Saturday, September 12, 2009

Of ERs, Exhaustion, and Sleep

First i want to say that i had every intention of doing a 9/11 post yesterday. It is always an emotional day for me and needs to be remembered. To all the families of victims who lost their lives that day, survivors who will forever be changed, and military personnel who have fought for out rights since that horrible day 8 years ago...Thank you! You will forever be in my heart and i will be forever grateful for the heroes that day.

So late Thursday night my sister called me. I had just taken a shower and was about to go to bed at about 11. She was freaking out and ask me if i would look up the ingredients in Excedrin. I agreed and started looking them up.

(Just as a back note my sister is allergic to Sulfa which is an ingredient in some medications.)

As i browsed through all the Internet pages she told me what was going on.

At 5:30 she had taken 2 Excedrin at work for a headache (which my sister never gets headaches lucky biotch). At about 6:30 she began to have some chest pains but didn't think too much about them. As time passed the pain got worse and worse. By the time she made it home at 10:30 her left arm was starting to tingle and go numb. Her hands were also experiencing some numbness. The pain in her chest was making it hard for her to breathe and it felt as though her throat was starting to swell.

She was having suspicions that something in the Excedrin had caused an allergic reaction. She wanted me to check if there was any Sulfa contained in Excedrin. When i confirmed to her that there was not any in the product but that it highly warned of allergic reaction to aspirin we decided she needed to go to the ER and be checked out.

She had never taken aspirin before so she had no clue if it was possible that she was allergic to it. She ask me if i would go with her to the ER and i obliged as i did not feel she needed to go by herself (her boyfriend needed to stay at home with the kids).

We arrived at the hospital at 11:30pm and filled out the little paper explaining all of her symptoms and waited. About 30 minutes later they called her back into triage and she explained in detail what was going on.

This is where are adventure sort of starts. The triage nurse was anything but hospitable. The whole time my sister and I are trying to explain to her the situation she pretty much ignored anything we said and replaced it with her explanation for things. Then in the middle of explaining to her the timeline of things she answers the phone and begins to talk to someone on the other end. After she hung up (about 3 minutes later) she said,"Ok now what were you saying?"!!!

Finally she escorted us back to a little curtain contained room and instructed my sister to strip completely down to nothing and put on the gown (why she needed to have no underwear on for chest pain we still have no clue). Then handed her a cup and told her they needed a urine sample (oh the fun of the ER).

After my sister did the above she laid down in bed and covered up since they had the AC set on 55 and it felt like a freezer in that place. The nurse (who would be our friend and comedic relief for the night) came in and hooked her up to some oxygen and ask her to go through what was going on one more time. At least this time the person who ask was listening and not answering phones in the middle of a explanation.

Then a doctor came in and explained what they wanted to do. Following her by about 20 minutes was a vampire (aka phlebotomist) who drew some labs. All the while my sister is sitting there holding her chest making me promise i wont let her die.

They came in and did an EKG followed an hour later by a chest x-ray. Then more labs (why they did not just put in a IV boggles my mind).

The whole time we are getting a good laugh out of our nurse who is by all means nuts (in a good way) and keeps us laughing.

By about 3am we had not talked to anyone besides our nurse in hours. We finally had opened our curtain so we could view what all was happening around us. We were lucky enough to have the best view in the whole hospital, right beside the nurse's station.

Now as another side note i don't care what anyone else says nurses are what keeps a hospital moving and patients happy. Our nurse was nothing less than the best ER nurse i have ever had. She joked with us, kept us laughing, and tried her best to keep my sister calm.

We watched as one of the other nurses (who had been on shift since 7pm and remember it is now almost 4am) tripped not once, not twice, but 3 times over what we all then began to refer to as the invisible cord. We laughed so hard that if my sister's chest wasn't already hurting i am sure it would have been.

By 4am we informed our hilarious nurse that we really needed to leave because out kids had to be at school in a few hours. Finally the doctor came in with the diagnosis!

Apparently this who thing had been either A) caused by stress, or B) caused by the caffeine in the Excedrin. Yes i know a very in depth diagnosis right! 6 hours of laying naked in a bed with nothing but a thin gown and blanket to be told you are either stressed out (which any mother of 3 would have rolled her eyes at) or you had too much caffeine (once again insert eye roll here).

Now as we were on our way home at 4:30 in the morning my sister and I began to laugh about all of this. Her chest was still hurting and we had no explanation. The amount of caffeine in Excedrin is no more than that of the caffeine in a bottle of soda (Excedrin 65mg, Pepsi 63mg) and since my sister is a soda and tea drinker i would assume her body has some sort of tolerance for caffeine.

As a mother, student, and employee stress is her middle name and has been for years, but if this was just stress why had she never experience this before? The solution of going home and relaxing was obviously not as simple as the doctor would have liked us to believe (she obviously did not have kids).

So we parted ways just in time to get a few hours of sleep before our lovely kids awakened. We did not end up taking the kids to school (it was there last day for the next 3 weeks since our kids attend year round school). My kids were up bright and early at 7:15 and i called and woke my sister up around 9 since she had to be at work at 11.

I laid my kids back down at 11:30 for a nap and we all slept til 3:30. Then my wonderful hubby who got home at about 5 took the kids to the park so i could get a hot bath and relax. I was in bed last night at 8:45 and woke up at 5:30 this morning.

The moral of this story you are wondering?!?

If you must go to the ER go late at night for several reasons.

1)The night shift nurses are nuts and will keep you highly entertained even if in the end you get no solid diagnosis.

2)You have an excellent reason to A) make you kids take a nap and B) go to bed really early.

3) Your husband just might feel sorry for you and give you a few hours of uninterrupted relaxation time.


Brittany said...

Wow crazzzzy times !!! I am also allergic to Sulpha !!! I'm glad she is okay !!

Mom24 said...

I hope your sister is doing better. I love your three conclusions. :-)

I'm also allergic to sulpha.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Just spent the night in the ER last night with Parker....and could write a book about the characters we ran into or away from....

As for Brett....I just figure if you have hold as many records as he does you can tap dance every year....I think he loves the game so much and yet he wonders if his 40 year old body can hold up the entire season....This year he has such a GREAT running back in Adrian Peterson that lots of pressure will be off of him to throw the ball 5o times a game.......