A grain of rice · Mar 12, 09:03 AM

I was running down the stairs Thursday morning, trying to catch the early train, and missed a step after the turn at the 2nd floor. Since I hadn’t been holding either railing, instead of tumbling down the remaining 6-7 stairs, I flew down them.

Terrifying it was to be in freefall, and then I landed with a hell of a thud on my forearms, knees and face. My head and neck were throbbing, and I heard a clatter. Lying there, my nose smushed into the carpet, I thought, “Oh, shit, my glasses are broken, and I leave for Brazil in less than a week! What will I do?”

C heard me cry out and came running. When I raised my head, I found that the clatter had been a plastic spoon from my backpack—phew! C helped me limp back up the stairs and fetched me an ice pack, which I promptly applied to my upper lip. (I wanted neither to show up in Brazil with a fat lip nor for anyone at work to think this was result of domestic violence – and it was the part of me that hurt the most.) There was a little bit of a crunching in my mouth but I couldn’t see any visible chips on my teeth. I thought I was pretty much fine except for the shock and the fact that I was going to be in pain for the next several days.

I was wrong. When I found I couldn’t fully straighten my left arm on Friday morning, I called into my PCP (HMO lingo for “primary care physician”). He referred me to the emergency room.

The ER experience took a little over two hours; the staff were very pleasant but I spent most of the time waiting, bored out of my mind and a little worried, too. The ER staff established that I have a bone chip the size of 1-2 grains of cooked rice in my left elbow, just off the head of the radius. They showed me the x-ray there at the hospital. If it weren’t for an arrow on the x-ray film pointing to it, I wouldn’t be able to find it again.

I have instructions to wear a sling, ice the elbow and take twice the normal daily dose of ibuprofen. That’s all fine, except for the sling (grrr). I also must see an orthopod (aka orthopedic doctor), and as part of that I have to get new x-rays the day before to show whether there’s been any change since Friday afternoon.

However, I have to get the x-rays at the hospital because if I got them done at the orthopod’s office, my insurance wouldn’t cover it. Oh, and did I mention that a) I need to call my PCP to get referrals for both of these things and b) the orthopod’s in effing Glenview? All of this for a bloody grain of rice…


  1. Dear Susan, I don’t know if you get this, but if you do, all the best wishes from the Loft. Speedy recovery and hope everything will be ok in Brasil. LB

    L.B. Murphy · Mar 15, 01:59 PM · #