Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seriously? My elbow? Seriously?

When we last left our heroine...she was on her way to the Shawnee-Mission Hospital Emergency room for another ambiguous problem. This time it was....her ELBOW! And now the exciting conclusion...

Saturday, April 11, 2009 - Sunday, April 12, 2009

9:45pm: So, Joe and I roll out to the emergency room a few blocks away from our apartment. This was recommended to me by the on-call doctor at the cancer center. I explained to him that my elbow was red, swollen, and it hurt to move my arm...this sparked his over-the-phone diagnosis of "probably an infection of some kind," which propelled me to the emergency room to get on some serious antibiotics. The problem with any infection for a chemo patient is that our white blood cell counts are low, which makes it hard for us to fight off an infection like your everyday individual. At this point I'm thinking to myself, "Oh, great...only one treatment in and a problem...let's just hope we're getting all the kinks out early!"

10:00pm: Just as the commercial for Shawnee-Mission Emergency states, "I was seen in less than 12 minutes!" Well, yes, I was taken back to triage immediately, but then they put you in an exam room and leave you there to rot and die of old age. A lovely gentleman took my blood pressure and wrote down my prescription drug allergies, then he put me in a room.

10:30pm: A nurse comes in to again take notes on why I was there in the first place and she writes down my prescription drug allergies. She says the doctor will be in shortly.

11:15pm: The doctor, a very nice lady who reminded me a lot of the Dr. Bailey character on Grey's (not in looks, but in character), came in, told me we would get some x-rays and blood work, and she'd be back soon enough. She again asked me about my prescription drug allergies. She wrote them on her hand...hmm...

11:45pm: The nurse came back to take blood for blood work. They didn't want to mess with my pic line so I got jabbed again pushing me further in my resemblance to a pin cushion. At the exact same time, the guy came to take x-rays. The nurse told him to come back in 10 minutes, which I knew would mean it would be at least 30 before I saw him again. And it was...

12:15pm: The guy came back to do x-rays. Somewhere in there, the nurse administered a pain killer through the IV. I nearly vomited, but got through the x-rays.

1:00am: Apparently I fell asleep because I woke up to the lovely Dr. Bailey copy telling me she was sorry for my long wait. X-rays looked fine, so did my blood work, though my white blood cell count was a bit high, suggesting that my body was trying to fight something off--infection perhaps. She said she'd get a nurse in there immediately to administer IV antibiotics and get me checked out.

1:15am: A male nurse that looked about 17--I'm sure he was in his 30s...but he sure looked 17--came in to take my blood pressure again, administer the antibiotics, and get me all checked out so I could FINALLY leave. He AGAIN asked me about my prescription drug allergies. At least they're thorough, right?

1:40pm: With all final tests done, antibiotics done and IV removed, I was finally allowed to leave. I left with 3 new prescriptions to add on to my other 8 (not exaggerating, I really had 8 already) and the instructions to follow up with my oncologist on Monday.

10:30am: I finally came around to consciousness due to the pain in my elbow. I didn't go get my prescriptions at the 24-hour pharmacy because Joe and I were so damn tired at 2:00am. I immediately regretted that decision.

11:00am: Joe drives me to Walgreens because I again can't move my arm enough to drive. I fill my three new prescriptions, one of which is Vicodin....AWESOME!

11:15am: Go home, eat a bagel, take my new pills.

11:30am: Sit back in awe of the speed at which Vicodin takes effect. Suddenly feel as if I could do anything with my still swollen and red elbow. Know this is a bad idea and decide nap with arm elevated is a better idea.

The remainder of my day consisted of napping, television watching, and putting together a puzzle. I ended the day in much less pain than I had when it began, but I was eager to see a doctor that would give me more than 5 minutes of his or her time. I was eager to see what my oncologist would say about the elbow. Tomorrow...a second opinion and a definite diagnosis.

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