drcpunk (drcpunk) wrote,

At Contata, Out of Hospital

For anyone not in the loop, I am at Contata, alive and doing better, following a trip to the emergency room on Friday.

So, Thursday, I was achy and running to the bathroom a lot, and not necessarily doing anything when I got there. "Ah," I thought. "I have a yeast infection, and maybe have overstrained muscles carrying too much in a backpack. Well, I am seeing my gynecologist on Tuesday."

The gynecologist even called to confirm the whole appointment, so I could have, you know, described symptoms, but I didn't.

Thursday evening, mneme recommended my calling a doctor or the hotline to describe my symptoms. This seemed unnecessary to me.

Friday, I woke at about 5:30 am, with some pain, and again around 9 or 10 am. Now, that should have clued me in.

At around noon, mnemex woke up, and we discovered that our new cards don't actually have a hotline number, nor does the website for the health care plan. I called my doctor, but, thinking this was a muscle thing, I didn't actually get to describe it well enough for him. He heard, "Muscle ache" and "want to come in next Tuesday", and said, "Ah, well, we are short a doctor, and booked solid next week, so see how you feel over the weekend."

I managed to get in some description of where I thought muscles ached. What I didn't say was "hurting since yesterday" or any description of my unusual bathroom pattern.

When I was lying on the floor moaning, mnemex was thinking emergency room, and ran me through an online "you have which symptoms?" diagnostic. He called the doctor back, leaving a message, and our numbers, but the doctor did not call our cell phones, and I suspect he didn't call the home number.

I did not want the emergency room, but would have been willing to see a doctor. What I did not realize is that, given that doctors don't see people within 24 hours for less than Seriously Dire Emergencies, a lot of stuff that I think shouldn't be emergency room fodder -- is.

Regardless, I was feeling better, so we went to Contata. Then, I started feeling worse, but didn't think this was emergency room stuff. I mean, I was walking and talking, and not screaming, right?

As I felt worse, we found someone who had MD training, and after listening to my description of symptoms, she recommended the emergency room, saying that this sounded like a urinary infection. Jackie agreed to drop us at the emergency room, and we piled in with Stuff -- laptops, food, drink, and a DVD with 4 eps of Heroes.

Now, I know I should have been in a NYC emergency room hours earlier. I do know this. It was plumb stupid of me not to go there. But, I think we were seen faster in the Morris Town Medical Center, and I suspect the whole experience was pleasanter than it would have been in New York, much though I love my city.

On the way there, I had trouble sitting in just about any position. Once dropped off, I sat on the floor because it felt better. I was admitted to the ER, to a room with a bed, and a chair for mnemex, in maybe 15 minutes. A nurse came in quite soon after that.

The doctor came in and poked, prodded, and checked symptoms. He figured it was urinary, but, given that my right side was sore, wanted to do a catscan to rule out appendicitis. For some reason, I'd thought my appendix was on my left side.

Over the next couple of hours:

I vomited up a quarter of an apple, the only food I'd eaten at the con. The only other food I'd had was a bit of very rich cake hours earlier to get down two tylenol gel capsules.

I got my very first IV. I do not like IVs. I do not like saline solutions that the nurse says make one feel "high". If that is "high", I do not like it.

I got my very first barium milkshake. It didn't taste bad, either. They'd flavored it.

I vomited up some of the barium. Twice.

mnemex and I saw an episode of Heroes.

Then, I got taken for the catscan -- we are talking after 2 - 3 hours, about an hour and half after the barium shake. This struck me as wonderfully rapid.

The folks at the catscan looked at the amount of shake in the "drink as you go to the catscan" bottle I had left, asked how much I'd vomited, and probably gauged my body weight. They told me to skip the rest of the barium. The catscan was astonishingly restful.

Then, I got wheeled back to my room on the bed, and mnemex and I watched another ep of Heroes. By now, I was feeling a lot better than I'd have expected.

Then, the doctor came in to tell us I did not seem to have appendicitis or a urinary infection. He gave me a quick pelvic exam to rule out pelvic infections, stressing that this did not take the place of next Tuesday's gynecology appointment.

It seems a third of folks admitted to the ER with "stomach complaints" never do find out what they had. I might have passed a kidney stone. I might still have a gall stone. There are certain tests they couldn't do if they wanted to do tests for the life threatening stuff, or that they couldn't do in the evening because they didn't have the equipment in the evening. But, the catscan would likely have picked up an infected kidney or gall bladder if I'd had one, so I probably didn't.

So, by about 2 am, we were told I could leave, but that if I had pain in the next day or two, to come back to the ER, and if not, to do follow up with my doctor on Monday or Tuesday. I am hoping "I was in the emergency room and I need to see someone for follow up" will get results.

Ian picked us up from the ER, and we were back at the con by about 3:30. The ER folks said it'd be 5-6 hours all told, and it was. And one woman in the same room dropped by in her wheelchair to sympathize with my pain. This was really sweet.

Oh yes, I also forgot that, while I do deal with pain by whining a lot, this does not mean that my pain tolerance is lower than normal.

And, I need to tell the appropriate doctors that, as a sort of side effect, the tests picked up diverticulosis and a cyst on my "right reproductive organ", which I assume means "ovary". Nothing to worry about now, but something to make sure the doctors are aware of.

We got a good 8 hours or so of rest once we returned. I was in sufficient pain at 2:30 pm to take a painkiller that the hospital sent home with me, but we soon figured out that if I didn't try to bounce all over the place -- or even walk all over the place, or do a lot of standing -- it was much better. And, by dinnertime, when the medicine wore off, I was actually feeling better than when it was supposedly in effect.

I'd been keeping to water and bread before dinner. I kept dinner bland -- chicken soup and pasta, with sauce on the side, which I ignored. I ate one clam, and some of the cake part of dessert, but not the ice cream or cream part. Others helped with the left overs.

At about 1 am, I took an anti-nausea pill. It worked like magic, kicking in almost immediately. I think that culprit was all the chocolate I ate, alas.

I still need to take it easy, but so far, things seem to be improving steadily.
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