Friday, January 11, 2008

"Nurse!"

Funny thing happened on Wednesday. I went to the emergency room and ended up staying overnight for a Manhattan sleepover at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital. Ha ha. Oh. Not so funny.

It all started on Tuesday evening with a temperature of 102 plus degrees and violent shivering, which then led to zero appetite and abdominal pains, which then led to a visit to my doctor, which then led to a trip to the nearby emergency room. All over some tiny fear that I might have had appendicitis.

Nineteen hours, many phone calls, a pelvic exam, CT scan, blood work, chest x-ray, antibiotics, IV, and a belly rub by a jolly old Jewish grandfather type of a surgeon it was determined that I didn't have the appendicitis. Although relieved, they made me stay overnight and unfortunately they were out of beds so guess who got to camp out in the emergency room?

Since emergency rooms are not known for their quiet, serene, sleep inducing qualities, I spent the night waking up off and on. At 4 am it was to beg someone for some Tylenol. At 6 am it was for blood work as some strange man leered at me from the bed across. "Sir, you need to leave," I remember the nurse telling him sternly. "You've already been discharged!"

At some point in the morning I had the fuzzy yet distinct feeling of a person close to me. When I opened my eyes there was a doctor leaning over a woman who was then occupying the bed next to me. (Apparently sketch guy finally did leave.) From what the doctor was saying I could tell that he was using an instrument to shine a light into the woman's ear canal.

"I need to see if it's still moving," I heard him say.

The woman whimpered in pain.

What?! Was WHAT still moving?? IN HER EAR??? I couldn't see! The doctor was blocking my view. And in my fevered state I had unpleasant memories of watching Star Trek II: The Wrath on Khan as a child and that alien thing that would crawl into people's ears while scaring the bejeesus out of my little self.

Somehow I managed to fall back asleep even though I was still trying to figure out what on earth was moving in that lady's ear. When I woke up for realsies in the morning, I was hungry for the first time in two days. The nurse hooked me up with a styrofoam tray of hospital delights -- juice, cold coffee, wheat roll, jam, margarine, milk, and Cheerios. Never had I been so happy to see genetically modified grains and factory farm produced, hormone laden 1% milk. And the Smucker's strawberry jam practically tasted like the nectar of the gods. It's funny what hunger will do to you.

As I feasted on my meal of processed foods, the doctor in the cubical next to me told a man that they would get him his methadone. And the nurse then asked if he had any good veins left. At that point I suddenly began to long for some privacy. Or maybe it was just the comforts of my own home.

I was discharged late Thursday morning after the attending physician told me it was a viral infection -- probably a variant of the flu. Tired and feeling gross, I went home to Brooklyn where Ms. K made me some Jewish penicillin -- aka chicken soup. What an improvement over hospital food! Got to love a girl who can make soup for an invalid. She's a keeper.

3 comments:

Ms. K said...

Aw. You're a keeper too:) Don't doubt the healing powers of Jewish penicillin and some good lady love.

EnnuiHerself said...

(((Rouge)))

Guess this explains why you haven't been online . . . Hope everything's all better now.

Re: The Ear Critter. I watched a show on TLC in which some sort of large insect (with wings!) crawled inside a lady's ear. She had to have it removed in the ER.

Anonymous said...

The bug in question is most likely a cockroach. They are common in the city and are active at night when people are sleeping. They often crawl in peoples ears. It's a nice safe warm environment for them. Very typical case in the ER.