I write this as I am sitting in the waiting room of the fracture clinic at the hospital. This is hopefully my last visit as have been coming since October, and quite frankly I am tired of paying for high price of parking!
Let’s rewind to what brought me here. I am here because broke my pinky finger back at the beginning of October. there is no funny or even embarrassing story of how it happened, my cute little Shih-Tzu Dexter was asleep on the floor and tripped over him. My little finger made contact with the coffee table in a bad way and a spiral fracture through the knuckle was the result. Thankfully, my best friend, (check out her blog here) was able to drive me to the E.R. so my hubby could stay home with the kids who were already tucked in bed. After giving me a dose of propofol (the drug Micheal Jackson got addicted to) so they could set my finger I left with a temporary cast and an appointment to come back.
I arrived promptly at 4:15 for my appointment the next week and was greeted by a really nice receptionist who advised me the doctor had just arrived and they were running 1.5 hours behind schedule. Yep, 1.5 hours! Now most people may dread that, and my first reaction was that as well, but then I realized, this is going to be a minimum of 3 hours I get to myself. Sure I couldn’t leave, but I had no dinner to make, no diapers to change, and no kids to bathe. I found a chair and got comfortable. I check my email, browsed FB, read some blogs and even closed my eyes for a few minutes. What a disaster that would have been though if I was in the waiting room with my kids. Even on their best behaviour, that would have been way to long for them. I finally got seen by the doctor, who was not happy with how my finger was set and decided he needed to re-brake my pinky (he froze it first, but the sound was awful!). My temporary cast was replaced with a pretty pink cast, it was kind of them to leave a couple diaper changing fingers free. I left 4 hours after my appointment time and had my next appointment set up for two weeks from then.
The day of my next appointment came, this time I had an earlier appointment, so even if he was running late, I would still be near the front of the pack. In the couple of weeks that had passed, I mastered changing diapers with 1 hand, 2 fingers and a forearm, didn’t wash many dishes and was getting pretty good at steering my double stroller with 1 hand. What were the chances the clinic was going to be as behind as last time? Just in case brought a book. In the 2 weeks between appointments I can guarantee I didn’t get a chance to sit read (a book with no pictures!) uninterrupted by a child wanting a drink, a snack, a change, to do a puzzle , and the list goes on . I was met by the same friendly receptionist who said I could go and grab a coffee because the doctor wasn’t there yet (apparently this was quite normal for Wednesdays at the clinic). I got a few chapters read and I confess, I was in no rush to see the doctor as I thought about my husband making dinner, bathing and putting the kids to bed. Besides, he was getting some serious child/daddy time with them! The cast was replaced and a removable one put on and just like last time, I left hours after my appointment time but also a referral to a hand physiotherapist.
Now hand therapy wasn’t quite a relaxing , but the appointments ran on time and the paraffin wax treatments that I got for my hand were the closest I have been to a spa in years! I brought my kids (the two that aren’t in school) with me and they were I must say very well behaved. Of course I was prepared with goldfish crackers, stickers and crayons and got an appointment time after breakfast before and before nap time. Timing really is everything. Hand therapy continued for the next couple months, first I was going 2 times a week, then once a week until I was done. I can almost make a complete fist now with my hand although it hurts and the extreme cold we’ve had this winter has definitely not helped the joints. My wonderful therapist advised the pain is the last symptom to leave and it will probably be at least a year if not two before I am pain-free.
Back in mid-December, once again in the waiting room and surrounded by many unhappy people, I had found my chair had my book open but really wasn’t reading. Honestly, I was eavesdropping. I could tell the people who were at the clinic for the first time by their reaction when the receptionist told them they could go get a coffee because it was going to be a long wait and waited to hear their reaction. One woman, with a temporary cast on just like the one I walked in wearing my first visit, was obviously upset about the wait. Her child’s school Christmas concert was that night and she inevitably was going to miss it if her appointment was 2 hours late. So sad. What made it worse, is that she was sitting close enough for me to hear her make the phone call home letting them know she would be missing the show. Different sides of the coin me and her that night. Here I was enjoying some with my kids and there she was devasted about not being with her child. I discreetly asked the nurse, who was now used to seeing me there, if the woman could go ahead of me and she obliged. That stranger’s night was made and I got to read a bit more of my book in peace, it really was a win win situation. (Maybe not for my husband who had more of a struggle then usual with the kids that night. Sorry. )
I am still waiting. I saw the doctor walk in, so he’s not doing to bad today, he’s taking his 3pm patients and it’s only 4:30. I might get home to kiss the kids goodnight. Although I haven’t quite finished my book, but that’s ok because I probably got more read in these visits to the fracture clinic then I have in the past few years. I have had more time to myself then all of my kids’ “time-outs” combined, a few nights off from making dinner, time to be left with my thoughts albeit surrounded by strangers and all it took was a broken bone.
It doesn’t look great, but way better then it did. The doctor said I can opt to have a surgery to remove the scar tissue and straighten it up, but I think I can live with it the way it is. I can hold my children’s hands and collect change from the Tim Horton’s drive-thru, so I’m good.
Take care of yourself, and if you can, find some time for yourself without requiring a cast!
p.s. In no way is this post meant to come across as knocking the healthcare system we have in Ontario, although it would be nice to have shorter wait times, I am very thankful for the care I received. In this case, the doctor is performing surgeries removing cancers before his clinic hours and things come up. The scheduling may need work, but obviously, I am not complaining!