Last summer while working in the garden of a friend, I tripped over a pile of plastic piping and landed face down on the rusty rail of a trailer parked in the yard. I am not sure that I was rendered unconscious by the fall, but I think it likely. I was stunned and had a closeup vision of a mouse or vole inches from my face. Not sure if that was real or not. In any case, when I was able to struggle to my feet, feeling somewhat groggy and dizzy, I realized I was bleeding from the scalp. Now, as every nurse knows, bleeding from the scalp is quite profuse, so I had blood all over my face and hair. When I had staggered up to my friend’s house, she helped stem the tide of blood and pressed me to go to the hospital. I was reluctant to go once it appeared the blood had stopped flowing (although it never really did), and insisted on driving home. Once there, cooler heads prevailed and I made my way to the emergency department.
I waited patiently in the KDH ER with a towel on my head, waiting to be seen by a doctor. I was triaged in due course, and got to see a doctor about four hours later. She examined the wound and stitched me up, but made it clear that my head should be scanned to check that there was no internal damage. I expected another wait of a few hours until the scan could be arranged at KDH, but she informed me that the nearest CT scanner was at the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital. She would send me there by ambulance.
So, it was off to Ottawa in an ambulance. The next delay was at the receiving corridor outside the ER at the Civic. Two extremely pleasant women paramedics who had brought me from Kemptville looked after me well and chatted as we waited for the hospital staff to admit me. Another two hours. Then it was upstairs to the diagnostic department where I was wheeled into a cubicle for a wait of six hours until I could have the scan. By this time, it was close to midnight and they had not even looked at the scan. I dozed for a while and, close to 6:30 am, they informed me that they could detect no further damage to my skull or brain. Now I began to be concerned about how I would get home. They told me, quite firmly but politely, that I was on my own. They could make no arrangements for transport. So, I called my poor husband, at home, asleep, and asked him to come and fetch me. He arrived at about 7:30 am and we were home by 8:15 am.
All told, my tumble resulted in almost 16 hours of seeking and receiving medical attention. If KDH had had a CT scanner, this could have been more like eight hours or less. Nevertheless, I was well and promptly treated at KDH with the resources they have and am most grateful to the staff that saw me. I am glad they are just down the street but believe more resources, such as a CT scanner, should be devoted to making their job more efficient.
Past Member of the KDH Board of Directors (2000-2012), Past KDH Board Chair (2002-2005)