Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Too many titles

"Adventures in trolling." "ER Escapades." "The Depression Thread Live!" "Captain Comedy Goes to the Hospital." I couldn't decide which to put up there.

First, you really have to love someone who hides behind the name "Anonymous" and tells you that killing yourself is a good idea. At this point, the list of suspects is too long to pin down who would say such a thing. (Although the writing style does point to one person, but I can't be sure.) I deleted the comment, as I need no further vitriol from someone without the guts to identify themselves. What's more, I simply pity them. It must be rough living without an emotional heart. =*(

Anyway, I should get to my great toe adventure, which is scary, annoying, stupid, and...well, it's an ongoing list of negative adjectives. BE WARNED: I'm going to describe the situation rather graphically. I can only hope you haven't eaten before reading.

It started when I went to change the dressing on the toe. This is the second toe on my left foot; the same one up for debate when I see my podiatrist about whether or not it should simply be removed. The toe, itself, now hurts all the time. That's saying something, when you consider that the doctor was able to probe the wound down to the bone without my feeling a thing. It was ACTIVELY draining, blood and clear pus, which is not something it's done before. Parts of the area around the wound look like they're literally dying. Becky took one look and practically went into panic mode, but left it up to me as to what we should do.

I refused to do anything immediately. If the loss of this toe was going to be forced, it wouldn't happen until the next day, anyway. But I DID believe I needed the attention of an emergency room. Still, Becky had a class to attend, and I wasn't going to let her skip that. (Yeah, I got my priorities all ironed out.) When she got home, I'd take a shower, (the last I might get to take in a long time), and then we'd be off.

Yeah...things should be that easy in my life. She was home by 6:30, and we didn't get to the ER until around 8:00. And then we waited...and waited...and waited.

There were a number of people ahead of me, and one of them was a woman in her late 60s. She was suffering with bleeding ulcers, and was miserable with them. What's more, she couldn't help bringing up the fact that she'd just lost her husband of 47 years on 7 March. She revealed she was on antidepressants, but made it sound like she might not be taking them daily. I stressed that she needed to do so, and might want to inquire about anti-anxiety meds...because the mere mention of her husband brought her to the brink of tears. I also told her to seek grief counseling, as I have never known what to properly say to someone facing the loss of a loved one.

Okay...so that covered "The DT Live" portion. Now for the part where those who prefer to vilify me can see that I'm actually a nice guy, if they'd just allow me to be so.

I'd been waiting about two hours. The woman with the ulcers had been waiting for three. When the head nurse came out and called me back, I asked why the woman with the ulcers wasn't being seen before me. I was in discomfort and semi-panicked, but had a bit of Valium on board to keep me calm. This woman had nothing save her faith that the doctors would be able to do something to help. So the head nurse went back to see what was going on...and didn't return for another 45 minutes. In the end, the woman with the ulcers was taken before me...

...but the ER was insanely busy that night. One ambulance after another was rolling up with serious cases, and they took priority over someone "with a boo boo on his toe."

While some of my time was spent reading, a great deal of time was spent talking to people around me, and keeping them laughing. Once I start telling a story, I can usually put a comedic spin on it to keep those who listen entertained. (The troll who suggested killing myself would be good seems to find humor in the fact that my life is often crap, so I guess it works here, too.) My beloved certainly adds to those tales, as some of our funnier adventures receive an ongoing commentary from her perspective. At one point, it would almost seem that I was being verbally abusive to her as she headed to the vending machines for a snack. Once she was gone, I said, "You only think I'm getting away with that. She's gonna kick the crap out of me later." I got another laugh, which was good.

Speaking of abuse...It would seem that one of the standard questions asked by the triage nurse was whether or not the patient is being abused at home. When she asked this, I remained silent, but looked directly at Becky, who cracked up. Any physical "abuse" occurs by accident, such as an elbow to the face while trying to get comfortable in bed, or accidentally stepping on one anothers toes. And the verbal abuse...it's rare, and always done with humor. Becky and I are entirely too in love to intentionally harm one another.

My time in the ER was producing a rather large problem for me. My blood sugar was rising due to the stress of events pertaining to the toe, and I hadn't thought to bring insulin...or painkillers, for that matter. As my sugar went up, so did the pain throughout my body from neuropathy. Thus, at around the four-hour mark, I asked about what would happen if I simply went home and tried again the next day. I was warned that my wait could be just as long, as well as the fact that I could get billed directly for having registered, but not stayed to see a doctor. Lovely. But I got permission to send Becky home for meds.

The problem there was that I wasn't being seen for anything that was suddenly causing me trouble. I was there for a toe, and if I was admitted to the hospital, then they'd give me all the meds I needed. But because I hadn't even been seen by a doctor, my beloved had to run home to get me what I needed. She returned with insulin and painkillers, and I took the appropriate doses immediately. I was blessedly feeling better in about an hour...but still had that toe to worry about.

It took six hours for me to be called into the back. Six hours! Between the ambulances almost constantly rolling up, and the people waiting ahead of me in the ER, it was a mighty long wait...for nothing.

The timing was perfect. I was called back just after all but ONE doctor had been left behind to care for patients. How any emergency room could operate in such a way is beyond me. And when he examined my toe, he didn't see the things I saw. For G-d's sake, just a squeeze of the toe had more blood and pus, (not the clear stuff this time), would ooze out of the never closing wound. He cared nothing about the fact that the placement of the wound meant it was probably never going to heal. That it perpetually hurt in a guy whose nervous system was shot also didn't register. In his eyes, I just wasn't sick enough.

Both the doctor and the nurse said something that really didn't make me feel any better. "I've seen worse." Really? Because I haven't. If anything, this toe just appears worse and worse and worse as it goes along, but apparently I have to wait until it's gangrene before anyone will do anything about it. To me, that's absurd. No one ants to take care of this while it's just a problem, but would certainly jump through hoops if it was a MAJOR problem.

Next time, however, I'm considering dropping a steak knife, point down, on my bare foot. Surely the spurting of blood will get me faster attention, as well as a slight degree of proper care.

Before I go...Those who comment negatively under the name of "Anonymous"...male or female, you should grow a pair. You don't like what I have to say here? Don't read it. It's THAT simple. But if you DO read, and you feel the need to leave one of your disparaging comments, have the chutzpah to ID yourself or go back to your friendless corner and stay quiet.

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