I have a boo-boo. And it's no fun. Two weeks ago I was ice skating with the kids when I rather unfortunately forgot that I am a 38 year old mom and no longer an 18 year old competitive figure skater. The result, a spectacular and humiliating wipe out worthy of a highlight reel. I hit the ice hard. I'm pretty sure it would have hurt my 18 year old body....my 38 year old body was lucky not to break into tiny, frozen old lady pieces.
By the next day I was hobbling around like a contortionist who got stuck in mid-pretzel pose. After a week of saying, "my back hurts. My back hurts. My back hurts," Major Dad finally put his foot down and told me to see the doctor. And so the drama began.
First, my primary care doctor is apparently quite popular. I couldn't get an appointment. Even the words, "back injury" and "severe pain" got me nowhere.
Second, Major Dad called our insurance peeps and explained the situation. They said go to the emergency room. I said, "no."
Major Dad: The insurance won't pay for Urgent Care, but they will pay for the emergency room.
Me: But this isn't an emergency.
Major Dad: Well, that's your only option.
Me: No, I can always just wait the two weeks until I can see my doctor.
Major Dad: So you're going to sit around in pain for two weeks?
Me: It's a plan.
Major Dad: No it's not. We're going to the emergency room.
So after grumbling about the doctors looking at me like I'm stupid for going to the emergency room for a back injury and the likelihood that I would contract some real emergency disease from the sick people surrounding me in the waiting room, I (reluctantly, belligerently, finally) agreed to go.
Third, on a sunny Friday morning Major Dad and I roll up to the local emergency room. I hobble in and explain that I fell and hurt my back. I'm pretty sure the gatekeeper lady behind the bullet proof glass gave me a "sure, you did" look, but Major Dad says she didn't. An hour later I see the first nurse. Who gives me my "property of the hospital" wrist band and sends me back to the germ infested waiting room.
Then I go for x-rays. And get sent back to the sickness cesspool to wait for the films to be developed.
Who knows how much later, I'm called back to the actual treatment area. I get to put on the oh-so fashionable hospital gown and answer all the same questions. Again. Then the excessively perky nursing student who's going through the seemingly endless "how broken are you" checklist asks me if I have lost control of my bladder or bowels.
I'm sorry, what??
Major Dad smirks. I shoot him a dirty look and state a rather emphatic "no."
Then Perky Nurse and her supervisor leave. Later (time stands still when you're in a hospital gown) the Physician Assistant whom I shall call Speedy (which will make sense in a minute) comes in...and starts asking questions. By this time my back is totally killing me and I would very much like to get a diagnosis, a fix-it plan and go home. But alas, it's not to be.
Speedy: So you fell?
Me: Yes and the pain is getting worse.
Speedy: Hmmm. Well the x-rays look normal so nothing is broken. From your symptoms and the way you're standing (which was hunched over the bed like I should be ringing the bells in Notre Dame) it looks like a ruptured disc.
Speedy: But we can't confirm that without an MRI. And the emergency department can't order an MRI for this type of injury. Now, have you lost control of your bladder?
Again with the bladder thing?
Speedy: Hmmmm, too bad. We could order an MRI for that.
Did Major Dad just giggle???
Me: So now what?
Speedy: We'll get you some pain medicine and a referral.
And off she went.
Major Dad: I would have peed myself right then.
Me: Not helping.
So four hours later I left in la la land thanks to the Percocet they gave me with three prescriptions for even more pain killers, a suggestion to see an orthopedist who could order me to go back to the same hospital for an MRI and an inappropriately amused husband.