Killjoy alert! One innocent afternoon, at an indoor trampoline park (which will remain unnamed), during a recent vacation in Florida, I was surrounded by the bliss of bouncing off the walls with my children. Fifteen minutes later, I touched my toes mid-air and felt a “pop!” in my knee. Fifteen minutes later, I was hauled away by the local fire department swimming in a sea of ice packs.
Injuries can happen any time of year; however, with this being ski season, it’s especially important to talk about how to handle both non-life-threatening injuries and injuries that send you to the ER or walk-in-clinic during a family vacation, weekend jaunt, or simply just traveling. FYI, one of the most common ski injuries is called an MCL, or medial collateral ligament tear.
Here are my steps and takeaways on how to keep a minor injury from ruining your trip. Try not to panic. In most cases, it’s not nearly as bad as you imagine.
Allow yourself to be screened or checked out by first responders, paramedics or first aid workers.
Additionally, first responders will have ice packs to reduce any swelling that may have occurred as the result of your injury. I was surrounded by family with cars, and since my insurance didn’t cover the full amount of the ride to the hospital or walk-in-clinic via ambulance, I found my own ride.
Decide if you need to head to an ER room, the waiting room of a walk-in-clinic, or the hotel room where you are staying.
Follow the advice of the medical staff to help treat any initial symptoms. If your injury is not life-threatening, walk-in-clinics are the best option. They tend to be less crowded, and will save loads of time waiting around to be seen when you could be resting back at the resort or hotel where you are staying.
Know the warning signs of a blood clot.
If your injury drastically impairs your ability to walk around, be aware of the warning signs of a blood clot, which include: tenderness, swelling and pain, discoloration, or warmth all usually occurring in one leg. If you suspect that you have any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Untreated blood clots can travel to the lungs and result in death. The risk is especially heightened when a long flight is ahead of you. Luckily, the treatment for a blood clot is a simply a shot of a prescription blood thinner. If your travels home have you sitting in a car or on a flight for an extended period of time, be sure that you are get up and hop or hobble around approximately every hour.
Take advantage of wheelchair assistance if you are flying home.
If your way home is by airplane, and you are unable to have the use of one or both legs, or cannot stand for long periods of time, airports offer the use of a wheelchair and assistance at no additional cost. I had a torn ACL and MCL, so the temporary use of this wheelchair was a godsend for me and my family.
Lastly, try not to be too hard on yourself. Accidents happen, and you either had to do what you did for work or the fun of it on vacation.