Injured and Braced

May 5th-June 16th, 2015

I had previously written a post about getting hit by a man in his weird scooter/cart contraption. Well, living in Taiwan does have its’ downfalls: the driving. I was hit again in April. This time falling very hard on the ground. I scrapped both my knees, my left elbow, and landed hard on my right hand. Within a few days after the accident I was able to walk around without much problem and thought everything was fine. A month later I went to go sit on the floor in my classroom with the kids like I had done a hundred times before. I must have twisted my hand because all of a sudden I heard a pop and then a shooting pain went through my whole thumb. I made it through the rest of my class and then walked out to talk to my branch manager. Instantly, tears came into my eyes and she went to get me an ice pack. After thirty minutes with the pain only increasing in my thumb I convinced her to take me to the hospital.

We registered at the hospital and then saw a doctor. I took x-rays and then the doctor examined them. It was horrible! I kept being asked if I spoke Chinese and then asked how long I have been in Taiwan; like if I haven’t learned Chinese within 8 months I am an awful person. The doctor was so old that he could barely keep his eyes open. I was tempted to just ask for a new doctor. The doctor told my manager that I had an fracture in my thumb so I would need to get a cast and wear it for two months. I immediately started crying because I am right handed and work in a professional that requires me to write a lot. I was scheduled a second appointment for later in the afternoon.

When I came back in the afternoon I saw a second doctor. He informed me that I didn’t need a cast because the fracture in my hand was old, but that there was something wrong with the ligament in my thumb. The official diagnosis was that I had a suspected partial rupture in the collateral ligament of my right thumb. I was sent upstairs to physical therapy where they did a ray light session, ultrasound, and ice pack. Then I was fitted for a flex-brace and told to wear it all the time for 6 weeks.

I have never felt so helpless. For the next 6 weeks I got so many looks of pity.

Some of the ridiculous things that happened:

1. If my hands were too full I would just have store clerks drop money into my wallet.

2. I got a brace tan.

3. I had to have people open my packaged food for me; like wrappers.

4. I went to Bali with my hand in a brace and had to ask strangers to open my water bottles for me.

5. I had Performance Day at my school, which involves a lot of activity.

Anything I usually wrote I now had to type. I was writing with my left-hand for awhile, but as soon as my right hand stopped aching I got really good at holding a pen or marker with my index and middle finger.

Once my six weeks were up I took the brace off and started weening my hand back into my daily routines. At the end of the first week I went and saw a different doctor who confirmed that my ligament was healed. I just needed to keep being careful and see a physical therapist. When I walked to the physical therapist he just read my file and showed me one stretch.

I was insanely relieved! I had been reading medical articles about surgeries on ligaments and was terrified of the possibility.

Thankfully one plus about getting injured in Taiwan is the medical coverage. For multiple doctor’s visits, two x-rays, a brace, and six therapy sessions I paid less than 800NT (less than $20USD). That is how much it would have cost for me to be able to just see a doctor in the United States.

Be careful out there all you Taiwanese drivers!