Friday, August 3, 2007

I Was A Patient

A busy day at work in the ER!

I was a patient in the ED the other night. Totally unexpected, but then that's what ED visits are. I used to tell my Lifeline clients that no one ever expects an accident or illness but they do occur and then of course I would go into the benefits of the Lifeline program - but I digress.

I was triaged around five, went in a little before 7p.m. and was a patient there until 4:30 in the morning at which point I was finally brought up to my room. Exhausted, hungry and in pain - stressed from the experience and thinking about the additional expenses now added to our budget along with not understanding exactly what was going on and what was going to be done and future ramifications because darn it - the kidney stuff is healing and I am ready to pursue a new job in the fall,....I admit that somewhere between 03:40 and 03:50 -I had an emotional meltdown and tears started pouring out of my eyes for about 5 minutes.

I always rave about this hospital and the positive experiences but I have to admit this time was not a good one, but I know they tried. :)

Having worked in a hospital and ED registration for 20 years, I DO understand the pressures and responsibilities the staff has and I KNOW how it usually works and what their goals for the patients are. I know that because it doesn't look busy does not mean it isn't busy. They could be totally consumed with a life and death case or tied up because of the complexity of it even if not life and death and then multiply that x other patients. I know they want the patient out the door just as much as the patient wants to be out the door ! And I also could see and understand the patient's frustrations/concerns when it was a hellacious night for the staff and things were backing up. I know I was good at juggling the staffs concerns and needs along with the patient's and was usually able to keep positive communications going between the two. It's all about the wording and attitude. For example, I didn't exactly word things to the staff the way the patients and others did (softened it) and I didn't relay things back to the patient the way the staff said it, which admittedly, could be pretty funny at times and sometimes not. Sorry - again I digressed.

I AM a patient patient. I am also a supportive patient in that I always try to encourage them when they seem frustrated or reassure them that I was o.k. and tell them to go do the more important stuff like save lives - I can wait kind of thing. I think they appreciate my attitude because usually staff starts to confide their frustrations of the day whether in the hospital or a doctor's office. The ED Doc was so kind. He apologized to me 3 times and I told him not to worry about me and that he had more important things to do. I could see the compassion on his face while gesturing toward me with his hands, saying "Well, you too." Like in other words I was important too and I appreciated that because honestly, I was feeling forgotten. But I could also hear the rigs rolling in and rolling out again - so I knew.

The admitting dx was acute pancreatitis. No I am not a drinker. Ha! Actually, I drink so little alcohol that the 2nd sip of the 1st drink goes right to my head! Even after one drink - I allow time before driving.

I am confused at this point because according to the ED doc the ultrasound revealed sludge in the gallbladder which could be indicative of a small stone trapped in the duct which in turn would cause the inflammation of the pancreas. He recommended I stay so that it could be taken care of more quickly and I agreed.

I had been NPO all night and was admitted with the same orders. No big deal except that I hadn't eaten anything but bran cereal around 10pm Tuesdsay night and so I had already gone 30 1/2 hours without eating by 04:30. Even though I had nausea and the pain was exacerbating -I was still hungry. Go figure.

So, the confusing part too me is that the discharging doctor indicated he disagreed with the dx. He didn't seem to think sludge (sounds lovely) in the GB was any big deal, seemed to discount the possibility of a stone and said my GB looks perfectly healthy. My numbers were low with the amylase test and I don't recall the other test. He felt that it was all caused because I had a cystoscopy procedure earlier before I had become ill and that the procedure in conjunction with the percocet and the fact that I hadn't eaten had caused it all. I will add that it was really hot and I was feeling the heat after having left from the procedure that day. His orders were to not eat anything for 2 more days, drink only water, no restrictions, see him in 3 weeks and follow up with my urologist .

The nurses were really surprised because they all said I would be staying. I was also confused because they also seemed surprised that he was letting me drink water when they were saying that I had to be npo because food and water would aggravate the pancreas and it needs to rest. I have had stents removed in the office before with percocet but maybe I did eat -I don't remember. The thing is that I think I tolerate the procedures well and I said that too him but he said,"It doesn't matter - you still had a procedure."

I can honestly tell you that I hated him last night! I was really hungry and getting a headache. I took a Tramadl which helped a little. Then by bedtime I felt like I was getting a migraine and really feeling ill. I wanted my I-buprofen - works every time but I didn't dare on an empty stomach. Woke up with a really bad headache at 5 am and so knocked myself out with benadryl.
Now I just have a mild headache which I think has to be from no food since Tuesday night and on Tuesday during the day I only had a (really good) wholewheat bread salad sandwich. (Cucumbers, lettuce, onions and tomatoes with mayo and pepper) half a peanut butter sandwich for dinner and then the cereal at 10pm. (Not a diet or anything - just busy.)

So I calculated that I could eat again at 12 pm tomorrow afternoon. That will have been 86 hours with out food! Good thing I like water! :) Actually, the hunger seems to have plateaued although I would love a nice hot cup of coffee right now. I don't hate him as much right now and don't feel sick anymore just some right sided pressure when I drink and hopefully that will resolve by tomorrow. My husband and son know that they are on their own to feed themselves because why put myself in front of temptation? And now I am going in the pool! :)


Chrysalis Angel said...

Seaspray, I'm sorry you have been having quite a time of it. I don't know what to say. You'll have to let us know about your follow up. Feel better my friend.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel - what, but it is just frustrating.

I just wish the headache would go away! I hope that doctor is right.

I am really hungry again. This too shall pass. :)