D finally got home for 2016. On January 5th, I planned on going to the gym in the afternoon, so I shaved my legs that morning (it's winter and I'm lazy). We have a shower room, meaning you step up on a platform, and then down into the shower. There is no door. I routinely, use the platform to shave my legs. I'm heavy handed with shaving cream, but you know, I rinse off my legs in the center of the shower and off I go about my day. (I'm sure you all care about my shaving ritual). Well, anyway, I couldn't find a parking space at the gym, and while circling the block twice I saw there were no treadmills anyway. So I decided I'd go at 4:45am the next day.
1/6 4:45am: The alarm went off, and I laughed. I laid there until 5:12. I decided to go to work. So off to the shower. I turned on the water and went to the bathroom, and undressed, weighed myself, etc. Then I stepped on the platform, and took a tiny step into the shower as I reached the rain spout to see if it was hot. I must not have rinsed the shaving cream from the day before, and it got re-wet. My foot went out, the other foot went with it and down I went. I screamed. Doug and the dogs ran in. All I could yell was, "911." I could feel my legs and I could feel my arms. Somehow I curled into the fetal position. I kept screaming. I could hear Doug try to give the 911 operator directions to the house. I could hear them not finding the street despite living here for 10 years. I could hear my screams. Doug said they would be there in 4 minutes. I don't know when he turned off the water, and I don't know how I got my head and back up on the platform. I was laying straight out with my legs in the shower. Doug got the dogs contained, and then tried to get me dressed. He got my underwear on partially, but I couldn't lift my butt off the platform without screaming. He tried to put a shirt on me, and I said a towel was fine.
The EMTs got there and assessed me. They wanted to know if I hit my head and if I was pregnant. They did some leg/feet tests. They checked my head, because I didn't know if I had hit it. They told me they were going to put me in a sitting position. We tried that and I may have called them a lot of colorful names. Somehow Doug and one of the EMTs managed to get a T-shirt on me. They were all concerned about getting pants on me. I was laying there in complete agony wondering what the hell. They told me we were going to stand up. I said, "Fuck" a lot. Sometimes directed at them, sometimes directed at the air. We got my underwear up, and they were still talking about pants. We managed to get into the bedroom, and I saw Scuttlebutt's blanket that he sleeps/rolls on (it is covered in dog hair). I grabbed it, and wrapped it around my waist and said I was ready. Doug ran downstairs to get my wallet. One of the guys saw my phone and charger and grabbed them. He said I would be thankful later. I told them I wanted to go to sleep and tried to get in the bed. They told me no, still talking about pants. I asked where the stretcher was. They said I had to walk downstairs. I called them more names. We got down the stairs and Doug found my dog walking shoes (New Balance slip-ons) and then outside. I complained it was hot (it was 33 degrees out). 7 more stairs. Finally we got to the street, and they put me on a stretcher. They told Doug to take his time, we would be on the street for a few minutes and then we'd be going. And he should take his own car.
In the ambulance, one of the EMTs wrote down all my insurance information. The other took some stats. They asked some questions, and then we were on our way. The EMT that rode with me gave me my phone. I voice texted my boss. "In ambulance can't come to work back something." I also sent the text to my neighbor who wanted to know what was going on.
We got to the Grady Trauma ER. I don't know if that is different than the regular ER. In triage, they asked me my medications, put a bracelet on me, took my temperature. I remember the older EMT (the driver and the one who held me up the most) saying, "No wonder she wasn't cold." Then the younger one pushed me into the ER. He made sure the dog blanket was still wrapped, that I had my phone and charger, and he tucked my wallet under me. He also got a nurse to put a sheet on my bottom half (today it makes sense why they wanted pants on me, back then not so much). He parked me under a counter where all the nurses and doctors go (no rooms available).
|My view at Grady for awhile|
6:15am It seemed like 5 hours had passed. A doctor redid the test to my feet, rechecked my head, and re-asked if I was pregnant. I got a pill and a tranquilizer. I had no idea what they gave me. I don't know when D showed up but he did. I was flat on the gurney and staring at the ceiling. At one point the nurse sitting at the counter saw my hand come around the counter, because the pain was so bad that I was looking for something new to grab, because grabbing the handles of the gurney was no longer working. They gave me a Percocet. It was 8am. I had told Doug at 6:15 they had given me Advil. Apparently, no, they had given me a Percocet. Somewhere around that time, I was taken to X-ray. At first I was taken to a gurney waiting area. It was in an older section of the hospital, because it was really cool (temp) in there. It felt nice. Except the walls were old. I decided they were leaving me here and were going to film another episode of Walking Dead. Eventually, someone came and got me and I was taken to X-ray. The staff told me to hop on over to the table. Then they realized I could barely move. They were very patient. They took 3 or 4 X-rays. Then back to Doug and the counter.
9:00 am Now Grady is the main Trauma 1 Center in the area (the other being Atlanta Medical Center). However it is also the "gunshot" hospital. So while I'm laying by the counter, I can't see anything (except the ceiling). However, I can hear. One guy shot his eye with a bow and arrow. Something with the recoil, since he shot himself. Another guy was on his phone, and left someone the message of "When I get out of here, I'm going after you, bitch." On the way back from X-ray, a prisoner in leg and arm cuffs was being walked by me by a cop. I was highly entertained. Until this doctor started talking about surgery on a sebaceous cyst, that was rather large and hefty in someone's stomach. Because I was now "under" the counter, I guess he couldn't see me. I yelled, "Enough!" The nurse laughed. I also learned if you become a military resident doctor, it is boring because mostly you treat STDs. I was finally moved into a room.
At this point they realized Percocet was not working and they put me on morphine. The X-rays came back with something wrong at T12. A patient advocate told me this. I have no idea what she was talking about except that where T12 was not where it hurt. I also had to find out where T12 was. It was rather confusing because I was also in Room T12. Anyway they said I needed a CT scan. Who knows when that happened. But the same thing as the X-ray occurred, needing help. There was a lot of not breathing (holding my breath, not dying) and not moving and all that. Then I was back.
|Room T12. To be honest, all I could see was the TV.|
Our friend Jim came up because D had to go walk the dogs. He hadn't done that. Jim kept me company. (Some events may be out of order). So D came back. Apparently my T12 fracture was an L1 fracture but it was old. Everyone wanted to know if I was in a car accident. I tried to remember a time I hurt my back. But I had shards of vertabrae in my spine. And something was wrong with my heart. So I called my dad. He was like "What are you talking about?" He also said some stuff about why the hell was I in a teaching hospital. He talked to D. Somewhere around 11 they realized morphine wasn't working and they put me on Fentanyl. That stuff was awesome.
The TV was stuck on Sportcenter. It was the only channel we got. It runs in a continuous loop. It is almost as painful as breaking your back. The Patient Advocate said Neurology wanted to look at my stuff but being that everyone was in surgery, it would be awhile. Around 4pm, I asked how I was supposed to go to the bathroom. They said a bedpan. Jim and D left, and the nurse Taylor tried to get me to go. It just wasn't going to happen. So Jim and D came back in. After all the issues with my underwear that morning, I told D that I had no idea where Taylor put them. He started laughing. The nurse eventually showed him where she had put them. but for awhile, it was highly amusing to us, that we had a Panty Thief.
For the most part, D, Jim and I talked. I have no idea about what. We watched TV (D finally stood on a chair and changed the channel). The nurses wouldn't let me eat. I secretly took about 3 sips of water. We laughed at the lady who came in next to my room. She had super-glued her contact. She had put in her contact and grabbed nail glue instead of eye drops. Luckily her eye was saved because the glue was primarily on her contact. She was very concerned where in the lunchroom she had left her lunch (I guess at work). Like I said, the people kept me entertained. There was someone who was watching some show that had kittens. Half the ER thought there was a kitten in the ER.
|Jim and D from my perspective. I was high and bored.|
By 6, it had been 13 hours without going to the bathroom. They hooked me up to an IV. The nurse came in and asked if I could stand. I said, "No." Apparently someone wanted me to do a Standing X-Ray. Jim left the room (I now had on a hospital gown with no back), and Taylor (the nurse) and Doug stood me up. It was one of the first times I started to cry. The pain was unbearable. After, the Patient Advocate said I was being discharged. With no meds or brace. I started to cry. I couldn't stand. I couldn't even walk to the bathroom. WTF? I asked for a second opinion. Somehow I remembered Trauma and Neurology were 2 different things (or D or Jim did). The PA said she would get Neurology to read everything. Within 30 seconds 2 guys came in and did an ultrasound. They said it was for surgery. Now we were all completely confused. They left and the X-ray tech came in. He wheeled me away and told me the X-rays he was going to do. I asked why I wasn't going to stand. So he went and checked the records. He came back and said I was correct. I was scared, because it seemed everything was going fast. His assistant was not a strong-looking woman. They decided she would take the X-rays and he would assist me standing. He was actually in my X-rays holding me up. I cried some more.
He wheeled me back. It was packed in the ER. I was really glad to have a room. At this point, I'm pretty sure there were bets on when I'd pee. Finally at 17 hours I did. Also all the confusion of what was happening seemed to settle. The ER resident was completely wrong, and they were going to get the Neurology Attending to read my file. I wasn't going to be discharged since I couldn't even stand. At shift change, I got a new nurse. She was not as friendly as Taylor, but she was in ER as well (like I said, ER and Trauma ER were different). It turned out she had lost 2 of 3 patients in 1 hour (1 was a high-speed chase idiocy, and the other 2 were bad car accidents). When she came to see me, you could tell she had been crying. She said I was being admitted to the hospital because I was getting surgery.
I don't remember when, but at some point Jim left. When Mandy (new nurse) came to give me Fentanyl she said something was wrong. I was going to get a room, and they had already tranferred my file. So no more Fentanyl. And worse the Morphine was less than it had been all those hours before. Finally around 1AM, they admitted me. I got rolled up into the hospital. As we were going, they told D that he couldn't stay the night, nor could he come in my room, because it wasn't a private room. I slightly freaked but I was more freaked by the pain medicine screw up. He gave me a kiss and he went home. My new nurse Bobby got me from the gurney to the bed. He and another nurse checked me for bed sores. I asked for Fentanyl. I was on a non-Fentanyl floor. I asked him for more morphine. He looked at my chart, and called the doctor on call to get me more meds. Vitals and all that crap and then they left. Bobby finally came back and realized I had no way to call an nurse because the nurse remote was on the floor. He gave me more meds and gave me the remote. This one worked for the TV, but not the lights. So I had to sleep with lights blaring in my face. They checked on me every 3 hours.