Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh what a night...

Let me start by saying, I have the most sensitive stomach of anyone I know. I always have some sort of issue that involves the inner workings of my digestive system. I've been to many doctors, have come up with some answers that involve food intolerances. I think I am more in tune with myself than most and when something is off, I am acutely aware of it. I usually know what has caused the issue. Yesterday, that was not the case.

I was feeling fine in the morning, went about my usual schedule. Had lunch at a networking meeting - ate what I have eaten the last 4 Thursdays for lunch, then had my daily soy latte. A few hours later, my stomach started going nuts. I haven't had a baby, but I felt like I was in labor. I was having contractions that hurt so badly in my upper abdomen. It got so bad that I went to the emergency room at Legacy Salmon Creek. The wait was 3 hours.

As I sat in the waiting room, my stomach eased up a bit and I thought whatever was happening was passing. Plus, I didn't want to wait 3 hours to be seen. So we went home. By midnight, I was in even worse pain and we went back to the ER, where the wait was now just two hours. My pain level was a 9. I could not get comfortable and the idea of waiting so long to be seen was really upsetting.

Trevor and I settled into our seats among the masses. As I sat there, for hours, I watched the people around me. I noticed that I was the only one who was not obese. I saw many of those people wander outside for a smoke. Most were drinking sodas and on my way to the bathroom, I passed the vending machine full of candy and junk food.

I became increasing annoyed at the state of people in general and the hospital. When I was finally called back, another man was called back too. He was 79 years old, had been smoking since he was 16 and his wife was carrying a gallon sized ziplock bag of medications while she pushed him in his wheelchair.

I laid in my bed, listening to them in the room next to me. They had arrived at the ER at least an hour after me and they were seen first because of his condition. I was at a 9 on the pain scale for over 3 hours and they saw him first. This is a tough situation, because I don't want to sound like I think my life is more important or that others don't deserve medical care. But it infuriated me that I take good care of myself, I eat well and exercise. I have my scheduled check ups and do all I can to stay healthy. Then, when I am really in need of urgent care, I am pushed down the list by someone who has done nothing to keep themselves healthy.

Add to that, Trevor was starving and the only food available was from a vending machine full of candy and chips. I think that is so irresponsible in a hospital. It was just not a good night.

We eventually made our way back to the patient rooms. They hooked up an IV and took some blood, then told me it would be a while. About an hour later, the pain was so bad that I threw up. They gave me some medicine to stop that and I tried to explain that it wasn't the vomiting that was the problem, it was the pain.

About half an hour later, the pain started to subside. It was around 5 am, we had been at the hospital for 5 hours and still had not seen a doctor. I was really scared at one point - if I got worse, there was no one to help me. It was an awful feeling.

Around 5:30 am, my pain was about a 3. I told that to the nurse and then realized that I had just moved down on the priority list and would never see the dr. If I wasn't high enough on the list when my pain was a 9, I would certainly not be high on the list when my pain was a 3. So we left. Without ever seeing the dr. The nurse took out my IV, apologized and watched me leave.

I figured that if I got worse, I could get to my actual dr's office when he opened at 8. I did not get worse. I've been at a 3 all day long. I had the lab work sent to my doctor who believes I was having a gallbladder attack and is going to treat me accordingly.

I emailed the hospital today about my experience. I got an email back and tonight I received a call from the medical director of the hospital. He was nice enough, but really, how can you make up for what happened? You can't. He said he was sorry and I appreciated that, but it didn't take away the hours of pain or the amount of time I spent worrying.

This experience was another reminder of how important it is to take care of myself. I know that if something goes wrong, if I get sick with something, that my body is in the best shape possible to fight it. Because I take care of myself, I know my body and I know when something is really not right. It is hard to know exactly what caused my pain because I wasn't examined by the doctor when it was actually happening. I can only move forward and do the things my doctor suggests in the hopes that this doesn't occur again.

In the meantime, I took a few rest days from my training. After a night of no sleep and lots of pain, this body needs some recovery time!!

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