Friday, May 11, 2007

Room 35

I left work at 3pm yesterday and spent the next 7 hours in the emergency room.

I have been having problems breathing. Well, not breathing exactly. I am breathing fine but every now and then my body seems to want to breathe or yawn really deeply and for some reason, those deep breaths/yawns don't "catch". Then yesterday I had a lot of pain around the right side of my body around my ribs. I called the nurse line at my RE's office and she suggested going to either my GP's office or the ER as their office was closed for the day. So I called my GP's office but they didn't have any openings until the next day. I was tired of the pain and of struggling for these deep breaths.

So I got home and got Bob and off to the ER we went. It was a beautiful day with highs around 87 and yet for some reason the ER was bustling and extremely busy. I guess I thought the nicer weather would mean a slow ER day but I was wrong. So we sat down knowing we would be in for a wait. And waited we did. We got to the ER around 4 and weren't brought back to a room until 6:30. I guess that's not a huge wait for the ER, but it seemed like a long time.

Once we got back to my room (Number 35!) I was asked to don a gown and hop into bed. Then they did an EKG, took about a dozen vials of blood, a urine sample, and then wheeled me down for a chest X-ray. In between tests and exams, we were able to watch TV. Each room is fitted with a flat screen TV with cable. Your medical dollars at work. I still missed the very end of each show I started watching. Wheel of Fortune? Missed the end. Ugly Betty? Missed the end. The Office? Missed the beginning but actually caught the very end. Grey's Anatomy? Missed the beginning and the very end! The Traveler? Missed the middle and the end. Thursday night might still be Must See TV but it would be nice to at least see an entire program.

After all was said and done, what's the diagnosis? Who knows! Brilliant medical minds at work for you. I told Bob before we even left the apartment that my biggest fear about going to the ER would be to go and spend all the time I knew we would have to spend there only to be told they don't know what is wrong. Which is exactly what happened. They DO know that my heart is A-OK. My lungs seem fine and plucky. There are no blood clots, my white blood cell count is perfect, my blood pressure and blood oxygen levels are top of the class. My body's health could be valedictorian of the ER if measured solely by charts, levels, and numbers. So they sent me home with an RX for a pain reliever and directions to rest and take it easy for the next 3 or 4 days and see if it doesn't just get better on its own. Great. I just paid umpteen frillion ER dollars to be told to do something I could of and would have probably done on my own if I hadn't feared I was dealing with pneumonia or some other post surgery complication. (Well, I actually haven't paid the umpteen frillion dollars yet but I am sure to get the bill in the near future where I am sure I will be charged $100.00 for each little sticky EKG tab they had to stick on me.)

As soon as the doctor left the room (35!) I burst into tears. Bob told me that he would rather have spent 7 hours in the ER and be told I am fine than to be at home watching me struggle with pain and deep breathing and thinking the worst. Well, yeah, OK. Still, I wish they could have said, "It's this new plaguey thing that's going around. Good job catching it early and coming in before your right arm fell off!"

So I am home today, taking another PTO day because I am fine but not fine. At least when I woke up this morning there wasn't a guy on my living room sofa sleeping off last night's bender. Thank God for small favors.

1 comment:

sassy said...

That happens to me all the time. The deep breaths not "catching". What works for me is to sort of force myself to yawn. Start to take in a breath and then stop in the early stages and sort of wait as if you are about to yawn. Then your lungs expand and take in a full breath. Or at least mine do. I don't know what causes it, but I've been having it for years, and I know other people who have, too. So you aren't alone!