Emergency Room Visit

I’m having another flare-up of pleurisy (this would be the fifth since my surgery, if we’re counting) and last night I was having a lot of trouble breathing. I also had a different symptom than previously — I had a sharp pain on the left side of my chest on Sunday evening. It went away after several hours, but the breathing difficulty stayed, and got worse. So last night we headed out to the emergency room at Methodist rather than the Immediate Care place, just to be sure that there wasn’t anything wrong.
The ER was really busy last night, so we ended up stuck in a bed in a hallway rather than in our own room. (Actually, they’re not really “rooms” at Methodist, but curtained off areas with numbers above them on the ceiling). They hooked me up to the EKG and ran a couple of tests, did some blood work and took a chest X-ray, and determined that I wasn’t having any sort of heart problems, and that I was having another lung inflammation. Unfortunately, all of this took awhile because the doctors and nurses had to run off to help critical patients, which was understandable given how busy they were. But it meant we waiting a long time to see someone and get information. We were also stuck in the intersection of two hallways, so we got more than an eyeful of some of the events. It seemed sort of interesting at first, but turned into a grim spectator sport that we couldn’t get away from.
First we saw a near-collision as some nurses hustled a bed down the hall one direction on a crash-course with another bed coming from the other direction… and when we called out to get them to slow down, we realized they were hustling the one guy out of the room because he was dead. Yikes.
Then we saw the Lifeline helicopter crew race a bed by with a guy by who had some pretty major facial trauma. Fortunately Stephanie was reading and didn’t look up to see him, but I glanced up and got an eyeful I didn’t want.
Then they wheeled a young guy past with a policeman closely in tow.
Then they wheeled a woman in a wheel chair past — they were looking for a bed for her because she was in serious shape and they needed to work on her. They ended up moving a woman out of a “room” nearby into the hallway because she was going to be admitted soon. When the doctors started talking to the woman in the wheelchair, it because kinda obvious from her answers that she’d had a pretty major heart attack and was in bad, bad shape. They got her into the room, pulled the curtain, and started working on her — there were four nurses, four doctors and other people racing in and out from behind the curtain, carrying supplies, a crash cart, other monitors and machines. That went on for quite awhile, while her dazed, freaked out husband sat quietly in a chair on the other side of Stephanie, watching what they were doing and clutching her bag of clothes.
At this point they knew that I should get released, but we needed the doctor to do the paperwork, and he was in the room with the woman, so we had to sit and wait, although I was pretty desperate to get out of there at that point. My lungs were absolutely on fire, and I needed to get to the pharmacy to get the anti-inflammatory, but we were stuck until we could get the doctor, so I tried to read, and relax so I could breathe. It helps to sit still; once I’m moving around it’s harder to catch my breath, and I can’t take deep breaths at all. If I sit still and relax, I can breath shallow breaths without feeling the firey pain hit.
A different Lifeline Medevac crew went past, with a different patient with a bloody, torn up face. Some doctors wheeled in a guy who had a broken neck, canvassing the nurses for a room to put him in, and discussing between which vertebrae the break had occurred.
Eventually the doctor helping me came and got my paperwork ready, which I signed, but I still needed to get my IV removed, and all the nurses were helping heart attack lady. So we sat for a while longer, and I picked off all the EKG sticky monitors and got ready to go. If I could have figured out how to take out my IV myself, I would have, I was so tired of sitting there.
After about another hour, they finally got heart attack lady ready to move to the Cath Lab so cardiologists could work on her, and our nurse came to help me, while the doctors went to the woman’s husband and explained that she had had a massive heart attack and that they were taking her elsewhere for more help. The poor man looked like he was ready to break down, and we felt awful that we were there listening to it, but we had nowhere to go.
I got my IV out, we went to CVS and got my drugs – which have been a major help – and we came home. And after watching that woman have a heart attack in front of us, I don’t think I ever want to eat a cheeseburger again. Wow I do not want to be her someday.
UPDATE: I’m getting a referral from my regular doctor to see a pulmonologist (sp?) er – lung doctor so I we figure out why this lung thing keeps happening, and I can figure out how to avoid dragging my girlfriend to the doctor all the time.

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