In September 2019 I fell in the OR.
I tripped over the c-arm cord.
I face-planted into a trash can.
This was a call case.
The only people present in the OR was the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the CRNA and PACU was on their way in.
The patient was under 6.
I was not going to let a little fall stop me from giving care to this child.
Although all the others, all men, urged to me to sit down and take a break.
I looked at them, pointed at the child we had JUST put under general anesthesia and said there was no time.
Everyone turned to the patient and the case began after we all did the pre-incision pause.
The anesthesiologist went and got me an ice bag.
After the case the surgeon steri-stripped the small wound on my cheek.
Huh, apparently I was bleeding.
The take-aways were
- I did not hit my head on the corner of the desk. This would have been infinitely worse and likely fatal.
- I did not break my glasses
- we were able to give this child a safe surgery, circulator injury not-withstanding.
After the case, the bruising was already evident on my cheek and on my neck.
Blood complies with gravity rules, after all.
Over the next 6 hours I developed a black, black bruise from my cheek where I had impacted the trash can to my clavicle.
The cut that had been steri-stripped was a vertical slash just distal to the cheekbone.
See, I could have hit there and broken my face.
After the pain and the swelling and the employee health visits and the x-rays I was left with a stabbing pain in the left temporomandibular joint, an urge to scream when I sneezed, and a new dimple.
Exactly where the cut had been.
There was a palpable knot of tissue near my chin.
It’s still there.
I went back to employee health in December 2019 and asked them about the new dimple.
The employee health nurse said it was swelling and would go down.
I intended to follow up in three more months.
But we all know what started happening in January 2020 and February 2020 and so on.
I was not going to go back to employee health.
I am quite sure they had their hands full.
At my latest dental appointment I was informed that three fillings were breaking down, as they were old, and they would need to be replaced.
They were all on the left.
I decided to get all three done in a fail swoop.
In a marathon appointment that took 2 and a half hours the fillings were removed and replaced.
I was warned there may be some pain.
I can handle pain.
But two weeks later there is still pain.
My teeth don’t hurt.
The new fillings are fine.
My temporomandibular joint on that side is killing me.
Just like it did after I fell in September 2019.
It took months for that pain to go away.
And I had to be careful chewing.
I felt dismissed by employee health two years ago.
And I am sure the pandemic made it worse.
And we are in the Omicron wave now.
I am still going to email employee health and ask for guidance.
I’ll probably be told that the file has been open too long and they closed it.