Friday, June 30, 2006

Adventures in the ER

All right, I don't know exactly what's been going on this week, it's been really really weird. First there was my little "freak out" at the blood mobile, and now this incident:

Wednesday night, about 9:30, my sister Stephanie complained of seeing spots in her left eye and getting a headache. No one thought anything of it. Half an hour later, she got up to let the dogs out. She was carrying her little dog back in when the whole left side of her body suddenly went numb and lost most of the strength. She dropped the dog (who is fine) and stumbled back into the house. We put her to bed and called the doctor on call. He said if it's an emergency, take her to the emergency room. He was pretty much no help, because we weren't sure if it WAS an emergency. While I stayed with Steph, holding her hand and rubbing her arm (which she didn't feel me doing), my mom called her insurance company and spoke with an RN. She said those are not normal symptoms for a 19-year-old and to call 911, which I did. I have never called 911 before, and I wasn't prepared for the Twenty Questions the guy wanted to play. We thought the kid was having a stroke; I don't know if she's slurring her speech because she's crying hysterically and hyperventilating. He gave up after a few minutes and sent an ambulance.

I don't know if it's a Midwestern thing or what, but whenever an ambulance or fire truck came down any street we had ever lived on, all the neighbors would go out into their driveways and basically just be nosy. No one came out. I don't know if it's because it was kind of late (10:45 PM or so) and everybody was in bed after "Matlock" or whatever; we just thought it was strange. Anyway, they took her to the closest hospital, and we followed. Mom got her registered, and they told us they would come get us when we could see her. An hour and a half later, they finally came for us. At this point, we were good and freaked out, not knowing what was wrong with her. She seemed okay, except her eye felt like it was going to pop out of the socket and she still couldn't feel or move her left side. She said the nurses were saying it was glaucoma because of the pressure behind her eye. They wouldn't listen to her when she said she couldn't feel her left side, so the doctor was surprised by this information when he finally got around to seeing her. Basically, they felt that she was faking the numbness or something. They kept saying things like, "We're going to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating this, so make sure you REALLY are having these symptoms." First off, since when did a cat scan cost HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars?? And secondly, insurance will pay for it, so what the hell do they care?

The cat scan came back normal, so they discharged her at 3 AM. No wheelchair, no directive on where to go, nothing. We wound up half-carrying her to the car. Most of the staff were rude and nasty. I'm thinking of putting a note in my wallet that if anything happens to me, car accident or whatever, I am NOT to go to Bayonet Point Hospital. Take the extra 10 minutes and drive me up to Spring Hill or down to New Port Richey. Jeesh.

Anyway, Steph went to her family doctor yesterday afternoon, and after an MRI came back normal, they determined it was most likely a rare side effect of the Nexium she's taking for her ulcer. They eye thing was probably an ocular migraine, and I don't understand what the numbness/weakness was as it was explained to me by my mom. Hell, she probably didn't understand it either. But she can feel her left leg again, and she's got feeling back in parts of her arm--from the wrist down and the shoulder up. Still numb in the middle (as of yesterday afternoon). Strange.

<> Drama drama drama. When will it ever end??

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