Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Funny Valentine... or Lovin in the E.R.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and if you're one of the three people who read my blog you know how I feel about this particular holiday.  If you don't, I suggest you read about it here in order to get the full effect of this entry.  Go ahead...  I'll wait....

Okay, now that you're all caught up I'll continue.

Now, I don't know if it was coincidence or anxiety driven because of my deep seated dread of Valentine's Day, but I ended up with a killer headache.  My husband came home from work to find me collapsed on the floor from the exhaustion that sometimes comes with migraine headaches.  Since my doctor's office was already closed for the day we ended up going to the emergency room, but only after I fixed my hair and makeup.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30pm and the emergency parking lot was already full.  This did not bode well.  We ended up parking in the crazily low-ceilinged parking garage and navigating the combined parking lot and hospital maze like Hansel and Gretel, but without the breadcrumb trail, uncertain if we would ever find our way back to the car. 

On our way through the hospital we passed a nurse in the hallway who was crying on the phone.  She was crying really hard.  We're talking snot running down her face.  She made no attempt to hide her shameful, snot-smeared, red eyed face like any other person would, even though she was standing at the end of the hallway where we would need to turn left and we were walking straight towards her.  This was really awkward.  And I once had a boy get a really bad nosebleed all over me while we were kissing, so I know awkward.  I said a little prayer for her as we passed that God would take care of whatever was troubling her and that she would not be in charge of any of my medical care.  Once you see snot running down someone's face you just can't take them seriously as a medical professional.

We finally made it to the overcrowded waiting room of the ER and checked in at the front desk with a woman who had the largest head of hair I have ever seen and as much sparkly jewelry as any Hollywood socialite walking the red carpet.  After checking in and receiving my styling wristband we managed to find the only seats left in the waiting area.  I was seated directly under a spotlight and next to a garbage can.  The whole place smelled like B.O.  A particularly strung-out looking guy sat disheveled and shlumped in a nearby chair.  I was pretty sure the smell was coming from him.  Between the spotlight and the odor, my migraine was not getting any better.  I was also not comforted by the poster sighting the signs of stroke, since I experience all  of those symptoms at least every two weeks.  I felt hypochondria starting to settle in.

It took about 30 minutes before my name was called and I was led into a tiny room off the side of the waiting room with a few chairs and a computer.  The nurse at the computer asked me why I was there and typed it into the computer.  She took my blood pressure and temperature.  There was an unopened micro can of Diet Shasta on the table next to me.  For some reason that really tickled me.  I think I was tired.  After about two minutes of questioning, we were told to return to the waiting room.  Luckily our seats by the trash can were still available.

Ten minutes later my name was called again and I was led through a door on the opposite side of the waiting room from the first door.  It seemed things were really starting to move along and I was looking forward to getting some medicine for my migraine which was now even worse after sitting under the spotlight.  I was told to have a seat in a slightly larger small room with one of those little beds on wheels and two chairs.  The strung out guy from the waiting room was sitting in a chair outside the room still looking strung out. 

A few minutes later Kristen the doctor and Brad the note taker came in to ask the same questions I had answered in the smaller room with the can of Diet Shasta, which this room lacked.  Kristen was very small, very young, and had pretty dark hair.  She did not smile at all or laugh at any of my jokes.  I tried to make eye contact but she stood directly under the ceiling light which is a horrible thing to look up into when you have a migraine.  I mentioned this, but she made no attempt to move over slightly so that I would not be blinded, so I ended up talking to her third button on her blouse.  It was awkward.  Once again, I know of what I speak.  I do not care much for Dr. Kristen, and Brad the note taker, while he was the fastest typer I've ever seen, never acknowledge that there was any person but himself in the room.  They spent all of three minutes in the room with me, shining lights in my eyes and taking my blood pressure and temperature again.  I never saw either one of them again.

I heard the nurses talking about the blubbering nurse that we had seen earlier in the hallway.  Apparently her cat had died.  It seemed like an awful fuss over a cat.  I mean, it's not like it was a dog.  Anyhow, she apparently went home.  The nurses seemed ticked that she left while there were so many patients, but I was relieved I wouldn't be seeing her.

Mike and the Blue Chicken.
The thumb is the beak.
I had been in the emergency room for well over an hour and in the tiny room for almost 45 minutes and still hadn't gotten any medicine.  I was starting to get bored.  My husband and I in a small room with rubber gloves for a long period of time is a dangerous combination.  We get creative and start pilfering medical supplies to entertain ourselves.  That's when the rubber glove gets blown up to create a blue chicken.  This is not the first time we have made balloon animals in the ER.  It's been met with mixed reviews, depending on how long the doctors and nurses have been working.

Completed IV
Finally, around 7:00 a nurse came in to draw some blood and put an IV in my arm.  I'm not great with needles.  I'm probalby the only person that the Red Cross has told to NEVER give blood unless it is a dire emergency.  Since my blood type isn't particularly rare or useful, I've never bothered going back to a blood drive.  Anyhow, while she was drawing blood, the nurse went to the door and called for a flush.  I wondered if what was going on would make a good picture and stupidly looked down at my arm with the bloody needle hanging out of it.  The room started to spin and everything started turning gray.  I started fanning myself with my free hand and whispering, "IIIIIIITTTT'S okay.... shhhhhhh..." in the mom voice that I use when my kids are hurt or crying.  Needless to say, I did not get the gruesome picture.  My husband was unwilling to take the picture for me.  Spoil sport.

By far, my favorite character on
Un Familia con Suerte.
It's all in the eyebrows...
After far too long, and still no medicine, I was moved once again down a hallway lined with people in wheelchairs and recliners, fully stripped of their dignity as their ailments were displayed for all to see.  I again prayed, this time that I wouldn't be a hallway paitient.  My prayers were answered when I was lead to a semi-private room and sat down in one of those big, blue reclining chairs lined with butcher paper.  I was happy, not only because I wasn't sitting in a hallway, but because there was TV.  I had been bored for far too long and didn't even mind that I was watching Spanish soap operas on Televisa.  Not speaking any Spanish, my husband and I made up our own stories for the actors.  Apparently it is a requirement for all male actors in Spanish soaps to unbutton thier shirt at least half way and grow a crazy handlebar moustache that just isn't quite there yet.  Also, the best acting is 90% in the eyebrows.  At any moment I expected Senior Bumblebee to enter the scene.

At 7:20 Jessica, the Tech, asks me if there is anything she can get for me.  I tell her some medicine for my migraine would be great.  She seems surprised that I havent gotten any, but the needle in my arm isn't even hooked up to anything, so I'm not sure where the confusion came in.  Anyhow, 7:30 came and went.  I still hadn't gotten any medicine and I was beginning to wonder if a shot of tequilla and hiding under the covers at home wouldn't have been a better idea.  I'm getting tired, hungry, and loosing interest in Un Familia con Suerte.  Just then, I find the remote for the TV chained to the wall.  Yeah!  We flipped through the channels and settled on that new comedy with Tim Allen.  Not great, but there was a pretty awesome race car doing donuts, so it was enough of a distraction.

Jessica fianlly comes in with a bag of saline and a couple of vials of medicine and hooks me up.  The sailine made my arm really cold and I got that icky medicine taste in my mouth.  Blech.  It wasn't long after that before my headache began to dissapear.  We watched Cougar Town while the neighbor next to us blasted the dog show on his TV.  Once the bag was empty, the quickly discharged me and sent me on my way.

We went through the drive-thru at Burger King on the way home because it was nearly 9:00 and neither of us had eaten.  I don't know if it was the fast food, the medicine, or the combonation of the two, but I spent most of the night moaning with abdominal pain and all morning yelling at my kids through the bathroom door to stop grinding Pop Tarts into the living room floor.  I was suffering from what I call KiaRio, which is actully a yearly sales event at our local Kia dealership, but which I always thought sounded like a terrible bowel disease.

Yes, I made this comic myself.

So we spent our Valentine's Day in a small intimate room with a guy with kidney failure and had a romantic fast food dinner on paper plates when we got home.  Other than the KiaRio, not a bad night. 

We try to keep things fresh.

For a more romantic Valentine's Day story, visit one of my favorite bloggers, Holly Goes Lightly.

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