Wednesday, September 27, 2006

22 Hours in a NY ER

So there is actually a good reason for the hiatus in postings, a truly crazy story which I will now relate:

Last Thursday I felt a little crampy at night, but didn’t think much of it, took some Motrin, and went to bed. The following morning when I woke up and still had the crampiness, plus the constant need to urinate, and some pain during said activity, I became a little concerned. I figured it was probably a Urinary Tract Infection, and I was content to drink cranberry juice and let it work itself out. My mother would have nothing of this, and insisted I find a doc and get antibiotics (clearly the right solution, but not one I really wanted to deal with on a rainy Friday morning when I have never seen a doc in NYC). So I got a recommendation from a coworker and saw a primary care doc. She gave me Cipro for a UTI, I filled it, and took it at about 3:00. The pain had been increasing all day, and it was just not so fun, but the problem really started at 3:20 when all of a sudden I became nauseous, dizzy, and broke out in a horrible sweat. I figured that was my cue to go home and stop trying to just suck it up… but then I became less than coherent and really unable to put together a full sentence. At which point the MD who sits next to me came over and picked me up and put me on the ground. Had she not, I probably would’ve blacked out. Awesome feeling, let me tell ya. So due to the proximity in time to taking the meds and the fact that I had never taken it before, we all thought it was just an averse reaction and that maybe the infection had spread, hence the pain. NYU’s ER didn’t think to investigate further, gave me a new Rx and sent me home 3 hours later.

As it turns out, my little incident on Friday that we were thinking was a reaction to the medicine was actually and ovarian cyst bursting. That would explain the incredibly amount of pain and basically every other symptom I was experience. Awesome. I would like to thank the NYU docs for giving me 5 minutes of their time in the 3 hours I was in their ER. I would also like to thank the 911 dispatcher who sent my case out as a “cardiac arrest,” which meant not one but TWO ambulances showed up (granted, 20 minutes after the call, and had it really been a cardiac arrest, I would’ve been dead) as well as the fire department. So just picture this: Being wheeled out of your office building, by 8 people, after only 6 weeks working at your first job, on a rainy Friday afternoon, at rush hour, on 5th Avenue, in Manhattan. Really really special.

Anyhow, understandably, I ended up back in the ER on Monday morning at 4 am due to some pretty intense vomiting and a 102 fever, where I stayed in a lovely 8x10 exam room for the next 22 hours as they got their act together and figured everything out… I thought it was a cruel cruel joke when they asked me to drink a litre of contrast solution for the CT scan after I had thrown up 8 times in 3 hours. I bet the look on my face was priceless in that 630am moment. I mean, seriously. Although I must say that my amazing roommate Lindsay was by my side, at the expense of sleep and productivity the next day at work, encouraging me with, “Only 4 more cups to go Liz, you can do this!”

And let me just say that the words “potential hemorrhaging” when used in concert with something related to your body may be in the top, say, 1 or 2 list of “words you don’t want to hear.” I mean, for me, it brings mental images of viruses such as Ebola (my personal favorite hemorrhagic fever, which is also compounded with the fact that on of my doctors was Dr. Ebo), so, I’m thinking it was good they had me on more pain meds than I knew what to do with. But (not to be stereotypical or un-PC, because we all know that is just not cool) once Dr. Ebo, a large black obgyn woman came on at 6pm, things got rolling a bit, and she put more than a few of my previous docs in their place. She was the only person my dad liked. And more than 1 of the other docs told me that my 6’4” business-man father was scary. And seriously, after 38 hours of not eating (what were they thinking??), all I wanted was food. Any food really.

So, just a few snipits of the great adventure that brought me through to the final diagnosis, and yes, I joke, because afterall, while it would be much easier to be angry or frustrated, I prefer to make light of the situation and be thankful that I’m alive and on the road to being well. That doesn’t mean I’m not writing a brutal letter to the hospital administrator, but in general I find it better to laugh. In the end, they decided not to operate because they felt I was stable (hemoglobin wasn’t dropping, though that too was a huuuge screw up initially) and that my body would heal itself naturally. I was discharged at 2am Tuesday morning, though they had admitted me 30 minutes prior to that and couldn’t find a bed for me, 22 hours after arriving, and got to go home and sleep in my own bed.

My friends, family, and coworkers have been unbelievably supportive, and I feel quite fortunate that I did not have to go through the craziness alone. I’m back at work now, thankfully, and it’s definitely good to see everyone. Doing absolutely nothing all day gets old very quickly. But hey, call it a “character builder” (as my dad would) or merely a “good story to tell my kids someday,” it definitely was quite an experience, and one I will not soon forget. More coming soon from my weekend at home in Central PA...

1 comment:

Janine said...

Liz!!!! I cannot believe that happened to you! It's amazing how when it is not you own life how some people fail to react in a fashionable manner. However, I am so glad to hear that you are well again! So, it has been so long since I have heard from you so when I recieved your blog in my email I was thrilled to be able to 1. get in touch w/you again and 2. to get an update on your exciting life. I am so proud of you and your accomplishments by the way! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am back in the states...no more Iraq for this woman and i hope to stay in much better touch! Take care and know that I miss you and think of you often!