Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Minor Catastrophes


I had a fun Monday night.

Long story short, I went to my regular adult gymnastics class and about half an hour into the class, dislocated my left shoulder doing a spotted back handspring.

Whether I had a funny action going on or my shoulder literally just gave out, I do not know. What I do know is that the second my hands touched the floor, I felt the whole joint just collapse.

Now, I've popped my shoulder before. When I was about 12, it popped out during a back pushover, BUT it went straight back in and the next day, other than feeling a little stiff, I was fine.

But yesterday when I felt my shoulder joint move, I was literally able to pinpoint the moment it went past the point of no return.

I folded over onto the floor and said to the coach, Jeff, "my shoulder just popped out". I didn't say it calmly. I was on the verge of tears and a little panicky. Jeff yelled for Pete, and then asked me if it had gone back in. When I shook my head, he yelled for Tony, who immediately went to call an ambulance.

I don't remember much from when I was sitting on the floor, because I was in shock, feeling lightheaded, and legitimately trying to get some tears flowing because everyone knows tears are a good pain release. I remember saying to Jeff and Pete over and over 'I need to call my mum'.

It took them ages because I kept crying out and saying no I can't move, but they eventually got me onto my feet so I could walk to the foyer. I don't know if you've ever dislocated a shoulder, but if you set aside the pain, it is actually THE most uncomfortable feeling ever. There is not one position you can put your body in that will relieve the pressure in the joint. And it may just be a shoulder, but once that goes, you have one weight bearing hand, and any movements you make feel awkward and painful.

I wanted that joint back in, but I was terrified of every move I made potentially popping it back in. I was on my feet and my next issue was, I couldn't move my elbow. My whole arm had locked up, and it kept twitching, which aggravated the shoulder joint. I had given up on crying, but I kept whimpering every time it twitched and I was still feeling lightheaded as Jeff walked me towards the foyer.

By the time they got me to the couch, I had calmed myself down. The ambulance was on the way, Pete had grabbed my phone to call my parents, and I realised that after a short while, the pain isn't so bad. It doesn't continually get worse. It hits a high straightaway and stays there. After 5 minutes, you're used to that pain, and it's just the discomfort that continues to bother you.

I called my mum while Pete filled out the injury report form and strapped my up to keep my arm still. Mum was adamant she wanted them to cancel the ambulance and take me in herself, but I insisted I wanted to go in the ambulance because A) I've never been in an ambulance before and B) there were 80 people waiting to be seen in the Joondalup Emergency Room, and I did not want to sit on a hard plastic chair for four hours with a dislocated shoulder.

The ambulance arrived and I went by myself with the paramedic, who was LOVELY. God bless paramedics. I was a little shaky, but he was so nice and friendly. He started an IV in the parking lot at the gym and dosed me up on Fentanyl and Ondansetron. I swear to god, Fentanyl hits you like a train. No sooner had he pushed it through and I was seeing stars.

The ride was quite comfortable and by the time we reached Joondalup, I had disassociated the pain in my shoulder and was actually feeling ready to go to bed. Drugs do weird things man.

I got taken in and the nurse waiting in the back hallway told me I was surprisingly tough; apparently they get a lot of football players who come in with milder dislocations than me, and they're screaming their heads off despite the pain meds, whereas I was sitting on the bed talking to my friend on Facebook with a grin on my face.

I was brought in and evaluated by 9:30pm. The accident happened shortly before 8:30. Two nurses had to get my shirt off, cracking jokes the whole time so I was giggling and making it difficult for them. I got some x-rays, which showed a clear dislocation with no bone damage, which is GOOD. I remember at that point, I was looking at Mum and mouthing that I just really wanted my shoulder back in place because I'd been lying still so long that I was getting really uncomfortable again. Nothing worse than being able to feel your out of place humerus sticking into the hospital bed.

A short while later they drugged me off to sleep so they could set it. I woke up 20 minutes later with my arm in a sling, a complete absence of pain, and the news that Tony Abbott was no longer Prime Minister.

They took me for more x-rays again to make sure it was back in the proper place, and this time, I was allowed to get out of bed and walk to the x-ray table. I was still groggy from being sedated but holy hell I was shivering like no-one's business. After that it was a short trip back to the curtain room to get my IV pulled out and my sling adjusted, and then I was discharged.

I got to walk out of that hospital in a sports bra, my dance shorts, arm in a sling with my jacket thrown around my shoulders, and no shoes on. I got so many funny looks from people in ED. One scathing look from this older woman. Like, I'm sorry I went in an ambulance and got priority.

Then I headed home and went to bed. Sleeping with a sling is hard. I am probably allowed to sleep without it, but considering big movements may dislocate my shoulder again, I'm happier to keep my arm restricted in the sling and body strap.

Today it's been sore. My elbow is already stiff from lack of use, and I have to fly to Bali with a sling. I'm going to keep wearing the sling in Bali, despite only having to wear it for two weeks, because if people see that I'm 'injured' they won't knock into me so much, and I want to protect my shoulder as long as possible.

After Bali, it's off to the orthopedic surgeon. I will post again when I know more about that.

It's been a crazy start to the week!