Sunday, October 7, 2012

pain and suffering in Hong Kong

One of our friends suffered a horrifying leg injury yesterday on the rugby pitch.  The ambulance arrived within fifteen minutes and the medics were all you could ask for in promptness and professionalism.  But once they assessed that his condition wasn't life threatening things got very slow.  Bureaucratically slow.  He was given a questionnaire to answer, which from my rather unfortunate familiarity with sports related accidents appears to be the standard.  While answering our friend became more and more pale and began to breathe heavily due to his tremendous amount of pain.  The medics could do nothing about the pain because they didn't carry any pain relief medication and possibly weren't qualified to administer it.  So all we could do was try to hurry the questionnaire along while pretending not to notice that our friend's knee cap was located four inches above where it should have been.

Last year I accompanied one of SB's ice hockey teammates to the hospital when he dislocated his shoulder.  The situation was very similar and the poor man had been moaning in pain in the Accident and Emergency department for twenty minutes before I finally resorted to practically prostrating myself upon the nurse's station and begging for help.  After an hour of excruciating pain the man earned a morphine injection.  And after that he didn't care that his shoulder kind of made him look like Quasimodo.  In fact, he offered me his wallet and told me to take whatever I wanted as compensation for my good deed.  I was nervous about leaving him in the hospital overnight with no one to guard him from his generosity.

Our friend of the curiously mislocated knee cap was fortunate in that his wife is a nurse and was on shift when he arrived at the hospital.  There was no wait between arrival and oblivion.  By this morning he had already been operated on and was recuperating in a nice, private room, and apparently with enough meds to leave him in good cheer.  His heavily pregnant wife could use some of that cheer herself though I suspect that she would be happy enough if someone could look after their toddler while Daddy is in crutches for the duration of her pregnancy.

These may be famous last words but I have never had a truly bad injury.  My broken nose didn't really hurt and the finger deformity was pretty bad but not to the level that I was about to pass out.  The Achilles rupture of 1997 was probably the worst but I received a cortisone injection before even being stretchered from the track.  After witnessing the long wait for pain relief I am seriously considering bringing my own meds with me when I play.  We still have an unused bottle of painkillers that SB never took after his ACL surgery.  If I do myself in, I wonder if I would be brave enough to wait an hour for relief.

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