Friday, December 31, 2004

Baaad timing

A few years ago my then-girlfriend and I decided to make dinner for the next evening; I was going to put a roast in the crockpot when I went to work the next morning, and bring it over that evening while she made the veggies. I had cable at the time, and there was a show I had taped that we both wanted to see, so we'd watch it after dinner.

The roast came out fine, one of those 'open the front door, inhale, salivate' marvelous things. Load it up, grab the tape and head to her house. Where she had a green bean casserole waiting.

Dinner was great, and when done we sat down in the living room and put on the tape. About fifteen minutes later I felt a little queasy and excused myself, and reached the bathroom just in time to get rid of dinner, though not in the usual way. After I finished throwing up, I cleaned up a bit and went back to the living room.

For about five minutes.

The third time I hit the bathroom, after trying to throw up the inseam of my jeans I was so dizzy I couldn't even sit up straight. By this time the lady was in the doorway asking if I needed an ambulance. "No, just give me a minute", the usual. I hate going to the doctor for a checkup, getting hauled away in an ambulance was just not something I wanted to do. She gave the the minute, and I still couldn't stand up, says she "I'm calling the ambulance!".

"No, I don't need that!"
"Then I'm taking you to the emergency room!"
Pause. "That might be a good idea".

So we drive there, after managing to maneuver me into the car. Having her on one side and the wall on the other helped there. Have you ever gone to an er? Unless you're hemorrhaging as they drag you in, you are directed to a seat while they decide who has to do the paperwork on you. Then they do the paperwork- often grudgingly- and finally someone decides they have to look you over("Go on, John, it's your turn. You know how bad it looks on our stats when they die before we've taken their temperature") So they take you into an examining room and check you out. In my case this started with the discovery that if I laid down at an angle greater than about 45 degrees, the room began to travel around me. Then they stuck three contacts on me and hooked up the ekg.

Now, by this time I was feeling slightly better. Not good enough to get up, but no cold sweats anymore. Then the nurse doctor studied my ekg for a minute, looked at my girlfriend and asked, "Has he ever had heart trouble before?"

She said the ekg bounced the pen of both sides like a pinball; I couldn't see that, but my first thought was "Not until you said that!" Not helpful, I promise you. Especially after he said that my rhythm looked perfectly normal (until you said that, you bastard!) and he just wondered if I might have had an 'episode'. I wished I'd been less washed out, so that I could have described and 'episode' to him. Involving his ancestry.

By the time all the er stuff was done, I was really washed out, but better. As a precaution they kept me over night, second time I'd ever had to sleep at a hospital. By morning, I was tired, hungry and more thirsty than I could ever remember being. All I could have was water or apple juice until the doctor came by, and I drank all the juice they'd give me. About noon my ex and kids came by, and when I mentioned that I was starving("no food until the doctor sees you again") she dug some money out of my pants and went down to the cafeteria, coming back with stew and ice cream. Which, of course, I was finishing as the doctor finally came in. He wasn't overly pleased, but not too put out since I had 'stabilized' nicely and they couldn't find anything wrong. His final thought was that that there was a stomach virus going around, and I just happened to be one of the rare people who, instead of feeling ratty for three days, got whacked hard. And I started laughing.

He asked what was so funny about that? and I explained about the entertainment the evening before. The show I'd taped? It was a documentary.

About ebola.


Anonymous said...


I remember paying $1200 for 4 staples when I had this little golf club cleaning incident a couple of years ago. I spent 3 hours in the ER, but it wasn't until about the last 3 minutes of my lovely visit that the doc came in and stapled my head closed. He asked me, "you want anesthetic?" I said, "scyoozme?!" And he said, "well, the shots hurt about as much as the staples do." To which I said, "well, skip it, just hit me with the staples." I have difficulty believing that the shots would have hurt worse than that. But it probably saved me about 500 more dollars.

I hate going to the doctor. If I can't see bone or I don't have blood spraying from my eyes, I don't go. But I couldn't really see this thing on my head and my sister, worrywart that she is, insisted that I go.

I made her take out the staples at the end of a week.

Mat -

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Windy Wilson said...

I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I'd drop by . . .

Those ER's!
Though I tell you first hand, nothing gets their attention quite like a pale man walking purposefully towards the admitting clerk, holding a red and white handkerchief with both hands!
Six stitches, and 30 years later you can still see where they were.