Last Saturday night I had a Haley Joel Osment moment: I got to Pay it Forward.
A good friend called and said she needed to go to the Emergency Room and that I, of all her friends, would understand the late night call and take her. She was right. After making two similar phone calls in recent months I was more than happy to oblige.
I was also able to share some of the newfound ER etiquette I learned from my experiences:
1. Throw up in front of as many of the staff as you can. That way they know you are serious. Plus they don’t want you throwing up in front of any other patients in the waiting room. It may start a puking frenzy as seeing someone else throw up tends to make you wanna hurl as well.
2. Sleeping on the hospital floor is not a good idea. Besides the fact that it is covered in who knows what kind of germs, the staff may think you are drunk and just need to sleep it off, leaving you untended to for hours.
3. To ward off “the shakes” take several deep breaths. But make sure they bring you the heated blankets before doing so. You don’t want to miss out on that little piece of heaven.
4. Even though your nausea may be subsiding, do not say no to more anti-nausea meds. All it takes is one standing up moment to send you to Pukesville again.
5. Remember that your gown is open in the back and that you are not wearing any underwear. Enough said.
6. Never feel bad for calling a friend late at night to take you to the Emergency Room. You may be robbing them of the chance to help someone in need, which is always a good thing. That is what God had in mind…a friend loves at all times…11 a.m. or 11 p.m.
Question: Have you ever made one of those phone calls? Or been the recipient?
Beat, Beat, Beat…I am so tired…Gotta finish the scrip…Beat, Beat, Beat…I just have no energy…Beat, Beat, Beat…What songs am I gonna lead at the women’s breakfast…Beat, Beat, Beat…What is going on with my heart…I don’t have time for this…Beat, Beat, Beat…This is ridiculous…Most wonderful time of the year…More like, most eventful time of the year…Beat, Beat, Beat…Too much going on…Does the congregation know this song…Will it work…Beat, Beat, Beat…Shawn said I should go to the doctor…No time…Beat, Beat, Beat…If I could just take a nap…When am I gonna practice the piano parts…Beat, Beat, Beat…The kids are working hard…They’re gonna rock at the Christmas program…Then I need to start thinking about The Christmas Eve Service…Beat, Beat, Beat…Wow, my heart sure is loud… Beat, Beat, Beat…Maybe I should at least call the advice nurse…This is embarrassing…Not another health issue, please…Beat, Beat, Beat…If something is wrong who will take care of these performances… I can feel my heart from the top of my head to the bottom of my baby toe…Beat, Beat, Beat…I can’t let the kids down…Beat, Beat, Beat…So, the advice nurse said I need to come in…Crap…Beat, Beat, Beat…What if I’m having a stroke…Or a heart attack…Beat, Beat, Beat…Blood Test…Chest X-Ray…EKG…Beat, Beat, Beat…Doc says, no phone call is good news…Ring, Ring, Ring…Crap, there goes the phone….Beat…Beat…Beat…Pneumonia, huh…Seriously…Pneumonia can do that…Beat…Beat…Beat…Hmmm, not at all like the last time…Good to know…Antibiotics do your thing…Mama’s got some shows to do…Beat…Beat…Beat…Come on…Beeeeeeaaaat, Beeeeeeaaaat, Beeeeeeaaaat…Ah much better…
I have been to the maternity ward of many a hospital visiting friends and their newborns. I have also been blessed to see a friend’s child actually come into this world while in a maternity ward. But never in my unmarried, childless life have I ever been a patient in a maternity ward. That is until now.
Monday I told you about my ER visit last August. Well, when Nurse Sheryl found out the next day that I had not been admitted to have my gall bladder removed she was appalled. She said, “But you threw up in front of EVERYONE; the triage nurse, the nurses back in ER, the doctor, EVERYONE! She assured me at HER hospital they would have done surgery that night.
Instead, my lovely insurance plan hooked me up with a surgeon that was booked out until mid-October. So, for the following two months, I was very careful (for the most part) about what I ate. I had a few smaller attacks during the wait but they just suggested more Vicodin. It never helped and just made me nauseous. It made me wonder how folks get addicted to that drug. I was hoping for at least a little buzz or something! But nothing.
Back in the ER, five days shy of the scheduled surgery, I did my duty and threw up in front of EVERYONE again. Sheryl would have been so proud. This time I was admitted. I got to my room around 4:00 a.m. and was sleepy as well as in a pain med fog, but I was really impressed. My private room was huge and had a bed for my friend to sleep in. I felt so fortunate to be in a five star hospital. It was only later that I found out I was actually in the maternity ward because there was no room at the inn for me down in the regular surgical ward.
The only thing worse about the teasing I received from being in the maternity ward was that it was right next door to the psych ward. I was either scandalizing the church by getting myself knocked up or finding my rightful home among the rest of my crazy peers.
I always thought if I was in tremendous pain while in a maternity ward I would at least get to come home with a baby. But instead, I was the proud mommy of a gallbladder. I was also the proud mommy of a very angry pancreas that kept the surgery at bay for a few days. (A nasty gall stone got loose and lodged itself in the duct leading to my pancreas. That’s not a good thing!)
People always say that hospital stays are very annoying. I did not find that to be the case. I LOVED my nurses, CNA’s and even my phlebotomists. They say you can never get any sleep while you’re in the hospital because they are always coming in and checking your vitals, etc. I didn’t mind. And the bed was soooo comfortable.
When I got back home I thought to myself, “Where is the button that makes my bed go up and down? This bed sucks!” I also missed my nurses. “It is two o’clock in the morning and I have absolutely no idea what my blood pressure is. And can anyone tell me what my oxygen level is please?” I missed being fussed over.
So I was pampered for five days in my first hospital stay. I eventually made it down to the regular wing, but I will always remember my stay in maternity!
Question: Have you ever stayed in the hospital? Was your experience pleasant? (Other than the whole pain or illness reason for being there in the first place.)
This past August 8, a Monday evening, at approximately 7 pm, aliens invaded my body, lit a campfire and shot each other with darts causing me the worst pain and nausea I have ever experienced. Having grown up with a sensitive stomach I’ve spent many an hour vomiting after consuming rich or high fat foods. Since I am not Jerry from Seinfeld or Ted from How I Met Your Mother I have no proud record of how long it has been since the last time I vomited. It has happened all too often during my lifetime.
But as I was puking up my toes for the 3rd time that evening, I said to myself, “Something is worse this time, but how handy it is that my sister lives just upstairs. I shall give her a call and have her drive me to the emergency room.”
So I called. And called. And called again. Her car was in the driveway so I assumed she was home. I went to her front door and rang the bell. And rang. And rang again. And cried. And through up some more.
Then I remembered she was attending the Bible Study next door. So I went, shaking and sweating with puke bowl in hand, and knocked and opened the door. “I need Chrystal,” I sobbed. “She’s not here tonight. What’s wro…?” But before their final words were spoken I was headed back to her front door for one last try. Ring, ring, ring. Still nothing.
Sheryl a nurse friend of mine lives nearby and I gave her a call. She arrived in no time and I was on my way to the hospital. Yea Sheryl.
They took me right in and gave me some morphine. Hmm…Strange sensation intravenous drugs. You can actually feel it ooze through your body with an, “I can see why people do this recreationally,” thought or two as it does. Alas, this first dose helped only slightly, but enough for me to lie still. I had to wait before they could give me more. After a couple of hours, I suggested Sheryl call another friend, Linda, to tag team with her. Linda didn’t have to work the next day and I wanted Sheryl to get some rest. Linda arrived and Sheryl went home. But not before reminding the nursing staff I needed my fluids bag replaced and that it was time for my next round of morphine. It’s great to have a nurse for a friend.
Being in a pain meds haze I can’t remember exactly when Chrystal texted but I do remember the content. It went something like this: “Hey, what ya doin’. I’m in the backyard on the trampoline. It’s a beautiful night. Come out and enjoy it with me.” I handed the phone to Sheryl, or was it Linda at that point, don’t know. Whoever it was called her and told her where I was.
Turns out Chrystal had been upstairs in her bedroom the entire time, with the air conditioner on causing her not to hear the phone or doorbell.
I will have to share the ins and outs of the reasons why they didn’t take my gallbladder out that night and why I had to wait two months for the surgery in Thursday’s post. But fast forward from August 8 to October 14…
Around midnight the Friday night before my scheduled surgery on the following Tuesday, the aliens were back and I wound up on the bathroom floor again. This time it was much worse and I felt pain in the same place as well as just to the left and in my back. So, once again, I called my sister upstairs; no answer. She was obviously sleeping with her phone off. I had texted her a few hours earlier telling her I wasn’t feeling well and received no answer then as well. So, wasting no time, I called my friend Dawn, waking her up, and cried, “Make them TAKE IT OUT!!!” She couldn’t quite tell what I was saying because I was crying so badly, but she assumed what was happening and made it to my house.
Waiting for Dawn to arrive, I christened my sister’s front yard.
I shall share the details of my health issues and hospital stay in Thursdays post as well. Fast forward to my first day back at work two weeks later…
“And thank you, Lord,” prayed my principal Mr. Whittlesey, “that Dana is blessed to have her sister living just upstairs to help her out in times like these.” Seriously? Of course, after the Amen I had to share the real story.
Chrystal really is a great sister and feels guilty she didn’t know I needed help, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to tease her about this.
Question: Are you a “Jerry” or “Ted” and have a non-vomit record going? Or are you more like me?
Hello Dear Blog World Friends,
Sorry I haven’t posted anything for a bit. And between having no internet at home and not being able to go to work because of a silly internal organ that is misbehaving, I won’t post again until early November.
I look forward to having my life back to normal. Normal??
With Love From Your SingleMinded Friend,