Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Thursday Three

Suggested by pixelpi and Jo, today the topic is


My Very Own ER Experiences


I've actually had more ER visits than these, but they weren't terribly exciting. I missed a big chunk of my ninth grade year because of a temperamental appendix that turned out to be something completely different, I've had more than one serious dog bite, I pulled a sliding closet door off of the track and onto my poor little foot...the list goes on. I'm sure my mother will remember things I've totally forgotten. I don't think I was terribly accident prone as a kid, but I guess I was accident prone enough.


But in the interest of keeping things lively, the three I'm picking are a good cross section of my life. One embarrassing, one stupid and one having to do with a kid. Ladies and gentlemen...this is my life.


#1. The embarrassing one. When I was in college the first time, I was a waitress. I was working full time and going to school full time and my social life was...full. I was exhausted most of the time, but was too stupid to cut back on anything. When I caught the really nasty viral bug that was going around, it never occurred to me to call in sick for my ten hour Friday night shift, since that's where the tips were. And it certainly never occurred to me to turn down the coffee cup full of kamikaze the lecherous bartender gave me to "help me feel better".


I was about three hours into the shift when I keeled over and bought myself the only ambulance ride of my entire life. I made quite a sight being taken out of a full cocktail lounge on a gurney, maroon dirndl uniform all askew. And while I can't absolutely prove it, I'm pretty sure that in an old hospital chart in Pasadena, California I have the words Alcohol On Breath on file. And the fact that the virus laid me out for over three weeks didn't make me any less humiliated.



#2. The stupid one. I had been married two months, and one of the wedding gifts was a wonderful set of carbon steel knives. One morning, in my usual start of the day fog, I was feeding my Amazon parrot before I raced off to work. I was in a hurry to fill his fruit dish and I somehow managed to cut through a jicama toward myself and through my left hand. The knife went into the fleshy area between my thumb and index finger all the way to the bone, where it stopped, leaving my thumb pretty much blowing in the breeze.



This episode really is a blog post all its own, but it can be summed up this way: four hours of microsurgery, almost two hundred stitches, two days in the hospital and the inability of my entire family to keep a straight face whenever they hear the word "jicama". Or "carbon steel knives" for that matter. In ER terms, this was the first (and only) time the triage nurse has ever jumped up as I walked through the door and taken me back immediately, leaving a trail of blood in my wake.


(I still get a lot of mileage out of this story at work. My hand never hurt until after the surgery, not even the tiniest bit. The surgeon explained to me that hands usually don't hurt after massive trauma because there are so many nerve endings that the endorphins fly out of the gate pronto. I always ask people who have hurt their hands and the answer is almost always the same: no pain at all. It's really interesting).



#3. The one having to do with a kid.
I was in my last semester of nursing school and one of our final assignments was, of all the ridiculous things, to observe for a day at a day care center. My best bud and I had signed up for the same day and I ended up driving in with her since my car was in the shop. It had been drilled into our heads that this was not something that could be rescheduled or not completed. (Nursing school is all about mental games that leave you slightly traumatized and not a little feeble minded).


While we were having our lunch halfway through the day, I checked my phone and found a message from the school nurse. This is how NOT to leave a message for a parent: RC, this is the nurse at Surfer Dude's school. He's had an accident. CALL ME. My next message was from the FG whom she had called next, saying they were on the way to the hospital but that Surfer Dude was (mostly) okay. And the third message (also from the FG) was that he had a broken clavicle from showing off and turning somersaults on concrete during reading circle.


And I couldn't get there. I was stuck in a stupid day care center, without a car, while nursing students from another school took care of my baby in the ER where I would eventually work. By the time I got home, he was already in bed, knocked out from the percocet. It absolutely and totally sucked and I hated every minute of it.


Well, there you have it. Now it's your turn. We want to hear your ER stories. Pretty please?

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a stupid one, Steven my 16 year old went in for an apendicitis attack and figured out after they admitted him he was very constipated. They ordered a suppository for him and now he's very consious of how much fiber is in everything. The nurse said it could have been worse, they could have ordered an enema.

Kathy

Sweet Irene said...

The one with the knife was quite scary!

I ended up in the ER a few times with a concussion, both as a child and as an adult. The last one involved a motorcycle and a flat tire and me hitting a ditch with a helmet on, but getting concussed anyway.

I do a lot of low speed bike riding and walking nowadays.

Carolyn said...

H A P P Y A N N I V E R S A R Y!

It's today isn't it?

Another fun post. I love your writing!!

As for me, I've already told one story in all its gruesome detail. I don't know if you caught it on my 'sister' blog: Ouch.

But that reminds me. I have one other involving anaphylactic shock and a unique near death experience that I’ll have to tell sometime.

Thanks for sharing. Your Nursing stories are the best, but your own trips to the ER were pretty fun (?) too. Don't know if fun is the right word... but...

Rudee said...

Who prepared the bird's food after "the incident"? I've been to the ER too many times both for myself and for my family. Can't say I like it too much....

The worst was the time I took my mom who was post op from knee arthro. Her leg was purple from her toes to her hip. She was short of breath. I was sure she had a clot/pe. I was proven wrong by the CT and ultrasound of the leg. The entire time she was there, she behaved like a child--banging the side rails of the gurney and singing "I wanna go home, I wanna go home." She was some work. They discharged her so they didn't have to listen to her singing. The next day, her doc admitted her for the DVT and PE she did have to a different hospital.

Jen said...

Mine's too long to post here. I promise I'll post about it after I have the baby. But it involves a rusty fish hook, fishing line, and somebody who was a little overenthusiastic with the tetanus shot.

Maggie May said...

About 10 yrs ago, I was riding home from work on a bike & the next thing I knew I was being loaded into an ambulance on a straight board with neck brace & everything.
Apparently some elderly car driver had gone into the back of me and run away, leaving me on a busy road with cars & lorries racing all around me. A woman had a nappy in her bag & put it round my head to stop the bleeding!
I knew none of this, but was very grateful for people who stayed with me & helped me not to be run over by the fast traffic.
I spent 2 days & nights in hospital. Don't ride any more! Could have written a post! Think I have!

laurie said...

i used to buy unprocessed milk from a farm. it came in big glass jars. and of course i dropped one, and it sliced my ankle.

ER wanted to give me stitches, but i said absolutely not. they put a butterfly bandage on it, and it seems to have healed ok because i forgot all about the incident until reading your interesting post.

Amy said...

I just wrote a ridiculously long comment that you probably don't want to read. I've seen my share of emergency rooms.

Lil Mouse said...

appendix. no fever. blood showed no infection. drs said nothing we can do. despite god-awful enemas, CT scans, and 10 days of pain that wouldnt go away and calls to the doctor, my temp hit 101 with teeth shattering chills. I told my hubby to shower (it was a sunday around noon and he hadn't gotten to it) and pack me a bag. those MF'ers were admitting me. something was wrong. by the time i got there and repeated my last 10 days, they took my temp and it was over 104. they finally decided it WAS my appendix after all and to put me in surgery. gee. ya think? i have a lovely scar to prove it, by then they couldnt do the quick nip/tuck through the belly button. slice and dice. arses.

ped crossing said...

Four times for kidney stones. Nothing exciting. I did manage to see the same doc for the first three. It was some kind of record for him. (The visits were spaced over a year.

Flowerpot said...

I hardly dare say this ~RC but I have no ER experiences. Wait for the disaster tonight...!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I laughed my head off at the first story. Almost passed out at your description in the second and felt your anguish in the last. This is why you blog oh great one! All these emotion and reactions in the one post - brilliant.

Carolyn said...

It occured to me as I lay awake with insomnia last night that the term is "Blogoversary" isn't it?

Well Happy That. Whatever you call it.

Happy in the Abyss said...

Jicama! He he he...

Anyway,

#1- Doesn't even involve an ER, just (don't flinch) the Denver Airport and flashing lights that nobody else seemed to notice but me. Well, 1 seizure, 1 MRI and cat scan, an EKG /EEG and almost 4 days in the Hospital, I was released to attend the convention I was supposed to be at only to find my hotell roommate had eaten teh entire gift basket of fruit and goodies before I even got to see it. The pictures are beautiful though.

#2- The one involving a horse. Stop laughing, Kimberly! This is partly your fault for making me beleive that I shoudl even be on a horse...let alone falling off one. We were on a lonely stretch of dirt road, riding horses, when I decided to do a Mary Lou Retton-like flip off the horse, landing on a glass Dr. Pepper bottle. Well, my eyebrow has never been the same, but what a site to have my blonde hair, colored a strawberry color and hanging in my face, dripping blood as we walked up to a house asking to use the phone. AHH...good times!

#3- Not funny at all. I have blogged about this myself, and each time I think of it, my heart races and I need to remember that it is in the past. My older twin, just by 1 minute, wasn't feeling well and when her Dad got home from taking the older kiddos to the movies he asked why her face was swollen. Well, I had been laying behind her, so when I rolled her over, she was lethargic and her neck was swelling. We gathered all the kids in the car and went to the nearest Urgent Care, which was about 5 minutes away. On the way there, all I could do was keep my eyes on the road and tell myself to remain calm. The song "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter was on the radio so I tried to relax myself by singing along. As we pulled into the parking lot, my husband threw the door open, car still in motion and told the security guard outside to help him because our daughter wasn't breathing. I barely had time to put the car in park, when I turned around and saw my child struggling to breathe. They rushed her in and it was my job to get the car parked and the other 3 in safely. I left Oni with Matthew and Aliza and ran in. When I got there, she was breathing, but lifeless. She looked like a rag doll. She reached for me and for the next 9 days, I tried to never let go. Over the course of those days, we were in an ambulance together 3 times, at 3 different hospitals, she pulled out her IV twice and had surgery at just 16 months old. She is one of the great loves of my life, but if I never have to hold her that much again, I'm good!

Akelamalu said...

My latest visit to the ER was a couple of years ago when I hadn't been able to urinate for four days - the doctor sent me with a letter and they catheterized me - what a relief. Unfortunately they kept me in to do tests and found the 7cm fibroid I'd had for years had grown to 17cm and was pressing on my bladder. I ended up having a hysterectomy. Well you did ask!

BTW I don't believe that hand injuries don't hurt. I got a paper cut on my finger only last week and it HURT LIKE HELL!!!!! :(

HAPPY BLOGVERSERY RC please keep on keeping on - I love your blog. x

Akelamalu said...

PS forgot to say isn't it always the case that the kids end up at ER when you can't there!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I do all I can to keep us OUT of the ER. My main ER experience was when I had an allergic reaction to the drug Macrodantin and eventually decided to go to the ER. By then my lips were swelling quite badly. The admitting nurse looked accusingly at my boyfriend, whom I quickly defended. While I waited for the dr., two nurses dropped in to poke my skin. They'd never seen an allergic reaction before apparently and were fascinated. Their poking hurt.

the planet of janet said...

oh, they knew us by name at our local ER. the drama king (typical) is an asthmatic with food allergies, and until we figured out that a GINORMOUS slug (way more than the recommended dose) of benedryl would fix him right up, we spent a LOT of time puking and not breathing in ERs.

Potty Mummy said...

Have to admit it RC - I couldn't read the one with the knife. Not that I'm squeamish, or anything...

Marti said...

ER Stoires....well with 16 broken bones throughout my childhood, I can tell some stories.

1. My hubby and I were in a volleyball tournament. I woke up not feeling very well. If we had a decent sub, I would have skipped out on the tournament. But no...so i drag myself to the games. I kept walking around b/c I didn't feel good when I sat down. Several hours later the tournament is over and we are at home. I am still feeling bad, so I call the doctor's office. They tell me they cannot diagnose over the phone and I should go to the emergency room. I go and tell my husband this and then I clerverly say, "I will just go ahead and take myself to the ER, because I dont think Lu should have to wait in the ER waiting room for several hours while the doctor will probably give me an antacid and send me home."

So, I go the ER (where you now work). Amazingly, they take me in right away and start asking me questions. Lo and behold, the ER doctor says she has called a surgeon. I ask, "What is it?" she politely says, "I cannot tell you b/c I am not a surgeon." I tell her, "you can tell me and i won't hold it against you if you are wrong."

It was my appendix. I then have to call my hubby and tell him that the surgeon is on his way - in which he freaks out - and he makes it in time to shake the man's hand and off to surgery I go.

The amazing part of the story - this all took place in less than an hour when the ER was busy. I guess you guys can really tell when something is wrong!

Marti said...

The second time in the ER was when my son had a sezuire. He had never had one before. This was accompanied by an ambulance ride, a CAT scan and a lot of crying on the parent's part. I hope to never have to witness that again. It scared me to death. The hubby and I alternated leaving the ER room and going outside to fall apart. We would come back in smiling.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) they never found out why he had a sezuire, but he has not had one since. The ER was once again, the best I had ever come across.

Nearlydawn said...

Ah, ER visits...

I've been 4 times, one was avoidable...

#1 - I was about 20, standing in a candy store at the mall with my SIL, when suddenly the WHOLE WORLD slid sharply sideways and went black. I thought I was falling, but I was still standing. I was awake, but couldn't see, couldn't explain, and couldn't answer questions. My vision soon returned, and my SIL took me to the ER (for some dumb reason I refused an ambulance!). The triage nurse tried to admit me to L&D, thinking I was having a miscarriage, because I appeared to be in too much pain to talk. Um, no - I just couldn't talk - y/n was about all I could manage. I don't remember much about the visit - it's fuzzy. I was referred to a neurologist - they thought I had a brain tumor. While the Drs waited for the MRI results my Mother and I left for Disney World. We LIVED. IT. UP! Mostly because we thought I was dying. Talk about a bonding experience.

There was no tumor. The blackout was not explained.

Fast forward 9 years...

I ended up in the ER 2 times on a holiday weekend because I was slowly growing numb from my toes up to my neck for no obvious reason. I could still move, breathe, walk, talk, but all sense of touch was reduced to "pins and needles" feelings. I was freaked the hell out. I thought when it reached my neck I would die.

CT scan - normal. MRI - normal.

Well, after beating my GP into referring me to a neurologist, I found that I had a reason for the 3 ER visits. I won't name it here, but it is nervous system related. There is no cure, no one knows if it will get worse over time or stay dormant.

I live life one day at a time, and I try my damnedest to enjoy. Big things in others' lives seem like little things to me, because I've seen big and scary up close.

ER visit # 4 - One prescription shot for the above disease, 3 Advil, and one wine cooler. Let's all say this one together - DO NOT MIX RX DRUGS WITH ALCOHOL!! Ooops. Totally avoidable.

the mother of this lot said...

You know I am too squeamish to get involved in this. And even though you seem to have deserted me, The Fixer has made you an award. Come and get it!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Ouch, the thumb, and the third one must have been awful.

I've only had a few ER moments. One was a severe asthma attack as a teenager. I don't remember much about it, but they got me sorted.

The second was a bad scald on my hand that I dealt with myself, then when my temperature went up and I nearly passed out at work my dad took me to casualty and they sorted me with antibiotics and a dressing.

The third was embarrassing. I was 35 weeks pregnant with Miss M, when I decided to take a tumble down the stairs. When I got to the bottom. Mr B came running and nearly fainted as the toe next to my little toe was bent in a funny way.
We were just about to take Miss E to her first Pantomime visit with the m-in-law, so I got out of that, and the broken toe got me a couple of weeks off work which at 8 months pregnant is kind of nice. I got back to work just in time to start my maternity leave.

Oh, and Miss M was still 2 weeks late and induced just like her sister. You'd think the shake up would have kick started it all a bit, but no. Sigh.

PixelPi said...

I also went to the ER on my primary care doctor's orders for an ultrasound of my gallbladder. This is what I got for going to the hospital where I work (breaking RC's cardinal rule): a full cardiac workup, including serial enzymes, chest x-ray, and Doppler ultrasound of both legs. Lots of IV pain meds (because of the pain under my shoulder blades). Because I was a heart eval (ahem) patient, they kept me lying on a gurney the whole time, discussing the case in front of God and everybody (can you say HIPAA violation?). After 14 hours, I was discharged and told my heart was fine. During the 14 hours, I told everyone from the cleaning service on up that I was NOT there for my heart, but a simple ultrasound of my gallbladder, to no avail. The next day, at my doctor's office, he said he had all these test results from the ER, but no ultrasound of my gallbladder. I explained. He was flabbergasted because he had called them and specifically ordered the it. He sent me straight over to our sister hospital for the ultrasound, and by golly I had big old gallstones.

And they wonder why insurance companies keep raising their rates.

softinthehead said...

I think the scariest ER visit was when we lived in Israel. The actual wound wasn't that serious, a cut lip (from being hit by a plastc bucket by a classmate) but my son (the victim) was only three, the language barrier was scary, he was frightened and never seemed to stop screaming "MUMMY" at the top of his voice. They wanted to give him a suppository to calm him down, and he wasn't cooperating, so they tied him to the bed. At this point I had to leave the room rather than have him see me in such a state. I was only out of the room two minutes, the screaming never stopped and then they opened the door and said "OK Mummy all done" and there he was all two stitches. I was amazed at their skill. Then I started stressing about going back to have stitches out because I imagined screaming all over again but he was fine. He turned 25 this month, no scar whatsoever. Obviously with three kids there have been other visits but that one remains the most vivid.

Pamela said...

when the ER doc walked in and pulled an ingrown toenail off the elderly patient across the curtain.
and then the nurse told him he'd pulled off the wrong one.