Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Day I Rode the Ambulance Home

I’d like to say it was done as I used my super-cool ninja moves to fight off a pack of saber-toothed tigers attacking sobbing kindergarteners. Or maybe that I was scaling a sheer cliff without a rope to catch some escaping thieves and my fingers slipped. Even something like shoving a dingy off into the ocean to begin a language survey would be more interesting.

But no. My boring story of a shoulder injury likely comes from hauling around luggage and shoving my backpack into overhead compartments in multiple airplanes a month ago. After some massage therapy and rest, the pain subsided and I thought all was merry with the world (albeit some stiffness and limited range of motion that I thought would work out with time).

Our ambulance!
But, when the stiffness didn’t leave, I found myself in our clinic’s waiting room two days ago, hoping to see Dr. Carl who could then suggest some exercises or perhaps refer me to our occupational therapist for some treatment. It should only be about 10 minutes, I thought, and then I can be on my way.

So I chatted with the nurses and we caught up on Ukarumpa news until the doctor arrived, and he asked questions, poked and prodded. “Any pain?” he queried as he manipulated my arm. “Nope, just a bit stiff,” I responded, puzzled because I suddenly felt a bit dizzy....

...and the next thing I knew, I was waking up from some crazy dreams with several doctors and their stethoscopes peering at my face and a whole bunch of other people in the room. I’m on a table. Why am I on a table? Why am I in the clinic? Why are all these people here?

Then it all came back. My shoulder!

Apparently, my body was not about to let anyone mess with that injury! But, I suppose if one is going to black out, collapsing into a doctor’s arms in an exam room would be the place to do it! I ended up spending a good two hours in the clinic as our very capable doctors and nurses rehydrated me (esp. when I started throwing it all up), got things stabilized, set me up on a course of meds and shoulder exercises, and tried to puzzle out why the pain (that I couldn’t feel) would be so severe that I might suddenly drop to the floor. I was definitely the excitement of the morning!

As I was driven home in the ambulance with orders to take it easy, I thought back to my morning devotions, where I had so blithely offered God my day’s to-do list that might accomplish what He wanted and not what I had planned, while simultaneously asking that He would help me have a day of rest...

I guess I got my answer!
Buddy was very glad that I spent the day with him

For those of you wanting all the details, my injury is a soft-tissue injury of the trapezius and a secondary shoulder impingement, and thus doesn’t require surgery or a trip to Cairns at the moment. The doctors are optimistic about my prognosis, and I’m meeting with an occupational therapist here in Ukarumpa to plan the rehab over the next few weeks. In addition, it "just so happened" that we have a  physical therapist who is here briefly for other reasons but was able to do a more thorough exam and give me direction for treatment. Buddy, our dog, was very pleased with my day of unexpected cancellations and appointed himself Chief Rest-Enforcer.