These words should elicit a feeling of confidence, of ease and trust from the people that hear it. I was a Toastmaster of a meeting last Saturday and I asked various members of our group what that phrase meant to them; when was the last time they heard it; and was it followed by extreme pain or something decidedly unprofessional. I was surprised to find that very few people had even heard the phrase spoken! And one member suggested that upon hearing that phrase, she would run for the hills and expect nothing less than disaster.
I heard it over and over and over in the past month since I broke my hip August 15. I heard it from Hotel Security, from EMTs, from nurses, from nurse’s aids, from doctors, from lawyers, from doctors’ and lawyers’ secretaries, and most often from George, a member of another Toastmaster’s club and fellow District Executive Council member. Except he says it and laughs.
- Mike, from the hotel security, said, “Don’t worry, I’m a professional,” and asked me if I could stand up. Noooo, my hip is broken. “How do you know?” Because this is how it felt the LAST time it was broken. Then I explained how I was walking through his revolving door and came to what I perceived was the opening only to find it was a glass wall. I was unceremoniously knocked down by the door behind me because it hadn’t sensed I had run into the wall and, of course, being the non sentient type of moving object, continued on its merry way. I heard my hip crack as it hit the marble floor. He offered to help me into a chair; I declined. Instead, I scooted out of the way of the door and stayed on the floor. Another guest stood in the door to prevent me from being hit by other guests using this demon entry device. Pain level 6
- Another security person came in and asked the same question: “How did you come to break your hip in our lobby?” I told my evil revolving door story again. He should have been taking notes and getting an “Injury on the Property” form filled out. He did not. By this time the ambulance had been dispatched. “Don’t worry, our staff is professional.” Except they didn’t know what to do in case of injury on the property…
- Enter the EMTs! *plays fanfare* “Where do you hurt?” I told him. “How did you come to fall in the lobby?” I told him the evil revolving door story. “Do you have any appliances?” What, like a toaster oven? a blender? “No, hehehe, like dentures, false teeth.” I have an artificial hip and glasses. “OK, so we’ll just get you onto the gurney.” Um, how? Then the immortal words: “Don’t worry, we’re professionals!” They did not stabilize my hip. They rolled me to my good side and stuffed a sheet under me, then they tried to roll me to my bad side (the side with the broken hip!) at which point I loudly made them aware that it was most uncomfortable! Oh. They did get the sheet completely under me however and were going to use it to lift me to the back board. They once again lifted me to my left side to try and “gently slide” the back board under. EEEEEEEYOOOWWWWWW! Oh yeah. Try the other side. They didn’t get me turned very far and jammed this backboard under me, turned me while I was still 1/4 off the back board and slid me the rest of the way. That was most painful. Pain level 7. (Remember that the original fall was level 6) After the initial pain storm of the move subsided, I was joking and laughing and taking a selfie of me in the ambulance and away we went.
- Welcome to the Celebration Emergency Room. Why would anyone going to an ER celebrate? I was put in a holding room and a nurse came in to get my vitals. Pulse good, BP ok. Now to draw some blood. Poke, Poke, Poke hunt hunt hunt…hmmmm. “Your veins are very deep.” Translation…DAM woman you’re fat! Here’s the ER nurse, “Don’t worry, he’s a professional.” OH NOOOOOO! He ended up using a 22 gauge needle which is very small, but he got the blood sample. Pain level 4
- About this time, they decided to take me off the back board. It was not nearly as painful or awkward as it was going on, and the gurney had a foam mattress. Pain level 3. Now let’s get you to x-ray. Oh dear. I arrive at x-ray after about 15 min as my gurney coursed through a labyrinthine maze of hallways and elevators only to find 2 x-ray tech who weighed together less than 225 pounds. They were going to move my 220 mass from a foam mattress to a steel table…one pulling the other supporting my foot. (My foot?) I questioned their ability to do this and they said, together, in harmony, you guessed it, “Don’t worry, we’re professionals.” I was doomed. Sure enough, one said “Hug yourself,” then she jerked the sheet. I flinched! (ya think?) Both my legs went up, my arms went out and my head came up and I howled, “I can’t put my leg down!” This was the broken one frozen in mid air with eye crossing pain. I should have said in a calm collected voice, “Put one hand under my knee and the other UNDER my ankle and allow me to relax into your hands whereby you can gently lower my leg to the table.” I didn’t. I yelled, “I can’t put my leg down, you have to put my leg down!!!!!” So the tech at my feet tries pressing the top of my foot to get it down. STOP! STOP it hurts!!!! The nurse says, “You have to relax your leg,” and after 3 excruciating minutes, it relaxes. I’m 1/2 way onto the table. If I was Cyclops (from X-Men) the X-Ray room would have melted. “Now hug yourself.” Now don’t jerk you jerk, I thought. Wham! jerked again, flinched again, leg up again. Pain level 9! I am nearly passed out as they take my pictures. But the pain subsides as they finish up. Now to get me back onto the gurney. I fear for my sanity. Zip! I’m on the gurney. Pain level 3. I am amazed.
- Back to the holding room. In come some more nurses and someone has decided I need a CT scan. Whee! another twisty-turny-uppy-downy ride in the gurney! (They should make this a senior ride at Disney World.) As you can see, with the continued pain, I’m becoming the Mad Hatter. Tadaaa! I’m in the CT scan room. I see a large culvert-looking machine and a curved table where I’m obviously going to have to get moved. Wahhhhh. This time there are 4 strong guys. I’m in a hospital gown. This is no where near my fantasy. I ask point blank, “How bad is this going to hurt?” One responds, “Oh not much, don’t worry” please don’t say it, no no no… “we’re professionals!” I don’t have time to cry before it happens. They grab the sheet and once again, someone stabilizes my ANKLE. Once again I flinch, but not as bad. I’m all crooked on the table and I can’t adjust to ease the pain. Pain level 8. They move me ALMOST back onto the gurney, but because it is a foam mattress, it FOLDS UP UNDER ME AS I MOVE ACROSS IT. 2nd time’s a charm. I am in tears. Pain level 7.
- I have had 2 morphine shots. There is no noticeable difference. They are now going to move me to an orthopedic hospital, so another ambulance ride as soon as a room opens up. Any time now. Yup. Uhhuh. *whistles to self* any. time… now……..”It’s ok, really,” says the nurse, “You’ll like it there. They’re professionals.” Kill me now.