I did not have to wait long. My dad and two younger brothers arrived first. I can’t remember what they said, I am sure there were questions. I asked my dad to get the jeans I had taken off minutes, maybe hours, before–I am not sure how long I was battling my brain–I could have checked my phone to see what time I had spoken to my mother, since we had talked right before, and figured out the time passed but I didn’t.
I had not moved from my position on the floor. I remember rocking my chair back and forth as I waited. It was soothing to focus on the simplicity of its movement. I had my dad put my jeans on me but did not bother with buttoning them. I bent my legs and lay on my back with an ankle on a knee–that was soothing as well. I felt normal again.
The volunteer fire department arrived before the EMTs. My two older brothers, the firefighter and the east-coaster, had been residents for the volunteer department, so I knew, or at least recognized, most of the men huddled over me. They checked my vitals–blood pressure cuff went on, pulse oximeter was placed on a finger, electrodes were stuck to my chest for an EKG, temperature was taken, lights were shone in my eyes, I followed fingers, questions were asked (my speech had returned to me). They could not find anything wrong with me. What made me most uncomfortable was how serious everyone was. I tried making a joke but nobody laughed. I wanted someone to at least smile.
The EMTs and my mother showed up soon after the volunteer had finished checking my vitals and the EMT checked me again. He could not find anything wrong either. Something serious had happened–I had the rug burns on my arms and knees along with my mother who heard my slurred speech to prove it. They gave me three options- go to my parents home and have them monitor me the rest of the night, have my parents drive me to the ER for further testing, or have the ambulance take me to the ER for further testing. My parents decided for me–they wanted the ambulance to take me. I was asked if I could walk to the porch before being put on the stretcher and I said I might be able to with help. The EMT and a volunteer supported me on either side and we went outside where the gurney was waiting.
The process of being pushed to and placed in the ambulance was bumpy but I was okay.
“Do you know my brother?”, I asked the EMT as he was trying to start an IV. He did and he joked about how my brother would have been able to find my difficult veins the first poke. I was rolled through the ER doors and set up in a room. I said goodbye to the EMT and waited for my parents.
I was asked to put on a gown and given those grippy soled hospital socks they give everyone.
The first thing I was asked to do is pee into a receptacle. The nurse helped me into the bathroom, placed the catcher in the bowl, and set me on the toilet. I think I peed, I have a hard time remembering because it was while I was sitting on the toilet that I started throwing up and could not stop. I pulled the “help me” string and grabbed the trash can in the corner. She waited until we thought I had finished and helped me back into bed. I was not finished. I threw up a total of 12 times before the anti-nausea medicine they administered into the IV took affect.
They began tests–blood drawn, EKG, CAT scan, chest x-ray, and they had me walk. They concluded that I had vertigo, gave me more anti-nausea pills, and sent me home with instructions to follow-up with my PCP.
My diagnosis did not feel right. My family and I were nervous. I felt fragile. My surroundings didn’t feel real. I was so tired.
Two days later, while in the car on my way to the recommended follow-up with my PCP, my ER doctor called, “I have been thinking about you a lot and I don’t feel right about your diagnosis. I recommend you getting an MRI.” He didn’t give any other theories about what may be going on with me, he just wanted to make sure I pursued more tests.
I told my PCP what happened and asked him to refer an MRI. He did. The MRI was scheduled a week out. I was scared. I didn’t want something worse to happen while I waited a week for an MRI. I was beginning to feel like a ticking time bomb, but I resigned myself to wait.
It was that day or the day after that my mom talked to my brother, the EMT, and gave him an update about me. He was not happy about the long wait for the MRI and told us to call and demand my MRI get moved to a sooner date. He said they will be able to get me in, I just need to be pushy. Sure enough, they rescheduled my MRI for two days later.
-To Be Continued-