Loosing It

By the next morning, I had still not been treated for anything – just poked and rolled and looked at quizzically. Finally, in the late morning a doctor came in to talk to me. He said I had some irregularities in my heart but he didn’t know why. He thought I may need an angiogram but they didn’t do angiograms in this hospital. I would need to be transferred to another hospital and he wasn’t sure he could get them to accept me.  When I started asking questions he became defensive and seemed to try to bully me into being a good patient and he left as soon as he could. He was the doctor and he was supposed to know everything, but he didn’t. So all he could do was talk authoritatively to me and leave.  My hopes for a quick treatment and release were beginning to wane.

My next attendant was a young nurse who drifted lazily into the room in a Monday morning daze. She checked the knobs on one of the machines I was hooked up to and then casually asked me, “What are you doing here?”  If I were in my best frame of mind, I would not quite know how to answer that question. I have no idea what my response was. Whatever it was, it seemed to pique her curiosity and she proceeded to ask several more annoying questions. I finally had the presence of mind to ask her if she had read my chart. She said she hadn’t.   By this time I had repeated my story several times to a couple shifts of staff in the emergency room and now a couple of shifts of hospital staff. I was in no mood to do it again. I told her to go read my chart and if she had any questions to come back.  This was the beginning of me “loosing it.”

I don’t remember what the final straw was, but I think it was someone else coming to take more blood. They could not tell me why they needed more blood or what they were going to do with it. They were just going through the motions. My frustration tolerance threshold was finally breached. I felt like I was in the hands of people who were on auto pilot. They weren’t getting any closer to figuring out what was wrong with me. I felt like I was at the mercy of a system that didn’t have a brain.

I’ve had years of learning how to not cry when I’m in a pinch. Keep your head girl. Don’t let them see you cry. Stay calm.  Figure out a solution and put in into action as soon as you can and get yourself out of this mess.  By now I was so frustrated that I didn’t have enough control to stay calm. I started crying. I called my husband on my cell phone and asked him to come and get me. I wanted out of there. I was crying and yelling that I wanted out! These people were not helping me. They were only hurting me more each time they came into my room and they were not getting any closer to  finding out what was wrong.   This display of erratic emotions on my part seemed to get the attention of the doctor and he began working on getting me transferred to another hospital.  I had a lingering fear that they would transfer me to the psych ward.

My husband came rushing to the hospital wondering what on earth was going on. The Doctor and nurses intercepted him outside my room. They explained that they weren’t going in my room until he got there because I was so upset.  My husband said he could help so they all came in together. The doctor apologized for not being more helpful. He explained he had only been on this job for two weeks and was still learning the ropes. We made peace. He said he thought he had been successful in arranging a transfer to another hospital where I could get an angiogram and he would know within a couple of hours if it was going to go through.

Several hours later, quite late at night, the transfer was accepted.  Four ambulance drivers came into my room.  They were the high point of the day. They were respectful and light hearted. They were real. They got me on a gurney and into their ambulance and off we went on the hour’s drive to the other hospital. They told me stories about their kids and their job.  They asked my advice on how to stay married. I gave them whatever advice I had that seemed to work. By the time we arrived at the hospital we were good friends. We wandered around the halls for a while to find my room. It was actually fun being with them and for a while I forgot about how frightened I was.

(more later)