Tuesday, February 22, 2011

that one time i was in the hospital

as janet wrote about yesterday (read it if you don't know why i went to the ER), i was in the hospital last year over superbowl weekend (can you imagine if it was this year?? good thing i didn't have a team preference in superbowl last year). here's the story, morning glory:

when we got to the ER at about 11, i got sick when i was checking in, and then i remember getting hooked up to an IV because i was dehydrated and i fell asleep. mom and my man were with me, and dad was in the waiting room with my friends. eventually my dad came in the room and my friends went home. at about 2 am, my blood sugars were normal, but the doc said he wanted to keep me overnight because my heart rate was elevated. GRAND. i had never - literally, NEVER in my life stayed in the hospital except when i was born.

the next morning, EARLY, (you know you never really sleep at the hospital) i had a variety of heart related tests ... a scan i can't remember the name of where they put dye in my arm first, a stress test and an ultrasound of my heart. i was never asked if i wanted them done, never told by a doctor why they were being done, and never even saw the doctor who ordered them. actually, i saw no doctor before these tests except the one in the ER. i was told was that they were checking to make sure everything was ok ... since this was my first hospital experience and i felt like crud, i didn’t question the testing. i did, however, cry and want to know why i was having a stress test done when i was 27 and have no heart problems and the reason i came to the hospital was my blood sugar was low and my stomach was upset. (hello run-on sentence) and the nurses assured me the test would come back normal and i was probably more anxious about having the test done ... um, then why do it? just saying.

a doctor finally came in and saw me after the tests. he had on khakis and a button up, no name tag, did not identify himself, asked about my symptoms and why i had come to the ER, did not examine me in any way and said they would be looking at the results of my tests. after that, i called my dad (who had gone home to get stuff done, mom hung out half the day til my man got there), and he called our family physician. my family doctor was surprised but suggested the hospital was just being cautious, and said he did not see any reason that i’d be kept in the hospital.

later i saw a different doctor who said they thought everything was ok, but said they would keep me another night for observation. after my stress test, i was attached to a second heart monitor ... and since i was on the cardiac floor, i was already wearing one. yes, cardiac floor. for an upset stomach and low blood sugar. so now i had two heart monitors on. (remember that stomach bug? want to talk about how much fun it is to go to the bathroom wearing two heart monitors that you can't take off? while pulling an iv pole?)

i didn't get to go home that day. that night, they restricted what i could eat because a stomach ultrasound was scheduled for the next morning. yet again, i didn't see a doctor before this to explain why they were doing it. no one told me who ordered the test. i was told by a nurse that they (WHO IS THEY?) wanted to make sure everything was normal because my stomach had been upset. how many people with an upset stomach ever have an ultrasound for that reason alone? that confused me. as with the heart tests, nothing extraordinary was revealed.

i talked to my dad again after the ultrasound, it became clear that i needed to take control, start questioning exactly what was going on, and have a say in what happened next. when i got breakfast, i actually felt hungry, and felt much better after i ate. i waited for a doctor or someone to come tell me something, and finally a third doctor came in when i was eating lunch.

the doctor i met with next expressed some surprise at what had happened over the past two days… he asked ME why all these tests had been done. he said that from the tests i had been given he was expecting to see an 80 year old, not a 27 year old with no previous heart issues. he was confused about who the doctor who did not identify himself had been. he basically said that he would not go so far as to document that anything wrong had been done, he would not have ordered all the tests I’d been given. he was also the first of three cardiologists to tell me that the stomach virus and dehydration would have affected my blood sugar (of course, i knew that and i'm not a doctor), and that he would have treated me for dehydration and monitored my blood sugar if he had been there when i arrived. the major thing he said was that it’s common knowledge to basically everyone in the medical field that a persons heart rate elevates when they are dehydrated. so glad the ER doctor thought of that...

basically, the next ten minutes flew by in comparison to the two and a half days i had stayed in the hospital. within five minutes, the first heart monitor was removed and within a few more minutes the second was
removed. i was told i could get dressed to leave and the discharge paperwork was done. about 20 minutes after meeting that doctor, mom and i were waiting at the door for dad to pick us up.

when i saw my endocrinologist two days after my got out of the hospital (because go figure, my scheduled appointment was the monday i left the hospital) and told him what had happened, his reaction was disbelief. he was basically speechless as i told him what happened, and he said, “they did what?”

i guess the worst damage done in all of this a distrust of that hospital. i went because my friends made me i knew something was wrong. i will of course go back to the hospital if i ever have to because of diabetes, but i might think about which ER i choose before i do that.

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