The other night I was bored so I decided to take a trip to the Emergency Room. Before being diagnosed with cancer I had only been a patient at an ER once for some stitches, when I was ten, and I hardly remember any of it. Since my diagnosis I have been 6 times, once by ambulance and once rushed from the oncologist office through a maze of doorways and elevators and halls in a wheelchair.
But this time it was just because I didn't have anything better to do*. I arrived at 7:40 and tried to put on a show, hoping it would get me seen faster.
"Hi. I have cancer and I am currently receiving chemo treatments. This afternoon I have felt dizziness, severe back pain, neck pain and sometimes my left arm feels numb."
Receptionist looks me up and down. "Uh-huh. Do you use palm scan?"
Darn. So I settled in the waiting room. The biggest drama was a lady p.oed when she missed her name being called because she was in the bathroom. She fell to the bottom of the wait list. Also a toddler named Beverly really just wanted to touch a plant, which caused her caregiver to go into a tizzy of colorful words for us all to hear.
After 40 minutes my name was called and the nurse checked my vitals. I joked they can't be that vital, since I have been waiting so long. She did not find this humorous, and instead apologized for my wait. I think I hurt her feelings. After I again told my symptoms, I was given a mask and was ushered into the "sub-waiting room" where there were at least 3 kids under the age of 7 watching The Walking Dead on the TV.
I was then escorted to my little ER room. There was a heavy police presence in the hall and I wanted to know all the details. Instead my vitals were taken again and I was told the Dr. would get to me when she got around to me. Sigh. At least leave the door open so I have something to watch! The man next door wants to go home even though he has 2 blood clots in his lungs? I want to know more!!
I waited for about 4 days for the Dr. to come around with her scribe. She was very sweet but when she pressed on my left kidney I screamed and almost scratched her eyes out.
Now things were moving along. I had no issues doing a urine test. I had an EKG test (auto correct keeps changing ekg to keg) and blood taken at the same time!! Just as they were leaving I was picked up in a wheel chair to have chest and back X-rays done. As I was being wheeled around, I got to see the police escorting some people out. Other than that, the nurses all looked as bored as I was. After my return a new nurse came in and took my blood pressure while laying down, sitting up and standing up. I passed on all 3 and didn't have to be hooked up to an IV drip.
By the way, after nearly 18 months of being poked and prodded I can say there are 2 kinds of nurses. I don't care what else you do, if you can stick a needle in me with little to no pain, then you are the BEST kind of nurse. All other nurses are horrible, no matter what else they can do otherwise.
After the whirlwind of fun activity - this is why I had come to the ER - things stalled out again as I had to wait my test results. Another 18 weeks pass, and my Doc pops in to say - my potassium is very low. Which is a little odd because I take supplements daily, but it explained my dizziness and muscle aches. Might have even explained my mood swings and the fact my socks will NEVER stay up.
That was the end of my ER journey #6.
*Please know the above is all sarcasm. I would never go to a hospital just to waste the valuable time of people in the medical field - who are all awesome. Unless you hurt me when sticking a needle in my arm - then I hate you. I had symptoms that correlated with a heart attack and we decided we would rather be reassured then to worry about it, especially since symptoms are often different in women. The Dr gave me great advice on what to look for in the case of a real heart attack. Actually, my heart looks great, one thing I actually have going for me, health wise!!