Ya Ha Ha Ting

The fun times aboard Liquid Therapy. With - Susan and Brooke Smith

MAINTENANCE & OUCH

Thursday, November 16, 2023 Docked, Whitehouse Cove Marina, Poquoson, VA.

SUMMARY - Fell into the engine room. Fractures of the right transverse processes of L2 and L3,, Minimally displaced fracture of the tip of the right 11th rib.

DETAILS - My mind was leaping ahead to the next maintenance task as I backed in the doorway from the main deck. Down one step and my left foot lands inside on the cabin deck - my right foot steps back and goes into the open engine room hatch. My right side lands on the engine around my kidney area. The rest of my body is just down there suddenly. I try to get my senses about me. Pretty startled you know. I evaluate myself and believe nothing is broken. My side hurts of course and I know there will be a big bruise. I didn’t hit my head or my hip. So, for a moment I decide to continue working on the engine fuel filters.

I start to feel a bit worse. I decide that fall was an omen to quit early today and seek out a medical evaluation. I button up the boat and get into the car and start driving home. It’s a little over an hour and I can go to the ER or urgent care when I get home. I call Susan and tell her what happened. Susan wants me to pull in the local diner and have them dial 911. I am feeling worse by the minute and am wondering if I might pass out driving on I64. I see a fire station and pull in.

The fire station bay doors are open. I struggle to get out of the car and struggle to walk into the bay area. “Hello,” I say. No response from anyone. I open the door into the station, walk to the bunk area and say “Hello”. No one is in there either. I continue on to the office area. No one is there either. I hear voices down a hall and walk to a doorway and find everyone having breakfast. It’s 9AM. I tell them about the fall. I can see them all evaluating me from their breakfast table. A couple of them hop up - put me in a rolling office chair and roll me to the EMS truck. On to the stretcher I go. I am really feeling worse every minute and glad to have the Fire EMS loading me into the truck and taking me to the ER of a nearby hospital. We have moved the boat here only a couple months ago and I don’t really know where I am headed. EMS Lacy asks me could she start an IV? Of course I said yes. She and another EMS guy are putting a collar on my neck. I told them I didn’t have whiplash and didn’t hit my head. I’m assured it’s only a precaution. I don’t know if I am in shock or my mind is in a state of shock. So, I go along with whatever the EMS team suggests.
Lacy then asks if she could she give me some pain medicine? She said Fentanyl? “Yikes, isn’t that the drug killing people?” I ask. She says it is a very good pain reliever and the dosage is very small. So, some of that goes into the IV.

The radio is blazing with verbiage like you hear on the ER TV shows - Starting 18 gauge IV, BP, age, fall. The radio is a blur. The Fentanyl does not much for my pain that is increasing constantly. “Do I have a weapon on me?” asks Lacy. “No” I answer. Lacy says “a knife?” “Of course I have a pocket knife” I answer. Lacy says I can’t take it into the hospital and I try to get it out of my jeans. I can’t move that way because of the pain and Lacy gets the knife out of my pocket and bags it like it’s evidence of a crime. “A security officer at the hospital will be around with a claim ticket for my knife” Lacy tells me.
I told her that I didn’t think of my pocket knife as a weapon - just a part of getting dressed in the morning. I use my knife often, opening things mainly. Lacy says “The ER had an incident recently.”

We arrive at the hospital where the count one, two, three routine is done to move me from the EMS stretcher to the hospital stretcher. It was four of them doing the lift. I told them I hoped I hadn’t hurt their backs. They roll me down a hallway and park me. I’m not behind a curtain etc, because hey, I’m not hurt badly and will be out of here shortly. WRONG assumption there Brooke! The ER personnel get going on me. Doctors and a nurse are assigned to me. My two doctors press on my ribs until they hit the spot and one says “I think I feel the rib that is probably broken.” Uh, doc that hurts really badly when you do that. I am getting less mobile or ambulatory as they call it. Blood is drawn by a nurse. Someone unzips me to do a sonogram of my kidneys and bladder. I was worried about a ruptured spleen or kidney. I was told both kidneys looked fine and actually my spleen and liver were on my left side, not my right side where my body had landed on the engine. It takes me about 1 1/2 hours to zip my pants back up because of the constantly increasing pain. Didn’t really want help there, but probably should have asked for some zipping help.

It’s busy in the ER. Really busy for a Thursday morning. Everyone working is YOUNG and full of energy. They all look happy. The doctors it seems are circulating like the waitstaff of a nice restaurant checking on you whether their patient or not. Some doctor asks me do I want more pain medicine? I say yes I’m about an eight on the pain scale. Tylenol is what I get. The pain continues to get worse. Some time passes and another doctor walking by says “you don’t look very comfortable. Do you want something else for pain?” I say “yes I’m a 10 on the pain scale”. I get Oxycontin. I’m a little worried about taking too many different pain things. The Oxycontin does NOTHING for the pain. I am escorted to the X-ray lab and they took my blood oxygen while walking. It’s 88 and I’m told that’s not great. It hurts to inhale. I’m not breathing deeply enough. The X-ray is not good enough for diagnosis and I’m back on my bed in the hallway. They order CT scan. I’m pretty woozy. Haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast. I’m not hungry. The pain is really intense. They shoot morphine into the IV and wheel me to the CT machine. My head is swimming. Morphine does nothing for the pain. The pain is so great I cannot lift my leg to get off the bed to the CT table. Someone lifts my leg for me and the CT thing is over pretty quickly and they lift my leg to get me back on the rolling bed and I’m wheeled back to my position in the hallway. Two doctors come and read me the results. Lumbar L2 and L3 are fractured on the right side. Rib 11 is cracked. They give me a breathing exercise device to keep my lungs open to help prevent pneumonia. They consider keeping me overnight for pain management but let me go home. They say 6-8 weeks for healing and not to lift anything over 15 lbs. If I feel any tingling in my legs get to an ER.
OK. Discharged.

My brother, Eddie, and Susan have driven from Mechanicsville to the hospital in Newport News. They drive me and the other car home. I whence at every overpass on I64 while riding home. There seems to be no pain medicine that works. I make it into the house and sleep on the sofa downstairs. Not sure I can do the stairs. Maybe tomorrow.

The other two fuel filters, and all other maintenance will wait until March.

Today’s picture is Liquid Therapy’s engine compartment. Imagine, if you can, falling about 3 feet on top of the engine and crumpling on the white shelf next to the engine. Ouch….


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