September 10, 2021

So today I was in clinic, on a happily calmer day than the past few weeks have been. I was still the only assistant, but today only one doctor was seeing patients, so my job was pleasantly focused. A few cancellations allowed me to work on the doctor’s tasks in my inbox. Two referrals. One was easy enough, to a compression consultant I’ve worked with already and knew how to contact, and how to go about the necessary paperwork. The next one, though, was rather more complicated, as I needed to call each potential E.N.T physician in the area, asking if they accept the patient’s insurance before I go about the referral process. While searching our files for previous E.N.T physicians, I found various other specialties instead. I noticed “orthopedic,” and gave myself a quick mental quiz to see if I remembered what that referred to . . .

Around noon I got a text from my husband. “Can I call?” “Just a minute, I text back. Taking advantage of the lunch hour calm, I stepped outside. “Hey, so I had an accident . . .”My heart dropped.

Turns out he was, by that point, about to be discharged from the E.R., and given a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. He was given a prescription for an antibiotic and pain meds at a nearby pharmacy. He called the orthopedic clinic, while walking to the pharmacy to buy his meds. While the clinic was trying to schedule him an appointment he asked if he could just walk in and be seen.

That is where he was when I walked in, still on the phone with him, asking “Where exactly are you?” Oh—did I mention that he was at the hospital down the road from my clinic?

I knocked on one door, recognizing the voice I’d heard in the background while on the phone with Peter. The gentleman on the exam table looked at me with come confusion, while the physician speaking to him turned to ask me, “Do you know this man?” I don’t think I even responded, in my frazzled state of mind — just turned around and closed the door behind me. 

When I did successfully enter Peter’s room, I ended up crying at the sight of him. The PA tried to reassure me and I blurted out, “I’m fine . . . just mad!” After a bit, we were joking about the irony of the fact that I am quite accustomed to wound care. He said, “You’re going to love this!” I raised my eyebrow in good librarian-turned-healthcare-worker fashion.

Soon afterwards we were walking out, surgery preparation papers in hand, to await the call from the scheduler. Tomorrow morning a surgeon will reattach the tendon on his pinkie. He has it in for his right hand, I suppose (remembering a similar ER even a few years back). Surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning. Once that call had come in, he was calm enough to lay now—if not exactly sleeping. I took another call shortly after he had done so, from the surgery billing office. With insurance company logistics, I’m not even sure if being uninsured is going to make it all that much worse than if we did still have insurance. But time will tell on that front.

For now, we sit on our couch in relative comfort. His hand wrapped and resting on his chest, periodically raised above his head, upon doctors (and nurse-wife’s) orders  🙂

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