: let’s take the ambulance :

Last Thursday I went to the doctor for a simple referral to an opthamologist. Twenty minutes later, paramedics and EMTs and doctors were hustling me into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital. Oddly enough, they didn’t use the siren. And if they didn’t use the siren was an ambulance really necessary?

You know, a trip to the emergency room hadn’t been on my to do list. For one thing, my dear old dog was waiting in the car. For another, I felt fine. No better or worse than any other day. But precisely no one was interested in how I felt.

When I got to the hospital, MDs and technicians and nurses swarmed me. I was hooked to the second heart monitor of the day, which showed my heart rate at 190. They shoved an IV in my arm and clamped a thing that measures oxygen in the blood to my finger and looked somber. Buzzers buzzed, machines beeped, and I was scared spitless.

If the drugs didn’t bring my heart rate down, they warned, they’d have to shock my heart with those paddle things. Are you nuts? We’ll put you under first. Are you nuts? I’m fine. Again, no one was interested.

The crowd in the room slowly thinned until it was just me and a tech. We watched the numbers change on the monitors and talked about caffeine headaches, which I was getting at the time. I wound up watching Cheers on the tv bolted to the wall.

After an eternity someone came in and said things had improved nicely, was I in any pain? Did I feel sick? No. For the thousandth time, no! I felt perfectly and absolutely fine. So they admitted me.

The following days were a round robin of activities. They shot me full of blood thinner, gave me an echocardiogram, a chest x-ray, and took endless blood samples. I was forced to pee in a cup every time I used the bathroom. I was punctured and x-rayed and tested and squeezed and had every move monitored.

Each morning at 5, the nurses would fly into a panic —  my temperature was up a degree. Oh, no. They’d clutch their throats, make furious notes, take my temperature again, flutter more, then rat me out to a doctor. You would think they’d notice a pattern by the third morning, don’t you? They didn’t.

The thing is, at night I turn my bed into a sweat lodge. I do. It’s an ancient Indian custom they believe is healing and purifying; I believe it’s paradise. The nurses believed it was a rampant infection. Because they’re wild-eyed alarmists.

A Dramatization

After all the testing and monitoring it was determined my thyroid is the culprit. I don’t understand the connection but the medical professionals say there is one. Something about too much thyroid hormone sending my heart into a rapid, erratic rhythm. The very good news, miraculous even, is my heart’s in good shape, no sign of damage. phew and phew

On the third day, with my patience gone, I had a loud confrontation with the stoopid doctor. It was silly to keep me there when I could just as easily lie around in my own bed at home. In fact, keeping me there was probably raising my heart rate. In one ear and out the other.

On the fourth day, doctor grim said my heart rate was still far from under control and still quite high, but. (Oh, how I love buts.) He would discharge me if I insisted. I did. He said it was ill-advised and foolish, and he hoped I wouldn’t regret it. Then he left the room, only to return and shake my hand with a melodramatic ‘good luck’ that was supposed to make me change my mind. Fat chance.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the end, I have to return on Wednesday for a thyroid scan. That’s a 2-day event, but it’s outpatient. Yay! If they call the paramedics on me again, I’ll be long gone when they get there.

Regarding Bart the Wonderdog who’d been stranded in the car: the doctor’s office called his vet, the vet called Animal Control, Animal Control picked him up and delivered him to the vet for boarding. He was safe and in familiar surroundings, but he had to be a little freaked out.

A Future Installment: The Roommates

Copyright © Publikworks 2012.

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32 Responses to “: let’s take the ambulance :”

  1. angelvalleywed

    Ohmygod Lisa! And here I thought you weren’t posting the last few days because of blunk. If only that were true, right? I spent several days in a hospital myself a couple years ago and since then have never once recommended it to a friend. Those places will make you sick. And in my case, they didn’t even send me home with fun “medication.” Good luck Wednesday. I’m looking forward to a happy ending to your story.

    Like

    • publikworks

      Hi, Jo. I didn’t get any fun medication, either; one of the roommates got morphine, though. She said good things about it. I’m with you all the way on hospitals, I’d rather go to jail. Those places scare the bejeebers out of me.

      Thanks for coming by, Jo. It was good to hear from you — I’ll keep you posted along the way.

      Like

  2. the home tome

    Oh ugh! The body is a mysterious thing – at least you have a great attitude and I guess it’s good to nip things in the bud ASAP. Best of luck publikworks!

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    • publikworks

      Hi, there, home tome! It could have been much worse, much, much worse. The thyroid is a simple fix compared to open heart surgery. And I’m lucky there’s no heart damage. Even so, I’ll be thrilled when this is over and I can stop worrying! Thanks for visiting and for the good wishes.

      Like

  3. Lenore Diane

    Holy smokes, Lisa. Scary! Glad it is a thyroid thing and not a heart thing – that’s a plus at least, eh?
    I am glad the Wonder Dog was rescued, too. Poor pooch. No doubt he was confused and nervous about his Mom, too.
    Wow. This is one reason blogging bothers me … you meet so many people within the blogosphere and yet – if someone gets hit by a bus or taken by animal control (wink), how will we know?
    I missed you – recognized your absence – but I was envisioning a smashing new job. Is the hospital hiring?
    Keep us posted on the results tomorrow.

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    • publikworks

      Hey, LD, how are you? Having it turn out to be a thyroid thing was the best news I had. I’ll take medication over open heart surgery every time. Even the words ‘rib spreader’ leave me faint.

      I feel like I should pack a bag, including my laptop, before I go for the Thyroid Scan. I don’t trust those people, I know they’ll try to put me back in. But wouldn’t it be tempting fate to be ready?

      I’ll keep you posted, maybe I’ll tweet for a change. Until then, please cross your fingers.

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    • publikworks

      Thank you, Dreamer, I hope so, too. Yes, the doctor’s were very efficient, I was surprised by how quickly things moved. And by how fast they pinned down the cause. There’s no question I received very good care. But the doctors are so brusque and cold, they’re scary.

      I’m glad to hear from you, Dreamer. How are things with you?

      Like

    • publikworks

      I’m sure it didn’t help. I worried about the dog (even though I’d been notified he was at the vet’s). I worried about my expiring license plate sticker. I worried about the bill adding up. I worry about everything these days. And I’m told nervousness and anxiety are a symptom of thyroid problems — wouldn’t it be wonderful to discover what it’s like to be calm? I can’t see it happening, but I guess it’s a possibility.

      I will certainly keep you posted, ww. Thanks for understanding.

      Like

  4. Kimberly Pugliano

    Oh my God, this entire post I’m like, “What? That’s awful? What about the dog?” “Oh my goodness you must have hated that? What about the dog?” They did WHAT WHERE HOW MANY TIMES? What about the dog?”

    So glad you’re okay.

    Like

    • publikworks

      Hiya, Kim! I’m still alive and so’s the dog. That’s the good news. The bad news is this nightmare doesn’t end. I keep trying to convince myself this isn’t really happening. That these people are crazy. So far it’s not working. I just dread tomorrow — I’m absolutely terrified.

      It was good to hear from you on this dark and gloomy night, thanks.

      Like

  5. suzymarie56

    Oh my goodness! I thought that sort of thing only happened in films, where a normal trip to the doctors turns into a frenzied rush to hospital. I’m glad you’re out now though (since you so clearly did NOT want to be there haha), and I hope the scan goes well. xx

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    • publikworks

      These things happen to me all the time, but they still FREAK me out. I’m thrilled to be free of that place, SuzyMarie, and I’m determined to stay free. No matter what. Thanks for the good wishes, you’re sweet!

      Like

  6. nevercontrary

    That is so scary! I hope they don’t find out your an alien ( that is what my dad says to me every time I go to the hospital)
    Seriously though, sending warm thoughts and wishes your way for a speedy recovery.

    Like

    • publikworks

      Thank you, nevercontrary, I’m going to do my very best to make your wishes come true. And pronto! Stop by again when you can stay longer.

      Like

  7. dadispen

    Don’t really know if it is that serious your case. i have afriend whose heart rythm is similar to yours only the gap you indicated with an arrow was wider. Sometimes they find her unconcious somewhere in the house. So far she is still well with no recent news of dropping on the floor. I pray you recover fully because you still got a lot of publikworks to settle…:)

    Like

    • publikworks

      Hey dadispen! I doubt if my case is serious, at least I hope it’s not. I think the drugs are starting to slow it down now. So keep your fingers crossed. How awful for your friend, that shouldn’t be happening. I hope she keeps getting better : ) Thanks for stopping by, dadispen, it was good to hear from you.

      Like

  8. Angie Z.

    Count me among the worrywarts, even if it isn’t in my moniker like Miss WW :) Please do keep us all updated. This post was so well done that I would assume you must have written it with an erratic heartbeat.

    If I had a forewarning of this happening and if I personally knew Jim Henson and if he were still alive, I would’ve called him up and asked him to send Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker into your hospital room to cheer you up.

    P.S. Dog — phew.

    Like

    • publikworks

      Really? Would you have hooked me up with Beaker like you did with Ed Burns? No, thanks. That was such a scam!

      Please don’t worry, Angie, everything is going to be fine eventually. Besides I’m worried enough for everyone : )

      PS. Ditto.

      Like

      • Angie Z.

        Ooh, well played, Lisa. Ouch! Ed says he’s definitely not coming next Christmas if you throw that kind of spite around.

        Glad you’ve advanced from the next round of tests. Healthy thoughts to you!

        Like

    • publikworks

      Hi, LD!

      I am home. I had Part 1 of the thyroid scan on Wednesday and Part 2 on Thursday. I’m still waiting for the results. The test itself was a breeze — I just had to take a pill, wait a few hours, then let them scan my thyroid. And scan it again on Thursday.

      They did tell me that a normal thyroid is between 2 and 7, but mine is 15. I guess that means it’s hyperactive.

      My heart rate is lower, though, just not as low as it should be so they’re tinkering with medications and dosages. It’s mighty frustrating.

      More news as it becomes available.

      Like

  9. lesacbanane

    This reminds me of the last time I forcefully attended the hospital, it was for my daughter who was about 12 months at the time. After taking her to the doctor in the morning who advised to keep up the paracetamol for a mild temperature he said she should be fine, then my wife took her again in the afternoon for the same reasons as the morning appointment and because that’s what mothers do. The doctor took one look at her and referred us to the preradiation, I wouldn’t have minded had my daughters temperature not reduced since the morning but also the doctor was looking at my wife when he made the judgement.

    I nearly had a fight with the doctor in the hospital too but that’s another story.

    On a positive note I enjoyed reading your post as it brought that memory to the front of my mind and its not just us who experience doctors who are not prepared to take responsibility.

    Incidentally my daughter was fine when we left the surgery…

    Thanks

    Like

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