Friday, September 3, 2010

Contrary to popular belief...I am NOT FLATLINE-ING!

PREFACE: to my ER doctor and nurse, my husband and my great friend, Theresa: THANK YOU for being a part of my life!
No, I am not! I am home, I am alive and well-ok. Our local hospital staff tried hard but they did not--kill me! Lol. Yesterday I had the fortunate/unfortunate experience of paying a visit to the ER and receiving an admission ticket to a room at our hospital. KUDOS...and thanks and praise to the ER doctor on call and the ER nurse who I happen to know personally. They were awesome. I started feeling ill around 9:30 Wed. evening and by 11:45 had most of the symptoms on the checklist of heart attacks for women. I decided it was time to go and get it checked out. These two individuals were really on the ball and by 2 AM I was in a room and pain-free. It went downhill from there...and was a not-so-funny comedy of errors--yes, including the RN rushing into my room as I was sitting up in bed, calmly reading while she was on the verge of hysteria telling me I was flat-lining. Since I had no pain whatsoever (nor was I on any pain medication at the time), I knew I was calm and coherent, I simply self-diagnosed myself and told her that I obviously was not as I was awake and speaking with her. Long story short-she had merely never come and reconnected the heart monitor (or IV as I had to remind her) after my visit to the ultrasound technician! She then proceeded to bring me lunch-complete with a tuna sandwich, a thick chowder, and pumpkin pie-none of which I could eat as I am, as I told 3 doctors and staff personnel, I am allergic to wheat. She told me I could eat the soup. No, I can't--it's thickened with wheat. So she calls the dietitian and tells her I need a new lunch tray--I am allergic to wheat and MILK! Then asks if I could eat peanut butter and CRACKERS from the snacks on the floor until she could get a new lunch tray to me. No-crackers are typically made from flour and flour is typically made from wheat (unless you are purchasing wheat-free crackers!). My lunch tray did come-complete with the same soup, the same piece of pie and a healthy salad...topped with tuna salad (tuna is another allergen for me but we hadn't and I didn't even go there!). My final diagnosis, per the 3rd and last doctor I saw was, in her words, even though my pain originated in the upper left-quadrant and the gall bladder is located in the upper right, the ultrasound showed "some sludge" (quote marks hers!) in the gall bladder and I need to rush to a surgeon for surgery...but she was going to send me home. I politely told her thank you, that I disagreed with her and yes, please, send me home! Theresa (also a nurse and my chauffeur for the day...) witnessed the conversation with the doctor and was shaking her head in disbelief as well! I am home, I am out of pain, and I am seeing my family physician today.
WHY am I sharing all of this? This unfortunate experience was FORTUNATE in that it got my thinking-really thinkin-about things I know and believe-but hadn't practiced. Three reasons-actually, four...
  • BLOGS...are for sharing information...and, while this post is not on how to stamp or layout a page, it does have some information I FEEL is worth sharing...if it seems like a rant, I apologize. I hope you will read through that aspect if it does and look at the WHOLE PICTURE--the PORTRAIT...of what I am trying to say...
  • DO NOT be afraid to be your own health advocate!! Too many times we sit back and take a doctors advice and rx's simply because they are a doctor and "they know best"! They do not! Here's a good analogy of what I realized this morning: We have a portrait before us-we live in our bodies, we KNOW our bodies and we know BEST what our bodies have been through/are going through. We know and see the details the large picture presents. The doctors, on the other hand, have a wallet-sized snapshot. Because that snapshot, in my instance, only revealed that the heart tests were normal, and there was a blip in the the corner my gall bladder was in, that was, of course, in their opinion, the culprit. What wasn't taken into consideration was the fact that yes, I was out of pain (thanks to pain meds I, who suffer from chronic headaches and fibromyalgia was out of pain)and therefore relaxed, and had done absolutely nothing other than go from bed to bathroom, that that might possibly be the reason the blood pressure and heart tests produced a negative reading? I am sure a heart monitor connected to me as I go about my "normal" day--would have an entirely different picture! And, you would think...that the lunch prepared by the hospital dietitian would be "safe" to eat. Since I had told 3 people that I know of that I was wheat-allergic, that it was ok. NOT SO! There was a goof. It was, I hope missed and the dietitian was not told and hence the mistake made on those grounds. I can understand the populations confusion over wheat--but to think the dietician would've thought this was safe is well---scary. Had I not been my own advocate, I would now be taking massive amounts of steroids and itching profusely.
  • HAVE ANOTHER HEALTH CARE ADVOCATE APPOINTED! Ok-I should know this! I worked for an attorney. Had I not been able, for whatever reason to communicate, someone needed to be able to do this for me. Legally. Two sets of ears are better than one! That's always good-but to have someone you know and trust being able to speak for you if you cannot---is a must. GET A HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY and a LIVING WILL made.
  • If you are not receiving the care and/or results you feel--in your gut--feel, are appropriate--get a SECOND (or third or fourth...) opinion. I have tried several doctors approaches. They are not relieving my symptoms or solving my problems. This scare woke me up. I do not want to have a significant heart issue-and I am VERY GLAD all the tests were negative. I want them to stay that way---so I am going to go and have a "come to Jesus" (no disrespect there!) with my physician this afternoon. I am going to relay what happened; what the doctor thinks happened; tell her what I KNOW happened...and how I want us to address my issues. We can come to an agreement both of us can live with-or I can find a new physician (as my late husband used to say, "I hired you, I can fire you!"). While doctors are highly educated-they are not God! They are not all-knowing. Ever wonder why it is said that doctors have "practices"...? Think about that? How do they know what works...they PRACTICE. On what? on PATIENTS. Ever think of the saying "practice makes perfect..." in terms of a DOCTOR? Probably not. We tend to think doctors know because well, they're doctors. THE BEST physicians I know...LISTEN. They use all their senses to diagnosis. They look at the whole picture-the PORTRAIT version. THEN they work WITH their patient to determine the best route to take.

Part of the reason I am sharing all of this is because I think we all learn through our experiences as well as hopefully, the experiences of others. We learn what to do-or not to do-in working with the tools and materials of our crafting experiences-as well as with the rest of life. That, and the fact that my quality of life--the time and energy that I have spent on what I LOVE and WANT to do-and more often than not CAN'T DO because of my health, has suffered greatly. It is not a condition that cannot be helped-its just that the physicans that have been in charge of my care feel it more medically acceptable to give me numerous rx's vs. the one that they KNOW and I KNOW would actually work--because of the POSSIBLE complications. If I, as the patient, respect those possibilities, assume the responsibility along with the physician, and am willing to take the risks, I should be allowed that chance. ENOUGH! Time to go relax!!! I pray...that something that I've said has been helpful to someone. Or at least challenged some thoughts and feelings and made you think. Oh---and please, please--go Google SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACKS IN WOMEN. Thank God I did not have one-now I am off to try and take some proactive action to prevent one! Until next time, happy stamping and scrapping.

Blessings, Sharon

1 comment:

Stressed Stamper said...

So So So glad you are ok Sharon - great believer of live for the day - my little sister has been diagnosed with terminal cancer - my sister and I have been checked out and are ok - but life is too short and unfair in so many ways..Things like this make you assess life so much more and make you appreciate what you have..Big hugs and take care xx