MY EMERGENCY AT MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL
Like any other older person, I had experienced emergency visits to different hospitals in the Toronto area before unlike this one at Mount Sinai Hospital. In fact, this is the second emergency visit to the same hospital. The first one occurred about 2 years ago involving the right leg, but this time it happened to my left ankle. It was my family physician, Dr. C. K. Tan who sent me both times for emergency.
The doctor took one look at my left leg which was swollen and turning bluish grey and ordered me to go to the emergency of the nearest hospital.
Ankle injuries are among the most common of the bone joint injuries. Without an x-ray, it is hard to tell whether the ankle is broken. The ankle joint is made up of 3 bones.
- The tiba is the main bone of the lower leg which makes up the inside anklebone.
- The fibula is a smaller bone that parallel the tiba that makes the outside anklebone or the lateral.
- The talus is one of the bones in the foot and the ends of the tiba and fibula form an arch that sits on the talus.
- Normally, it takes 4-6 weeks to heal.
HOW THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED
On June 18, 2011 my sister, brother in law, brother, a church brother and I visited a Chinese restaurant newly opened on Spadina Avenue about a week ago. I had invited John Chang for dinner because he was helpful in fixing my computer. After the meal, my brother preceded me to the washroom on the basement. The walls on the staircase was dark grey and the steps were the same colour with a small spotlight. I must have missed a step and fell knocking my head on the wall and falling on my face at the bottom of the stairs. I could not get up and my brother picked me up and I thought I had sprained my ankle.
I was not prepared for any emergency visit to the hospital at all. Charles, my brother in law drove me to the emergency section of Mount Sinai Hospital. I told my brother in law that I would phone him after I had seen the doctor. I did not until the following morning.
MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL
Mount Sinai Hospital is a fully accredited health care and teaching facility affliated with the University of Toronto. Located with several major hospitals on University Avenue, Mount Sinai Hospital has existed since 1923 under various names. It has occupied the present address since 1973 and presently operate 472 inpatient beds. More than 500,000 ambulatory visits are made to the hospital.
The Toronto Star newspaper (October 2010) named the hospital as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc.
Waiting Time for Emergency
Patients requiring the most urgent care must be treated first. Things can change quickly in the Emergency Department and delay your care. The average visit to the Emergency Department is five hours. This means that many visits are shorter and some are longer.
PROCEDURE AT THE HOSPITAL
1st Day at Mount Sinai Hospital
I registered at the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Centre. The nurse at the reception recorded all the necessary particulars. Luckily when I was at the family doctor's office, he thought I wanted to renew my prescriptions and wrote them down or I would be at a loss to recall the names of the prescriptions.
It took a long time before I was x-rayed and then I waited for the doctor to see me. Dr. Luke Bearss, Emergency Room doctor examined the x-ray picture and declared I had fractured my ankle. Later I found out that I had fractures on two areas. The doctor had been an emergency doctor for 6 years. working in the hospital.
After a while, he came back and made a cast on my left foot which was approximately 5 hours later after I was in the hospital. Next came an emergency registered nurse, Anna Haley who questioned me for more information. She was very pleasant and coincidentally also worked 6 years as the doctor on the floor. I was then wheeled into the hallway and told that I probably had to stay overnight. I lay on the gurney in my street clothes under the bright florescent lights which shone brightly day and night in the hallway of the hospital. There were women and men lying on the gurneys in the hallway. There was constant traffic.
I could hardly sleep the first night with the florescent lights, people walking up and down and the intercom blaring out communications throughout. Across the other hallway, which was at right angles to where I lay was a man with a pot belly stomach wearing a tee shirt and he tried to make contact with his eyes and gesturing with his arms. I was praying hard and shielding my eyes not to look at him. My gurney was towards where it branched out at right angle into another hallway. My prayer was answered for a nurse came along and told him to get into a room in the hallway. I was relieved to see him go.
Nothing exciting! I looked at my watch and it showed 3:00 am. When I woke up, it was 6:00 a.m. It seemed I slept only 3 hours last night. Nothing to do but sleep on the gurney the whole day and watching the traffic.
I had no phone or tv, so I watched as the people passed by. I could not reach the telephone on the wall, so I did not use that phone. I noticed that one of the cleaners had a cell phone and I borrowed it to telephone my brother in law. Later, he and my brother came to see me. No one on the staff told me whether I had to stay another night.
If I did not move at all, there seemed to be no pain in my ankle. No message from the staff. There were 7 patients in the hallway, two on my side of the hallway, two rooms opposite me with curtains drawn, and two further down the hall with one at right angle on the other hallway. The two separated rooms had curtains and the lights could be switched off at night. That was obviously a plus sign. The second room seemed to be in quarantine. Many people visited the room and they always put on another gown and wore masks and gloves when they went into the room.
Further down the hall, there was a room where all the doctors congregated. I noticed a very good looking Middle East lady doctor with a scarf tied around her head. She walked extremely tall and straight with an expressionless look on her lovely face. She was in and out of the room. Only in Canada would an apparently Muslim lady doctor be working in a Canadian Jewish Hospital! I wondered if she knew how lucky she was!
Not much change, still sleeping in the hallway. I was quite resigned to the situation. If there was no room in the hospital, I could not be placed! I had to be thankful at least the hospital was looking after me. Another sleepless night!
I was taken to a bay reserved for people in transition on the opposite side of the hallway. There were two spotlights on the ceiling. At least, there were drapes and I pulled them together though it was morning. On the 3rd day, I was told that I would be transferred to rehab hospital. I had to recap all the info and was informed that there were three possible rehab centres, which were Grace, Bridgepoint and Providence Rehab centres. I was aware of them because two of my sisters preceded me by going to Bridgepoint and Providence, which was miles away from home. At least, I did not have to spend more nights in the hallway with the brilliant lights shining down throughout day and night. It was discomforting, to say the least.
At long last, I was to be given a hospital bed for the night. Praise the Lord. From my new position in the hallway, I could look into a section of the examining room. I saw a section of new patients being examined by the emergency doctor. All were attended to and discharged. A good looking blonde lady had her arm on a sling and another man was given one crutch and discharged. They were lucky for their injuries were not so severe and discharged promptly.
The social worker (Tania Pape), two young ladies from the physio department (Jane Lee, physiotherapist) and Seema Zerafa (Occupational Therapist) showed me gadgets I would need to have in the bathroom. The resident doctor was very thorough with her questions. She even tested my hearing and finally the young friendly pharmacist appeared. Both the resident doctor and the pharmacist came twice to question me. I was quite impressed with the resident doctor and the young pharmacist. They made sure that they had the correct information about the patient. I was not just passed over. Only after probing me further, was I was registered as a patient at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
After I had my dinner at 6:00 pm. I was tranferred to the 17th floor of the hospital. It was a great relief to me that I would not have to stay another night on the gurney in the hallway. I was hoping for a good night rest in the new quarters. Mount Sinai Hospital has 18 floors. On arrival at my bed for the 3rd night, I was greeted by two nurses and the nurse receptionist. I was so happy that I remarked to the nurses that I nearly made it to the penthouse in the hospital. My status at the hospital was elevated from being a patient on a gurney to a patient in the floor beneath the pent house of the hospital..
My roommate was a local born Chinese Canadian from Mississauga. Her family had a business dealing with art advertisement. She was a mother of two young boys and had no religious connections and I introduced Jesus Christ to her and told her of our church which had its origin in China before the Communists took over. According to the Enclopedia Britainnica (1973), the church was the third largest Christian church in China now reported to be 2-3 million members. After the communists took over, communication was lost.
I had thought that I would be able to sleep well in a bed but unfortunately the experience of sleeping in the hallway had left it toll. However, I was able to sleep longer than 3 hours the past 2 days. At least, the bed was comfortable and there were no lights shining on me throughout the night. I was content with that.
Two nurses helped me during the night and one was a RN. We had a good chat and I gave them my hubpages website.
4TH DAY AT MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL
I took my breakfast at 8:00 am and after 9:00 I said goodbye to my room in Mount Sinai Hospital. Just one more floor up to the 18th floor and I could say, I stayed at the penthouse. What a shame! So close and yet so far from the proverbal penthouse. I have to be content for reaching near the very top floor. Patients have no choice of their floors!
I was transferred by ambulance to Bridgepoint Rehab Hospital in about half an hour later.
My ordeal of the last few nights was over and now I am looking forward to the mending process of rest and physiotherapy. Praise and thank God that I am living in Canada.
Emergency at Mount Sinai Hospital
Do you know how stressful it is to wait in a hospital for 4 days sleeping on a gurney?
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