Friday, September 5
Langenthal Regional Hospital
Once at the hospital I am quickly taken into an ER examination room, this made possible in part by the fact that Bill is available to provide the front desk with the information needed to check me in. I walk back to the room accompanied by a nurse who sits me on a gurney, takes my temperature and blood pressure, checks my pulse and starts an IV in my hand. "Medication for the pain," she tells me. She is speaking German and I am surprised that I can understand her and answer her questions as well as I do. Perhaps I just needed a good whack on the head? I have felt better than I am at this moment, so I lay back on the bed. People come and go for a few minutes before the doctor shows up and proceeds to check just about everything but my shoulder - head, neck, back, ribs, hips, knees. The collarbone injury is obvious and not life threatening. He wants to make sure there isn't something more serious. I tell him my hip is very sore, but manipulating it doesn't reveal any structural damage, just a deep, and soon to be very ugly, bruise.
Another nurse comes in and says I'll need to get my jersey off. He asks if it is OK to cut it. This is my Georgia Tech jersey we are talking about. Cut it off? No way. But it only takes a minute to realize that this jersey does not zip all the way open, so I'll have to get it up over my head. In this light, cutting it off seems like a much better idea. Bill, who has returned from getting the paperwork started, seals the deal by noting that the jersey is pretty messed up from it's trip along the road surface. OK. Cut it off. I'll just close my eyes so as to not have to watch.
Collateral Damage - The GT Jersey After the Crash
I get wheeled over to radiology and wait a bit before the picture taking starts. I'm OK with walking into the room and standing against the wall, assuming a variety of poses during the session.
Primary Damage - The Collarbone After the Crash
Laurenz is there when I get back to the examination room and we briefly discuss logistics for the rest of the day. He'll be there when I get done and will drive us to the hotel in Madiswil.
There is a little more waiting to do now that it is determined I'll likely survive. And they need some time to look at the x-rays which will confirm Bill's field diagnosis. I'm sitting on the side of the gurney, but soon get cold and very light-headed so I lie back down, a maneuver that is not without some serious discomfort. The nurse pulls out a heavyweight sheet and drapes it over me. It is warm and very, very comfortable. As it turns out, this was to be my last bout of chills and dizziness.
When the doctor comes back, he tells me that my collarbone is broken and adds, "You need metal." He recommends surgery. Before next Friday. I tell him that I'm scheduled to return home on Sunday and ask if I can travel. He replies, "That's no problem. But you go to your doctor on Monday and tell him that the doctor in Switzerland says that you need surgery. And, if he doesn't agree, then come back here and we will do it." He was ready. I think now he would have had me in the operating room right then and there. I can imagine him saying, "It's Friday. It seems we both have the afternoon free. Let's do it!" We agree, however, that my going back home is the best way to proceed.
There are signs that I'm about ready to be let loose and I wonder about all of the abrasions, which have so far received no attention. As if on cue, three nurses enter the room and start the process of cleaning and dressing the injuries. One works on my calf and knee, another on my elbow and the third on my shoulder,where the worst of the abrasions are. Bill, taking a few pictures, is impressed that I'd get the attention of THREE nurses at the same time. I can see him pondering the possibilities and trade-offs; perhaps if he'd broken his collarbone...
Celebrity Level Care; But I get it Anyway!
I'm given a CD with the x-rays and outfitted with a sling, some pain medications and a figure-8 brace. The nurse tells me that I'll probably find this latter piece of equipment a "little uncomfortable." This would turn out to be the understatement of the year. It takes about 20 minutes to get checked out and pay the bill, which would convert to $397. Maybe I SHOULD come back here if I need surgery. I could fly first class, stay in a five star hotel during the recovery period and save my insurance company money in the bargain. Sounds like a plan.
We leave the hospital and make the last leg of the journey to Madiswil in Laurenz's car. Looking at the ride from the farm to the hospital in the same vein as the various train rides during the trip, I figure this is my first sag ever. Oh, well...