Sickness, Surgery and ... Popcorn (part 2)
So the hubby-man left work and drove me to the ER, while I arranged for my mom to pick up my son after school.
Emergency waiting rooms are places of weirdness, I assure you. You would think that someone capable of entering the building on their own two feet would be way down on the list of people being treated; while people being carried in would be higher on the list. Human beings are natural con artists, and triage nurses have seen all kinds of tricks.
So I walked in (on my own two feet) and cheerfully told the nurse at the front desk that my doctor was upset with me and said I needed to go to the ER and get a blood transfusion. I offered him the note my doctor wrote for me, which he declined to accept. He asked me to sit in one of the 4 "waiting for triage" seats next to his desk. I sat next to a skinny gentleman who offered to make room for my husband to sit too. He was not bleeding or holding a limb on with duct tape or vomiting into his hat. The triage nurse called him to the little triage room that can check out 3 people at a time. A nurse took his vitals, asked him quiet questions and whisked him off into the bowels of the hospital, never to be seen again. I guess he needed attention right away. I watched people come and go while I waited for a chance to give someone my little piece of paper saying I had a blood count of 7, and that might be a bad thing. There were at least 80 people in the waiting rooms. I knew I'd be there a while. Another person was triaged while a large and somewhat belligerent man tottered into the hospital. Yes, I know how that sounds. But he was large and somewhat belligerent, and he did totter in like someone with barely enough strength to stand. He loudly proclaimed that he couldn't breathe. That he was having chest pains, and that his arm was numb. Then he focused on looking sickly. He glared at me when the triage nurse called me before him. Even though there was less than a minute between each of us being checked out.
My triage consisted of having my temperature taken, having my blood pressure checked, and having the nurse refuse to look at the note from my doctor. Then I went back to the waiting room.
The hubby-man and I looked for a reasonably uncrowded place to sit. I've never seen Saint Anthony's so busy. We decided to sit near a pair of senior citizens. They seemed nice and quiet. We spent the next hour listening to one of them bitch about not being seen right away.
... He may have broken his wrist in a fall. I'm certain he was in a lot of pain. And the ER takes patients according to 1. need and 2. doctor availability. Maybe the broken wrist doctors were all busy.
Nevertheless, I heard him complain about every single person who was seen before he was. (sigh) The hubby-man was biting his tongue to keep from saying something. I think the only reason he kept quiet was because of me. I do love him so.
They finally took the guy off to get an x-ray and about 40 minutes later called me.
The place really was busy. Usually, you get put in a room with a tv and everything. This time I was put on a stretcher/bed in a room full of stretcher/beds, separated by curtains, with nothing to look at except busy nurses.
Fortunately, I wasn't there very long.
A nurse came and stuck an I.V. in a very uncomfortable part of my arm while expressing surprise that my doctor hadn't called ahead and gotten me a room. I suddenly realized that I would not be going home tonight. I was *not* a happy camper. But I didn't have much time to dwell on that because a phlebotamist showed up and took a bunch of blood from me. I worried over every drop. I know, I know. They needed to test my blood for all kinds of things before they could give me blood; and I felt the best place for my blood was in my own body, thank you very much.
I thought about offering her my doctor's note.
It had become a running joke in my head.
Shortly after all that, with standard IV fluid running into my arm; I was taken to the 8th floor. "Women's Surgery"
I did not like the look of this. I wanted blood and a shot and my own damned bed. Dammit.
I wanted no part of any floor called "surgery" anything.
The nurses were all really really nice. I was a person not an object to them. They let me sleep at night. The food was awesome and plentiful. They even tried to move the IV to a more comfortable spot after I'd had my transfusions.
Yes. TransfusionS. I got blood twice.
That made me just barely blood filled enough to have surgery. And it was a night of hell, getting those units of blood. My vein didn't want 'em. So they had to use a pump. And I think the ER nurse stuck the IV needle right through the tendon in my arm. Or through a cluster of nerves or something. Because that thing hurt like the dickens and pumping blood through it hurt even worse. And the blood wasn't exactly warm, either. And it took almost an HOUR per bag.
Mind you, I am eternally grateful to the strangers who donated their time and (lol) life-blood to give me strength. I am eternally grateful for the kind nurses who cared for me and treated me like a real person. Not just a real person; a real person who they might like if they had time to get to know me better. THAT is impressive.
They're really careful about blood, too. Both times I had 2 separate people check and double check that the info on my wrist tag matched the info on the bag of blood. Both of them asked me to confirm who I was. And both people, both times had to sign a piece of paper before a drop of blood was sent to my IV. AND A nurse sat with me for the first 15 minutes of each transfusion, in case I had a reaction.
After I was all pumped full of blood, they tried to move the IV. I got a lovely bruise and was stuck with the IV in the same place. The next day, the IV site went bad and they *had* to move it. Which left me with 2 more bruises and no IV at all. My veins just weren't sturdy enough to take the IV catheter tube. I also had a better understanding of why I'd been admitted to the hospital. I was very sick. I didn't realize just how long I'd been pushing myself along with sheer willpower. I was exhausted. And I'd been exhausted for weeks.
So, I got 2 units of blood overnight. The next morning I had an ultrasound to check out what might be going on. Then I got a visit from an OBGYN. He said that the ultrasound looked good and the transfusions had brought my blood count up to 8. Woo!!! (It should have been at least 12)
Then he asked me if I had planned on bearing any more children. If I didn't plan on it, he wanted to give me an endometrial ablation. I told him that the hubby-man had a vasectomy years ago. We do not plan on having any more children. This thrilled him to no end and surgery was scheduled for later that day. He actually did 3 things and it took less than 10 minutes, total.
They took me to OR and gave me a new IV in the back of my hand. They numbed the site first. It was a breeze as she carefully pushed the tube into my vein. Didn't hurt at all. Then they took me into a bright room and introduced me to the people who would be part of my surgery and care. Every one of them looked me in the eye and smiled. Way cool. I laid down on the incredibly narrow surgery table/bed (it was warm and comfy) and they injected something into my IV. Then they put a mask over my face. That's all I remember.
While I was not remembering stuff, they were busy dilating my cervix and scraping everything out of my uterus. That's a D&C. Also known as an abortion, or that thing they do after you miscarry to make sure everything is out so that any new babies start with a clean slate. It's also what they do if you won't stop bleeding, if you have certain cancers, etc. etc. etc.
After they cleaned me out and sent all the stuff off to pathology where some poor lab worker would have to look through it all for stuff that shouldn't be there, they gave me a hysteroscopy.
That means they put a camera in my uterus and looked all around.
After they cleaned me out and looked in every nook and cranny, they stuck a zappy wand tool in there and burned the endometreum down to around 6 or 7 millimeters thickness. This is why he asked if I planned on having any more children. If I get pregnant, my uterine wall is too thin to support a placenta. Pregnancy could be life-threatening for me now.
It stopped the bleeding and smoothed everything out in there. 30% of women who have this procedure with the technique used on me (there are other techniques) never have another period. The rest have some kind of period, but it's much lighter.
So basically, I get to keep all my hormone making stuff, and all my girly bits, and go through menopause like I normally would have. but I'll never have another heavy period.
After surgery, the doctor was explaining what he'd done. And described the endometrial ablation as "Just like microwaving your endometreum"
And I instantly said, "You should have put a bag of popcorn in there while you were at it."
Because that's the kind of person I am. Unfortunately, I was still coming out of anesthesia, and I was blinking when I'd said it. And an anesthesia blink takes like 30 seconds. So I missed seeing his expression. The hubby-man says. His face tripped. Like doing a double take without looking away. Then he laughed long and hard.
My job was done :D