ER: I Blame George Clooney, Trapper John, Dr. Kildare, Marcus Welby, Doogie Howser And the Like

Since May 30, Saturday, because of a bike accident, I’ve been to two emergency rooms, the first via ambulance in Jersey City, and the second in Manhattan via PATH and taxi, and have made office visits to two Manhattan doctors, one to my personal physician who referred me to a podiatrist, who told me I really needed to see an orthopedic specialist. He told me to rush to NYU’s orthopedics emergency room where a NYU orthopedics ER doc told me what I suspected when I was in the Jersey City Medical Center but couldn’t get anyone there to take serious my concerns: My Achilles tendon was mangled, to what degree she couldn’t determine because the NYU MRI folks had left at 7 p.m.

She put this whale of a temporary cast (I’m exaggerating slightly for effect though it’s heavily unpleasant) on my right leg, told me she was referring me to an orthopedic specialist and had inferred, earlier, that she wasn’t impressed with the ankle wrap that the podiatrist had put on the right leg. He, of course, had conveyed there in his examining room that he wasn’t impressed with the ankle wrap that the Jersey City Medical Center ER room had put on the leg.

The JCMC ER staff had seemed nonchalant about my concerns that the real problem was with my Achilles Tendon. They told me – I have this in writing – that I had either experience a bad sprain or had torn a ligament. I couldn’t get anyone there to take seriously my suspicion that my A-T had been damaged. I hadn’t even been able to convince the ambulance EMTs that the problem was with the tendon. The foot had swelling but I could wiggle my toes (a little) and could turn my ankle (a little) and they seemed more concerned with the blood coming from scrapes and wounds on my right leg rather than my expressed concerns, done repeatedly, about the tendon.

Why did I suspect tendon damage?  Well, at the scene of the accident on Montgomery Street, after my bicycle hit an obstruction, and I had gone over the handlebars, I stood up after several seconds, discovering that my left foot felt numb and that it was poorly responsive. That is, I could wiggle my toes a tiny bit and I could turn the ankle a tiny bit but movement was severely restricted. I sat down immediately, and ran my fingers up the Achilles Tendon of my left leg, feeling how solid and straight it was; my fingers checking the right leg discovered a mushy gap between the heel and the back of the ankle. No tendon there, though there was pain to the touch.

Uh oh.

So, where is this blog going? The original plan was to tell a story, drawing on other experiences I’ve had in hospitals and emergency rooms in order to create something that would benefit others, perhaps provide knowledge so that when the unreality seized others, they would at least have information they could use for their benefit, such as this: Never go to an emergency room alone. Or, once there, call for backup.

Journalists should tell stories to make the world better, such as me trying to provide something that can be useful, for example, to my students when they encounter the wry, the ugly, the strange, the unreal. The Fourth Estate is being rocked by radical change, and I believe – I, of course, am not the only with such beliefs and there are others who can express these senitments more eloquently than I am here – that the Internet and blogging and all the others new media tools available or on the horizon can raise the personal experience to higher notches so that people don’t have to hope a news organization or a journalist will take an interest telling their stories. They can tell their own and, of course, cause something positive to happen by their telling.

I’ve been interviewed for publication, and I always thought that no matter how well the journalists did their jobs, I could have told my stories better. Also, here, I’m using slang, colloquialisms, neologistic devices, gregg-argot and gregg-patois when, for a journalistic narrative, I should be more formal. So, I am using this post to initiate the idea-nurturing-process but real development will have to take place somewhere else, I think. But I need to get this off my chest. So, quickly, why do …

… I Blame George Clooney, Trapper John, Dr. Kildare , Marcus Welby, Doogie Howser And the Like? Because that televised imagery blurs the reality of the unreality, allowing it to thrive. That should be obvious.

I got a bumrush and didn’t like the experience. It was weird telling ER staff and EMTs that something was wrong with my A-T and witness that no one even looked, and all appeared soooo nonchalant. It was weird engaging in a discussion that was escalating to a confrontation with a podiatrist who kept insisting I wasn’t doing a good job describing my pain. Just as I was about to shout (I’m not sure what, most likey, QMfE, “Why are you playing a head game with me”), I said something, I don’t recall what, but his demeanor changed instantaneously after he ran his fingers along the back of my heel and ankle, experiencing first hand the deformity where he should have felt my Achilles Tendon.

His manner changed so fast and so drastically, it was like being in the presence – a bit of an exaggeration, admittedly – Dr. Hyde slow-morphing to Dr. Jekyll. Then, it became him doing everything he could to get me to go to the NYU ER ASAP instead of me putting it off to the next day as I was saying, and that I shouldn’t even consider going to the New America Media expo that I had been anticipating for months.

And I got lots of reassurances from him (that weren’t very reassuring because I was now really skeptical, on high alert, because of the early D-Hyde/D-Jekyll head game) that everything would be alright. Maybe.

Base on life and journalism experiences, I’m know there are legions of people with similar if not worse experiences, and I want to do what other journalists do when they come across the unreal like I have. I want to tell a story, my story and, of course, to encourage others to tell their stories so that all these stories will make things different.

That’s one of the reasons I write about The Four Barnacles of the Apocalypse.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.