Unfortunately, we’ve had more than our share of sickness than health; however, I am eternally grateful my husband, Ed, knows CPR and saved my life back in 1994. For the most part, I have been a fairly healthy individual. My obstetrician told me I was his most healthy high-risk pregnant woman he had back when I was expecting.
Last Wednesday, my husband drove me to the hospital for the procedure to be done. Soon, I was taken to a small room filled with all sort of machines and gadgets and told to get into the hospital gown. The nurse had me lay down on the bed and hooked up with electrodes – over my chest and legs. I wondered why even bother to put on a gown, because modesty is thrown out the window. She then took an EKG and next placed an electrode pad on my back and my chest and started an IV – in my wrist, I might add. I was being a bit of a brat that day and did not seem to want to give up my blood - three pokes later; my blood was off to the lab. The longest and hardest part was all the pre-op - IV, oxygen, electrode pads (I had asked if they were going to burn me and was told no), and waiting for the lab report and all the doctors. The anesthesiologist came in and explained the procedure, and then a cardiologist-fellow came in and explained the procedure and risks. By now, my nervousness had worn off, and all I wanted was for it to be over and done. Then, when all ready, five doctors entered this tiny room, no bigger than my bathroom at home. An oxygen mask was placed over nose and mouth and meds shot into the IV to knock me out. Twenty-minutes later, they were waking my up. It was a success—sort of. I was back in normal sinus rhythm, but had to be shocked three times. The third one was at 300 joules. I woke up with a lot of chest discomfort and burns on my chest and back (much like small sunburn). About an hour later, they released me, and Ed took me to get something to eat (I had been fasting all day). I was super tired when I got home and went straight to bed. Today, I need to go in for another EKG, to verify I am still in normal sinus rhythm.
Then around the same time all this was happening, I developed a bad kidney infection. At first, I thought I was coming down with the stomach flu – as all three of my boys had been sick with the flu bug. However, the cramping and pressure just got worse and worse and I thought - this is not the flu. I drove myself to the Harrison Urgent Care Clinic and walked up to the front desk. “Can I help you?” the receptionist asked. “I have a sharp pain in my right side,” I said. “Do you want to be seen?” I stared at her momentarily, trying to come up with a good answer to that stupid question. Nope, I had nothing. Pain had shut off my sarcasm button. Unfortunately, two other patients had come in right after me and it was obvious they were in bad condition and were seen first. I began to regret my decision to stop here first. I had not had very good luck with this clinic. About a year earlier, I came in my pain in my shoulder radiating down my arm. The doctor said I was having a heart attack, to which I said, “No, I’m not.” To which he said, “Yes, you are.” To which I gave him a resounding, “NO, I’m NOT!” He called my husband and told him I was having a heart attack, and then proceeded to call the ambulance. When the EMT’s arrived, they looked at me as if I was crazy for calling them. I didn’t!! The EMT on the way to the hospital told me, “You probably are having an anxiety attack.” Ugh! I was fine until I was told I was having a heart attack!! Twenty-four hours later, after being under observation and had a stress test done, I was sent home and told I should see my regular doctor, because the pain was most likely shoulder issues. See I told you I was not having a heart attack.
This time the nurse at the clinic had me pee into a cup and get into a gown. About an hour had gone by and the doctor said there was some blood in my urine and when he pushed on the belly, I flinched. He said I was most likely having appendicitis and wanted to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital. I didn’t want the $500 ambulance bill and told him I would have my husband take me to the ER. Of course, even though the doctor was in a rush to get me out of there – we had to wait for the discharge paperwork and the hold-harmless form. After signing the forms, he told me to go to Harrison Hospital and that they were expecting me. We arrived at the ER and the emergency room was packed. I walked up to the admitting desk and was told to take a seat. A few minutes later, I see the triage nurse and she takes some blood and tells me to pee in a cup. Three hours later, I am curled up in a ball on the floor in the ER and still had not been seen. I figure it can’t be my appendix, for surely it would have burst by now. Ed walked up to the admitting desk and asked when I would be seen and he was told, “There are two patients before her.” I then took his hand, walked out the sliding glass doors and back to our truck and had him drive me to the next nearest hospital, which was in Gig Harbor. Even St. Anthony’s was busy for a Wednesday night. The staff was very apologetic regarding the wait. I then saw the triage nurse and she asked me to pee in a cup. Forty-five minutes later, I was taken to an exam room and given sweet Morphine! The doctor suspected kidney stones and ordered a CT. Less than an hour later, the results come back showing I had a massive kidney infection. I’m frustrated because the first clinic really should have caught this and could have saved me two trips to the ER.
I was placed on antibiotics and pain pills. However, because I was also on Warfarin (blood thinners) I had to keep a close eye on my INR numbers (how thin my blood is) and needed to go in for additional blood draws, although, my INR numbers have been high most of the time I’ve been on them.
I got thorough my antibiotics course and then went to see my regular doctor to make sure it was all cleared up. I really did not want another trip to the ER. She said the infection was clear, but a few days later I was doubled over in pain for a second time and went back to see her. Again, she did a urine test and said it appeared the infection had cleared up, but I did have a little blood in the urine. Well, I had to make sure I had no infections or no cardioversion was going to happen the following week. She scheduled an ultrasound the next day. It was a very thorough exam – they checked my kidneys, ovaries, liver, spleen, pancreas, gall bladder and appendix – a small abnormality was found with my uterus, but nothing that could be causing all my stomach bloating, pressure, and cramping. The silver lining here was there was no infection and I would be able to be cardioverted.
I will be seeing my regular doctor this afternoon – and hoping and praying I’m still in normal sinus rhythm – I’ve had enough drama in the last couple of weeks to last a lifetime. Another positive is I seem to be getting my energy back and am not so fatigued – I actually got some cleaning, painting, and writing done this week. In addition, I’m looking forward to an anniversary weekend with my husband - so glad he puts up with me.
Update: The EKG this afternoon was normal. Yay!