Visit to the Emergency Department

Tuesday would normally have been a chemo day, but a series of events set me up for a procedure on Friday. While I do believe that God is with each of us, especially when we need him, I was having a hard time feeling the support….but I am getting ahead of myself.

This is long, so I will do it in two separate blog posts. This one will focus on the ED visit. If you want to skip the story and go straight to the bottom line, see the next post.

WARNING: This post contains explicit talk about bodily functions.

Sunday

I had trouble peeing all day. Drinks were going in, but nothing was coming out. Nothing.

That night, I called the oncologist on call (not mine) who recommended that I drink two more large glasses of water, wait two hours, and if nothing changes, head to the ED.

I left for the ED around 11:15. Because the boys were already asleep and it would be scary to wake up and find neither parent at home, my husband stayed home and I Ubered in alone. I was otherwise feeling good and knew that I could call him if I needed him.

Before I left, I texted my energy healer. Just before I reached the ED, she texted back that she would work on me.

This was a new ED for me, and I was impressed with the operations and the people. The check-in woman quickly assessed that I have a complicated history and decided to look it up rather than make me go through it all. Her approach and attitude were above and beyond anything I have experienced in an ED.

Very early Monday morning

My initial ED nurse, Tori, was wonderful. We bonded over kids (as in, when they wake you at 5:30 a.m, iPods are okay, but snacks are not – you have to draw the line somewhere!) and laughed alot. She gave me a cup to pee in and said, “I have to give you this cup, and you have to try, even if we know nothing is going to happen”

The floodgates opened. I am always in awe of how my energy healer works!

But I was there, so we went through the tests. Blood tests, including kidney function, which was fine. Ultrasound, to figure out if my bladder was actually empty. (They couldn’t tell.) And then the resident doctor in charge of my care wanted to do a CT scan.

I fought this scan. I argued that I was due for a scan in two weeks and I hate extra radiation. The resident doctor thought I was being ridiculous – I’ve had so many, what was one more scan? I wanted to flip him off. He listed lots of low-probability but scary outcomes. I’m used to playing the odds, and I’m feeling strong these days so pushed back on them all. He pointed out that I might need a stent and waiting two weeks could endanger my health. That resonated somewhere deep within that I didn’t want to acknowledge, but that internal vibration made me consider it a little.

I told him that I would call my husband, and he asked what information I would get from that.

“He’s a radiologist.” Thankfully, that shut him up and he walked away for awhile so I could figure this out. I called my husband for his opinion, as well as the oncologist on call. They both said it could go either way.  I finally gave in and did the scan.

The CT tech was super nice and made that procedure go as smoothly as ever, and when I returned, I asked for a bottle of water to help flush the contrast out of my body. The gentleman helping me told me that they didn’t have bottled water but he could get a pitcher of water for me. I cringed, thinking that he was going to get it from the bathroom sink, but when he returned with the pitcher, he told me that it was reverse osmosis and it actually tasted really clean. Life was looking up.

Time for the shift change, so I had a new resident doctor and a new nurse in charge of me. The new resident doctor told me that the CT scan showed tumor pressing on my bladder. No surprise there. She gave me my exit papers (I was really impressed with her efficiency – that part typically takes a long time), and told me to sign them and give them to the nurse when she came to disconnect my IV.

So I waited. And waited. And then, I don’t know what triggered it, but I started vomiting.

I carry bags with me, so I was prepared for this, but I needed help. I couldn’t find the trash can. The nurse call button was far out of reach. So I started yelling for help. A cleaning person came by and said he would find my nurse.

When the nurse came, she took one look at me and said, “This changes everything. We have to admit you.”

NOOOO!

I tried to explain that vomiting is just what I do in a medical setting. I showed her the 15 bags that I carry with me. No dice.

She left and the resident appeared, who explained that they needed to admit me and if I left, it would be against medical advice. Fine with me. It was after 3 a.m. I wanted to go home.

The nurse returned and asked if I wanted my IV to be disconnected now. As opposed to when??? She said, “Well, in case you are admitted.”

“No. Disconnect me now please. I am going home.” I had to reiterate this a few times, but she finally disconnected me.

“The attending physician would like to talk with you.”

“Fine.”

More waiting. Then my nurse took me to where the attending was. As we walked there, I noticed that I was the ONLY patient remaining in the ED. All the other beds were neatly made and ready for the next influx. All the doctors and nurses were far, far away, all in one area, typing on their computers and iPhones. I waited awhile for the attending, then said, “I’m just going to leave.” I signed the papers that I had and headed out.

I was finally free, and hoped that I didn’t need to return. When I got into the Uber, the driver offered me a breath mint. At first I declined, then remembered that maybe I needed one…..

One thought on “Visit to the Emergency Department

  1. Marie,

    I read both posts and then came back to read any comments. Noticed no comments here (probably people went right on to read the next post) but wanted you to know that some of us don’t mind the crazy, gory bodily functions and appreciate your taking the time to write so honestly about them. (And after having three kids and a dog, very little phases me on that front.) Being in the ED in the middle of the night alone is an adventure (I’ve done that, too), and while I know you’re up for just about anything most of the time, please don’t forget that I’m a night owl and would always be glad to accompany you (vomit bags and all) if you decide to pull another late night trip like that. Feel free to text in case I’m up. In the meantime, I’m sending you lots of love and strength. xox S

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