How I Ended Up in Urgent Care

Remember how, back when everyone was trying to decide whether or not they’d keep riding with all the covid stuff going on, I jokingly said something like “pretty sure I’m more likely to end up in the hospital from something stupid around the barn than from falling off a horse.”.

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Yeah so that’s exactly what happened. Except it was urgent care, not a hospital. I was pretty close on that particular prophecy.

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It was last Thursday. I had JUST gotten off of Henry. We did the TP challenge, where we may or may not have jumped bareback over the mounting block with me holding 2 rolls of toilet paper. THAT went just fine. I had ridden back up to the barn, dismounted, and led Henry up to the tack room while I stepped up inside to grab him a cookie.

He took a few steps into Presto’s stall so I turned around quickly to grab him, but missed the step and… fell out of the tack room. Like hard. Backwards/sideways. Like a fuckin Kesha song, I went TIMBEERRR.

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but I was dressed more appropriately

I don’t even remember exactly how the hell it happened, I just remember one second I was in the tack room turning around and the next second I was hitting the ground like a ton of bricks. I landed mostly on my hip but my head bounced off the ground a couple times. As soon as I tried to stand up my vision got all wonky, everything went VERY BRIGHT, like when your phone camera goes from shade to sunlight and the view is overexposed for a few seconds before it adjusts. It was like that for a couple minutes.

HELP -- WHY SO OVEREXPOSED??? — russheath · Lomography

Icouldn’t put weight on my right leg, so I went back down again and decided to just sit still for a few minutes waiting for it to pass. I finally stumbled to my feet and pulled all the tack off Henry (literally, I unbuckled things and it all just fell to the ground where he was standing and that’s where it stayed) and shoved him back in his pasture, then went in the house. LUCKILY I had still been wearing my helmet when I fell, and when I took it off I saw that it was broken.

brokenhelmet

I could put weight on my leg by then but it HURT, like a lot, and while my vision had returned to normal quickly, my head still felt a little bit fuzzy. I was pretty certain I’d given myself a minor concussion. I waited a little while to see if the hip pain would pass, and somehow managed to take a quick shower (an odd choice, I admit, but I was hot) and I got pretty concerned about my leg. I tried getting ahold of SO but unbeknownst to me he was out on a bike ride, so I messaged Hillary and Karen, and they voted I should go to urgent care. Since I bonked my head I shouldn’t drive, so Hillary came and picked me up and off we went.

It took me until yesterday to realize this, but I’m relatively certain that the urgent care staff totally thought we were a couple of bored dumb girls trying to get painkillers. There was NO ONE in the urgent care except us, and I was still a little weird from the bonk on the head. The APN that saw me asked my story, seemed skeptical, asked me a few questions “what’s your name?” “what’s your birthday?” “do you know you the president is?” (my answer to the last one was “unfortunately”, which I seemed to find a lot funnier than she did). She moved her fingers around and asked me to follow them with my eyes. Most of those tests felt normal but when she moved it quickly from left to right I could feel my eyeballs jumping around a little as if they were twitching. She asked me again about my timeline of events, and when I said it happened around 11 she pointed out that it was now 2pm. Right. Like I said… I laid there a while, then had to take care of the horse, then went inside and sat down for a while, then had to wait for Hillary to come, then had to drive to town, etc. She just kind of squinted at me. But she declared me to be fine, asked me again how it happened, seeming even more skeptical, and then asked if anything else was wrong.

I said yeah actually like I said I’m more worried about my hip, I just need to make sure I didn’t do any real damage because I can barely put any weight on it. I take care of horses and a farm so if I actually hurt it I need to know, so I can make care arrangements. She had me push my foot against her hand, and I was able to put a little bit of pressure on her hand. She inspected my hip for about half a second and said “well there’s no bruise”. No shit Sherlock, I too have eyeballs. It was hot and swollen but she didn’t seem to care about that. They also asked me how often I go to urgent care or ER’s, which I thought was a weird AF question.

She said she wanted to do a pregnancy test for some reason??? This made no sense to me at all, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. She also said that she wanted to xray my neck, just to make sure there was no damage. My neck felt fine, but ok. Since we were going to do an xray anyway I asked if we could do my hip as well, because again that’s what I was more worried about and she’d hardly given it any mind. She was like “I mean if that will make you feel better I can order a hip xray”. Um. Ok. Thanks?

So I peed in a cup, which I asked the techs about because it didn’t make sense to me. I knew I wasn’t pregnant and I didn’t understand how that could possibly have any relevance to my issues. One tech said “oh well that’s just standard procedure if we’re going to xray someone”. I didn’t question it further because I was like ok hip xray, sure, but I thought it was weird that she mentioned the pee test well before she ever mentioned any xrays, and she hadn’t even intended on doing the hip xray until asked.

Luckily nothing was broken, so they sent me on my way with a stack of paperwork and a prescription for an anti-nausea medication. The paperwork said that I had a mild concussion, hip contusion, and bruised kidney (oh hey there was blood in my pee. The lady that saw me didn’t mention the kidney part to me AT ALL, I just read it in the paperwork). Meanwhile I could still barely put weight on my right leg. For the first few days afterward I tried to stay away from devices to help my brain heal, so I retreated to a dark room a lot. SO came and helped me clean stalls, and I could hobble around well enough to feed horses. My head felt better really quickly. My hip still REALLY hurt though, as if someone had peeled back the top layer of skin, burned all the tissue underneath, and then put the skin back. Even a light touch was excruciating, and the burning feeling was constant. I definitely COULD NOT SLEEP because it was so uncomfortable to lay down. It hurt more than my actual broken bones have.

Last night after day 4 of no improvement with my hip I finally talked to Michelle’s husband, who is an ER doc that owns some urgent cares up where they live. He was more helpful in 5 minutes on the phone than the other urgent care place had been. He asked me questions they hadn’t, more specifics about the pain, outlined a treatment protocol, and told me what to do next. We are all relatively appalled by the first urgent care and how dismissive they were.

Henry’s ice boots are the perfect size to cover the whole affected hip area and they stay cold FOREVER

After talking to him it FINALLY occurred to me… I’m pretty sure the lady who saw me thought I was just trying to get painkillers. Once I looked back on the whole experience from that point of view, it all made sense. Her questions, her attitude, the piss test, the fact that she didn’t seem to believe my story or give two shits about my hip pain. Once we laid it all out that way, we all agreed – that’s the only thing that makes sense.

So that’s relatively humiliating. And offensive. Especially to me, someone who has never done drugs of any kind. I don’t even drink CAFFEINE for god’s sake, and have maybe 4 alcoholic beverages a year. This is the first time I’ve been to an urgent care in my entire adult life, despite several actual broken bones. I was genuinely messed the eff up and she dismissed me completely. I mean, I get it, I’m sure they deal with people coming in with dumb stories trying to get pills and she doesn’t know me from Adam, but… it doesn’t make me feel any less shitty about how I was treated. The fact that it took me 4 days to even put all the pieces together should tell you how naive I am about all that.

That aside, my head feels pretty much back to normal today. And after following what Michelle’s husband told me to do last night, I’m finally seeing some improvement in my hip this morning. It feels like I did some soft tissue damage in there, but hopefully nothing too severe. I’m encouraged by the improvement since yesterday with some actual treatment.

Thank goodness I still had my helmet on. That was definitely lucky. I was kind of hoping I’d never actually test the MIPS system of the Traumavoid, but here we are. This helmet is definitely toast now, but considering the damage to it vs the damage to my head, it definitely did it’s job. Kind of makes me stop and rethink whether or not I should be wearing it more, in the barn…

25 thoughts on “How I Ended Up in Urgent Care

  1. So glad you’re ok. Appalling treatment in urgent care. Since you had concussion, you might ask your er doc friend if you ought to stay off a horse for 6 wks. Just sayin….

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  2. I’m so sorry this happened to you but happy your ok. From Personal experience with Urgent Cares, be super careful about their billing and get a copy of your medical records. I lawn-darted off of my horse a few years back and went into a standalone urgent care. The Dr I saw for all of 5 minutes never told me I had a concussion but when I pulled my medical records weeks later (when the bills started to roll in) it stated I did. Then I proceeded to get a $1800 bill for the 5 minute conversation. I had to make a very pointed review on Yelp before anyone who owned the UC to call me.

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  3. You should probably at least call a primary care doc or try to get a referral to a neurologist, what you’re describing isn’t just a mild concussion, they have a lot more info on TBIs now and it probably wouldn’t hurt to at least have a conversation with a specialist. I’m glad you were wearing your helmet or that would have been so much worse. I’d also write a letter to that urgent care because she really should have sent you to the ER for some kind of brain scan.

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  4. YIKES. I have daydreaming nightmares about doing something nearly identical to this though. It’s the simple little movements that cause some stupid trip and fall that end up hurting me the most. That kinda thing always comes out of nowhere, too. So glad you’re okay and that the hip is starting to feel better. Sounds like a continued rave review for those ice boots, too!

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  5. I’ve had similar experiences. A shoulder/neck specialist told me that while MRIs clearly show I have a bulging disc in my neck, my pain is really all in my head and that the knots of muscle surrounding my disc were just from stress. Hurray for doctors.

    I’m glad you’re okay though! I’m REALLY relieved to hear you’d still been wearing your helmet at the time since it seemed like you really hit the ground hard. Falling on your hip is super painful, but that’s good that Michelle’s hubby was able to help you with it’s care! That just sounds like a ridiculous visit. Ugh.

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  6. I can’t believe they didn’t send you to an ER to get a scan of your brain! Urgent care places can really suck! May want to MRI that hip of it doesn’t improve. I’ve had a couple bad falls that showed clean xrays, but nasty MRI results

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  7. That is absolutely atrocious “urgent care” and I’m SO sorry! My blood is just boiling. How dare they treat you like that. You had extremely legit injuries and should have been taken seriously. Disoriented with vision disturbances?? Come ON. As Al says, possibly a neuro consult and concussion protocol, at the very least.

    And I can’t even believe they gave you grief over a hip x-ray when clearly you had significant pain and some kind of internal damage. Has that ridiculous person never dealt with equestrian injuries before? How did she not know riders are some of the toughest people around and don’t seek medical care unless absolutely necessary?

    I would be very disinclined to pay that place all that they say you owe, especially if they try to rob you for thousands after horrendous “care.”

    Thank God you had on your helmet. I got a TraumaVoid last week… they are the real deal.

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  8. As someone with a history of several concussions (a couple serious) and who has dealt with post-concussion syndrome from serious and not so serious concussions, I don’t put much stock in urgent care or ERs knowing what they are doing when it comes to concussion protocol. When I was kicked in the head AND HAD A HOOF MARK ON MY FACE, I left the ER being told I did not have a concussion (and was OK to go back to work the following day). A week later, when I finally got in to see my PCP, I couldn’t even talk. That concussion took a while to heal and it was probably a full year before most of the post concussion syndrome stuff went away. But, if I’m tired, I still have speech issues that stem from concussion issues.

    What I’ve learned through my concussions is that symptoms are sometimes immediate and sometimes not. I actually develop the worst of my symptoms at the 7 to 14 day mark (verbal issues, irritation, and a few other things). But, standard protocol would consider me fine earlier because most of the time I don’t develop anything (whiplash concussions are my favorite) prior. But, because I know this, I can prepare and I avoid seeking medical incompetence (though I MIGHT call my neurologist now) unless I need to make sure I don’t have a fracture/brain bleed.

    Anyway, all of this is to say, just keep an eye out of extra stuff a little longer than you might expect.

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  9. There is a standard procedure of pregnancy testing before x-rays are done of the pelvis. So that makes sense. But the other stuff sounds like pure negligence. I’ve never been to an ER where you mention ‘horse’ and ‘fall’ to a doc and don’t get an immediate CAT scan…

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  10. Yikes. That’s a hell of a misstep! Glad you are ok, sorry about the shitty UC experience. Really glad that you had someone who could actually help you and you’re starting to feel better.
    Pro-tip: don’t temp the universe. I once said, (after Cosmo took 2 months off to heal from his eye infection, and we were both going really well) “imagine how good I’d ride if I took like 6 months off!” and then 2 months later I broke my leg/ankle.

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  11. Ugh, I’m so sorry, that’s so frustrating. Some years ago, I went to the ER in the middle of the night and it took them 12 hours to offer me painkillers because, I quote, “we’ve determined you’re not drug-seeking.” I just stared at them blankly because I had not really been asking for painkillers. It was baffling. (I also had to tell them I wasn’t pregnant so many times that after about hour 6 I stared blankly and said “well, anything is possible…”)

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, though I’m sorry you had to go through it at all!

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  12. In ED urine is multifaceted, kidney injury, preg, and possible drug screen. Urgent Cares are weird and unimpressive to me. I mean unless you kept mentioning pain and ‘how much they needed to give you something for the pain, and your allergic to every OTC pain med, and one time you got something that started with a D in the IV and that worked.’… I really am surprised they thought you were drug seeking. To be fair, I would have a low index of hip fx from that story, at your age, barring underlying medical conditions. A picture of the cracked helmet should have given more than enough evidence of head injury. Sorry, that sucks. Glad you had someone to get good advice from.

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  13. I hate urgent care centers. Every one I have ever gone to has sucked. I had a similar experience. I had been having pain, and I woke up on a Saturday morning in so much pain it hurt to breathe. Hubby was out of town. I was legit concerned I might have a blood clot in my lung or something. I went to an urgent care and the doctor totally treated me like a drug seeker. Spoiler alert, when I followed up with my primary doctor, it turned out I had twisted vertebrae. I never asked for pain meds, and didn’t want them. I just wanted to know I wasn’t going to die between Saturday and Monday.

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  14. Wow, that is infuriating to read!
    So she had you filed under druggie and didn’t care about the damage to your hip and kidney which the xrays showed?
    I get that they have to deal with people trying to weasle drugs out of them but imo a drug addict deserves to be treated with respect, too. Addiction is a mental illness, just like depression, bipolar disorder, etc.
    I am very glad you wore your helmet, I don’t even want to imagine what could have happened if you didn’t.

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  15. Whatever their past experience with drug seekers, some doctors should not be doctors, sorry you got one!

    Hopefully there is not a next time, but if so, I wonder if a real ER would do better. Guess it depends.

    Ran into the same pain meds paranoia with a GP’s front desk employee. No pain meds requested or wanted, but she heard about a previously diagnosed spine problem and couldn’t get past it. I finally got her to agree that we would let the doctor be the doctor and go ahead with scheduling an appointment .

    Geez. Not everyone with a medical condition is trying to parlay it into a career in illegal drugs. Sometimes just competent medical treatment will do .

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  16. Geez, what crappy care! I don’t know where you would go to file complaints about the UC, but I definitely would be looking into it. So glad you’re on the mend!

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  17. I’d be looking to go see your PCP if they’re seeing patients based on everything else everyone has said. I mean, I kind of live and breathe EDs for a living and that’s just appalling care. And not to say MDs can’t give crappy care, but unfortunately that’s also why some NPs/PAs get a bad rap. You def should have been under concussion protocol and I just can’t believe they didn’t order head imaging…

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  18. I’m glad you’re doing better now! Definitely take it easy! Hopefully you’ll heal up soon and get a new helmet. I was thinking of you today, there’s a Garden State Stay at Home Virtual Horseshow on the 10th, entries due by the 9th. (Photo and Video categories.) Though with a concussion, it’s probably better to wait for the future. Get well soon!

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  19. I echo everyone who says follow up with your PCP as the fact she dismissed your head injury so cavalierly is absolutely frightening. DH fell off once, hit his head, broke his tibia and when we got to the ED and they saw him in riding boots they immediately whisked him off to get a CAT scan first and foremost. Then they dealt with his leg.

    Please do get it checked out so that you know what is what and can get back on your ponies!

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  20. That is incredibly fucked up and I’m so angry on your behalf.

    I’m glad you talked to someone who actually, I dunno, tried to help you??

    Can you leave a shit review for that urgent care? What if you had actually been hurt?! What if you needed a head CT?? Jesus fucking christ.

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  21. That really is appalling. And can they even do a drug screen without telling you?! Seems fishy. I’ve had lots of x-rays and while they do always ask if I’m pregnant, I’ve never had to pee in a cup. Ugh. I’m sorry you had to go through that, and clearly for nothing too. Glad you got some better advice. And hey, now you’ve really tested the space boots. Hope you’re feeling better soon. That really sucks!

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  22. I definitely got that treatment when I had a wreck on the hellmare and broke 3 bones. I’m pretty stoic in general and they definitely thought I was drug seeking. That was at an actual ER, even. The time I went to urgent care was actually worse.

    TL: DR i hate doctors.

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