Friday, October 8, 2010

Adventures in the ER

So I've been sick for a week.  Just a flu, but the big deal with that is that apparently it's not good to have a fever when you're pregnant.  Which, of course, I am.  What to Expect When You're Expecting says to notify your practitioner if your fever goes above 100.4.  All weekend it just hovered below 100, so I didn't call.  Then on Monday, it went to 100.5, and I called the doc.  They told me to call back if it went over 101, which it did on Tuesday evening.  I should say that the fever itself wouldn't be that horrible.  It's the shaking and chills that accompany the fever that really suck.  Like I'm burning up, but I just can't get warm at the same time.  I'm completely paralyzed, stuck under a blanket and freezing, unable to do anything because my limbs are shaking so much.  This is not a pleasant experience.

Tuesday night at 10pm they tell me to go to the ER, so hubby and I get dressed and head down the hill to Loma Linda because our mountains hospital doesn't deal with pregnant women anymore.  It's a big brouhaha, actually.  And man, the Loma Linda University Hospital is the place to be on a Tuesday night at midnight.

Here are some highlights I saw.

1.  There was a girl wearing a pink hoodie, not unlike the one I was wearing, actually, who was there because she said she was suicidal and unstable.  When I first arrived she was on the phone at the security guard's desk, demanding to speak to a social worker because she felt like she might be suicidal.  She was determined to find a case worker to deal with her crazy at midnight.  The thing is, I would have felt bad for her, except then she started wandering around the waiting room asking people if she could have a light for a cigarette.  When she secured a light from a guy who was there with a headache ("God will be good to you, sir," she blessed him in response for the light), she realized that her cigarette was nowhere to be found.  Back to the desk she goes, telling everyone that she left her cigarette on the top of the toilet, and could someone go in there and get it for her because she was too unstable to do that.  She has a light, but nothing to smoke.  It's always one thing or the other, isn't it?

No one would retrieve the cigarette, but eventually a girl who was blasting some ke$ha out of her phone offered her a cigarette, and after ensuring they were a brand she could smoke, she trots back to the desk and asks how long until she gets seen.  They told her they didn't know, but would be with her as soon as possible.  She asks if she can go smoke outside.  They tell her no.  She asks why.  They tell her that they are worried about her instability.  She sits back down, becomes entranced in SportsCenter, and takes apart the cigarette, mumbling.

2.  The Girl with the Fake Toenail:  I have to say, I am totally impressed with how they did things at the ER there.  In my vast experience with ER's (I've seen four, I think, not counting the tv show, which I never actually got into) what always happens is that you sit there watching bad tv until they call you back, and then they talk to you and find out what's going on, take blood, etc.  At Loma Linda, as soon as I checked in, they took my vitals.  Then they had me talk to a nurse about what was going on.  Then I sat back in the waiting room for a little bit, and then they called me back for blood work.  Then it was back to the waiting room again until I got called back to see the doctor.  Very efficient, I thought.  I approve.

So I get called back and am in a little room with a curtain in front, and in the room next to me there's a girl, and her mom.  The girl has lost her toenail.  Apparently her boyfriend stepped on it, and it came out.  But she explained to the doctor that it's all fungy and black, and  has been so for years, so the nail itself is fake.  I couldn't tell, but I think she meant that she has a fake nail on top of a stub of a real nail.  It wasn't very clear.  The doctor is going to numb it, and then just clean the opening, and apparently a new one will grow back.

In between discussing the black fungus on her feet and waiting for the numbing, it comes out that her keys are locked in her car, and she has no papers in the car that prove that it's hers.  Her mom thinks that triple A won't give her the keys back if she can't prove it's her car.  Her response to this logical point isn't to say something like, "huh, maybe they can trace it through the license plate," or something reasonable like that.  She of the Black Fungus Toe responds by screaming, "I don't f*cking care!  It's my f*cking car!  They can't say it's not my car!  I know it's my car.  So f*ck them."

That's right, sweetheart.  F*ck the people who got out of bed at 3am to open your car for your stupid fungal big toe.  J was sitting in the chair next to the bed trying to look serious, but we nearly lost it at this point.  I was biting my sheet to keep from laughing.

The doctor comes back and says he's going to make sure there's no remnants of the toe left, and she wonders when she can get the fake one glued back on.  He tells her she should wait until the real one starts to grow, to make sure it's healed, and she deems that deserving of a f*ck as well.   Though I guess it's kind of embarrassing to walk around with a giant black toe all the time.  At least the weather's cooler, so she can wear socks.

In between the fungal festivities I get seen by the doctor, who is confident that my flu is viral and not bacterial, which is a good thing for the baby.  My blood work looked fine, and he tells me to keep taking my tylenol, but he's going to check with the attending physician just in case there's anything she wants to go over with me, too.
Which gives me some time to lie back and listen to:
3.  The Adventures of Headache Man:

Headache man sat in the room opposite me breathing heavily.  He was the one who was blessed by Instability Chick for giving her a lighter.  Now I understand that he probably did so just to make her shut up.  So he's sitting on his bed breathing heavily, sighing, and sounding generally miserable.  I'm feeling quite bad for this guy, and hoping that he gets seen soon.  And then the doctor comes in.

"So, you're back again, huh?"
"Another headache?"
"Tell me about it..."
"Well, it's been going on all day.  I just can't stand it.  I'm going to pass out and die."
"When you've been in before, what has worked?"
"Well, they normally give me a bunch of _______ (some medication I don't know), and it takes 5 days for it to go away."
"We ordered a shot for you of ________ (another medication).  Did they give that to you yet?"  The doctor starts looking through the paperwork.
"Oh Hell No.  I have a phobia about shots."
"But this will help.  It really will.  It will knock you out and you can sleep here for a few hours, and you'll feel a lot better."
"It's not worth the shot.  You should have seen what my girlfriend had to go to when I got my ears pierced."  (if you have a deathly fear of needles, why would you get your ears pierced??)
"Have you seen a neurologist about this?  It's not really normal..."
"Oh, it's normal for me.  And I don't want to see a doctor.  They'll poke me with needles."
"I can give you the card of a good neurologist here."
"You can give me the card of your best friend for all I care.  I won't go."

And I'm wondering, didn't he sign something saying he would let them treat him when he arrived?  Cuz he seems kind of...belligerent.  Why would  you go to the ER if you're not going to let them help you?  Why would you wait in that crazy waiting room with Instability Chick listening to SportsCenter if you're not going to let them give you medicine that will make it better?

Well, his doctor patiently went off to check with the attending physician and see what, if anything, could be done for him.  Not sure what happened because I left then, but I sure hope he figured something out.

Got home at 4am with a fresh supply of sprite, which I've been living on.  I've lost 4 pounds being sick, which worries me a little bit because I don't want to starve the baby, but I've been drinking lots of sprite and juice, and I've been taking my prenatals, so I think Baby T is getting enough nutrition.

I surely hope I'm well for my trip to England next Wednesday... I will gladly accept any good vibes/prayers/thoughts you care to send my way :)

1 comment:

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