Some Doctors Should Be Dislocated From Their Professions

, , , , , , | Healthy | June 17, 2020

When I am in middle school, I do gymnastics through the school. During the last meet of my last year at the school, I dislocate my shoulder doing a cartwheel while I am warming up. Looking back, this is all pretty hilarious. At the time, not so much.

I’m slightly in shock but I know something’s wrong. I’m crumpled against the practice beam.

Me: “[Coach], [Coach]!”

My coach was watching the current student perform her routine and thought I just had questions, so she’s shushing me. Up in the stands, my mom saw me fall but thought that I’d just bumped the beam when I went down.

Mom: *Jokingly to a family friend* “I know she’s had worse. She just needs to shake it off; she’ll be fine.”

Back on the floor, a couple of teammates and one of the other coaches have realized that there’s a problem. They get me upright and the coach signals my mom to get down to the floor. By this time, the initial shock has worn off and I’m in massive amounts of pain — when my shoulder dislocates, my arm gains about three inches in length and what feels like 1000 pounds — so there is some minor crying going on on my part. My mom gets into the locker room, gets a hold of my dad, and tells him to stay in the car because we need to get to urgent care.

We get ice on my shoulder and my mom uses an ace bandage to immobilize things and we get in the car. We get down to urgent care and I remember this guy who sees me and lets me go ahead of him — not sure what his issue was, but thank you so much for letting the screaming and crying teenager jump the line!

We get into the exam room and the doctor comes in and starts examining things. Keep in mind that, A, I’m in a gymnastics leotard and, B, there’s a noticeable divot at my shoulder. He starts poking where my shoulder is supposed to be and asking if it hurts. At that point, not really, and I tell him so. He then starts probing my arm and gets to where my shoulder actually is, and of course, there’s a ton more pain and I tell him so.

The doctor looks up at both my parents.

Doctor: “So, this isn’t a dislocation; she’s broken her humerus. I’m going to order X-rays to be sure, and then we’ll get this fixed.”

Both my parents just stare at him, because it’s obvious that it’s a dislocation. Honestly, my dad was a medic when he was in the army, but the only reason he didn’t reduce my shoulder himself was that he didn’t want to risk something getting pinched. The X-rays get developed, and what do you know, my shoulder is dislocated.

Doctor: “Well, uh, I’m going to send you to the ER. They’ll have better drugs to give her. We’ll give her something to help for now and call ahead to get you guys checked in.”

A nurse comes in and gives me a shot of Demerol — I think; it might have been Dilaudid — and then we’re off to the ER. We get to the ER and they get us checked in, get vitals, and give me the exact same dose of Demerol. Then, they get me into a waiting gurney in the hallway.

We wait there for a while — I don’t remember much of it because I was so drugged up — but my mom finally goes out and asks what’s going on, so then they move me to a bed behind a curtain. I get hooked up to monitors and then to morphine, as well.

Looking back, there were an awful lot of drugs onboard that night. Again, hindsight humor: I thought I was asleep 90% of the time, but apparently, I wasn’t; my parents never mentioned if I said anything weird, but I’m sure I was entertaining.

There is more waiting and my mom finally goes out to the nurses’ station where they are just hanging around.

Mom: “Hi. Excuse me. Could we get some assistance back here? I know this probably isn’t exactly a high priority, but my daughter is fourteen and in pain and a little scared. Can someone please take a look?”

There was a flurry of activity and, within a few minutes, my shoulder was reduced. The doctor then had to pin me to the bed because I immediately tried to put my arms over my head. I suddenly felt better; why wouldn’t I try to use my arm?

My mom called urgent care a few days later to complain about the doctor we’d seen there and it turns out the guy was an allergist! He’d been covering the on-call because they’d had to make a run to help a patient. Mom thinks he was just scared to reduce it which is why he’d sent us to the ER.

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