A friend and former colleague is fond of saying “everything’s fine, nothing is broken.” Everyone’s fine, but Dawnise’s wrist is definitely broken – we’ve got pictures to prove it.
…Rewind to Tuesday…
We’d picked up Kamran early that morning, and brought him home into quarantine for a couple hours before we put him back in the carrier for his initial check at our vet, a short walk from the flat.
We were a bit over half way there when Dawnise tripped, going “ass over tea kettle” as the saying goes, twisting her ankle and landing mostly on her left wrist. She got up feeling a bit nauseous and convinced me to carry on and keep our vet appointment while she caught her breath at the bus stop we were just a few feet away from.
She texted me a few minutes later that she was going to head home to ice her wrist. By the time I got home with the cat she’d applied ice, and took some ibuprofen.
I suggested we seek medical attention, she demurred and insisted it was probably just a sprain and would be fine in a couple days. But, she said, if it didn’t get better, she’d reconsider.
By Thursday it was clearly not improved. She called our GP, but after listening to their hold message do its best to tell us to go away and use the internet, we pivoted to their electronic consult system instead. We described the symptoms, the event, the treatment steps taken, the time lapsed, and the current status. The doctor called Dawnise back that afternoon and referred her to UCLH radiology for an X-ray.
Dawnise left this morning in time to arrive at the radiology department when they opened at 9am. By 10 they had taken the x-ray, read it, confirmed a fracture, and walked her up to the emergency department (ED). I went to join her after our grocery delivery arrived at 10am. Neither of us were sure what to expect, and we settled in for a potentially long wait.
They called her back in about another hour. The doctor showed us the x-ray and talked us through it. She had a radial fracture and a small bone chip in her left wrist, and the joint was slightly compressed from the impact. They’d need to put it in a cast, and before they cast it they needed to “manipulate it” (fancy way to say “pull on her hand”) to improve bone position.
It was going to hurt, no two ways around it. They’d give her a codine tablet ahead of time, a local anesthetic injection (a hematoma block) and some “air and gas” (nitrous) while they worked.
We went back to the waiting room for a few minutes while they got set up.
True to the Doctor’s word, the shot clearly hurt. And despite the local injection and the laughing gas, the manipulation was clearly not Dawnise’s favorite thing ever. The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than a couple minutes, but it felt longer, and I was just the observer – staying out of the way while they worked.
They finished setting the cast, got her setup with a sling, and sent us back to the waiting room for a few minutes until they could take another set of x-rays to see the new bone position.
After the new set of x-rays we went back to the waiting room one more time until the doc could review them.
When he called us back in he showed us the new pictures (they basically looked the same to me, if I’m honest) and said the positioning looked good.
He explained that the hospital would send the before and after x-rays to the fractures team for a consultant to review. Early next week we’d hear back with one of three outcomes. If the set looked good to the fractures consultant she’d stay in the temporary cast for two weeks and then be re-cast for another month. If they were concerned about what they saw, they might call her in for an in-person consult. If they were really concerned about what they saw, they’d call her in to discuss a surgical fix. The ED doc said he thought surgery was unlikely, but not impossible.
A short stop at the hospital pharmacy to collect some pain medication, and a detour to get bagels from our favorite bagel bakery, and we were home around 2pm.
Everyone she dealt with was great – competent and pleasant – including the GP who called her back in response to the initial consult request. The ED was busy, but not slammed, and no single step today seemed particularly lengthy or inefficient.
Dawnise is doing ok – definitely uncomfortable and when the hospital drugs wear off we expect it to get a bit worse before it starts to get better, but it will get better.
Hopefully neither of us get whacked with her cast while we sleep.