09 February 2010

And Then There Were Four

What I didn't mention in my previous post was how disorienting and frightening of an experience my second trip to the ER was. The first trip was certainly concerning. But I had my daughter with me, we were there in the middle of a slow ER night, and then and the doctor who mostly looked after me was the most amiable doctor I'd met in a long while. For an ER doctor, he never made you feel like he was always in a hurry to the next patient. He certainly put me at ease, even though I was there for 12 hours and there was the looming mystery of the blood clot in my left leg.

My second trip to the ER was the opposite. I was alone and panicked by my inability to breathe due to the excruciating pain on my side, and it was in the middle of the day.

As soon as I laid down in my bed, I was given a shot of morphine. Perhaps because of the lack of oxygen coming into my brain, I wasn't comfortable from the start. There was sense of ordered chaos permeating in the room. I could connect with no one, particularly because of the harried pace of a mid-day Emergency Room. I felt disembodied as I watched doctors and nurses fly by me to get to the next patient and the next patient and the next.

Certainly, this is not an affront to the ER at all because I know it is the nature of the Emergency Room -- particularly that of a busy, urban ER. Doctors and nurses were just doing their jobs. But, it still did not negate my feeling of isolation and panic. It was lonely and scary. Still and all I didn't want to call anyone to sit with me in the ER because it was the middle of the work day and I didn't want to bother anyone. As I was being poked and prodded, x-ray'ed, needled and wheeled from one test to another, I felt like a disoriented rag doll at everyone's mercy. But I held it together enough not to fall apart. Thank the good doctors and nurses for the morphine!

In this fuzzy, disorienting environment, I couldn't tell you what the ER doctor or nurse looked like or the many, many x-ray techs and MRI techs, phlebotomist, and hospital orderlies that took care of me looked like or sounded like--not if you put every one of them in a line-up for me to identify any of them. Everyone was a blur except for four people: the internist, one nurse, my surgeon, and the chaplain.

They will appear in the order that I met them.


Karen said...

As a nurse (and as a fellow cancer survivor) I can relate to your posts on many levels. So glad to hear that the P.E. (pulmonary embolus) was caught early! You are very lucky woman!

And a very good writer, too! Take care!

ce_squared said...

Thank you, Karen! I cannot wait for you to read about the nurse in the next couple of posts. She made such an impact in my life. Kudos to you!

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