Thursday, 13 July 2006

"Done a Nick"

I should have studied to be an orthopedic surgeon. $140 for a 15 minute consultation to tell someone, "I've never seen an injury like this before. Get more scans done and come back to me."

So, 6 weeks ago I had the accident, and at the time thought I'd just sprained my wrist. They - you know who you are - told me I should go to the hospital or a doctor, but I shrugged it off. It didn't hurt specifically when I poked it, so I figured it couldn't be broken. Although it hurt, there was no swelling so I didn't think it could be too bad. However, a month later I still hadn't regained full use of my wrist, so I went to see my GP.
He sent me to get x-rays of the wrist, and when they came back he told me I'd dislocated my ulna, not sprained tendons as I had thought. If I had gone to see him immediately after the accident, he said, then it would have been simple to fix, but since it had been over a month at this point, he didn't know what was required and referred me to a specialist. Oops. I could hear "I told you so!" ringing in my ears already.
It took another week to find an orthopedic surgeon to see me, and I've just now returned from my appointment with him. Nothing is simple. It turns out that what my GP had thought was a dislocation might just be the way my bones are naturally. However, a bit of bone (the styloid process, to which a ligament attaches, so it's kind of important) has broken off the tip of the ulna at my wrist, and is somehow restricting the wrist's rotational freedom. He said he'd never seen it cause this problem before and didn't know what to do, so he's sent me off to get MRI scans done of both wrists (so that he knows what my wrist should look like), and may have to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon specialising in wrists and hands in Brisbane!

*sigh* This is going to be expensive. I have no private insurance, but I'd agreed with my GP that I would pursue the private health system. There was no way of knowing when, if ever, I would have my wrist seen to if I was on a public waiting list, since it would be regarded as low priority. I don't want to take the risk of progressive, potentially irreversible damage to my wrist while I languish in the public health system.
That leaves the private health system, which my GP (without knowing exactly what would be required) warned could cost me up to $2,000. With the cost of the x-ray, specialist and the MRI scan, I'm off to a good start towards that amount without even having any operation yet!
Still, it's something that, in my opinion, is not optional. It's definitely worth that amount to me to have a good wrist.

So, as Tanya proposed, to have "done a Nick" is to have sustained some avoidable (or perceived to have been avoidable) injury, often in conjunction with willful obstinance. :)

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