Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Modern Medicine

Did you know that serious injuries usually occur while you are doing the most random and lame things? Guess what! it's true. For example: throwing out your back while sneezing.

No, I do not know about this specific example by experience. I heard about it.

And on a completely unrelated note, today I am grateful for modern medicine.

Yesterday morning I hurt my back suddenly and unexpectedly ended up in the ER. Turns out I'm okay (just a strain/torn muscle under my shoulder blade), but it hurts.

So here's how it went down (or out, or whatever).

I was sitting at my desk about 9am and the need to stretch and yawn overcame me. So I did so. And then I heard a large cracking/popping sound. Never a good sign. In my surprise, I dropped my arms and instantly my whole back hurt really bad, my left arm/elbow hurt, and my left pinkie and ring fingers felt kinda numb. It hurt so bad, I was kind of nauseous.

For several minutes I tried to wait it out, but it just kept getting worse. Now, recall that my job is helping people who have been injured on the job. One of the important questions is: "Did you report the injury immediately?" I tried waiting for a couple more minutes and had one of my co-workers try rubbing my back to get the knot out. It didn't help.

I went and reported my injury. My boss told me to call my doctor and go to the ER. I called my doctor and 15 minutes later I talked to an ER doctor and he told me to immediately go to the ER and get checked out because I could have broken something. Not something I wanted to hear. I tried to convince them that I was okay, but I just wanted an appointment with my doctor. They said they wouldn't schedule one. I said fine. I figured they were just trying to get the co-pay I have to pay to go to the ER. Ok, I'm sure that is not what they were thinking about, but it was what I was thinking about. (Note to self: get a lower co-pay for ER visits--they happen way too often.)

I told my boss and he agreed that I needed to go. I called my sister (Yay Caitlin!) and conveniently she had no plans for the day so she was available at my beckon and call. :) I tried to get as much work done as I could before I left, but I assumed that I'd be back in a couple of hours.

We got to the ER about 10:15 am and I was the only one there. Within 5 minutes I was talking to the nicest ER doctor ever. She checked me out and physically examined my back and said that my bones were okay, but that it was probably a torn muscle in my upper back. She is the one who told me about people breaking their backs when they sneeze. Yikes! She didn't even laugh at me when I told her how I hurt myself. But Caitlin did, while she sat in the corner eating her bowl of fruit loops that she had brought. As she ate, I realized that I hadn't eaten breakfast--turned out it was a really good thing. :/

The doctor decided that I needed lots of pain medication and wanted me off work for the whole week. I told her, "Yeah, right! I need to go back today." She then told me "Yeah, right!" We compromised that I go back tomorrow, by taking two days off. It just about killed me. Now I'm grateful though, and ready to go back to work.

So the nurse came in and told me that the medications were going to be shots and there were going to be three! Three! One in each arm and my thigh. (Two were for pain: Dilaudid and Morphocodone, and the other was an anti-nausea.) Not cool. She administered the shots after Cait and I gave her a hard time about us not being sisters, but me being some random stranger that Cait picked up on the side of the road. The nurse was all, "Really?" and completely believed Cait. Then we laughed and she laughed. She thought we were funny. :)

Then about ten minutes later, the medication started working. And then it worked too well. And then I don't know what happened because I woke up lying down and there were tons of nurses and doctors doing stuff to me. Cait said I was out for almost a minute. Freaky! I was really confused. It's a good thing that I didn't have the strength to move because I'm sure I would have been clawing my way out of the bed. I remember the nurse asking, "Did she have a seizure?" with the doctor responding, "I don't think so, she probably just passed out."

Cait said that I looked like I was choking on something and my left hand came up all weird to my chest, and that I sat up and moved to try to lie down in slow motion. She said it looked like I had a seizure. All I remember was that suddenly I felt really nauseous and there was lots of loud noise in my ears and everything kind of got fuzzy looking. I bent forwards to try to keep my head on straight. Obviously that didn't work. I thought I had fallen asleep because I dreamed while I was out. I don't remember the dream, but I know I did. Weird, right? 

So anyway, I got put on oxygen and got an IV, hooked up to more machines and was given more anti-nausea medicine (yay!). I laid there for the next 4 hours trying to get my head back on straight. It was really hard. Thinking was very hard and I couldn't even open my eyes.

Shockingly, the nurse that did the IV got it in on the first try, using my suggestion of using a baby IV. Cuz that's how I roll. I don't do IV's either.

A while later the doctor came to check on me and explained that I didn't react well to the medication and that even though she gave me the smallest dose possible, I still wigged out. She called me a lightweight. I told her that the most I've ever taken is Vicodin. And I didn't like it.

And I didn't like this stuff. But the good news is that it made my back feel better. The bad news is that anytime I moved, I got horrendously dizzy. Good news is that today I'm feeling better. But I've stayed in bed all day because moving still doesn't like to happen. More good news is that I'm going back to work tomorrow. Best news? Cait didn't think to take pictures or video of me being in the hospital. :)

Last note to self: Don't take Dilaudid ever, ever again.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Interestingly and ironically today's prompt was:

"Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event."

Um. Yes. Please see above.

Today I am grateful for Modern Medicine. Again, see above.  'Nuff Said.  :)

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