Tuesday, December 18, 2007 ;
I had a minor accident last Tues (11 Dec). A chain of events led to it, so I shall start from the beginning.
I went to ds1's school to pick him up. ds2 threw up in the car just before we went into the school to pick ds1 up. Not sure why he threw up cos this is the first time he's done that here in Utah. He had a normal breakfast. Dh said probably cos of my driving. Ya, trust the men to say things like that!! :-)
So cos he threw up, I brought him to the school toilet, cleaned him up, and dumped his dirty clothes into the ziploc bag I always carried around for soiled or wet clothes. And I had extra clothes, as usual... (that's why moms always carry a big bag around...must always be prepared).
So all's fine, and we were still in time to wait outside ds1's classroom for him. After he came rushing out, overjoyed and brimming with excitement, he launched into a narration of his day. I talked with the teacher and some other moms and nannies, then got ready to leave. Everything was still the normal routine.
Then, as we were going to the carpark, I suddenly thought that ds2 might not be feeling well, since he threw up earlier. And before, we opened the doors to the chilly cold, I decided to carry him. (in case he caught a cold) Other days, they walk by themselves, and I hold hands with them, one on each hand.
Sigh, from thence, everything went awry.
Carrying ds2 with my left arm, opening the door with my right, I ushered ds1 out. My right hand were carrying a potato peeler (that I brought the previous session to help out with rosti making--last week's class activity), some books from the Scholastic Book Club that had arrived, and a bag. ds1 carried his own school bag and lunch box.
The driveway leading to the cars was icy, and the school hadn't sprinkled salt yet. Homeowners and public places all had to make sure their pavements were ice-free, so even us, we have to shovel snow to ensure no one falls while walking past our house. Or when the postman/ milkman carries stuff to my doorstep.
I then extended my little finger of my right hand to guide ds1 through the ice, verbally reminding him not to step on the icy parts.
We almost reached the car, when silly me, in between fiddling with the car keys, guiding ds1 and carrying stuff, did not see the huge ice patch all across the road, that resembled a road hump, only that it is all ice.
Happened to step right on the part where the ice sloped downwards, and like a clown in the circus, slipped and fell backwards. Only in my case it wasn't funny.
Some kind of basic instinct and reflex caused me to swing my left arm with ds2 towards my body, and so I fell on my right side. As I was carrying stuff, my elbow was bent, and so the elbow took the brunt of the fall.
The excruciating pain I felt when I fell made me think I must have broken the whole elbow. But then, ds2 started crying badly, cos he was in shock, falling from a height. I checked him and he was alright. And ds1 was also in shock, he kept asking me, "Are you ok? Mummy, are you ok?"
I couldn't move the right arm at all, the pain was shooting up the whole arm. So I quickly ushered them into the car, since we were only steps away from it. Then I sat with them in the backseat, cos the arm was hurting too much for me to drive anyway.
Sat for awhile, but still the pain did not subside. Called dh, who was at his own school, told him I cannot drive, maybe he should come get ds1 for drum lessons. Still intended to wait it out, see if pain will subside enough for me to drive.
While waiting for dh, I tried to bend the elbow slowly, phew. Still can bend, although it was super painful. But that means, not dislocated, ok... Painstakingly tried to remove my jacket and check the elbow. Got a bleeding abrasion, but that's superficial.
That wound got ds1 worried though, cos kids, when they see blood, they think it's serious. I was still just worried about the elbow joint cos it was hurting like I never experienced before. Just tightening the skin around the area caused more sharp pain, so I didn't feel like moving it at all.
Later on, my physiotherapist friend who's doing his PhD said if there are no deformities, it means no broken bones too.. But anyway, I didn't know then, and was worried. Cos a swelling started and grew bigger.
Dh arrived and he felt we should check it out, instead of him bringing ds1 for drum lessons and me waiting it out. So he cancelled the lesson and asked his boss for the address of any clinic or hospital ard the area.
The boss suggested St Mark's Hospital, so ok, we went.
When we reached, I had the nagging feeling that this hospital is rather "high-class". It seemed like Mount Elizabeth in Spore. But then, we didn't know of other clinics around, and so, just went in.
I went to the clinic area but they directed me to Emergency dept. Ok.
Went there, and there were only 2 people in the huge and pleasant waiting area. Though that's good for me, i.e. no wait time, it got me more worried. Cos all the govt hospitals in Spore had very busy A&Es...
Anyway, so I went into the triage area, got assessed, and dh brought kids to a nearby park, cos the wait might be quite a while. I was ushered into a room. Then asked to wait for the doctor.
The room had a bed and all those normal emergency stuff, IVs, supplies, heart rate monitors etc... I was all alone.. and waited for maybe 20min. A nurse gave me an icepack, and it felt really good. Swelling also went down after awhile.
Lady doctor came, very nice, chatted and asked me Qs, checked the elbow without moving my arm, and said I should get an X-ray first. So I waited for about 45min for the radiologist. Bored stiff, I started smsing couple of friends and family in Spore. No TV or reading material... Every min seemed liked an hour. But I kept myself occupied by observing all the going-ons outside my door. Lots of paramedics, fire fighters and policemen walked around throughout the whole time. Sometimes they carried patients in, but mostly, they just walked around. Also noticed many pretty nurses. Their uniforms were also very feminine. :-)
Radiologist came and brought me to the X-ray room. He saw me and asked at once, "Let me guess, this had something to do with the ice right?" I chatted with him and apparently, he sees many such cases everyday in winter, shoulder dislocations, hip injury etc, all to do with falls on the ice.
After X-ray, waited another 30min for doctor. She apologised for long wait, then said there doesn't seem to be any broken bones. Yay! So relieved. Wouldn't want to be in a cast.
Said it was a contusion, and just keep it on ice for 20min every1-2hrs that day. Then keep area elevated for next 48hrs. How to? It's my right arm! But she's very nice, explained everything, said I could take ibuprofen if needed, for the pain.
Then she discharged me and the billing personnel came.
Ok, here's the shocker. I already suspected it would be expensive. But, I only had an X-ray and a consultation. The bill was US$550.21.
I had X-rays done in Spore before. From S$8 when I was a young child at the SATA(?) clinic, to at most $40 at private clinics (that was when I had to do a medical to go Sydney Uni for a semester)... I don't think it could have inflated by too much now... Maybe at most S$60?
Consultation? Polyclinic $8. Private clinic range from $25 to $80. Hospital maybe from $20 to $150 depending on the doctor.
But dh said... It's still more worth it than having bought medical insurance when we arrived. Medical insurance for a family like us without risk factors or pre-exisiting illnesses would be about US$600 a month, on average. And it still doesn't mean you don't pay anything, cos there are deductibles.
Dh has been here for more than a year, and us, for a year. So dh consoled me that it is still very "affordable". Cos I was like, oh man! If I had known no broken bones, I would've not seen a doctor!!!!!
On hindsight, I should've just called any of my friends (or students) who are doctors. Take a digi photo, MMS or email them. They could've told me the same thing... Ok, maybe they wouldn't dare to assume... But arrrgggh....
Anyway I still haven't paid anything. The hospital personnel were very nice. I think they must've met many cases like mine. They said they'll apply for Medicaid discount for me. And I would just have to wait at home for a letter.
Will update on the blog when I do. Hopefully I don't have to pay so much!!
Btw, the elbow is getting better. Hurts only when touched, at least can do all my normal chores already. Thanks everyone.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow