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Trip to the ER, yay me!



Friday night I went to "happy hour" with Galen's co-workers... we drank a lot. More than I usually drink, but not so much that I was vomiting at the bar or anything. We caught a cab home, and after walking to the house... things turned a little sour. Yes. Very sour. I went into the bathroom and huddled over the toilet. Better out than in, I decided. And out it came.

Feeling better, I clutched the cold porcilein as my savour.. remembering the jokes of how comforting it is during times such as these. And I curled up and slept.

Later in the night I woke up and puked a few more times. This time it was the water that I'd consumed, coming out. Blech.

In the morning, I puked some more. There went that water I drank a couple hours prior. It was now that I crawled into bed. I wasn't immediately drinking water after I puked, each consumption of water was some time after puking, and each subsequent pukage was some time after I drink water.

I took a few sips of water sometime therafter, and went to sleep. I woke up with another bolt for the toilet. Fun. And here I thought I was sober and through the thick of it. I was even feeling pretty good. Hah. No more water for me, I decide. I crawl back into bed.

An hour later... I bolt for the bathroom. There is nothing to come up this time. Just bile. Oh joy I think to myself. This is nasty. I heave, and I heave. I heave so hard that there are tears coming from my eyes. This is revenge from my stomach, I decide. It's making -sure- that I never do this again. Absolutely sure, I think.. as I heave one last time. I crawl back into bed.

An hour goes by... and the above occurance repeats. Again. And again.. and again. Galen has by now woken up and feels fine enough to go with my friend Adam who was at our place waiting for me to rouse to work on the thunderbird that afternoon. Galen treats him to lunch for apology as we both came home drunk last night, and they catch the bus to the cars and both drive them home.

The puking doesn't cease. While they're out, I call Galen and ask him to bring home some cookies and some gatorade. I can tell that I'm severely dehydrated, and it's possible that my body just doesn't like pure water right now and needs some salts/electrolytes to go with it.

More time goes by .. I puke probably.. 5 more times. I'm begging for it to stop. I'm drinking water now just so that when I do puke, it isn't dry heaving and bile. I'm feeling terrible at this point, this isn't like any hangover I've had. I feel like I'm dying. My head doesn't hurt. My stomach feels like it's taking turns with my liver in some great battle, and it's winning. I look at the veins in my arms, and don't even see any. I'm more dehydrated now than I've ever been. Something needs to break the cycle. Time for a trip to the ER... I phone Galen up and tell him to skip the cookies, come get me, we're going to the ER. He says he's not far from home, and he arrives shortly thereafter.

Here's the tough part. Every time I stand up, I get dizzy and puke. Somehow I've got to make it to the car, and then survive the car trip to the doc. I gather some clothes, make sure Galen has my wallet. I gather what little strength I have... and I snag the waste paper trashcan next to the toilet. Yes, this will be my new friend.. I think. I wretch in the toilet for a moment. Ok. Now's the time. I make it to the car and it's agonizingly bright outside. Galen starts out and I keep my eyes shut. But I'm moving. This makes me dizzy. So I open my eyes and that's not much better. I compromise with them half shut, trying to look at the road, trying to look away. About a mile in I ask Galen to stop, and I proceed to puke in the trashcan a few times. Nothings coming up. And I feel terrible, for it must look, and smell, horrendous to Galen. I mutter as much to him. He resumes. This time driving a lot faster. If a cop pulls us over, I'm only worried about the time it will take for me to look at him and say "Please... just escort us to the ER. I'm really dying here.." .. there is no way an officer could write us a ticket for speeding with how I looked and sounded. At this point I probably should have snagged an ambulance. Ohwell.

We arrive at the ER. I'm not very conscious. I get out, and follow Galen in. I'm partially aware that I'm clutching the wastebasket like a stuffed teddybear. Some lady asks us some questions. There are a LOT of people at the ER. It's a moderately sized one too ... but the place is rather packed. I remember finding some place to sit down. There's a guy's can of coke at the chair, and some ladys purse next to it. I don't give a shit, I sit down and stare at the trashcan. Please don't let me puke in front of all these people, I say to myself. I spend all the effort I've got not making them all more miserable than they arleady are, and I say and do nothing. I don't even move.

I'm not sure how much time went by after that. A few minutes or a few hours. I don't think it was long, and I heard my name called. I hadn't heard anyone elses name called more than a couple of times, so someone must think I look pretty bad when playing the serious game of Triage. I sit down in a chair, while the triage nurse figures out just how fucked up I am. I get asked a few questions, get my vital signs taken. They ask me to stand up to measure them again and I'm not sure how long I can stand there but they take them anyways. They explain that they're packed, and that it's going to be a bit. That I need an IV and that if I start feeling worse to tell them and they'll go out and start one on me right in front of everyone. They'd prefer that they not have to do that though, so if I can just hang in there they'll do it in the ER.

Time goes by. I'm not sure how much. Probably about an hour. It's all hazy for me. They call my name and in I walk to the ER. It's a big room with a lot of beds seperated by large curtains. I'm guessing there's a dozen or so beds in this particular setup. It's roomy and nice and smells clean. I lay down on the bed and I wait. I've been stripped to just wearing a gown and my shorts. It's cold inside and I'm feeling quite cold. Galen tries to get me a blanket a few times but fails; they're very busy. There's a kid in the bed to my left getting stitches in his face, and an 82 year old lady to my right who's dizzy and can't talk right. I hear words like "CT Scan" while listening to the kid whimper and sob since his friends told him that every stitch took 1 hour to get, and that they'll have to put him to sleep to do it. His father calls his friends dumbasses, and his mom exits stage left, rather unmotherlylike "Sorry hon there's just some things I can't handle and blood is one of them.." ... I pass into more unconsciousness.

More time goes by. Dunno how much. My stomach has firmly wedged itself into a state somewhere on the brink of puking and underlying with severe hunger. If that's possible.

Now a somewhat cute guy comes in and starts an IV on me. He tells me there'll be a sharp poke, but I don't care and I don't even flinch. First it's taking blood out, then it's putting in the contents of a big bag hanging. The contents feel cold to me, and I shiver even more.

Time goes by, I'm introduced to a new nurse. Shift change, I think to myself. I get another bag going into me. More questions. Something for my nausea is injected into the IV. I'm told it will burn a little. It does. But it's nothing compared to the agony that my stomach is putting me through so I ignore it.

Finally a doctor comes in. More questions. More answers. When I told her how many times I vomited, she became concerned. It was here that I think that I became differentiated from someone who had just a bad hangover, and someone who had a hangover trigger something else. What that something else was, we had to find out. For that, I'd need this term that I heard prior spoken to another patient .. .a "CT Scan" of my insides. They were concerned that there was blockage in my GI tract somewhere. Makes sense, I think. My stomach was trying to bring up whatever it was that was blocking things.

So... some really nice guy from radiology comes in carrying two tall cups of ginger ale and a timer. It's actually Barium and ginger ale, to provide contrast for when they scan me. I'm to drink 1/2 of each cup every 15 minutes, and then lay on my side for an hour and then they'll come get me. I eagerly take a sip of the ginger ale, my stomach no longer very upset, but still unhappy about being so empty, I think. Yes, this ginger ale will be happily received. 2 sips in and my stomach tightens into a ball about the size of my fist, and equally as tight.. and it sends a message to my brain that says "STOP! NO MORE! OR ELSE!" ... it's the "Or else.." that bothers me the most. Fearing that it might attack other vital organs, I stop drinking it. Galen pressures me to drink more, I tell him off. I tell him fuck no, I'm not drinking any more, it tastes awful and my stomach is not having any of it. Time goes by. The timer ringing wakes me from sub-consciousness, and I force myself to take some more of the ginger ale down. A few sips in and I get more threats from my stomach .. this time it's clutching one of my kidneys, it has a gun to it... and it's telling me that if I drink any more, it's going to off it executioner style. I believe it.

More time goes by .. I'm introduced to another nurse. Shift change again. There have been a lot of people moving through this ER. It's all a blur. The radiology guy comes by, and does a very good job hiding his dissapointment at me not having drank all that ginger ale down. This guy is top notch, I think. The nurse comes by again, and I'm informed that if I can't drink it down, they're going to have to put a tube down my nose and put it in that way. I'm told that will really suck, and I wholeheartedly agree. They ask me if I want something for pain or for nausea (or both), anything that I can do that will allow me to drink that stuff down. The hedon in me says "Ask for the good stuff! It's probably morphine!!" but my hedonism streak is on hold. I ask for something for the nausea, and they give me another injection. This time it's the same anti-nausea stuff that they give cancer chemotherepy patients. This is the big stuff. It doesn't burn. It makes me sleepy though. My stomach is passed out, gun in one hand, kidney in the other. My kidney retreats back to where it should be. I slurp down the rest of the ginger ale from that cup. My stomach stirs a little, but it's out cold. I slip into unsconsciousness, awakened by the buzzer. I drink half the ginger ale from that cup. More time goes by. Galen informs me that he has to go get some food and take Saku out. It's something like 6pm now. The whole day has gone by. My ideas of being fixed up and out working on the thunderbird have been rendered to just wanting to eat dinner, and that has been condensed down to just wanting to be home tonight. Galen leaves. The timer goes off. I finish the ginger ale. I reset it to 30 minutes, and doze off.

Radiology guy comes in, asks me how I'm doing. I'm feeling better, I'm on my 3rd liter of fluids to my IV. I'm more coherent, I look around more. I'm proud that I set the timer to 30 minutes the moment I finished that ginger ale, so that they would know how long it had been since I finished it. So clever, I think to myself. It's all I can do...

I'm whisked away to some big machine, and switched from the stretcher to the machine. More stuff gets hooked up to my IV, and I'm told I gotta take a lot of deep breaths. That on the third one this new machine hooked to my IV is going to inject iodine into my blood, that I'll feel a hot flushing sensation all over my body and then that will go away and they'll be done.

The machine makes a lot of noises. I hold my breath a few times. The little machine makes some high pitched noises, and I see what looks like the biggest syringe I've ever seen in my life, about the size of a pepsi can.. depress it's plunger like some.. lethal injection. I think to myself that it isn't going to actually put ALL THAT liquid into me. Not all at once, anyways.

It does.

I feel hot, I feel my nuts get very warm. I feel very odd. Very, very odd. Like I can feel every single vein and artery in my body suddenly ... and then it's gone. And I'm being wheeled back to the ER.

Galen is there reading a book when I get back. More questions. More answers. More time goes by. I sleep.

Doctor comes by ... I wake up. They ask how I'm feeling. I feel fine, I say. It feels weird to say that. I look around, I look at my arm. It's covered in things taped to it. An IV needle, a valve and a quick disconnect, there's two bracelets on my wrist, one for ID and one for what stuff I'm allergic to. There's an electric monitoring device secured to my finger, taped in place, with a 9 pin serial port hanging off it, it too taped down.

The doctor says that there's no blockage, that it looks good. They wondered if I knew that one of my kidneys was malrotated (not in the shape of a kidney) .. I told them that I did. That I've known since I was about 6 years old. I was born that way. Back then, they thought I had cancer, and it took them 30 chest x-rays to decide that it was just a kidney that wasn't in the shape of a kidney.

More time went by, and I was discharged. They took all the stuff off my arm, explaining that it always hurt more removing it than it did putting it in place. At the same time they're performing an exam on my testicles, just on the off chance to see if maybe something was wrong there as they're still unsure as to why I was vomiting so much. At the same time one nurse tells me it's going to hurt a lot ripping the tape off my arm hairs, I inform the other that I'm pierced -down there- (I have a frenum piercing in my cock) ... and they don't even blink an eye, but it becomes obvious that I'm not going to care about the pain of having the IV removed. At least to me it did. No problems with the nuts. They tell us they want a followup today just to make sure, and then I'm walking to Galens car. Feeling better. Feeling strange. But my stomach is still zoned out and just fine.

I ate some chicken broth, then some oreo cookies, and some applesauce.. and some applejuice. I was definitely hungry, and this was a good sign. Galen and I laid down to watch some TV, and I passed out. Then we went to bed and I slept.

Woke up today around noon ... and that's where I'm at. Feeling ok. I did some laundry, under the guise that I'd start the day off fine and go get my hair cut and suff. I walked up and down the stairs a few times doing the laundry, and then got -REAL- dizzy ... so I plunked down in the chair and decided... maybe I won't be getting my hair cut. I'll just write this out instead.


- Keman

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
khyle
Oct. 2nd, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC)
*snugs a woof* Man... Seems something definitely did a number on you... :( I'm glad you are feeling better though and definitely go see the doctors for the followup... Need to make sure you are A-OK and stuff...
wolffit
Oct. 2nd, 2005 06:07 pm (UTC)
Heheh. There was only one shift change the whole time we were there. You saw different nurses because the nurses share all the patients. They were understaffed, so there was more sharing than normal.

I went to walk Saku around 8pm, not 6. :-)
cerisewolf
Oct. 2nd, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC)
Maybe you got food poisoning or you got into a bad bottle of booze.

When I was thirteen I caught a bug that lasted about 32 hours, every time I drank anything I puked. Pepto Bismal looks really weird coming back up -.o
hydra_velsen
Oct. 2nd, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC)
Wow sounds like a fun night. Glad your ok keman.
kysh
Oct. 2nd, 2005 07:22 pm (UTC)
I had something like this happen to me half a year ago. Drank a bit of Vodka while watching a volume of "War and Remembrance", and puked all night long.

Actually, I felt like I was dying. Later I asked Orzel and he had the same symptoms, so we figured that it must have been food poisoning. Most godawful night ever.

I swear, I can't think of a single thing I hate worse than nausea. Constant pain is preferable.

Sorry you had to go through that crap.

-Kassie
(Deleted comment)
kyhwana
Oct. 2nd, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC)
Ouch, from what ilthuain told me of his experience, that sounds like alcohol poisoning. o.o

*hugs* Glad you're better though. Just don't go boozing for a while..
ilthuain
Oct. 2nd, 2005 11:34 pm (UTC)
Health care worker and drunk weighs in.
RE: Kyhwana's post

I drank eight shots of rum and vodka in short succession (before I trained to be a seasoned wetbrain), and ended up in the ER with a very similar story to yours, sans the CT. Your symptoms sound almost identical to mine, and I was diagnosed with alcoholic gastritis.

Terrible feeling. All the vomiting throws your electrolytes to hell, leading to a rather disturbing state of mind (for me, there was a strange dreamlike conversation with the triage nurse). Also, there is some flu like nastiness because white blood cells flood into your stomach lining in order to control the inflammation.

Anyway, I'm no expert on this subject, just a layman. In my experience you have around five days of feeling lousy to look forward to. Be gentle on your insides, lay off food with loads of acid (coffee, for example), and just take it easy in general.

Also, switch to beer. Worked for me.

Good luck, internet stranger!
kysh
Oct. 2nd, 2005 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Health care worker and drunk weighs in.
Yeah, I switched to beer after my little run in with food poisoning. Exclusively. And not lots of it. Sometimes I'll have a glass of wine (1) with dinner, but otherwise nothing 'harsher' than beer. And only in moderation.

-Kassie
bikercheetah
Oct. 3rd, 2005 01:45 am (UTC)
Uh, ow. That brings suckage to a whole new level. As long as you're okay NOW...

Kind of why I don't drink at all, even if I was allowed to...
cerisewolf
Oct. 3rd, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
awwwwwwwwwwwww no it's not, ya wuss -.o
laceaurora
Oct. 3rd, 2005 03:37 am (UTC)
so glad you are recovering man *hugs tightly*
arrowtwolf
Oct. 3rd, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)
Yowch. Hope you'll be feeling 100% soon wolfy. The worst I ever had was when I went through mono, the first night my symptoms manifested I had to get up every half hour to puke, by morning nothing was coming out. But later in the day it actually stopped and I just felt sick for a couple of days and then got better. (I think I had the easiest mono ever.)
aldebron
Oct. 3rd, 2005 09:21 am (UTC)
Suckage, sorry to hear
gryph0n
Oct. 3rd, 2005 12:47 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Hope you continue to feel better, Keman! Food poisoning + hangover is never a good thing. Glad to hear it wasn't anything truely serious, though it sounds like it sure felt like it.
(Deleted comment)
_voss_
Oct. 4th, 2005 08:25 am (UTC)
All the best
Dear Keman,

Sorry I have been out of touch with livejournal and the internet, in general.

Listen, I know how much you have accomplished in the automotive world, and how much you have yet to accomplish. It's funny, you've done things with mustangs that I wish to God I knew how to do with my Porsche 914 at this point in time. And my problem is that it takes alot of skill that you have and I most certainly don't.

And so it occurs to me that one of the biggest shames I can think of is to see, in writing, Eric - 1975 to 2005.

Be careful friend. And I'll keep this, your post, in mind. I have been doing my share of happy-hour routines among co-workers. Thanks for letting the world know about what can happen.

Warmest personal regards,

-Voss-
doniago
Oct. 5th, 2005 04:35 am (UTC)
Glad you're okay...that sounds like a pretty horrendous experience.

I haven't been in a hospital, much less as a patient, in years. Last time I was in one was to see my grandmother before she passed away from cancer. In some ways I consider this a bad thing, as it's given my imagination plenty of time to demonize them.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )