I was sitting down, watching another Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World episode when, suddenly, pain.
And not normal pain. Not head pain, or ankle pain, or a sort of intestinal cramp thing that happens a little too often. This was new, and kinda scary. It was like something with claws had reached in and grabbed my right lung and started pulling and squeezing at the same time, and occasionally pausing to claw up the insides of my pleural cavity.
After a call to the nurse line resulted in ‘needs to be seen in one or two hours’, we inconvenienced the roommate with a request for a ride to the ER. Because an ambulance isn’t a reliable way to get to my hospital.
I did try to stop all that from happening, saying that it might be nothing, and maybe I could just go to sleep and it’d all be better when I wake up — I was suddenly really tired, and I didn’t want to bother anyone about it.
But no. Trip to the ER, where I honestly expected to sit in the waiting room for a few hours before being seen.
They took me right back [right back being defined as ‘within the first half hour’, made me change into a gown, and put me on a bed. The words ‘admitted’ were used, which just made things worse. I do not like that word.
Some vitals were taken [blood pressure and a weird, disposable pulse-ox thingie I’d never seen before — I was a little too out of it to be interested, though], and I sat there for a while.
And more sitting.
I watched a guy get moved up to some other floor. Some guy on a respirator and a bunch of other machines, so he was probably going there for a reason. I watched an extremely fat guy with no shirt take off in his power chair for CT, then return. And then the nurse came back.
She came back to give me what I term the ‘punishment IV’. Because it hurt. A lot. Like, unusually a lot.
It wasn’t an actual IV, though, it was just a line in case they needed it. So I didn’t get any fluids, which would’ve at least been something.
They also took a pretty good portion of my blood while doing this. I got a hell of a lot more tired after this, and just sorta zoned out until they came back to give me an EKG.
Then this rather nice not-nurse happened by — based on what I observed, she was above ‘Janitor’, but below the nurse who was doing stuff, who was below the doctor, who only stopped in twice — once to ask me if I was pregnant, and once to dismiss me.
Run-on there. Anyway, she offered me a blanket, and it was the most magical blanket in the world. It was…freshly baked, is the only way I can describe it. More than dryer-hot. This shit was oven fresh.
I became friends with the blanket. We went up to XRay together [where I was asked about pregnancy again — didn’t they test all that blood they took, just in case? Can’t they do that? I thought they could. It would’ve been nice if they had, because, as I kept telling them, pregnancy would be Very Bad, with the IUD].
Being pushed in a wheelchair was kinda depressing, because I wasn’t really enjoying it. Nobody ever pushes you in a wheelchair when you’d enjoy it.
The chest Xray was…well, I was too distracted by the shiny new robotic machine and the fact that I couldn’t actually do the ‘hold onto this bar with both hands’ because of the punishment IV to really pay attention to anything else. It was just an Xray, and I was tired.
Also, I wanted to get back into the chair before my magical blanket friend lost all that heat and became an ordinary blanket.
Another depressing wheelchair ride — where I observed that radiology-floor’s floor was much nicer than ER’s floors. Hardwood in a nice pattern, instead of very old, unevenly waxed tile — and back into the bed.
And my blanket was dying. This was also sad. It was a short life, but it died being held by someone who appreciated that life.
I thought about telling someone. Then I thought some more about how that conversation would go.
‘My blanket is dying,’ I’d say.
The nurse, who was currently doing something on one of the computers, would turn around and stare at me in that way that people will when they’re pretty sure someone said something completely batshit insane, but they’re not sure. ‘What?’
‘My blanket. It’s dying. I think it’s already dead. It’s cold.’
That look again, Oh, lord, she’s crazy, perhaps with a dash of concern and pity for the crazy person. And then they’d start getting ready to put me away in the special ward for a while, until they could figure out which flavour of crazy I was, and what heavy-duty un-crazying meds I needed.
So I didn’t tell them that my blanket was dying. I just sat there, holding it, mourning a little at its passing…because I was a little cold again.
Then the doctor stopped by to tell me that my tests were all clear, that there was nothing seriously wrong with me, and I should take some Naproxen when I got home, because it was probably just inflammation.
I took that as, “You’re fine. Stop wasting our time, and get out of my ER.” Which, honestly, was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be at home, in my own bed, under my own blankets.
I hoped I could do that, because I had no idea where anyone was. Not that it mattered, because I had to wait for the IV to be taken out. I really wanted it out. I wanted out, because I was now sitting without curtains to make me feel like I was in my own little fake-room, under the corpse of My Best Friend, the Blanket, and it was all getting a little too weird.
Also, I was starting to think about Super Death Germs, and how the whole place was probably crawling with them, and how I didn’t want to have to inconvenience everyone again when my arm fell off from what, in this hypothetical nightmare, turned out to be a supercharged yeast infection.
IV out, curtain as closed as it could be, and I started trying to figure out how the hell I was supposed to get out of the gown. I forgot that they tied, and how they tied.
I decided that it was a new form of alien life, and that I’d be stuck with it until it finished laying its eggs and let go.
I figured it out, eventually, got back into my own clothes, and wandered out. Without my sunglasses, so I had to go back for those.
Then, home, bed, sleep.
Sleep came after a couple of episodes of Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers, which might be the series I remembered, because there were weird things IN the skull in this intro.
I woke up again at two in the afternoon, sat up, met the pain again, came downstairs, and decided to write this.
I just remembered that I didn’t take my new pill before going to sleep. There was some concern that this was a side effect of the new med — I don’t think it is, though. There probably would’ve been some sign of an actual problem if it was, and it probably would’ve shown up sooner.
Now, my arm hurts, the pain is still there, but I’m not as worried about it, and…I’m still very tired. Which might as well be my excuse for the likely incoherence of this post.