Thursday, July 19, 2012

Emergency Room 3: Going In Scared And Leaving Angry

GET COMFY! This is a monster...

These last 2 weeks are really trying to test me. Monday night, I was having a lovely and long overdue dinner and gossip session with my oldest friend and I could NOT get comfortable. No matter how I sat in my chair, no matter what I did, I was all out of sorts. By the time I got home, I couldn't catch my breath. For a few days, I've felt like Sully is wedged up under my ribs. It's common at this stage of pregnancy to feel like your lungs have no room but this was the first time it was really affecting me.

By the morning, I had a plethora of new symptoms.

In addition to the shortness of breath, I had chest pain (PAIN, not discomfort), abdominal and lower back pain, and a LOT of abdominal pressure. When I stand up, it truly feels like I'm going to gush amniotic fluid, not to be graphic. I called my OB to be on the safe side and she told me to go right to the ER, do not pass GO, do not collect $200, and let them know immediately about the chest pain, shortness of breath, and the fact that I was 29 weeks pregnant. So off I went, terrified that I was going into pre-term labor.

I got to the ER and was treated like garrrrrbage from jump. Everyone looked at me very accusingly like, "Are you realllllly having chest pains??" and jumping on every word I said. I get it. A lot of people say chest pains so they're seen right away and then people like me, who are actually HAVING chest pains, pay for it. Before I even got registered, they were suggesting I was just "hyper nervous". No, bitches, I'm not hyper-nervous. I'm in pain and possibly a titch anxious about the fact that I can't BREATHE! Later, I was informed that the baby gets his oxygen from the placenta so he wasn't suffering like I was. Good to know.

I saw so many nurses within a 5 minute period, I really can't even count but I CAN tell you that they were all nasty people. And they basically decided without even examining me that I was having a Pulmonary Embolism a.k.a. a bloodclot in my lung, which is quite common during pregnancy. After a quick EKG (which was normal), they sent me upstairs to Labor & Delivery to make sure Junior was doing alright. My main concern, of course.

In Labor & Delivery, the nurses are nice and caring and actually want to take care of you and worry about you and are organized and efficient. Or maybe that's just an act but I bought it! The nurse hooked me up to the fetal monitor (deja vu, as I was hooked up to the fetal monitor at about this point with Spencer) and left me to click a buzzer ever time Sully moved. Which was every second as he's clearly cooking meth or something in there. Berzerker.

After about 30 - 45 minutes, the consensus was that he was just perfect. Heart rate was solid, activity was great, and I only had 1 contraction the entire time and it was nothing severe. SO HAPPY to hear that everything is going swimmingly down below. Not so happy to be released from L&D and sent back to that zoo of an ER.

When I got back, they took me to a room, got me in a gown, hooked me up to heart monitors, an IV, oxygen, blah blah blah. They took a bunch of blood and I saw a whole new batch of people. Every time I told someone my symptoms, they took what they want out of it. No one wanted to look at everything as a whole. By the time Todd showed up, I was so angry and agitated that when he said something to make me laugh, I laughed and laughed until I CRIED and then I cried until I SOBBED. I was a mess.

They kept asking me if I was SURE I wasn't lightheaded and was I SURE that I didn't feel faint. I mean, I didn't feel great because I couldn't breathe but was I going to pass out? No. But they really didn't believe me. I guess my blood pressure was reallllllly low. To remedy this, they would typically have me tilt my head back but seeing as I couldn't breathe, this wasn't recommended. Nurse #405 of the day just shrugged, dubbed me "asymptomatic", and went about her business.

Some random doctor came in and asked if I wanted something for the pain. Was that safe with being 29 weeks pregnant? Whatever they intended to give me would at most make Sully a little sleepy (and maybe that was a GOOD thing). I was terribly uncomfortable and had been for about...18 hours at that point. So after the doctor reassured me that it was safe, I decided to go for it and get a little relief.

I was told by another hospital stranger (a nice one, actually) that I needed a Cat Scan, which I assumed was dangerous during pregnancy. They said the risk to the baby was very low and typically only a risk during the 1st trimester when organs are forming. They found the risk of me having an untreated blood clot to be more concerning so off we went. They shot me full of the contrast dye that makes you feel like you're wetting your pants and before I knew it, I was back in my room waiting for the results.

The results showed no blood clot. WEE!

But after they found that out, they were done with me. They had no intention of trying to find an alternative cause for my pain and discomfort. They brought discharge papers and sent me on my way, telling me it was probably acid reflux. Or I was probably confusing heartburn with chest pain. Yeah, I've been pregnant twice and lived on this planet for 33 years. I KNOW what heartburn feels like.

Did I mention that they never came back with my meds? A nurse asked me as I was practically out the door if I wanted them to give me something but at this point, why bother? It had been hours since they were offered.

Once the blood clot was ruled out, they really and truly didn't want anything to do with me. Made me feel like a burden. I even spoke up and said, "Soooo...I just go home not being able to breathe and having chest pains?". I guess so cause all I got were a bunch of weird faces and shrugged shoulders. I hope they all get hunchbacks from the amount of shrugging they do. They hallways of the ER were littered with beds and sick people in chairs. They were busy, I get it, but I left feeling exactly how I did when I walked in.

It's Thursday and I STILL feel exactly how I did when I was there.

No, wait. I guess I feel a little different. I now feel like when I'm done with nursing school (stay tuned for more info on that as it develops), I will do everything in my power NOT to work in an ER. Because if working in an ER is going to be like THAT, and make you treat people like THAT, I don't want to be a part of it. Garbage. Also garbage? The fact that I know a hefty medical bill will be coming my way and I'll be paying for a whole lot of nothing.

I don't know what's going on with me but it the long run, as long as Sullivan is OK and thriving, then I'm OK. I'll see my OB and see what she has to say about everything because at least I'll be listened to. And maybe there really isn't anything terrible wrong...but they sent me away knowing I was still in pain and still couldn't breathe and to me, that's just not right.

Setting up the nursery this weekend and getting allllllllllll the rest I can.

Thanks for listening to my angry babble.

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