Chronic Illness  
 October 16, 2015

Emergency Care in the City – The Story of a Klutz

Last Friday, I managed to trip over my own feet, fall to the ground; all five feet eleven inches of me tumbling down like a large tree tipping over in the forest.  My knees did not buckle, and I caught my body weight with my hands.  My left hand hit flat ground and did not even bruise, but my right was not so lucky.  My palm hit a step, the edge of which caused excruciating pain on site and immediate swelling.   My reaction at the time was:  what a klutz!

While in law school I took a similar tumble;  but that time it was down three or four stone stairs, with my school bag filled with law books and my trusted work-horse ThinkPad weighing me down.  That fall led to one dislocated elbow, two fractured elbows, lots of bruising, and months of physical therapy.  Although last Friday’s fall was nothing like that, it made me nervous enough that I decided, with some encouragement from my sister who is a doctor, to get my hand checked out.

Any time I begin to think about going to the Emergency Room, anxiety overwhelms me.   Thoughts of sitting in a crowded waiting room, watching people with injuries far more severe than mine be seen ahead of me (obviously), and filling out countless pages worth of paperwork flood my mind and dissuade me from actually seeing a doctor.   Last Friday, when the sole purpose of seeing a physician was to ascertain whether or not my hand was fractured, I seriously debated whether going to the ER was actually worth the hassle.  Then I thought, perhaps the emergency clinics popping up throughout the city, where wait times are less than an hour, the facilities are small and clean, and the staff friendly, maybe just maybe they also do x-rays.

I found one close to my home, gave them a call, and CityMD on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn confirmed that all of their locations are capable of taking an x-ray.  I walked over, the friendly staff had all of my information on file from a previous visit, and the wait was approximately 15 minutes before my examination began.  The physician on staff was unable to determine whether or not I had a hairline fracture in my hand, and therefore my x-rays were outsourced to a local radiologist.  It was finally determined that I had a bad sprain, some nasty bruising, but that there was no break (phew!).  I was in and out of the facility within a couple of hours, and the staff profusely apologized about the wait.

The convenience, including the proximate location of the clinic to my home and the efficiency of the staff, made this an unusually pleasant visit for emergency care in New York City.  It is encouraging to find that emergency care is evolving, and, that if you are like me and do not require an ambulance to take you to a full blown hospital ER, you can unclog those ER waiting rooms and seek out a facility in your area where competent professionals can ascertain the urgency of your condition quickly and send you on your way.

Today, my hand still makes it uncomfortable to type, to turn doorknobs, and to carry bags.  But it is quickly healing as I have followed the recommendation of the physician on staff at CityMd to R-I-C-E (rest, ice, compress, elevate).

Have a safe weekend everyone!