This just hasn’t been my summer! In June on the way home from vacation in Texas, we hit a wild hog and did quite a bit of damage to our car. In July I end up with a case of the shingles and go to the doctor for the first time in over 10 years. Then last evening, leaned back in my easy chair, I started having bad back and chest pains. After setting around for two hours and trying to find something that would relieve the pain, I gave up and ask the Warden to take me to the emergency room.
Well now folks, I’m here to tell you that the ER’s you see on TV is not the way the ER is in our town. Now they were nice, don’t get me wrong, but I was kind of expecting a furious flurry of activity to determine just how close I was to dying. Instead I was put into a room and left for dead. I just figured once they seen me they had written me off as a lost cause.
Finally one little nurse came in and asked who my doctor was and other simple questions. (My assumption was she needed to know who to have sign the death certificate.) I told her I was in a lot of pain and even moaned a few times to validate the claim. She had me lay back on the gurney and gave a few pokes at my upper abdomen, which almost sent me to the roof. And then came that question that all doctors and nurses go to college to learn, “Did that hurt?”
“What was your first clue,” I asked, “the fact that my eyes rolled back or the blood curdling scream?”
“Would you like for me to get you something for the pain?” she asked in a rather smug tone of voice.
“No” I answered with the same smug tone. “I like laying here in a fetal position gasping for each breath.”
She disappears from the room for what seems like hours then returns with a small cup full of creamy lime green liquid. She hands it to me and demands, “Drink this!”
“What is it?” I ask.
“A green lizard” is her reply.
“Puréed?” I ask in astonishment. I am beginning to wonder when the witch doctor in his full regalia is going to show up and drive the evil spirits away.
“Sir, if we are to help you, you must do what the doctor orders”.
Well as I turn the cup up and drink the slimy stuff, my mouth and throat go instantly numb and swallowing becomes difficult. Now I KNOW I am being put out of my misery by some sort of paralyzing poison. I try reading this nurse’s nametag so that I can come back to haunt this woman.
“Does that relieve the pain?”
“No!” I sputter.
She disappears again as I lay there writhing in pain. After another hour or so she shows up with a blood pressure machine, one of those little bags full of clear liquid, some test tubes and a whole bunch of needles. She then wraps my arm with the BP cup and turns it on. It nearly squeezes my arm off but finally the numbers appear.
212 over 106
“Well” she says, “it does appear you are in some pain.”
“How many more test have you got to run before you’re convinced?” I ask.
She then takes my hand. Finally I think, she is feeling remorse for this suffering soul on the gurney. She then grabs a 6-inch long needle and aims for a vein on the back of my hand.
“Hold still” she demands as she works the needle in, “we need to put this bag of fluids in you.”
“Can’t I just drink it?” I plea.
“We need blood samples too” she responds as she draws the first vial of what must have been a hundred.
When I am fully drained of blood, she rolls up a machine with all sorts of electrical wires and couplings to it. She then starts peeling little sticky things (kind of reminded me of duct tape) all over my body and chest. (Now folks, the ONLY place I am not covered with hair is the top of my head.) She turns on the machine and prints off a couple feet of paper with a graph on it.
“Looks normal” she says as she gives the first duct tape tab a jerk. She removes the remaining 50 tabs in the same manner and I now have little bald patches all over my body and chest. I sort of look like I have scabies or something.
They then roll me down to the x-ray room where they do a series of film in various positions. Then back to the torture room. In a few minutes the doctor on call shows up toting one of the x-ray pictures which he holds to the light and points. “You have a lot of big stones in your gall bladder. I’ll bet you are in a lot of pain” as the nurse begins injecting some liquid into the IV slot.
I begin to feel a warmth take over as the morphine creases through my veins. Why didn’t they do that 3 hours ago, I think to myself as I drift off?
The “rest of the story” will come in a few days. (If I survive the surgery!)