29 October – 5 November 2018
Well after our previous diary entry was finished off on the evening of the 28 October, on that same rainy evening, we decided we needed to purchase some sweet treats just up the road from us. I mean we did no exercise, ate a lot and lazed about all day, so clearly, we needed to finish the day off by a short walk for sweet treats right?
The bakery treats and unnecessary biscuits were successfully purchased and then within two minutes slopped all over the road. Yes, ‘Clutz Emma’ slipped whilst walking back and landed face forward on the wet ground with my arm up above my head somehow. It felt awful on the road to say the least. My shoulder felt, well… out of its socket. As I moved my arm to get up, I felt a clunk and thought, ‘oh good just a minor shoulder subluxation, she’ll be right.’ Once back at our accommodation for the night we sat around thinking this might mean a bit of time off the bike… oh crap. Optimistically (or maybe naively not wanting to disappoint Beau) I thought I will try to sleep on this and see how it is.
Well that ‘see how it is’ approach did not go as planned. I got no sleep at all and I was in a lot of pain that kept me up all night long despite popping Panadol. At 4am I was leaning over the toilet bowl wanting to vomit with Beau holding my hair back. Yes, oh crap. So, at that point it was decided we would go to the hospital as this suspected minor shoulder subluxation might need some treatment after all. We walked to the local hospital 1km away with a ghetto B and E sling design in situ lol.
After an hour at this local hospital and being sent from different ward to ward, cradling my arm like a baby, they mentioned they only treated Bosnian citizens. So next it was a 30 minute cab ride bouncing about *ouch* to the next hospital – Sarajevo General Hospital -Opšta Bolnica Dr Abdulah Nakaš, which will forever be known to me as my ‘Gigantic Goose Chase of the Century’. When we arrived at the ED, it was so chaotic and in the end I let myself into the treatment zone (bad I know but I think I would still be sitting in the waiting room this very minute if I didn’t attend to my own cause). Xray was extremely far away and payment areas for each service were all separate and of course cash only. Back to ED and then a referral to the Orthopedic Clinic. Chaos again, and I definitely won’t mention how many people were waiting to be seen, it just makes me sad. In the end I pushed myself through as the nausea was back with a vengeance 🤢, clearly I didn’t handle the diclofenac injection in my buttocks in the ED. Assuming no fracture, I waited patiently for my xray to come up on screen. Oh crap again, a displaced fractured humerus 🤕.
Pain relief and a sling with a lot of sit around and wait in between. I don’t want to get into what the hospital facility was like or what we saw whilst there – this can be up to you to decipher. It isn’t a nice memory. Sadly, payment became an issue at the end with wanting more cash from us. You know how it is. Beau and I are stubborn 😂 and we only paid once of course. A total equivalent of 42 BAM equating 33 AUD, so we weren’t ripped off. Disappointingly the only ED doctor was pulled out of his treatment zone to deal with cash payment and administration. A sad affair that he shouldn’t need to deal with on top of his extremely busy and stressful clinical duties that surrounded him. A caring gentleman in a difficult work environment.
The next days consisted of rest for me, obtaining a CT scan, making our own bike boxes (yes making our own LOL – nothing came easy) and rushing around booking last minute accommodation, finding medication, a cab to fit our bicycles etc. – you know we usually just last minute camp, enjoy the warm showers community or door knock. It was all too easy until now LOL. Pretty stressful times indeed.
On a lighter note… we were harpooned in Sarajevo for many nights awaiting an insurance decision as to whether I would be sent home by travel insurance or continue overseas. As I was resting and recovering, Beau ate A LOT and enjoyed some sights and sounds of Sarajevo (mainly burek). Check out these videos and photos for some food envy lol.
Anyway, I always think when I am in a tough situation in a foreign country, how things could easily be far worse. Reflecting on a recent loss in the family of someone far too young, my shoulder is a total blimp on a radar. I’ve also seen real poverty in rural areas even within Europe and refugees on the run, so really I am just a lucky person with a small bit of bad luck.
But what did I learn from this experience? Well apart from be careful on wet roads and don’t slip in the rain, I learnt how extremely grateful I am and that I am truly blessed for the following:
My homeland Australia. We truly are the lucky country. I know we think Australian hospital wait times can be long and we like to complain about our system but when looking at the big picture we have world class facilities and exceptional health professionals.
My former colleagues and boss -Yvette, Renee and Associate Leo Pinczewski respectively. I have so much admiration for these two women and I cannot thank them enough for becoming my temporary personal assistants at this time 😘😉. They rushed reports to me and cared for me from a far. Of course, Leo, as always, is there for me. He has helped me out too many times that I can’t even count. For a busy orthopedic surgeon with a big busy family life as well, I am cared for. Professional knowledge is flawless and I am thankful for his timely help, support and contacts in all countries!
My dear friend Dr Phil Huang. A friend who I can always count on for his personal and of course profession advice at literally ANY hour of the day or night. Get some sleep once in awhile Phil. This is the second broken humerus he has dealt with in my family! Surely no more! *touch wood*
My extended family in Croatia. They know who they are. Many email exchanges. Thank you.
Of course my parents – available to me at my disposable any time of day or night. ALWAYS. They take on my stress (sorry!). I don’t think you can beat my parents. In fact I am actually certain.
My husband Beau – the ‘sickness’ vowel was tested and of course a total success. Thank you for providing full time care and support. Your hair tying skills could be improved ha!
Peace out Sarajevo! I am scarred from my Sarajevo experience, so maybe there won’t be a next time for me.