Lying in the air bag was pretty comfy, all things considered.
I get about an hour, maybe 40 minutes where the pain isn’t so unbearable, my body protects itself from the initial pain with the shock from dislocating.
I was trying to organise cover for my shift in the afternoon, let work (Megan) know I’d fucked up and, most importantly, finally get that picture of my shoulder when it’s out.
I was somewhat disappointed to realise that it doesn’t look half as bad as it feels.
Chatting away to the staff at Bounce while we waited for the Ambos to come, it was easy to forget how much pain I was in. Talking was a distraction and the air bag meant I was comfy for the time being.
But I’m not very good when I get into my own head, and I was at the wrong angle to maintain conversation.
I listened to the guys above chatting, while I waited below and the greater ramifications of what had happened began to sink in.
My brain followed a cyclic pattern of thought:
“No arm, no job, no job, no sponsor, no sponsor, no visa, no visa, no stay”
Until I found myself on the verge of hysteria with a few opportunistic tears rolling down my cheeks.
Of course at this moment everyone decided to look down and check I was ok.
“Is it really hurting now?”
“Actually I’m not crying because of the pain. That’s fucking sore, but…I…I just really don’t want to have to go home, back to England”
There was a pause, 4 pairs of sympathetic and entirely useless eyes looking down on me and I tried to crack a joke.
“You’re one tough cookie, you know? You’re doing really well.”
“On a slightly demanding note, how long til the Ambos get here?”
I was starting to get restless and I knew, without sounding too demanding, I needed to get out of that bag. They were going to have to let it down anyway when the paramedics arrived, but I wanted to do it now.
Bag down and propped up on a giant foam block, I was beyond wanting my shoulder back in and was starting to wiggle and strop.
I was deathly pale, feeling sick and my arm had gone completely numb and cold – I was worrying about my nerves again: the damage had already been done to them after the first dislocation, but I’ve lost a little more sensation each time and I didn’t want to wind up with no feeling.
But still no sign of the ambulance. I was starting to feel a little silly, I should have just got someone to drive me to the hospital instead of causing all this fuss, but the previous times it came out I was scolded by hospital staff for not calling an ambulance – and at least they’d have pain killers.
I tentatively asked if they were coming one more time and as an aside, requested they send some rugged fitties to whisk me away.
At this point, I wanted to cry.
It’s a strange sensation having your shoulder out, my arm was completely numb, but I could feel bone knocking against bone, it was almost like my shoulder blade was being pushed out my back and each time I moved, there was a sharp, burning sensation across the top of my shoulder and into my back, followed by a continual dull ache that surged to a dull burn as my heart rate increased.
Trying to relax myself again I put my head back and closed my eyes, breathing deeply to slow my heart rate and try to ease the pain.
An hour an a half later we got word that they were here.
It was hard to hide my relief.
Practical head back on, I was slightly disappointed to see they’d sent a pair of actual babes (two really friendly and gorgeous ladies) and not my rugged ambos, but anyone was a welcome sight.
Asking for my details, they began to prepare some pain relief, but before anything was opened I had to ask one very important question.
“How much is this going to cost? I don’t have ambulance cover.”
“Honestly? You want to know? If I treat you, it’s $500, if I treat you I have to take you in the ambulance, you’re looking at another $400 or so for that, plus whatever it costs at the hospital. Or if you want to wait 20 minutes to drive you can take yourself, I’ll say you cancelled the call and we’ll pretend this didn’t happen.”
At this stage, what was another 20 minutes?
They put me in a sling and got me an ice pack and were discussing between them how best to get me out of the pit.
But I’d already rolled on to my side and was on my knees.
“Don’t suppose I could get a hand standing up?”
There was a rush and I got the sense I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, but I just wanted out. I needed a hand to get up and then I could shuffle to the car and hopefully in the next few hours it would all be better.
I tried to let go of her hand, it felt strange through the rubber gloves, warm, but unfriendly, alien, but she wouldn’t let go. I didn’t argue, the support was comforting and I was feeling increasingly more unsteady as the combination of gravity, increased heart rate and movement jolted shockwaves of pain through my shoulder.
“You’re amazing. You’re doing so well. Your friends car is here.”
I don’t really remember the ride to the hospital.
I remember getting stuck on the train tracks, just missing the gap before the barriers came down and having to wait what felt like a small forever while the trains sailed past.
I lay back and closed my eyes and tried no to wiggle too much, the left hand turns were painful enough and we seemed to be only turning left. I was bracing myself for each corner, trying not to let on how excruciating it was – it was nothing to do with the driving, and we had to get to the hospital – I was punting for sooner rather than later and if that meant a little bit more pain now, I’d take it.
I only opened my eyes once more to see the car sailing through an amber light. I smiled quietly and tried to say thank you, but my mouth had stopped working.
Nicole was fabulous. Her concern was felt, but she wasn’t over bearing and it was nice having Lydia in the back being unsympathetic.
One of the songs from our sexy playlist came on. Inside I was singing and dancing, outside I was pale and trying not to move, but I wanted to catch Lydia’s eye in the wing mirror and share the moment.
Finally we pulled up to the A&E drop off and I struggled out of the car, shuffling in to the reception area.
I was acutely aware I’d need my things and I might have to provide ID, or Medicare, but I was in self-preservation mode. It hurt and I wanted it back in, as quickly as possible.
I’d stopped being able to string sentences together properly and no matter how hard I tried, it was taking all my energy to not have a full on pain strop.
I walked up to reception.
“Hi, I’ve dislocated my shoulder, can you fix me please?”