Finally I have seen two orthopaedic surgeons in the UK. Two, because they thought it was best to discuss the options for surgery. It transpires that I have a four part fracture of the head of humerus and the reason that they were so worried to operate in France is that the head is displaced meaning that there is concern about the blood supply to the head. Unfortunately, until they operate, it won’t be apparent how good the blood supply is to the head and whether it can be saved or not. My Surgeon ( the lovely Mr F) took the time to draw out a picture for me describing exactly what I have done and what to expect during and after the operation. I have signed a consent form for malunion, non – union, infection and most worryingly AVC – Avascular Necrosis. Mr F. promises me that there will be bad language during the operation and has put me on at the end of the list as it is unknown how long the op will take. This is a great website which gives some basic info on this type of injury. http://patient.info/doctor/fractured-humerus And here is the MRI scan – you can see just how smashed and displaced the head of the humerus is. I can’t have the operation until next Wednesday which gives me time to adjust to life with one arm and recover from the initial trauma. Mr F says it is a high impact injury and basically I was ‘ assaulted ‘ on the slopes. It is certainly how I feel.
Tuesday dawned – 48 hours in Moutiers hospital and I was beginning to get used to the routine. I had requested a vegetarian dinner and was given 6 hard boiled eggs – given all the codiene I had consumed I was not sure that this would help my bowels!!
Part of the routine was the 8am ward round and I got myself up, dressed and even managed to put on make up with my left hand to prove to the hospital staff that I was fit enough to travel. Bearing in mind this is all with one arm strapped to my front I was pleased with my achievement.
The consultant came round and gave me the all clear – a certificate of ‘ fit to fly’. I was delighted. George arrived at 8.15am and told me that the insurance company were phoning the hospital at 9am to speak to the consultant. So, we sat and waited by the vending machine which was labelled ‘ restaurant’ as we didn’t want to disturb the other occupant in my room – a headmistress who had broken her ankle and was having pins put in.
By 11am we had made about 20 phone calls to the insurance company whilst trying to co-ordinate the hospital staff in Moutiers. In the background we could hear ‘broken back’ man’s wife yelling down the phone to her insurance ‘ this is bloody ridiculous’ – I knew how she felt.
At midday my mobile rang – hooray – the insurance company – news at last! But not the news I wanted. Apparently, in their wisdom they had decided that I was not able to fly without medical support, which would take a minimum of four days to arrange. As we were coming up to Easter weekend I could see me not getting home until after Easter. I put my boots on, and told George I was leaving the hospital with or without his help.
George was a star – he booked me on an Easy jet flight from Lyon with my mother that evening and got agreement from the insurance that if anything happened to me they would not be liable yet they would pay for the flight. I got on the phone to my Dad who was still in the ski resort with our kids and asked him to bring Mum to the hospital.
I told the nurse I was discharging myself, whilst she wasn’t delighted I think she was glad there was one less person to worry about, so I hunted down the admin to settle the final bill. The EHIC* card worked like magic and settled 80% of the bill, and despite following the ‘three steps’ religiously the insurance company had not given the OK for the remainder so I paid it on my credit card on the understanding that I would be reimbursed later.
At 3pm we made it out of the hospital and racing down the motorway to Lyon for a 6:50pm flight. At the airport the GP phoned me so I gave her an update – she told me to go straight home and she would arrange an outpatients appointment for me in the morning.
When I got home I cried tears of joy – I was so pleased to be back. Little did I know that the battle had only just begun…..
This is the link to apply for an EHIC – a must if travelling in Europe. Beware bogus sites which may charge you – I found one which charged £49!