Sunday, May 20, 2012
A Bad Day...
It has been a long, painful, strange trip today. I began by tossing my cookies (actually popcorn) on and off all night last night. By 4 am, I was so exhausted and ill-feeling that I slept upright on the floor with my head on the counter. I couldn't mov my entire body, but especially my neck, head, and arms. I finally found the energy to clean myself of all the sickness around 6 am.
Typically, I avoid the hospital emergency room like the plague. However, I was so sick snd in severe pain that I begged Andrew to take me to the ER at 7 am (Saturday May 19, 2012). I slowly walked into the empty waiting room, while Andrew had to go through the metal detector and have our bags inspected. For some unknown reason it still took 15-20 minutes for them to triage me. That is reason #1 I typically avoid this particular ER. I slowly plodded to an Acute Care room where it was about an hour before anyone came to speak with me or begin testing or treatment (reason #2).
As I gave the nurses and doctors the run down of my symptoms, they said nothing useful nor did they ask questions. I had a low-grade fever at home (99.8), but "normal" temperatures when they checked. My head, neck, left arm, and entire left rib cage felt as if I'd been beaten. I couldn't move without tremendous painful. Although I hadn't had any pain medication since 4 am, I'm sure I looked stoned. Breathing was terribly painful and my heart rate was a racing 116 bpm. Yet, I journey keep my eyes open.
After I was settled in Acute Care, another couple of patients arrived. The portable chest x-ray machine was rolled up the hall, but skipped me, instead I was wheeled to the actual x-ray room and forced to place my arms above my head, regardless of the intense pain of that position. I mean, geez, I just had my first rib removed! That accounts for reason #3, this ER is completed inconsiderate of pain generated by your complaints. After the chest x-ray, I was in my room for another hour or so with no interaction with my care team.
Finally, a different technician came to get me for a chest CT. Once again, I was forced to keep my right hand completely extended above my head. This radiologist tried to help with my left arm, but no matter ow she tried, I had to have it extended somewhat above my head, when it came time for the dye to enter my IV site, I had to tell the radiologist of the decreased blood flow in my right side as well. Her solution was for me to hike my hand up at a 90 degree angle t my body with the elbow straight. Still quite painful and difficult for me.
Another 30 minutes or so and the doctor came back into my room. He explained that I ha a bit of infrnpftion in my lung, he didn't specify any more than that. He was very polite in my obvious agony, but kept lightly slapping my right (good) shoulder and arm to emphasize his points. He explained that as a cancer survivor, the follow-up care for me is slightly more detailed than a non-cancer survivor. I have to follow up in a week or so (when the antibiotic is finished) with another chest x-ray or CT. He also told me he'd give me stronger pain medication and an antibiotic. A little while later, a nurse came in it a bag of antibiotic for my IV and some morphine for the pain. The sad thing was, even at a fairly high dose, the morphine didn't take a significant portion of the pain away. Once the IV antibiotic completed its dose, I was released. We had been in the ER for 5 hours -- reason #4.
We had to go to the pharmacy, plus we needed some things (milk especially), so we went to Kroger. Once there I sat in one of the handicap carts and drove though the store. Due to the nature of the store and the unaccustomed width of the cart, I knocked an entire display onto the floor. Andrew had to pick it all up, I drove that thing for a wile until (very shortly after beginning my ride) it quit on me. I'd turn the key off and then turn it back onl it's while sometime stop instantly, or sometime later. It was very frustrating because I kept being in people's way, I eventually had to walk through the store nstead of riding, I met one of the nhe from Dr. A's office. I spoke to her for a while; she's very nice. Finally we were able to go home. I immediately settled in my recliner and took my ain medication and antibiotic. For a while I was feeling better, but it's a fleeting experience, that's all I can mamage right now. My apologies for any typos or crazy talk. I'm not feeling very goo right now, please keep praying for me! I desperately need all the help I can get!