First of all, I doubt that “Hueso roca” is the correct way to say “broken bone” in Espanol, but it worked, and both the admitting nurse and the doctor figured out what I was talking about.
Second through sixth of all, both Nancy and I have had a lot of first aid classes and know quite a few doctors and nurses and have worked with medical issues using technology and software, but when we did the right thing we did it for all the wrong reasons.
2) While a punctured lung can be a dangerous effect from a broken rib, the danger is not passed if you don’t cough up blood right away.
3) A real danger from a punctured lung is a pnuemothorax (from pneuma (air) and thorax (the middle part of a grasshopper), therefore literally “The grasshopper flies from the middle.”) You get a pnuemothorax from your lung leaking into your chest. The air in your chest cavity pushes your lung all the way across your chest until it collapses both lungs and makes your heart not work anymore. It can take twelve hours or so or more to develop a pneumothorax, and it shows as shortness of breath first. While the chest X-Ray was useless for the broken bone part, it would show if my right lung was on my left side.
4) While there are field treatments for pneumothorax, it’s better to find a doctor to do them. There will be blood, and Doctors have probably seen a film strip on the procedure.
5) Another common danger from a broken rib is pneumonia (from pneuma (air) and Mony (Mutual of New York), therefore literally “Banker’s Breath.”) In order to not get pneumonia, you need to take 20 deep breaths at the end of every hour to keep the alveola inflated and not full of fluid. You don’t need to take the deep breaths if it hurts too much, or if there’s inter-bonular grinding or anything, but you want to take the deep breaths.
6) Everybody, including us and the doctor that saw us, thought we should maybe wrap my chest with a big wide Ace bandage. That’s so yesterday afternoon. If you do that you get banker’s breath. The Ace bandage is good for flail chest, which is completely unrelated to my kind of broken rib except for the broken rib part.
So we did the right thing by immediately making way for the medico, but we did it for the wrong reasons.
My rib is mostly fine now. It wakes me up a little and I’m afraid of hurting it again, but I do mostly what I want. It’s still hideous looking and will probably take a few years to re-mould back into something that birds won’t perch on, but it’s fine.
It’s probably worth pointing out that, if you are getting a chest X-Ray, you should stand up straight. Posture is everything in this world.
Anyone who trusts first aid or medical aid they got from a sailing blog is an idiot. Don’t be one of those. That’s our job.