So here's the story, or at least the beginning.
Thursday night is my regular bowling league night. I'm a pretty crappy bowler with an average in the high double digits, as sad as that is, but I don't mind. I was in the league to have fun and get out of the house and get around people, and a ladies' bowling league seemed like a fairly non-dangerous way to accomplish that.
On the 17th, I had started off pretty well. I felt like I was bowling well, like I was lined up right and throwing the ball right and that I had a good chance of beating my average by a good amount. The second frame, I bowled and left three pins. I did the usual aiming and calculating to pick up a simple three pin spare and went in for the shot. After I let go of the ball, I lost my footing. I don't know how I lost it, but I was struggling to keep from going over the foul line, and I lost the struggle. In regulation bowling alleys, the lane beyond the foul line is oiled to facilitate the ball's slide. My foot came down in the oiled part of the alley. I struggled to remain upright, but lost that struggle too. As I started to fall, everything slowed down. I heard crunching, popping, felt strange sensations like rubber bands snapping in my leg, and I hit the ground. I made a slight attempt to move, to get up, and started screaming.
I have never felt anything like that in my life. I was almost okay as long as I was still, but any movement was excruciating. Then, even being still wasn't okay. I could feel my leg swelling. I wasn't sure if things were broken, pulled, sprained, strained, or just bruised, but I knew my life was going to be different from then on.
The alley manager called the paramedics and someone brought me something for my head. I managed to call my husband on my cell phone and he assured me he'd be there. So many things were going through my head. The members of my team were sitting with me, trying to comfort me.
The paramedics arrived within ten minutes or so, as did my husband Bob. The paramedics prepared to get me on a backboard while Bob gathered my things and got my coat and bowling bag and my car keys. I was panicked, completely, and could not get hold of my emotions or fear. One of the paramedics came to my side and spoke to me gently, and I felt reassured immediately. I can't explain what was so wonderful about this particular medic, but he had a natural way of calming me and making me believe that everything would be okay. His face was like an angel's face, with skin as smooth and beautiful as a baby's. He helped me stay calm.
They took me to the nearest hospital, Forbes Regional, which was of course not in my HMO's plan. X-rays were done and it was obvious I had a pretty bad fracture. A different ambulance company was called to transport me to UPMC Presbyterian for orthopedic trauma. This ambulance ride was a whole different ball game. More of a van, the stretcher was far too small for me and my legs dangled off the end. Once they got me to the hospital, they nearly dropped me out of the back of the ambulance getting me out. Not a fun experience.
Then, the real fun began, the urban hospital's emergency room.