Urgent Care or ER? ‘That Girl’ had a choice
It seemed like a good idea at the time! It was a pleasant, late-summer afternoon so why not be outside enjoying the fresh air and winding down the Labor Day holiday weekend with rollerblading around the neighborhood.
It all made perfect sense to Cat Wilson, and never mind that she had never been on rollerblades before. She’s adventurous, enjoys riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and has even entered (and won) demolition derbies at the Barnstable County Fair. Rollerblades? Let’s strap them on!
Wilson is the popular local radio personality better known as “That Girl in the Morning” on Cape Country 104 (WKPE 103.9). Under the tutelage of her boyfriend, an ice hockey player, she started her adventure in front of her house in Cotuit. They moved along and all was going well until …
“Well, I was about a half-mile away from my home and there’s a downhill slope,” said Wilson. “I was going faster and stopping wasn’t as easy as I thought. I tried to swerve to slow myself down, but spun around and lost control. I landed face first on the pavement, splitting open my chin. There was a lot of blood but it could have been way worse. I was grateful I was wearing a black T-shirt!”
Wilson never lost consciousness and didn’t break any teeth, but admits “I gave myself a good rattle. There were a lot of people out that day who saw me. I was humbled and hobbled.”
She gathered herself, with her boyfriend’s help, got back to the house and had a decision to make. Should she rush to the emergency room at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis or go to the closer Stoneman Outpatient Center in Sandwich, one of four Cape Cod Healthcare Urgent Care clinics?
“My boyfriend’s first thought was the hospital ER because he was pretty sure I at least needed stitches, and I guess it was kind of an emergency,” said Wilson. “But it was a holiday, the Labor Day Monday, and it seemed like one of the Urgent Care centers would be better. I had been to Stoneman before with poison ivy, the flu, things like that. I had good experiences and it was easier to get to. Plus, the doctors there are ER-trained and if they thought I needed more attention then they would say so.
“And no knock against the hospital’s ER,” added Wilson, “but you can have long waits sometimes because they’re dealing with everything and real emergencies. I didn’t want to burden them with my situation. That’s why I thought I’d have better luck at urgent care.”
Wilson arrived at Stoneman and was attended to immediately, given an ice pack for her chin and checked in quickly. A doctor examined her and put her at ease, explaining the injury and the process of suturing the cuts.
“He was very pleasant and had a young woman with him,” said Wilson. “I think she was a medical student shadowing and he went over everything. He asked if I was comfortable with her doing a couple stitches and I was. How will they learn if they don’t get their hands bloody, right? They numbed the area and did their thing; five stitches and I didn’t pass out! I was out of there in just about an hour.
Because the Cape Cod Healthcare Urgent Care Centers are staffed by emergency medicine-trained physicians, and X-rays are taken on-site, the facilities are well-equipped to address minor traumas and straight-forward procedures, explained Michael Rest, MD, director of the Yawkey Emergency Center at Falmouth Hospital and medical director at Stoneman Urgent Care Center.
“We regularly suture lacerations, splint simple fractures and perform abscess drainages – procedures that require the expertise of an emergency physician – all the while offering the convenience of an urgent care setting,” he said.
Wilson said she was pleased with the outcome.
“It was the best case of a bad case scenario,” she said. “It’s nice to know we have these facilities around that can take care of things like this, and let the ER handle the real emergencies.”
“That Girl in the Morning” is back to work on morning drive time at Cape Country none the worse for wear and her sense of humor fully intact. After following up with her primary care physician, the wound healed nicely with only a small scar the lasting memory of Wilson’s first foray on rollerblades. She insists she will try again.
“My 28-year-old brain said it was a really good idea. My 48-year-old body disagreed. But I’m going to try again,” she said. “I’ve got some new rollerblades and pads. Next time, though, maybe I’ll wear my motorcycle helmet!”