Thursday, September 24, 2009

Well, That was interesting

So I fnially got parolled from the ICU.

Here's the whole story. Went to work yesterday, same as usual. Pain in my arm was typical everyday pain. Sat in a lecture given by Gen (ret) Gordon R. Sullivan. About 20 minutes into the lecture, I statred having chest pains.

I informed my classmate that I was having chestpains, and was going to go to the bathroom and see if some cold water would help thing s out, and that if I wasn't mack in 15 minutes, I'd be going to the ER.

I never made it back. I went potty, got a drink, then walked up to the security guard an told him I was having chest pains. He sprang into action, getting me seated, getting someone to call 911, and getting a nurse and some medics from a nearby flu-shot line to come help. They were all tremendous.

Sooner than I imagined, the meat wagon arrived, and asked if I wanted to go to Cushing Hospital or the VA. Hmmm... I chose Cushing.

The got me to the ER at Cushing, giving me aspirin and nitroglycerin along the way. Nitro goves you a BAD headache, by the way. At Cushnig, they gave me morphine, which has the same effect as giving me a lollipop. Doesn't help the pain at all. Then we moved up to dilaudid, which helps, but makes me ITCH. Then up to my old friend fentanyl, which is like gravy that covers all the cracks in your brain and makes you feel extra-smooth groovy. (Street names for fentanyl include Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, as well as Tango and Cash.)

They did an EKG, to a chest x-ray, and ran bunches more tests, then decided that I needed to stay overnight. Since I now knew it wasn't a heart attack, just pain that felt like I had a burning javelin going through my chest and out my armpit, I didn't want to stay. I have better things to do with my time than lie around getting fentanyl injections. My ER doc wuold have none of it. My options were stay put and STFU, or go AMA (against medical advice) and go home. Carren was the decider, she told me to shut the fuck up and do what I was told. Needless to say, she was worried. So they stuck me in the ICU for monitoring and to check my enzyme levels for 24 hours.

Now, I've got the IV on one arm, along with the blood pressure cuff (sphygmomenometer,) and the left arm is too scarred to draw blood from. So I tell the vampire blood tech to just take it from my foot. So that was where she drew blood every four hours. It's funny the things you get used to...

Anyway, in the ICU, I get a new doctor. Remember, ICU stands fro Intensive Care Unit. I saw my Doctor twice in 24 hours. The first time was when he was asking if my pain was being managed (it wasn't, I needed a bigger dose of fentanyl) and he asked about loritab which is tylenol and dilaudid. It was then that I realized he must've gone to medical school with Michael Jackson's doctor. I explained to him that taking me to a less powerful drug, in pill form, would not help alleviate pain, because it a) takes time to absorb, and B) if strong medicine doesn't work, weaker medicine isn't likely to help. He told me that ANY drug, including IV injections, take 30 miutes to start working. (This is where my blood really began to boil. I KNOW that's bullshit, because I know that the absorption delay is based on the amount of time it takes to get to your bloodstream through the digestive tract, and putting the drug directly into the bloodstream means it goes directly to to nervous system, brain, and happy place.

I told him I wanted fentanyl or a new doctor.

I got my shot.

That was the last time I saw him until today. I asked the nurse repeatedly when he would make rounds, and she didn't know, as the doctors do so on their own schedule. I then asked to talk to the next higher person on the food chain, becuase if I didn't see my DR by 1200, I was walking out of that place AMA. My nurses were, once again, awesome. They were really swamped for some reason, but they were positive and cheerful, and as helpful as they were knowledgeable My nurses seldom had to ask me if I was in pain, because they were on the spot with pain meds, and when they did ask, they already had the shot ready.

My Doctor showed up at 1155, and ordered a heart sonogram, and then told me I had to wait for the results. I told him I would wait for the test until 1230, and that when the test was over, I was leaving, even if they hadn't read the tests, because a different doctor had to do the reading, that doctor wasn't there, and I just knew my doctor wouldn't stick around waiting. So rather than put up with all this nonsense for a flippin' cramp, I had the test and he released me. (So I wouldn't go AMA, which meant he would have to explain my reasons for doing so.)

I took off all my probes, monitors, and even pulled my IV, cleaned the room, policed up my belongings, thanked the nurse, and I left.

The heart sonogram tech even said I had a beautiful, textbook heart, and given my pulse and blood pressure, she was sure I was an exercise fanatic. I told her she was mistaken, I've smoked for close to 20 years, only run when chased, and thrive on controlled chaos and a steady diet of anger and regret.

She was shocked, shocked I tell ya....

Anyway, I am home, the Mrs. is taking a well deserved nap, and I am sweating out the last of the narcotics. Even mini-withdrawal sucks.

Thanks to all who sent their prayers,and the friends and family who called and helped with the kids, too.


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