Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Want to Donate My Arm to Science

In past posts, I have told stories of some of the crazy things I have done (jumped out of moving cars, set myself on fire, crawled underneath moving trains, etc) and bragged about how I have never broken a bone. It is true that none of my bones have been broken, but that does not mean that I haven't done damage to my body. I was reminded of this yesterday morning.

After dropping Kirsten off at school, I noticed a small, but sharp pain in my right shoulder as I closed my vehicle door. While the pain was not much, I recognized what it was immediately. I have had it before and it usually gets much worse before it gets better.

I have written about this pain and what it does to me in two posts which can be read here.

That Which Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Realize How Old You Are
My Experiment With Steroids

This recurring problem has been diagnosed as bursitis, which in general is inflammation of the tissues in the joint. Once I first feel this coming on, the intensity grows slowly. My shoulder gets more and more distressed, restricting my movement a little each day. After about 5 or 6 days, it culminates in a horrible night, when I am unable to sleep because it hurts tremendously to even attempt to roll over. This time, it must have been in a rush.

Despite having only first felt the beginnings of this pain yesterday morning, the intensity grew quickly over the course of the day and I seriously considered if it would be worth chopping my arm off once I had been in bed for a couple of hours. Laying down allows more blood to go to the area and it begins to throb, shooting pain down my entire arm and into my back. The slightest movement multiplies the intensity.

I pushed through the night deciding to go to the emergency room in the morning. I had learned from previous experiences, that there is no point in going to my doctor, since it would take a week to get in and by then I would be dead...or wishing I was. Same thing.

Since I had taken Adam to the hospital on several occasions (here, here, here and here), I thought he might jump at the chance to  get to do the same for me. When I called him, he came over immediately. He was happy to return the favor and said so several times.

There was also a second reason I had called him. I still had full use of my other arm. I was perfectly capable of driving myself. After all, I had just driven my daughter to school. The previous times I had been to the E.R. for this problem, they asked me if I had driven myself. When I responded that I had, they responded, "Then we won't give you this shot."

The shot they were referring to was the good stuff. The ultra-super-feel-good-floating-in-the-clouds-meeting-Jesus shot. Since the pain in my shoulder is so sharp and intense, a regular painkiller does not begin to touch it, but they promised me this stuff would. I would explain that I only lived 2 blocks from the hospital. They could give it to me as I was walking out the door and I would go straight home. They declined saying that they didn't want to be the reason that I had to meet Jesus that day and never be allowed to leave. You know, because I died in an accident. The joke makes sense in my head.

Since I was in terrible pain and they had not given me the shot on previous visits because I was driving, I wanted Adam to take me so I could get it and then go back home and sleep. Because of the events of yesterday's post, Adam was going to see another doctor today. Knowing they might do a procedure on his feet or the abscesses, he had taken several strong painkillers. Thus, my attempt at staying safe behind the wheel of a car was diminished as soon as I hopped in with him. Nevertheless, he drove me in his self-induced haze.

Since I was not yet in the horrible pain as last time I was there, I was in a much better mood. And having had no sleep due to my shoulder, I had trouble following a logical line of thought.
Admitting Nurse: Are you allergic to anything?
Me: Just keep cats out of this room.
Nurse: We don't allow cats in the hospital.
Me: That's good. It would probably violate some health codes.
Nurse: Anything else.
Me: Local laws, maybe. I don't know.

(Later)
Nurse: Do you have a living will?
Me: No. I am going to live forever.
Nurse: No, you won't.
Me: Yes, I will.
Nurse: No, you will not. Everyone dies.
Me: I never have. Adam, have you?
Adam: Never. Not once!
Me: Ma'am, I have been pushed off a railroad bridge, fallen out of moving cars and even took an axe in the head. I have never even broken a bone. I will live forever.
Nurse: No, you will die.
Me: Your bedside manner sucks.
The on-call doctor informed me that he has never given the steroid shot into the bursa sac of the shoulder before and was not comfortable attempting it on me. I readily agreed. He did set me up with some anti-inflammatory drugs and some painkillers to help me sleep through the night. This means it will take longer to heal and get my range of motion back, but I will be on the mend instead of it intensifying any further.
Discharge nurse: Do you know your name?
Me: Why wouldn't I know my name?
Nurse: What's your name?
Me: What's your name?
Nurse: My name is Karen.
Me: Correct.
Nurse: Tell me your name.
Me: Don't you have it on the paper your holding?
Nurse: Yes, but I need to verify it.
Me: Didn't I give you my driver's license earlier?
Nurse: Yes, you did.
Me: Did you lose it?
Nurse: No. I have it right here.
Me: Well, I am sure it is correct.
Nurse: What's your name?
Me: The same as my license.
They eventually escorted us out and despite Adam's Facebook post giving people the impression that I was dying, I am fine. I am still in a lot of pain since it takes a while for the anti-inflammatory meds to start taking effect, but I should see some improvement by tomorrow morning. I was referred to an orthopedic doctor to see if we can prevent this from happening again.



Followup from yesterday's post: Adam saw a surgeon today who scheduled him an appointment for tomorrow. He will be in surgery to get the abscesses drained and the staples removed from his foot that were missed during his last surgery four years ago. After recovery, he should be in a lot less pain.

53 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you are doing better. I know a certain someone, not gonna name names (hint: think color) was extremely worried about your condition. :)

    So, what is your name again? I need to confirm for my records.

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    1. Thank you. I sent a quick text to let her know. I should be 100% again in a week or so.

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  2. I agree you need to get it fixed if you can. Ill be praying for Adam and for your pain to go... hope to see you tomorrow at SW.

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  3. I really had every intention of asking how things went for Adam. Guess I got distracted from that line of thought. I'd apologize, but he did give me a heart attack, so... I won't. But I'm glad things are set up for him to get him fixed. ...ummm...yeah.

    You take care of that arm. I can't believe you got me to laugh about this situation.

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    1. There is humor in every situation. You just have to find it. Adam should be good to go tomorrow.

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  4. Wow, glad to know everything sorted out pretty well - although, you didn't get the shot you wanted! Hope Adam is doing ok and that whatever procedures he has are successful.

    Did you really have that conversation with the nurse?

    (I've been trying to think of something witty to say - but I just woke up an am too out of it.)

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    1. Yes, I did have those conversations. I had to try to remember it, but I think it is pretty close.

      I am ok without the shot. I have always come out alright on the other end. I just wanted to be prepared this time.

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  5. it sounds completely irresponsible but i can't help myself from thinking that i so want to be riding in that car on the way back from the hospital.

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    1. It would have been a tight fit, but we would have made room. He drives a pickup and I get the window, so...you have to sit in the middle.

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  6. Hopefully I won't ever need to...but if I ever need to go to the hospital again, I'm calling you guys. It sounds way better your way. Hope your shoulder improves in a hurry. Also, I hope everything goes well with Adam too. See you guys later!

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    1. Thank you. I will take care of it. I don't like being this way for long.

      We will come pick you up.

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  7. I'm sorry you had to go to the hospital and I'm sorry you're in pain. And as much as I laughed, I never want to be a nurse for you. lol

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    1. It really depends on the nurse. Some of them laugh and enjoy the banter. Others get annoyed. I find it works the same way with waiters, bank tellers and cops.

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    2. lol... you're a bigger nut than I am!

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  8. That cat conversation killed me! Hilarious!

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    1. Thank you. She was one of the better nurses that didn't get upset.

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  9. Analgesics are amazing, unfortunately that's part of why they're so risky... hope your shoulder gets better in a hurry so you can continue to do risky stunts and then write about them for our amusement.

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    1. The stunts are tamer these days since I don't seem to heal as fast anymore. However, I am always up for a good adventure.

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  10. I have a close friend that is an ICU nurse, and she has had some interesting drug induced conversations, which she hasn't told me because that would violate HIPPA and she is a good girl. But the best one was when the chick in the room next to her asked the doctor why gas prices were high because he was from the middle east.

    Oh wait that was your blog. That's right she doesn't violate hippa LOL see how I did that? I have tons of them, but will not be sharing in any way that gets her into trouble.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Luckily, I am not in the medical profession, so I can share all I witness.

      I have a lot of good stories from when I was a 911 dispatcher, but can't share most of them for similar reasons.

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  11. LOL!! Hope you're feeling better now. That sucks for sure.

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    1. I am getting there. I did sleep much better with the painkillers. The shoulder will take a few days.

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  12. Awww..that sucks!! Everytime I rotate my shoulder there is this clickty-clack noise and grinding. I don't want to go yet because the pain isn't too bad. Sleep well!!

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    1. I get the grinding and popping as well. I don't know what that is from.

      I did sleep very well. Woke up this morning very well rested.

      Delete
  13. Oh man, you're such a smartass. I wish I could be like that among complete strangers but I don't think I could bring myself to do it.

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    1. I find it easier with strangers. Since they don't know me and probably will not see me again, I just don't care. I try not to make people mad, but I like to have fun. Not everyone appreciates it, but most do.

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  14. Do you think the nurses draw straws to determine who has to deal with you guys? "Oh no, it's the screamer and the smartypants again!"

    I hope your arm feels better soon!

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    1. They might. I never thought about it. There is one that won't deal with us, but there is another that asks to every time we come in. It really depends on the nurse.

      Thank you. I am starting to get some movement back again. I should be good to go in a few more days.

      Delete
  15. I knew there were reasons I decided not to go into nursing.

    Really do hope your arm feels better. Hope it's not your blogging arm.

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    1. I am seeing some definite improvement. Thank you.

      And I can blog with one hand if I have to.

      Delete
  16. Oh no, Brett! What a lot of crap to go through! I hope you get some real relief from that pain and inflammation soon.

    However...as I read this, wincing about the terrible discomfort you must be in, I must admit I was laughing all the while too. Trying to have a discussion with medical staff can be just this side of ridiculous--and you captured it oh so perfectly! :D

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    1. I know it has to be done, but it gets old explaining the story to so many people.
      Thank you. I am starting to get better.

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  17. Ouch. I have an old shoulder injury that flares up from time to time, I know how uncomfortable a pain there is.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. I got it taken care of much sooner this time. It can get to the point that I would be happy to lose it if the pain would go away.

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  18. Next time you're in pain, just come see me. I do reiki. No charge, just tell me a joke or two. I'll patch you right up in no time.

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    1. Does that actually work? A joke would be much cheaper.

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  19. Ouch, i'm sorry you had to go through all that!
    but this post was so entertaining, i really enjoyed your conversations with yourself!

    definately following!

    f-a-i-r-y-l-i-g-h-t-s.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for stopping. I have been in there a lot lately for Adam. The nurses are hopefully getting used to us by now.

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  20. Damn hospitals cutting costs and using cats as orderlies

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    1. The last time we went in the nurse wasn't even wearing shoes.

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    2. Maybe her dad was punishing her for losing three pairs of shoes in a week.

      My mom used to be a nurse, until the accident, and I wish she could be your nurse. Primarily because she's funny and insane and completely unpredictable. I love your conversations with the nurses and imagine her responding something like "oh well it says here your license is called "just answer the question buddy" is that really your name?" or "Im allergic to cats too don't you hate that?" or "I'm allergic to clowns, but they keep letting them in the hospital. Do you think I can file workers comp?"

      I hope your arm feels better and you don't meet Jesus for a long time. It might be time for a bed, or at least a platform, to cushion sore tendons. I hope "Adam" feels better too.. you guys need your own reality show. Please call it Adam and Steve Not Adam and Eve.

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    3. Sounds like your mom would be fun as a nurse. We get a cool one now and then that doesn't mind joking around, but they still can't keep up.

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  21. I was just diagnosed today with Trochanteric Bursitis (in my left hip). For as many times as I treated people for the same condition, it never honestly occurred to me this past month that the pain I was experiencing would be from the same thing. I get to start PT on Wednesday. Maybe next time my dumbass will pay attention to the pain sooner instead of wishing it away with yoga. Or at least I'll mess with the nursing staff too.

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    1. It's awful, isn't it. I have discovered that once it starts, I can't stop it. I end up in the hospital every time. I am seeing an ortho doctor on Monday to start taking preventative measures.

      I will probably mess with those nurses too.

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  22. Ughh, Bursitis is the worst, but at least you had some fun with the nurse. I was with my dad at Johns Hopkins this week for his surgery and the endless rounds of similar questions almost drove me to actually eat something in the cafeteria. Funny piece about a not so funny problem. Erin

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    1. Thank you. I still haven't visited their cafeteria. I was there all day the next day for a friends surgery and avoided that place..

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  23. I should think you're a nurse's worst nightmare. But they do ask ridiculous questions. ;)

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    1. When the 6th nurse is asking me for the same information as the one before them, it gets old.

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  24. This made me laugh! I love your thought processes about dying. If you are alive now, then you haven't died and you never will! Makes perfect sense! (Thanks for linking up with us over at #findingthefunny!)

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    1. Thank you. I didn't think it was a nurse's job to convince me I was dying.

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  25. Loved the humor. Too bad you didn't get the good stuff. Hopefully you don't need it anymore. Really enjoyed the dialog between you and the nurse. Great stuff.

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    1. Thank you. Hopefully, I will never be in a situation where I need the good stuff.

      Delete

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