Dems da Breaks

I’ve been in Kyiv for a over six months and despite almost daily air-raids, I’ve managed to avoid any personal injury. However, that changed two weeks ago when I broke my right arm.

I wish I could make up a heroic tale of why my arm’s in a sling, but that would be terribly disrespectful of the men & women on the front lines who are being injured and worse every day. The simple truth is that I’m a bit of a klutz. I took a midnight tumble down the stairs from the loft in my hotel room while on the way to the bathroom.

Break ’em if you got ’em

Broken toes and sprained wrists are pretty common for me but when I woke up in the morning and my arm was numb below the shoulder, I assumed I’d dislocated it when bracing my fall. I fashioned a sling from my bathrobe belt then grabbed a Uber to a private hospital in Kyiv. 

War has stretched the Ukrainian medical infrastructure to its limits, but you wouldn’t know it from my visit to the hospital. About 20 minutes after checking in with reception, I was getting an x-ray of my shoulder to assess the damage. Unfortunately, what I thought was a dislocated shoulder was in fact, a broken humerus.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to interpret the x-ray, and the doctor told me I would need surgery. Amazingly, it could happen the same day.

We’re ready for you Doctor

Fifteen minutes later I was checked into a private room and shortly thereafter was visited by a nurse who took blood samples and prepared the intravenous line that I’d need later that night.

Doctors, nurses, anaesthesiologists and surgeons visited me throughout the afternoon to ask medical history questions and ensure I was ready for the operation. At 9:30 that evening I was wheeled into an operating theatre. By 11:30 I was back in my room and fully awake with a brand-new titanium rod right through the centre of my right humerus.

After a great night’s sleep, I had a final x-ray to make sure everything was good, given some painkillers & antibiotics, then sent on my merry way 24 hours after I was admitted. The entire process was efficient, professional, and inexpensive. My American friends will be especially surprised to hear that the bill for the entire experience was just over $2000.

Honestly, I felt a bit embarassed taking up valuable doctors’ time fixing the result of my clumsiness. I couldn’t help but think of the thousands of brave defenders suffering far worse injuries for a much better cause. However, I was glad I saw a Ukrainian surgeon. After a year of this illegal & unjustified Russian invasion, Ukrainian surgeons are rather experienced in trauma care.