A&E and a False Alarm

I have joint hypermobility in my shoulders. This means I have an unusually large range of movement there, so I can get them into positions that most people would find difficult. For example I can fit my body through my folded hands by getting them to bend all the way back, no biggie. It’s a “party trick” I love freaking people out with, and it’s never caused any problems. Until yesterday morning.

Around 6am I woke up and stretched like I normally do, only this time I heard a crack-like sound and felt sharp pain in my right shoulder, and I was sure I’d dislocated it. After jumping around in pain for a couple of minutes I managed to pop it back into place somehow. Cue even more pain. Ow. I tried to get back to sleep after this but my shoulder was killing me and I couldn’t get into a comfortable position. I was also terrified I’d pop my arm bone again so with shaking hands, I decided to call the NHS non-emergency number for advice on what to do.

After talking to the lovely operator, who took my details, calmly asked me to explain what had happened, told me to take some paracetamol to ease the pain in my shoulder, as well as get myself to A&E as soon as possible, I called a taxi and was at the hospital within the hour.

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Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long as I was examined by a nurse first, then referred to a doctor who quickly ruled out the possibility of a dislocation after inspecting and asking me to do some movements such as flexion, extension, abduction, adduction and some rotation ones too. I told him about my doublejointedness and he concluded that I’d sprained it (most probably the acromioclavicular joint), and advised me to take ibruprofen for the pain and to reduce the swelling. And with that I was free to go. RELIEF.

So yeah, that was my A&E false alarm. I can look back on the whole experience and laugh now but at the time I really was scared I’d seriously hurt myself. Painkillers are my bestfriends at the moment because it still hurts, and my right shoulder still has a prominent bump, but on the up side, I now have first hand experience on how to carry out a shoulder examination. Always good to dwell on the positives, right?

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One thought on “A&E and a False Alarm

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Italy | Life As A Medical Student

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