This is a long story. I’ve chosen to tell it in three parts, over three days. This is part 2
Molly, my sweet irish wolfhound had knocked me down and broken leg during our bedtime walk on Wednesday February 19th. It took a full seven days before I got treatment. What a sad comedy of errors. Needless to say our health care system is not as great as everyone believes.
Once I had
crawled dragged myself, using only my elbows, back into the safety of my house, I reviewed my situation. I couldn’t stand on my leg. I couldn’t drive and I was all alone. I decided to call an ambulance and have the emergency department check me out. With trembling fingers I called 911.
When I got to the hospital an x-ray was taken of my leg. Unfortunately no one on staff at that hour of the night was qualified to interpret the x-ray results. They wrapped my leg in a brace, sold me a pair of crutches and insisted I go home. I was alone and I had no cash. It was after midnight. That didn’t stop the hospital. They called me a taxi.
I was lucky to get a very sweet cab driver. He agreed to stop at an instant teller. I gave him my bank card and password and he took his fare. My driveway and front steps were solid ice. He was very patient with me as I clung to his neck in terror. Gradually, by planting my crutch inside his foot he braced my foundation and I hopped up the drive and inside. I plunked myself into the nearest chair and it was there that I spent the night. I did not have the energy or ability to hop to a bed.
The dogs woke me early the next morning. They needed to go out and they wanted their breakfast. I tried to lift myself out of the chair but it was too low. I couldn’t pull myself up. This was not good. Thankfully my neighbour answered my phone call for help. It was only seven a.m. but he agreed to come over. What a good friend. Later that morning I hired a young man to regularly check in on me and the dogs. For the next day and a half this guy popped in every few hours. He started this job at the crack of dawn, letting the dogs out and feeding them and he made his last trip just before bed time. It was not a perfect situation but at least I knew it would only be a few hours before he would return and correct any mess we had gotten ourselves into.
Late on that Thursday afternoon I received a call from my family physician. The hospital had called them. Someone had finally looked at my x-rays and my leg was indeed broken. I was told to return to emergency. I called another ambulance and history more or less repeated itself. That night the staff in emergency used scissors to cut off my pants before they determined that they couldn’t do anything for me. I would need a CT scan and consultation with an orthopedic surgeon. This service was only available through another larger hospital forty minutes away. I was told to go home and wait for a phone call. An appointment would be arranged. I pleaded with the nurse to allow me to stay rather than face the slippery conditions outside with my crutches again. Can’t I just sit in your waiting room? No such service. Out into the night I went. This time I hopped up the icy driveway in my underpants. This was not a good look but what could I do. …
I waited at home all day Friday and no call came for a follow up appointment. I tried calling the hospital for more information but no one knew of my situation. On Saturday morning I said goodbye to the dogs. I made arrangements to board them for the coming week. I just couldn’t look after them myself. A friend came to spend the weekend and look after me. I was pretty useless with my crutches and terrified of the jump required to step up into the kitchen. I continued to sleep upright in a chair. Hopping all of the way to a bedroom was out of the question.
Sunday passed. Still I waited.
Finally on Monday afternoon I got a call from the orthopedic surgeon’s office. Apparently I had missed my appointment on Friday… WTF? I was told to now go the next day to the emergency department and ask for a CT scan. Another orthopedic surgeon would be available for consultation. My son drove in from Toronto to be my nurse maid / chauffeur from that point on. We spent all day Monday waiting in emergency. After ten hours I was sent home to wait for a phone call. Surgery was required to fix my crushed tibia plateau. Again I faced that frozen slippery driveway and front steps. My situation was beyond crazy. It was now seven days since I had broken my leg and I was still waiting treatment. I continued to sleep upright in my favourite chair.
To Be Continued Tomorrow
omg–this is just terrible–unbelievable what you had to go through–I think someone should be sued
Sadly it is what has become of our health care in rural Ontario.
Diane, sue someone that is terrible, send this story to the star or MP for your area. Our health system needs correction.
Karen: Forgive me for not commenting earlier but I forgot that I had been told that you had broken your own leg recent, just a few weeks after having a hip replacement. I understand it was a bad fall within a closet. How horrible and depressing for you. I wish you a speedy recovery.
Dianne were you not in excruciating pain and I was screaming in hospital and wouldn’t allow,them to send home if they had tried.
Fortunately I really only had real pain for a minute or two when it first happened. I also had some symptoms of shock.
That is truly awful. I’m so sorry for your experience. Does it get better?
Check back after tomorrow’s instalment and see
My thoughts? I want to kill the next Emergency Room nurse or doctor I encounter. This could be the only drawback to living in the country. Anything could have happened to you on the way home that first night. Your taxi driver was a true angel at every step. You could have had another fall….anything! I am so sorry I couldn’t have been there to help you somehow.
I had a bad fall outside at the farm just after Christmas…. a real banana peel fall where you see your feet level with your head as you go down flat on your back. I too was alone and it COULD have been dire had I hit my head. My lesson from that was from then on if I went out & if I was alone, I took the phone out with me. We just can’t take those chances anymore, I guess. That day of my fall it was about 6 degrees and we’d had a thaw and that night the temps dropped to
-15. I could have died out there had I not been able to get up. That cold hard reality has made me think more about my situation, as, like you, I am sometimes alone and I have to go outside for whatever reasons: fetch more firewood, pop into the village for something. And we don’t have a level metre of ground at our place so any ice is a potential hazard for anyone on foot.
I’ll be happy to see the end of this winter and we’ll figure out some good practices for next winter in light of your fall. It has really opened my eyes. I think the director of the Picton Hospital has to see a copy of this blog and be called to account; as does the health minister, your local MPP, the local authorities. I think the most insane part of your terrible night was them sending you home alone, knowing you were going to be alone, in a taxi! I just can’t get over it.
I just read your blog aloud to Tim and he’s fit to be tied! He wants this to go somewhere now that you’ve written it down. Ontario has an ombusdman who could read this. Really….you have the wherewithal….your own wonderful narration of the events and having had to go through it. He thinks you should send it to The Star. That hospital treated you so inhumanely. People need to know about this so something can be done for the next person who goes to that hospital in your situation. You could have fallen again and died of exposure.