Rugby is a rough sport. We know this. Dwight loves it but knows the risks and the risks became a crushing reality 12 days ago when he took a direct blow to the left knee in the first junior varsity game of the season. I saw him limping. My friends, other players’ moms, pointed it out to me, but he limps often, as he has chronic knee pain from an issue he will most likely outgrow. My friends were more concerned than I was, initially. Then, after the end of the play, across the field, we could see one of the players sitting on the ground, unable to get up; the team gathered around him, blocking our view of who exactly the injured player was.
It was Dwight.
He had hyper-extended his knee and the pain was intense. Horatio and I had to wait for the game to end to learn the full extent of the injury and get advice from the team trainer on how to proceed. It turns out, there’s a very good orthopedist in the vicinity of the school, so we gave Dwight ibuprofen and called the doctor’s office first thing in the morning. Alas, his office is closed on Saturday and Sunday, was fully booked Monday and Tuesday and was leaving the country on Wednesday. So, I called the on duty medical officer, where Horatio works, for guidance. She described our hospital options and we chose the one slightly further away, with the knowledge that crowds would be smaller there.
Taiwan Adventist Hospital ER was pretty tame. The doctor saw Dwight in less than an hour, but it was immediately apparent that the ER doc, the only one on duty, would not be of much help. He told us we had to go back the next day to see an orthopedist in the clinic. He said Dwight should use crutches, which we could rent from the hospital for 50 NT$ (about $1.66 USD) per day, with a 1000 NT$ deposit (about $34 USD). The crutches were mismatched and slightly uneven, so I was very grateful when our dear friends offered to lend us their pair of perfect crutches the next day. As anyone who has ever had to use crutches knows, they are uncomfortable and burdensome, only fun for the younger brothers.
I filled out the paperwork for the crutches and then the hospital administrator handed me a piece of paper with our appointment time and a number typed on it. It was more of a time frame: 2:00-4:30. Our number was 56 and she advised that we need not arrive until close to 4:00.
This confused me, as none of our previous appointments at the hospital were done this way. Thank goodness for the on-duty medical officer and her diligent follow up. She caught that the appointment was not booked at the Priority Care Clinic, which is set up for foreigners like us, but rather with the regular clinic for locals who know what they are doing. We’d have waited in a long queue with lots of people, and might not have gotten in to see the doctor at all! She changed Dwight’s appointment to correct clinic for the following morning.
At the appointment, the orthopedist said Dwight needed an MRI but that it couldn’t be done until the following week, 7:30 pm the next Monday. When I questioned the time frame, he told me we are lucky we were at the Priority Care Clinic because if we were in the main hospital, it could be more than a month’s wait!
Meanwhile, Dwight hobbled around with a brace and crutches for the next week. His pain level was tolerable, but we still wanted to get to the bottom of the problem, so we kept the MRI appointment Monday night.
The hospital was deserted because it was after normal hours. After some mangled use of my conversational Mandarin, which does not include medical vocabulary, I got out my phone, looked up how to say “MRI,” pointed to the words, and was quickly directed to the basement.
The dimly lit hallway led us to a surprisingly opulently decked out imaging center. Dwight was led right in to the MRI room by a kind, helpful nurse.
The follow up appointment for the results of the MRI was the next morning.
We returned to the Priority Care Clinic, and after the sad experience of passive medical care we had when Bob was sick last year, I admit, my expectations were very low. To my surprise and delight, doctor was great. He showed us the radiology report and then showed us the details on the scans and described them in great detail. His English skills were fantastic.
Dwight has a micro fracture, bone chip, and bone edema at the base of his femur. Painful, but no surgery required. Phew! He has to wear his brace and rest for four to six weeks and then can gradually return to normal activity. Does that include rugby? I don’t know. We’ll take it one step at a time. ;-) Pun intended.