Monday, January 31, 2011

Emergency Room

There’s nothing like an early Sunday morning visit to the Emergency Room to put life into perspective. Excruciating pain, drips, injections, screaming children and blood spatter on the floor, from a previous casualty, really has a way of ruining ones day. And this is exactly how I spent my morning yesterday. You see I had to go to the ER due an excruciating and unrelenting pain in my chest combined with hunching over in agony every time I swallowed. All this leading up to an experience I’d rather not relive again.
Sunday morning didn’t start like any other. I didn’t sleep in, only waking up at 9am serenely rolling around in bed wondering what I’d be cooking for Sunday lunch. No, I was awake pretty much on-and-off since 2am, rolling around uncomfortably wondering exactly how bad the pain must become before it warranted a trip to hospital. Finally, by 7am I had enough and hubby knowing that I have a high pain threshold and seeing the agony on my face, even with the Botox, decided it was time to go to the ER.

Not liking sick people and therefore not loving hospitals I was not particularly thrilled on arrival, but I did want the pain to stop. We walked into the ER, completed the paperwork and waited. The waiting room being relatively small was filled with people looking concerned, tired and not ready for their close-ups. Being in a world of pain I didn’t care what I looked like either and it wasn’t my finest hour. After a couple of minutes the attending nurse called my name and ushered me into a consultation room. He asked me about my symptoms, where the pain was, what it felt like and took my vitals. The conversation was brief as he could see I was in pain and not in the mood for idle chatter. Shortly after I was admitted to the ER and waited for the Doctor.
In my little curtained cubical there was a bed, a single chair, medical paraphernalia and a couple of dried blood spatters on the floor. It wasn’t long before the Doctor arrived. Clutching my file and with a concerned expression on her face she said “One of three things is going on here. You’re either having a heart attack, have an obstruction in your esophagus or having an extreme episode of acid reflux that has hurt your esophagus. We’ll do an EKG, take X-rays and maybe take some blood and I’ll be back shortly”. It’s nice when a physician provides you with the worst case scenario first and not to mention comforting, so naturally after the Doctor left my cubical with one of the curtains trailing behind her in her wake, I requested the nurse to fetch hubby from the waiting room. After all if I were having a heart attack at the age of 33 I wanted him to be with me.

The nurse together with my husband returned and she proceeded to hook me up to the EKG machine. What felt like a hundred stickers were placed all over my chest and stomach. As the nurse was sticking them on me I noticed her arms. They were covered with scars and cigarette burns, being a curious person by nature but impeded by precarious health, I resisted the urge to ask her about it and prevented a potential uncomfortable situation. The EKG cleared me of a heart attack and I was immensely relieved! The first of what would be two intravenous medications was then administered via drip and I was sent off to X-rays.
There is a strange sense of irony when one is ill, but still able to walk and a hospital policy insists that you be pushed around in a wheelchair. I don’t understand it but hospital staff gets pretty annoyed when you don’t comply so eventually I did. At X-rays I had to take of my shirt and put on a horrendously unflattering gown which is quite an operation when your arm is connected to a drip with a one meter long pipe. I got entangle, confused, frustrated and after sobbing quietly managed to free myself from it twice. I was cleared of an obstruction by X-rays and finally diagnosed with acute "Gastro Esophageal Gastritis", a scary way of saying I had a throat infection causing cramping brought on by acid reflux that could be caused by a stomach ulcer. It’s unflattering, very painful, and something I would not wish onto some, but not all, of my worst enemies.

I was returned to the ER and administered the second and last drip. It made me drowsy, somewhat incoherent but brought some relief. I stayed in the ER for four long hours before finally being released with a month supply of ulcer and heartburn medication and a referral to a surgeon if my condition does not improve. All in all my Sunday was ruined and coincidentally my Monday was too as I am still in some pain, still finding it hard to swallow food and I still have dizzy spells, all of which should pass soon.
As I was pulling the last of the EKG stickers of my chest in the shower Sunday night, I couldn’t help but realize how lucky I am. I am lucky not to have had a heart attack, lucky to be able to afford health care and be treated in a private hospital, lucky to be in relatively good health and I’m lucky to have a husband who loves me. Frankly, if a throat infection, cramping, heartburn and a possible stomach ulcer is the worst of my health problems, then I don’t really have anything to complain about now do I. Sure it pretty much ruined my weekend and my Monday, but hell there are far worse things that could have happened.  However, I am going back to bed now, cuddle my warm water bottle and feel a little sorry for myself for a tad longer or at least until the pain stops!
Till next time.


Jason Shaw said...

Oh my dear what an absolute nightmare for you. Many hugs due to you, you poor thing. It's horrible being ill, so I wish you well.

Pierre said...

@Jason Shaw, many thanks ;-)

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