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more fun with harborview medical center

A little over a week after the fracture I returned to Harborview to get some X-Rays and find out how it was all going to go down. Luckily not in the urgent care room, but up in the orthopedic hand clinic (yes, there is such a thing).

Some hopeful decorations greeted me on the way in, in the form of some sort of artistic wainscoting in the hallway made out of hundreds of bamboo canes:



I thought I'd get lucky and be in and out of there, but it was not to be. It was almost as bad as the first night in the E.R. My appointment was at 3:40, and I didn't see a real doc until after 7!

It wasn't so bad though, most of that time was spent sitting in the cast room, reading, watching all the other people with broken hands and wrists wait around and get treated, one-by-one before me. There's like 6 beds, and a few casting techs (nurses who do just about nothing but build fiberglass casts).

Doctors come in and look at the X-rays, now all-digital.


And then just tell the cast tech to do a "long reverse t" or a "groucho marx" (no joke!) and then they slap it on, tell them not to get it wet, stick things inside it, do any pushing, pulling or twisting with it, and send them home. Evidently there was some kind of emergency eariler in the day, because there was a shortage of doctors, so for the first hour or so I was there the casting techs had nothing to do, just sitting there with a bunch of fairly cheery broken people waiting for a doc to interpret an X-ray and give the word.

Then they just pick a color and do what they do best.

Finally they got to me. I was of course ready with the digital cam. Here's the story:


I had some gnarly fracture, in the radius, a little in the joint, but only about 1 mm of displacement, so the doc thought it would heal up just fine and that he couln't do much improvement by cutting into me. (Sigh of relief). For those not experienced with reading fuzzy jpeg x-rays, here's the fracture cheat sheet, done in photoshop by yours truly.


Then, they fitted me with a lovely short case that gives me lots of mobility in the fingers and doesn't cross my elbow. I was as stoked as someone with a broken arm who just waited in a casting room for 3+ hours can be.


I stood in front of the hospital waiting for the Ben to come pick me up on the motorcyle (suicidal but fun!) entertaining myself by saying prayers and mantras or spacing out or taking pictures of my face in the floodlight with the camera in my phone.


Just before Ben came, these two black teenagers walked by. We made eye contact and for some reason it made me smile. "What's up?" they said, rhetorically. They chuckled to themselves. "My brother." one said as he passed, and then, when he was passed he looked back, "my white brother."

I laughed hard. "That's right," I said.


Please tell me you wore a helmet on the motorcycle, oh "He who pokes at the Horrible Injury Fairy with a stick far too often"?

Yes...I wear a helmet.

I like motorcycles but in my gut I just know I'd get killed on one if I had it.