Friday, July 21, 2017

Hello From the Emergency Room!

Note: I am finally posting this entry the day after I started so you know I'm still alive.

If you had told me a half an hour ago that I would be able to blog while here, I would have laughed in your face in between moans and whimpers of agony. But let's start at the beginning.

I was in the studio unloading the kiln and getting my shipment ready when I started to have an ache like a twisted muscle in my lower right back. It got gradually worse until I was in significant discomfort by the time I got my shipment out for UPS. I wondered how I had wrenched my back so badly and went to lie down for awhile.

But I couldn't get comfortable. No matter how I was lying or sitting, the pain just kept getting worse. I found myself whimpering and gasping. I went to the Internet to see what I might have because, hey, the Internet! I became convinced I had appendicitis.

Then I did something appallingly stupid: I drove myself to Urgent Care. By the time I got there I could barely walk in the door I was in so much pain. I was shaking, crying, sweating, and nauseated. I managed to drag myself to the check-in desk and gasped out that I thought I had ruptured my appendix. The rest was a bit of a blur. They got me into a wheelchair handed me a bag in case I had to heave, and they called EMS to take me straight to the ER.

I had my first ride in an ambulance in 20 years--no sirens--and they immediately hooked me up to an IV and started pain and anti-nausea meds. By the time we got to the hospital I was feeling a lot better. Oh I still had constant pain, but I could talk through it and I wasn't shaking anymore. That lasted about 15 minutes and I was back to an incoherent gibbering, writhing mess. I could barely hold it together for the EKG.

They had given me fentanyl in the ambulance and I remember it from Mom's hip procedures as being a pretty strong opiate. In the hospital they gave me iv ibuprofen (Toradol) and it was WONDERFUL. It took a little while to take effect, but when it did kick in, pain went from a 10 to a 2. I met my ER doc in my calm, mellow, state and was able to hop out of bed and onto the CT platform with no problems. They did a CT scan because the ER Doc said my symptoms were classics for kidney stones. He was concerned that I also had a UTI (we skirt TMI, but it's quite important for the rest of the story).

Unfortunately my pain only stayed a 2 for a little while longer and I was back to crying, shaking, and moaning. Enter a new pain med: Dilaudid. That pretty much worked, holding me together through the doc bringing the news that I did, indeed, have a raging UTI, and I also had a 7mm kidney stone. Anything up to 5mm they will let you pass on your own (with lots of pain meds). Bigger than 5 they blast it with ultrasound waves to break it up--unless you have the perfect kidney storm and have a UTI too. In that case they are worried about you going septic really fast and dying so they keep you overnight in the hospital and they perform the symphony of surgery and insert a stent into your kidney that has to live there for a week or so. But that's tomorrow's story. For tonight, I am moving upstairs into the hospital and waiting to have surgery first thing tomorrow morning.

In case you think I shared all the details, know that I did not. There is a lot more to the story, but even I have to draw the line somewhere!


Bill said...

Urgent care??? Brenda! You are getting the spanking of your life next time I see hide nor hair of you. Urgent care???

As soon as you described your symptoms I knew it was a kidney stone. Whatever web site you wasted valuable time checking, it was a waste.

And to top it off, what made you think that an urgent care would be able to save your life from appendicitis? That's an ER, slam dunk.

Great Bird of the Galaxy!

Brenda Griffith said...

Blush. I didn't think it was a kidney stone because I thought that was supposed to be really sharp pin. And this was dull and off to the side, but increasing. I should've just called an ambulance to begin with.

Bill said...

Herein I agree.