Tales From The Emergency Ward

My weekend was interesting to say the least. I woke up on Friday morning with abdominal pains that progressively got worse and ended up spending the weekend in hospital to see what was wrong with me.

At first I just thought I’d slept funny or I had really bad gas that just wouldn’t come out so I tried toughing it out at home but then I started to vomit I decided that getting some professional advice may not be that bad of an idea so off to the local medi-center I went and from there to the emergency ward of the Grey Nuns Hospital where I spent what seemed like an excruciating hour in the waiting room before being examined. It probably was closer to 20 minutes but by this point the pain was pretty unbearable and every second stretched on for days.

Finally was examined and they decided to run a battery of tests on me. I was told to change into those ever so sexy backless gowns (which I suspect are a test of one’s self-confidence if nothing else), I had an ultrasound (they wouldn’t tell me if it was a boy or a girl though), some x-rays (to my utmost disapointment no mutant powers have developed yet), and blood was drawn. Those of you who know me well know that this was probably the worst part of the whole ordeal so far as I hate needles. They freak me out something fierce. I survived this time though and was left to recline in a semi-fetal position on a gurney in the hall while the doctors waited on the test results.

An while later (around 4pm or so) the nurse came by and told me they were going to put me on some fluids and give me something for the pain. So I was then subjected to something that has a personal creep factor of several billion: an IV drip. Yup, needles again. Only this time it wasn’t just a quick poke to administer a shot or a short pain while drawing blood, this time I was going to have a needle under my skin and in my vein for an indeterminate length of time. I tried to relax like I was told but subconscious fear took over and I tensed up and the nurse botched the first attempt and so had to switch hands. The second attempt was successful probably because I realized it was either going in the back of my hand or my wrist and the latter just gives me the heeby jeebies *shudder* (even now writing this it is making my flesh creep at the very thought of it).

Thankfully the next bit wasn’t so bad. They gave me a shot of Demerol and everything was groovy for the next couple of hours… I saw another doctor and they were going to wait till 7 to run another x-ray to see if there had been any changes since the first. There wasn’t but they wanted to keep me overnight because my white blood cell count was high and I had a temperature. They’d see how I was in the morning. Yay me, my first overnight hospital stay in 30 years (the last being when I was hospitalized for the Mumps when I was 3).

So around 9ish they finally found me a bed and admitted me. I was made comfortable by some very nice (and nice looking) nurses. At this point the Demerol was wearing off and I was starting to feel uncomfortable again so the nurses gave me a shot of some ol’ fashioned morphine and I drifted in and out of sleep till about 3ish when it wore off and they gave me another.

I slept fine, albeit a tad uncomfortably with the creepy drip in my arm that I kept having to account for and come morning I was awake and pain free. I was poked and prodded by more doctors and more blood was drawn (by this point it was an inevitability that I was accepting of but not comfortable with) and I was left with the encouraging remark from the doctor that He thought things were fine and he’d see if my white count was lower when the results came back and if things were good they’d get some lunch in me and send me home.

Lunchtime came and went with my only food being the saline drip that I was becoming more and more adept at waltzing around with. The day passed in increments with my only company being a sickly old Filipino who coughed up a lung every couple of minutes. By about 3 the doctor got my results and I was expecting to be sent home but instead was left hanging… Finally around 8 o’clock on they came back and said that they wanted to keep me yet one more night and try me on solid food in the morning and see if I had any adverse reaction to it.

I’m not the best patient at the best of times and I was feeling absolutely fine at this point, and was not happy about the results but societal brainwashing has trained me not to lash out irrationally all the time. I sucked it up with as much good grace as I could and went to bed. Besides, they’d promised to take out the IV. They didn’t quite though the tricksy hobbitses! They unhooked me from my erstwhile dancing partner and left the needle in my wrist to save time if I had to go back on fluids again. Not surprisingly this creeped me out almost more than the drip had probably because it had no purpose and the nurse who swapped out the drip apparatus for a detachable tube accessory apparently studied under Torquemada (sadly all the really good looking and competent nurses were working on Friday night and not Saturday)

Eventually I got settled and was lulled into a restless sleep by my bronchial fillipino friend’s wheezing. The night passed quietly enough despite a nurse checking in on me every couple of hours. Normally I’m a fairly heavy sleeper, but even the near-soundless tread of the nurse’s shoes woke me up almost instantly.

Morning came and I still felt fine. I finally had some food and waited for the Doctor to say I was okay to go home. I finally got the green light around 3 and I was thankfully on my way. The bad news was they had no idea what was wrong. I’d obviously had some sort of infection to have elevated my white count and according to the doctor abdominal pains are a fairly common symptom and that 70% of most emergency cases of that nature usually clear up by themselves in a day or so. In the meantime I’m to keep a close eye on things and if there’s a reoccurence then I’m to go in for further tests.

So in summation I had a fairly irregular weekend. I learned that no amount of witty repartee or personal self confidence can change the fact that backless gowns are about as sexy as a week dead horse. I learned that Demerol and Morphine are your friendses. I reaffirmed my belief that nurses are more competent than doctors (even the ones trained by the spanish inquisition). My phobia of needles has not been overcome. I still loathe the little fuckers almost as much as I loathe spiders. Hospital beds are surprisingly comfortable and hospital food is just as horrible as the rumours make it out to be. Last but by no means least, I decided once and for all that I will never have a career in health care.

I’m home now and taking a couple of days to recover and make sure everything is okay and there are no relapses.

12 thoughts on “Tales From The Emergency Ward

  1. Oddly enough, your symptoms sound remarkably like what Amanda had when she passed that kidney stone a couple weeks back.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that the doctors didn’t suggest it, I would say that might have been what it was…

    Although I don’t know if the white cell count aspect played into Amanda’s case.

    In any event, glad you’re okay.

    Now if you could only get your compy back up and running.

  2. Yeah I was thinking about that while I was trying to doze off on Saturday and was rather amused by the karmic similarities

    The ultrasound showed that I have gall stones but they didn’t think that they were anything to do with the symptoms I was describing. We discussed the possibility of appendicitis as well but nothing conclusive came of it as it cleared up by itself. If it comes back though I’m sure that’s one of the things they’ll look into.

    I doubt it was a stone though as I didn’t pee from the time I got there until they requested a urine sample on the saturday morning AFTER I was feeling better.

    Ahhh if only my diagnostician had been that irascible old rogue, Dr House I would be completely cured by now.

  3. Yeah, but first there would have had to have been someone else with the same symptoms who was misdiagnosed but who actually provided the clue to your illness. Am I right?

  4. I was just guessing. I’ve never actually seen any House, so I’m not certain how those episodes work. I’m just going based on what little knowledge I have of medical dramas and bits I’ve heard about the show.

  5. The basic premise is generally thus:
    Subject A gets sick, Undiagnosable illness baffles regular doctors, Patient reports to house. House and crew bicker amongst themselves regarding diagnosis, They try various treatments and solutions that a) usually make the patient worse but end up invalidating one of the aforementioned solutions, House eventually clues into something peripheral that solves the case.

    There’s usually another subplot going on simultaneously about how much of an irascible bastard house is but the two plots rarely interact.

    So you are pretty close to the mark. I just enjoy watching Hugh Laurie be a bastard most of the time to be honest. That’s really all I watch it for. The medical plot is really inconsequential in my mind.

  6. Ah, I see. Well, I doubt that I’ll go out of my way to download it, so maybe if I catch it on TV when I get back to Canada.

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