Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trip to the ER

Last night I went to the ER.  I didn't intend to.  I intended to go to Urgent  Care.  My local hospital has both an ER and an Urgent Care and I didn't consider my condition life-threatening or emergent, so I drove over there intending to be seen in Urgent Care.  However, they informed me I needed to be seen in Emergency instead.

I was feeling dizzy.  I've been feeling dizzy a lot lately and haven't posted much about it because, well, I figure people get bored hearing me complain about not feeling well, and I just didn't feel like talking about it.  I have seen my primary care doctor twice for it, though, and we still don't know what's causing it.  He is supposed to be referring me to an ENT but I haven't heard from him yet.

Anyway.  I was super dizzy and repeatedly felt like I was close to passing out.  I felt vaguely nauseous and, I don't know, just not right.  Something was wrong, I just didn't know what.

So I went to the hospital, intending to be seen in Urgent Care and ended up in the ER instead.

Isaac went with me, of course.  They wanted to take me from the registration desk back to an ER bed by wheelchair since I was dizzy.  They didn't want me to faint or fall or anything.  Isaac had never walked beside me before while I was in a wheelchair.  It never occurred to me to train him to do that, because it's not something he's ever needed to do before.  He handled it just fine, though.  He kept looking at me like he was not quite sure what he was supposed to do, and I was a little bit worried he'd get too close to the chair and get his toes run over, but I told him to heel and he did great.  It might not seem like a hard thing for a dog to do, but heeling with a wheelchair is different than heeling beside someone that is walking.

They took me back right away.  I didn't have to sit in the waiting room at all.

They seemed pretty concerned and got me hooked up to a heart monitor right away and then did an EKG.  My heart appeared to be just fine.  Although at one point the EKG tech said something like, "Oh, that's not good," and I thought, "Crap, there is something wrong with my heart."  Turns out she was talking about the  machine.  A cord was not working right.

I took a towel for Isaac to lie on.  He was snoozing away on the floor on one side of the gurney and at one point I had two nurses and the EKG tech on the other side of the bed, all doing things to me.  Or trying to.  I kept saying, "If you need to get on the other side of the bed, I can tell Isaac to move."  They kept saying, "Oh, no, we don't want to bother the puppy!  He's fine.  We're fine."

At one point I invited Isaac up on the bed with me.  He thought it was too high and too small and he did not want up there.  He preferred his towel on the floor.

The staff was all really good about Isaac.  No one distracted him, no one questioned my right to have him there.  One of the nurses asked me about what Isaac did for me, and when I told her some of the things he does, she said something like, "It's just amazing what they can do" and that was it.  The doctor didn't ask what Isaac did for me.  I'm honestly not even sure he realized Isaac was there.

It was overall a really good ER experience, and I'm glad because I have avoided the ER since my bad experience nearly three years ago.  I really like my local hospital.  I felt like they treated me with a lot of respect.  Of course, I wasn't there for anything mental health-related. 

You know how in the ER, you can often kind of hear what's going on with other patients?  Emergency rooms are not always the most private of places.  Well, a little while after I got there, a young woman was brought in by ambulance.  I couldn't see her but I could hear her some.  I could hear nurses talking to her some.  She was in a lot of pain, I think abdominal pain, and was crying and moaning some.  I'm not sure how old she was, not a teenager, but a young woman, I think.

Anyway, I overheard them asking her about her medical history and stuff, and heard that she was on the spectrum.  They were referring to it as Asperger's, although that diagnosis no longer exists, technically.  All forms of autism are now referred to as autistic spectrum disorder, or ASD.  Anyway, even though she had autism, they were treating her the way I image they'd treat someone without a neurological disability.  They were talking to her like an adult, like she was capable of answering questions about her medical condition (and it seemed that she was indeed capable of doing so).  Her boyfriend was there at first and later I think a family member was there, but the ER staff all talked to her, not to the other person.  That may seem obvious or common, but it's really not.  It is common for medical people to ignore a person with a disability and talk to their companion instead, like the disabled person is not capable of peaking for his- or herself.

Back to me.  They did some blood work, and it was all normal except my blood sugar was a teeny bit low.  So I got some orange juice and graham crackers.  My blood pressure was low, so they gave me some IV fluids.  After a full bag of fluids, my blood pressure was even lower than it had been when I arrived there!  So they gave me more fluids.

They also wanted to do a urinalysis.  I didn't think I had a UTI, there was no reason to think I did, but whatever.  They wanted me to pee in a cup so I peed in the cup.  And guess what?  I have a UTI.  Apparently a pretty bad one.  I have no idea how I could have a really bad UIT and not know it.  I have no pain, am not peeing any more than usual, have no fever, my pee seems normal to me... I don't know.  But it was bad enough that they wanted to give me some IV antibiotics while I was there.  And they sent me home with a script.

I don't think the UTI is causing my dizziness, though.  So that has not been resolved.  At least I found out I have a UTI, though.  At least I'm being treated for it.  I just don't get how I didn't know I had one.

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