Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Emergency Room

So... fantastic little dose of irony or something... I went to the hospital twice within a 24 hour time span... For two very different reasons. First I went to HR about my job/externship. Then I made an unexpected visit to the ER.

Here's the story regarding the second trip.

Now I think that maybe they were connected, although at the time I didn't think much of it. This morning I woke up (as in Tuesday morning... so really yesterday I guess) with menstrual type feeling stomach cramps. Which I thought was weird since I'm between periods. But I just kinda blew it off, Gretchen had mentioned there was a stomach flu or something going around. So I took Ibuprofen, took a dump, and went on with my day.

Anyways. The crampiness kind of continued throughout the day, but I didn't think much of it. Did the stuff I needed to, and went to bed around 0100-0130 ish.

A little after 0200, I was awakened by the most horrible pain in my side. I thought maybe it was just a stomach cramp again (although I'd never had a stomach cramp feel that horrible). I thought if I could poop or vomit or something I might get some relief. So, I peed... but there was no pooping. Couldn't poop. That didn't feel good. Couldn't vomit either. So I kinda laid down curled up around the toilet.

Then I got the thought "My appendix! I have appendicitis!"

I went and laid down in the hallway in front of the bedrooms. Curled up and writhing in pain. Finally, I knocked (weakly, mind you) on Gretchen and Brigette's door and managed to groan out Gretchen's name. (I figured I'd have a better chance of waking her up than Brigette). There was definitely some divine help involved. Because I used all the strength I could and barely tapped on the door, but Gretchen said it sounded like I was pounding and yelling. Loud enough that it managed to wake her. Brigette even heard the knocking, and she slept through the Carbon Monoxide scare last month - not just the alarm, but the whole evacuation and everything practically!

I had Gretchen call my mom to ask her what side of my body my appendix is on, because the pain was on my right. Which, incidentally, is the side that your appendix is on! So mom told us to get in to the ER. I grabbed my bag that had my wallet/insurance card in it, Brigette called Jake and we started making our way down to the car.

I made it to the parking lot and then not only was I magically able to throw up, but I couldn't NOT throw up. So I did. On the parking lot (and a little on my pants and flip flops. Although I wasn't about to go back home to change). (Its still there, Gretchen and Brigette informed me. They also asked what I had eaten since they couldn't tell. In case any of you see it in the parking lot and are interested, the white stuff is burrito.) This is about when Jake met up with us.

We got in the car and headed off to the ER. Arrived safely, gave them my information through pain and mumbling (more information on the effects of the mumbling later). And got assigned to get to go straight into a triage room.

I sat in triage for a while crying and moaning in pain. (And throwing up. In the garbage can until they brought me an emesis basin) Finally a guy came in and took my blood pressure and stuff (It was about 122/90 ish I believe... Usually I'm around 100/60). He went to find the doc and talk to him, came back and said he was gonna start an IV.

The only IV's I've had before were the drips. Where they have the saline and then just inject pain meds into there. This time they just put in like a little port, so that they could inject whenever necessary.

But... inserting it was quite an ordeal evidently. There was blood... all over. As in running all up and down my arm, on the chair, my pants a little, pooling on the floor, etc. The guy was evidently quite nervous. Gretchen and BB and Jake were all like "He was really nervous when you started bleeding." Evidently I handled it pretty well even though it was MY blood getting everywhere. They said I just kept telling him "It's okay. It's fine. Don't worry about it. Just get the IV in, this is the least of my pain right now, etc." Although I do remember getting pretty shakey and vaguely wondering if I were having a reaction. LUCKILY, I just finished a class that involved teaching us what to do if someone had a reaction. So I just did that to myself.

So he finally got it in, and drew some blood (with a syringe. which I remember being intrigued watching. I'm guessing he used that because of the set up of the port). He got all the blood into the test tubes and then had to go find the doc again to see if he could give me some pain drugs. Turns out he could!! Yay. I was grateful. So I got the first of my morphine doses.

Pretty soon after that, they got me into a room. The wheelchair came and wheeled me in. Got my own little curtain divided half suite. Jake came with me. I changed into my fun little hospital gown.

There was a lot of blurring of events after this. These are the things I know/remember. Which may or may not be in order.

1) I got morphine/other drugs.

2) They put an oxymeter on. Because narcotics slow your breathing. They want your oxygen levels to stay above 90% just as a general rule... However everytime I finally managed to fall asleep, my breathing (and consequently my oxygen) would drop. Often to 70-75% and the screen would start beeping and wake me up. I would then remember to breathe and would usually have my O2 level back up to 98-100% by the time someone came in to stop the beeping. Then I'd fall asleep and the whole thing would start again.

3) JD came and helped Jake give me a blessing.

4) They told me they suspected kidney stones, and needed to run a CT scan to be sure. So they did. It was... fun I guess. I had to lay with my hands over my head and they ran me back and forth through the machine. The machine talked to me. Told me when to breathe or inhale or hold my breath. Then they gave me some contrast dye for a few more sets of images. That stuff was... interesting. It felt warm all over, gave me a nasty yuck taste in my mouth, and made me feel like I was peeing my panties (I didn't actually have pants on at the time). It also made me feel like I was gonna throw up again. Which... since I'd been doing lots of that for the last 3 or so hours... wasn't necessarily a surprise. Unfortunately, my drugs were wearing off towards the end of the scan... which made it CONSIDERABLY less enjoyable.

5) They finally put me on oxygen so that I could fall asleep without being woken up by the beeping from the oxymeter.

6) They finally let me sip water. They had told me no (which was surprising, since I'd been throwing up and was getting WAY dehydrated).

7) I threw up all of that water.

8) They got my birthday wrong since I was moaning in pain when I reported all that information to them. Instead of 11/7/88, they heard 7/7/88. Which threw the new nurse for a loop when she came in for their shift change. Cuz they always ask you to identify yourself. At least by your name and birthdate. So I had to have Jake vouch for me that my birthday indeed was in November.

9) They asked Jake to sign something for me, but I had to tell them that he couldn't. They thought we were already married. I did let them list him as my emergency contact though..

10) I had to ask for a saline drip for my dehydration. Otherwise, they were gonna send me home just all dry and sad.

11) Due to said dehydration, my tongue was getting dry and puffy and I REALLY was slurring when I tried to talk. (Also possibly affected by the drugs).

12) Jake was a sweetheart and went to get me applesauce and crackers and such and pick up my prescriptions.

13) I basically had to beg Jake to go home and get some sleep.

14) Gretchen came in and sat with me when he left.

15) I finally got to go home and have been taking drugs and sleeping ever since.

So... the end diagnosis?

Kidney stones. Theres one about 3mm in diameter in my right kidney just about to enter the ureter (tube that goes from kidney to bladder). Thats what was causing all the pain. They said it is small enough that it should be able to pass on its own. So they gave me a little strainer that i have to filter all of my pee with until I find the stone in there. Then I am to save said stone in little sterile sample cup and take it in to the Urologist so he can analyze it. And if it doesn't pass within a week, they may have to look at other solutions.

They said that even though it was just this one that was causing the pain, I have other stones in both of my kidneys. So we're going to try to schedule with the Urologist to see if we can figure out what to do.

Although, I learned an interesting fact of the day. Utah has a higher rate of kidney stones than a lot of other states. Probably due to the very hard water.

So, until said time that the stone passes or they find another solution, I get to take fun drugs, drink lots of water, eat blandish foods (at least unti I stop being pukey), and lay around for the most part.

Yay. The pain is now tolerable thanks to the drugs. So I just get to wait it out.

Thats the story of my day. Yay. Or not yay, I suppose.

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