Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hard to be a Patient

Yesterday I was on the other side of things. The other side of the curtain, so to speak. Yesterday, I was a patient. It was so hard to be a patient, so hard to relinquish control. And I believe it is all because I know too much. I know what can happen, and what doesn't. I know what can go wrong, and what I think is right. Just too much knowledge.
No, what I had done was not earth shattering, or even scary for most people. All I had done was a gastroscopy (a stomach scope). I have had one before. In fact, that was how they diagnosed my celiac disease in the first place. That is how it is always done - they scope you and biopsy your duodenum. Last time I was freaked out too. I was still a resident, but I asked on of the staff guys who I thought of as more of a friend to come by and give me some sedation. He didn't end up doing anything, but the internist felt more comfortable to give me sedation, enough sedation! It was still fairly traumatic, although I don't remember anything of the procedure that time, but I didn't want to go for a follow up scope.
So, we come to yesterday , which is 5 years later, and the only reason I am doing this is so I can get disability insurance. Otherwise, I still wouldn't have gone. I feel better, my numbers are better, so why would I get a scope? Sigh, I guess I should have just done it earlier.
It was so hard to be a "good patient". You know, compliant, trusting, not crazy. I failed. I was really keyed up, and kept telling the nurses how much of what drugs to give me. I gagged and coughed and was, unfortunately, not the model patient. I probably apologized to the surgeon 100 times, and thanked her just as many, so at least that was good.
Then, we rushed out as soon as they would let us go (after turning off my own IV, and refusing to eat anything). We stopped off and got a monster amount of take-out, as I had starved ALL DAY for this, and felt like I deserved good food. Yum, grease!
On the drive home, the Gods go me back. Traffic was terrible, as it was now rush hour, and my hubby had to stop and start a lot. So, I got nauseous. I sat up, opened the window, and just tried to breathe. "Slow breaths, in and out", I told myself. That is what I tell my patients, right? I thought I was getting better, and then the blackness started to come. I told my husband I thought I was going to pass out. He looked at me, and after seeing how pale I was (including my lips), he thought he would check my pulse.
"Holy crap, your having a Vagal!" What he meant was that my pulse was plummeting along with my blood pressure (it was close to 30 at the worst), and the lower it got the blacker my vision got. Layer by layer, it got darker, and darker, and I felt like I was hotter, and falling further and further down a deep dark hole.
I have never seen my hubby drive so fast. We were finally on the highway and we have a little kit at home for emergencies when we are driving with pretty much everything we would need (IVs, ephedrine, atropine...). So, he knew that if he could just get me home, he could treat me and make me feel better (not to mention fix my deteriorating blood pressure).
We live 10km out of town, so by the time we pulled into the driveway, I had climbed my way our of the dark hole and lay there reminding myself to breathe. Unfortunately, the greasy food I had thought was going to be so good, just did not sit well. Pain and nausea are not a good combo with take-out.
SIGH. THIS is why I didn't want to do it earlier! Doctors really are the worst patients. Not only because we know too much and try and control everything (its in our nature, we can't help it), but we get all the complications too. Luckily, I shouldn't have to have this done again once my disability finally goes through. Stupid insurance agencies!

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