemed very nervous. I don't know why he was so nervous, but he said he was from Hospital Admitting. I was glad because I wanted to stay overnight at least. He asked me a bunch of questions, most of which I already answered when I was brought into the Emergency room. He said the computers were not linked, so he needed all of the information again
I was teaching two Management of Information Systems (MIS) classes for University of Phoenix that week. I just finished grading assignments on improving internal communication through database analysis. Seems like the Hospital systems needs a better database system too.
An intravenous insertion (not sure what this is called) was put into my right arm and I was given some pain medication. That was probably about two hours after I got there. At 5 pm I was taken up to a room on the second floor and put into a hospital bed which was much more comfortable than the gurney I had been on all afternoon.
The room was a double room but I was the only patient in it. They brought me some liquid dinner, beef broth, tea, and juice. I had not eaten much that day, so I was hungry. The beef broth was very good.
I used my cell phone to make more calls. I called my scheduler at University of Phoenix and left a message that I would not be able to continue with my Management of Information Systems classes or the two workshops I was teaching. I called my Sister in San Francisco and told her what happened and asked her to call my brother in Maine. I told her to let him tell my mother I was OK or she would get too worried over it.
I needed help getting in and out of bed and going to the bathroom. But the bed was comfortable. As long as I lay in one place without moving, my back didn't hurt much. I was also given some intravenous morphine for the pain. I slept a lot and only got up to go to the bathroom a couple of times.
On Friday I had a breakfast with bland oatmeal, bland pancakes (but with syrup), and bland eggs. No salt or pepper! The Dietician gave me a menu to select my meals, but I used it to write down phone numbers.
Mayor Bill Clarkson came to visit, which surprised me a little but that's like Bill. I've known him for years and it was nice to have a visitor. I don't remember if I was sitting in a chair when he came. The physical therapist got me out of bed and walked around with me and fixed up the chair, which was more comfortable and better to eat from than the bed.
My sister Alice and her husband David came later that afternoon. They live in SF, so we see each other from time to time. David had gone through almost the same situation two years ago. He was hit by a car while in a cross-walk in San Francisco.
He broke his wrist in the fall and damaged his hands. His injuries didn't seem that serious, but they got worse. He was wearing a neck brace from recent surgery, which made his beard stick out. He looked very uncomfortable, but he's never one to complain.
I didn't want to wear one of those hospital gowns that are open in the back, and at least the nurses didn't make me, so I was still in the clothes I was wearing on Thursday. I needed a change of clothes and underwear. I called my neighbor with the key to bring over a change of clothes, my flannel nightgown, and my hearing aids. Two other neighbors came to visit.
Gary Sloan, CEO of the hospital came in to see how I was doing. I'm sure Bill Clarkson told him to take good care of me. I've met Gary Sloan several times at Chamber of Commerce functions but I doubt he remembered me.
Council member Scott Perkins also stopped by. I didn't expect him, but I appreciated the visit. He was on the way to the Historic Foundation Crab Feed. I was supposed to attend that with a friend and her family, but I left her a message I wouldn't be there. Scott was at their table and reported on my condition.
Later that night I was moved to a private room because they were bringing another patient into the other room. This caused some confusion over the phone numbers because I had given my brother the phone number for that room and he gave it to my mother and she couldn't reach me there and left messages on my cell phone which I wasn't answering at that point.
I wanted to go home on Saturday. It was too hard getting in and out of the hospital bed and I wanted to be in my own bed. I didn't like having to call the nurse every time I had to get out of bed. I'll write more on leaving the hospital and returning home in Part 3.