- The smile represents what the medical field wants us to believe about their expert abilities. All the ads on TV are filled with happy promises.
- The bruises are the reality of an ER trip in my case, and the “professional” results from five pokes in order for the nurses to get some blood and an IV in.
- To all the nurses out there that may read this, please keep in mind not everyone has nice big veins that are easy to find. I’m so tired of the bruising and pain I have to go through only to get an IV in or have some blood drawn for tests. I’m sure I’m not alone.
For those who would like to read about an ER story, read on, for anyone else it may be too boring so go for a walk in nature:)
On Friday evening, May 13th of this year, around 8:45 pm, Chet and I walked into the Swedish ER in Ballard. About four weeks ago I had sharp stabbing pain in my left side around my heart, scapula, left side of my neck, back of my head, and stomach, followed by nausea and an inability to complete a full breath. Once the pain eased a constant ache remained, at times more painful than others followed by a difficulty while breathing only on my left side. When the nausea increased and fever hit me- now its been about two weeks later- I thought I should do the responsible thing and go to the ER. After being poked three times, without any success to find a vein and introduce the IV, a different nurse tried it a fourth then a fifth time followed, and a botchy, painful job was in progress as the needle kept moving under my skin looking for a cooperative vein. The pain brought on nausea followed by a faint feeling.
“I’m not feeling well. Can I have some water?”
“Sorry, we can’t give you water yet, not before taking some blood.” Made sense.
“I’m nauseated and I feel like I’m going to pass out.”
“It’s a good thing you’re already lying in a bed, would you…” But I never heard the rest as I passed out. A fraction of a second before passing I realized something.
“I walked in here on my own two feet. Will I walk out the same way? Will Chet “-who was waiting in the car parked outside due to Covid protocol and a stark similarity to hospital protocols during communism back in Romania, interesting- “receive an awful news?” Complications, bad reactions and medical mistakes happen all the time in hospitals.
“I will find out in a moment, one way or another. I will wake up either on this side of the world or the other one, but I will wake up.” I was not scared. Not one bit. I let go. I accepted. I know one way or another I will be alright, then my mind got sucked in a world filled with lots of images, glimpses of life, a brighter world, a world where colors were deepely intense, a content sort of happy world. My mind was someplace else and the only things I recollect once I woke up was the image of a man in a green shirt, and splashes of orange. I was perfectly happy, calm and I felt no fear. Then the beautiful images bled into a darkness matter as I heard a voice coming from far away.
“Carmen! Carmen! Can you hear me? Wake-up! Can you hear me?”
“Sort of, but I can’t see you.” I thought. In the past I would’ve expected my body to follow all the orders received by doctors, to do what everybody else wanted out of me. I would push it to please the others. I never took the time to listen to what my body needed. I never gave it permission to tell me what it required in times such as these. Not this time. I must’ve learned a good lesson these past few years for now I stood still in utter peace.
“She’s having a seizure!” a voice shouted but I was walking a lonely road between the images and the blackness without a care in the world. Then there was only blackness, thick, and it took time to disolve. First it happened in patches, not at all in a neat pattern, then I saw forms moving as thought through thick fog or milky air.
“Do you know where you are?”
“No.” the mind spoke
“Carmen! Can you hear me?” These word were repeated over and over and I was confused. Was I dreaming? Maybe not. But my body was frozen, detached, unplugged from a reality.
“It’s okay body. Take your time. I’m here with you. I care about you, we’ll be alright. I know they hurt you but we both know this is temporary and as long as I got you you’ll be okay. Rest. Let them agitate, whomever they are, you take your time. You heal at your speed, not theirs.” And the body took its time. (Could this be God speaking? Or a neurological symptom to a flawed concious? Both?)
“These look like absent seizures to me, don’t you think?
“Get the doctor. Her eyes were fluttering.”
“Why would he say there’s nothing interesting here to see?” a whisper spoke.
“Don’t know, but these look like absent seizures to me, don;t they to you?” another whisper.
“Go get him. These are seizures.” noise, foot steps, a male voice.
“Carmen! Can you hear me?
“Yes, but I can’t speak, or move, or fix my eyes on your face. My body is frozen.”
“Yes, these are seizures but something else, it does not present as a typical seizure, yet… it’s odd, … a panick attack? An epilepsie?”
“Maybe she’s faking it. Do you think?”
“Don’t know. Grab her arm and drop it.” Something I faintly fell slapped my head and face but I was frozen. No movement. No eye blinking. Frozen.
“No she’s not faking it.”
“Do the other arm.”
“Okay.” Another faint touch to my head and face, more frozen. I was aware, but could not respond, at least the body could not. I was still a little confused if I was dreaming or not.
“You can’t fake that.” Some lights flashed in my unblinking eyes moved in and out. No blinking. My eyes just stared straight ahead. I could not focus on their faces no matter how insistent they were. Where was I? I think in a hospital, but I wasn’t quite sure.
“Carmen! Can you hear me?” My chest was being rubbed by knuckles more than once, I think I got pinched, but all I could do was stare at the ceiling. I was there and I wasn’t. Present. Watching. But not there, at least not the way they wanted me to be. I was inside an unresponsive body. I could not feel its pain yet, that came later as soul, spirit and body began to connect again, until then there was a disconnect. Once connected I felt the pain. It was a PCR test in the second nostril that brought the soul and body closer to connection and three days later I can still feel my sternum bones hurting from the knuckles rubbing done on me.
“Give her…for her seizure. A low dose, since the head neurologist isn’t sure what this is.”
“Welcome back! Do you know where you are?
I nodded yes
“What’s your name?”
“Carmen Mcknight, yet the words came out with great difficulty and somewhat unintelligible, since my mouth and facial muscles were refusing to cooperate.
“That looks like a seizure to me.” One nurse spoke and flashed more lights in my eyes. Still no response. But I was slowly coming out of whatever this seizure, not seizure episode was.
Once the seizure activity resolved more tests were done and besides the presence of blood, epithelial cells and lymphocites in the urine, and other blood test results a little off, everything looked good. Ahh, with the exception of the tachycardia (140). So I got admited in the hopsital and put under supervision then sent home the next day without treament for the infection- other than one dose of intravenous antibiotic- or a diagnosis. And this ladies and gentlement is the western medical system in our country.
The most amazing part of this whole experience was the presence of calm and absence of fear. Complete absence of fear I may add. The serenity and calm I felt was absolute. Was it all the prayers sent to the heavens by my family? Was it a medical issue that happens when the brain lacks oxygen and goes into a shock state? Could be, yet my oxygen levels were normal the whole time. I like to think it was me aware of the present. Part of the present. Watching. Observing. Not afraid. Because one way or another I would be alright. A God assurance within me and around me. Or call it energy -the christians call it spirit- no matter, it was there with me and I with it. I was alright. I would be alright. The End.