Hello from the hospital room!
Since I'm sure many of you are going to start giving crap about not being on the computer I'm going to dictate my story to Kari, hoping I don't wear her out by the time the story is told.
It all began on Monday night at 5pm after a very, very stressful day. My right arm had severe muscle cramps from my shoulder to my wrist, my hand was numb, tingly and very cold. I used my left hand to navigate the internet and discovered that it could be psychosomatic, however the pain kept getting worse so by 5:45pm I called the doctor. She suggested that I go to urgent care and after doctor #2 checked me over he was very concerned about my circulation because he couldn't find a pulse in my wrist. I went to the ER where the fun could begin in earnest.
I told my story for the 5th time to the triage nurse (time #1 to the doctor by phone, time #2 to the receptionist in urgent care, time #3 to the nurse in urgent care, time #4 to doctor in urgent care). She sent me back to the ER cubby or hole or partial room or curtained area or whatever you want to call it. We waited there for the ER doctor.
The ER doctor walked in, dark, skinny, tall and handsome, appearing to be no more than 16 years old. After giving him a hard time about the improbability of a person being allowed to attend medical school concurrently with grade school, we began a night of banter that was highly enjoyable. Items of discussion included between me, the nurses and the doctor-
1. Me telling them to close the curtain tightly because I had already heard mentioned that there were people in the hospital who wanted a good look at my boobs.
2. Us discussing my personal hygiene such as the fact that I had not shaved my legs in months, my toenails were in serious need of clipping, that I had most likely neglected my armpits, and when the good doctor asked if I was wearing clean underwear I pointed out that it was 7:30pm and that while they had certainly been clean in the morning they were no longer clean.
3. Me pointing out that they had certainly in their careers as medical professionals, even with the aforementioned neglect of personal hygiene, seen bodies more disgusting than mine.
4. My perpetual questions of the young doctor regarding such things as how long it would be until he got his driver's license.
5. My barrage of questions such as, "Is it really necessary for me to remove my panties for you to cut open my arm?"
In spite of all of the good humor, the ER doctor became increasingly more sober and confused as the night went on. Because my symptoms came and went, he was perplexed as to whether or not there was a clot in my arm. He mentioned that if there were a clot and he sent me home, within 6 hours I could lose complete usage of my arm. The first moment that I had a glimpse that my week was suddenly changing drastically was when he said, "Unfortunately, we do not have a vascular surgeon in Mankato." He continued to report that because of the current road conditions the ambulance was unable to transport me to Minneapolis or Rochester that night. At that point I said something real intelligent like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up for a minute!" To which he simply replied, "Oh yes, this is really serious."
The doctor said he wanted me to meet with the on call surgeon, Dr. Risty (which Bart and I felt was much too close to Dr. Risky) and I told her my complete story. She held my hands as well (everybody held my hands. They were checking the temperature of my hands.) She indicated that she would be calling a vascular surgeon for advice on the case.
The news kept getting worse for the rest of the evening. The doctor indicated that there would be two possible treatments that night and that neither one of them included sending me home. The first would be starting an IV blood thinner and keeping me for observation overnight. The second would be surgery on my arm if a blood clot was found. The next step was a CAT scan which involved a very painful botched IV and the only 45 minutes that my sense of humor completely evaporated during this process so far. After the scan, Bart who had returned home to get some things, returned and we sat together waiting for the news.
(Insert break here. Claudia just broke into song. And she isn't even on pain meds. ~Kari)
Back to dictation-
We were so relieved when the nurse walked in with an IV to begin blood thinners. Using critical thinking skills we (Bart and I) deduced that they would not possibly be sending me in to surgery with a blood thinner. We chatted about the evening and how the observation would probably be over and I would be sent home in the morning. But then "Dr. I may be 33 but I look 15" walked in with the results of the CAT scan. He reported that there was a blood clot in my right shoulder and that they would be taking me to surgery immediately.
Of course I immediately asked why I was on blood thinner if I was heading in to surgery. The doctor went on to explain that I also had a blood clot in my heart that they needed to immediately begin to treat. The biggest concern, because of the positioning of the blood clot, was that it might break into pieces and travel into my brain.
After all this news was delivered and immediately before being wheeled into surgery, I asked the doctor if he had any good news at all for me. His eyes lit up, he flashed me his beautiful smile, and he chuckled and said, "I just got a great deal on my auto insurance."
One final note, as we were packing up my clothing before heading in to surgery, Bart pointed out that I had been wearing two different tennis shoes all day.
It is now 12:15 on Wednesday and we have to take a short break from my trip down memory lane for me to shower. It has been 54 hours and 32 minutes since my last shower. Many people are requesting that I have one.
(The nurse is currently wrapping Claudia's IV hand with Saran Wrap. We'll pause for a moment and allow my fingers to rest. Whew. ~Kari )
Stay tuned for the following segments -
2. The morning after
3. The Transesophageal Echocardiogram experience (Tasky Jen)
4. Other delightful characters such as Samu, the nurses bi***
5. Current status and prognosis