I almost died again. It must be Thursday.


Yes, I know this is posting on a Monday. There’s a method to this madness.


So. I had a GI bleed so bad and painful that I passed out and spent five hours on the floor. Was still intensely sick when I came to and had to call 911.

The paramedics couldn’t take me to my first choice hospital because they had no beds. Nope on my second choice for the same reason.

Covid.

The medics suggested a third, and I said yes even though I’m intensely uncomfortable with new places. Because of some weird planetary alignment / twist of fate fuckery, every member of my support system was out of town for one reason or another. I was alone. Honestly it was the first time I had ever been alone in an emergency room, and trust me, if ERs gave frequent visitor points, my next ER visit would definitely be in Hawaii.

The symptoms I had… They were so similar to what my mom went through last year. I kept thinking of all the surgeries and other procedures she had to endure, and I wondered if I should have gotten a DNR bracelet.

This third hospital was full, too, but they weren’t overflowing like the other ones. I got processed and triaged. I noticed people in beds lining the hallways. The intake nurses put me in the world’s most uncomfortable wheelchair. The intake doctor told me that they were gonna put me on IV fluids and take a CT scan. Then I was wheeled into the waiting room.

No one came to do the IV fluid thing.

The waiting room was almost full too. There were a lot of people in so much pain that they would periodically cry out. But they still had to wait. One person was so exhausted that he fell out of his chair. The nurses helped him back into it and told him to be patient. There were two worried parents near me with a sick toddler. She didn’t understand why she hurt and just kept saying “Ma,” “Da,” “Ow,” and “Home” over and over in between fits of tears.

A nurse took me to get some blood work done. She gave me something for nausea and said someone would be hooking me up to IV fluids soon. She rolled me back into the waiting room.

More pained screams, moans, a child’s plea for home.

A couple hours later I was taken for the CT scan. Because I was lying down for the scan I nearly fell asleep. I remember wishing the process had been longer because I did not want back into that wheelchair. The tech said it was usually forty-five minutes to an hour after a scan before patients saw the doctor.

A nurse wheeled me back to the waiting room. She said that someone would be by soon to give me IV fluids. A woman to my left was sobbing. Her leg was braced and bloody. I saw a doctor tell a man that his wife’s chest scan showed that she had pneumonia and that she was currently being tested for Covid. The doctor said if she did test positive, she’d be moved to a different part of the hospital and they would come and get him.

An hour later, they came and got him.

Two hours later, they came and got me. Wheeled me into a curtained examination cubicle and transferred me into a weird recliner that was slightly more comfortable than my wheelchair. I could hear people up and down the hall crying out in pain. I told myself if the CT scan or bloodwork had shown something truly terrible that they would have gotten to me much earlier. I tried to turn the waiting into a silver lining.

The constant sounds of people in excruciating pain made it hard to believe in the lining.

Two hours later a doctor showed up. He said the scan showed a bunch of little things wrong with me but nothing life threatening. Blood work was normal. Ish. He was worried they couldn’t pin down the source of the bleed and was concerned that I was still in pain. He wanted to admit me so that a specialist could see me.

I said okay without even thinking.

Then he explained that they didn’t have any free beds and I might have to spend up to 48 hours in the recliner before one opened up.

I asked, “because of Covid?” And he let out an exhausted breath and said, “yeah.”

I took a moment, then asked if I was in immediate danger. He said no. I told him I had a GI specialist and going home, sleeping in my own bed, and calling her in the morning to make an appointment would probably be faster, yeah? He said possibly and asked the name of my specialist. She didn’t have admitting privileges to that hospital.

I really, really wanted to go home and he said that was a reasonable choice. He wanted to hook me up to some IV fluids before discharging me.

Three hours later, I happened to make accidental eye contact with a passing nurse. I smiled awkwardly and said hi. She said hello and started to walk past me, then backtracked to ask my name. I told her, and her eyes went wide.

“Oh, you’re the one everyone’s been looking for.”

The computer had listed me in a different cubicle. Apparently the nurses had spent a good portion of the last three hours searching for me.

The discharge nurse showed up with my paperwork. I mentioned the doctor had said I needed some IV fluids. She checked her little computer and I wondered if it was operating on the same system that misplaced me. No notes in the chart on IV fluids. I was too tired to argue and asked if there was a vending machine out front where I could get water. She said she would get me some and she actually did and it felt like a freaking miracle of medicine right there. I mean, the cup even had ice chips in it. Ice chips.

I tried to take it slow because my insides were feeling super sore and fragile, but that cup was empty in under a minute.

It was well into the morning when I finally got home. I called my GI specialist and made an appointment. Then, after 16 hours in the ER, I crawled into bed and slept for almost 20.

So, my doctor’s worried. To the point the C word was brought up. But I’ve had so many cancer scares at this point that all I could do was give a halfhearted shrug because I knew what was coming next and that it was going to suck.

Colonoscopy, endoscopy. Soon as possible. She’s going to do both at the same time so that’s something, I suppose. I’ve had both procedures done before (cancer scares, aka my new normal), so I’m not nervous. It is what it is.

I’m actually having a lot more trouble processing what was.

The screams, the wails, the moans, the crying. That little girl who didn’t understand why she was hurting or why she was surrounded by people who were hurting.

I called 911 on Thursday, July 29th. But I’m still hearing the sounds of all that sickness and pain.

And the thing is, it didn’t have to be that way, you know? Or, at least, not that bad. Not so bad that seriously sick people were parked in the front waiting room and doctors want to admit someone but literally can’t. Not so bad that a xyr dehydrated patient never gets their IV fluids. (A fact that horrified my specialist–not exaggerating).

It didn’t have to be so bad. But I live in Texas, and for some reason a lot of people here refuse to get vaccinated.

So I’m asking you to do just that. Get vaccinated. I got the Moderna, my father got the J&J. Months ago. It really isn’t a big deal.

You know what are big deals? GI bleeds, car crashes, heart attacks, COVID-19. Having any kind of emergency and being unable to get help because hospitals aren’t taking patients, and the ones that are have exhausted doctors and nurses working triple shifts and missing little things like that patient over there who hasn’t had anything to drink in roughly 24hours after losing a pretty good amount of blood.

Just… Get vaccinated. Wear your masks. Be safe and save others, okay?

5 Responses to “I almost died again. It must be Thursday.”

  1. James says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. They need to start turning away Covid patients who are not vaccinated. I know that sounds harsh, but they are the cause of this catastrophe. Innocent people could die (and probably are) because of their stupidity.

  2. Laura Demay says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Hugs. I just got my second shot and cross my fingers we can get enough vaccinated before Delta hits NZ. My thoughts are with you.
    -Laura

  3. Tish says:

    My heart goes out to you. I was just chatting with a nurse friend of mine on Sunday and she was nearly catatonic. She has had to work 7-days-a-week for months now (with no break) and the latest surge is doing her in. She routinely assists Covid patients who never got vaccinated and it just makes her so angry because she knows their hospital stay could have been prevented and that others are not getting the quality of care they need and people are dying as a result.

    Worse still, her hospital had to once again stop all elective surgery which is what actually keeps the hospital afloat. Oh, and she works alongside several nurses who refuse to get vaccinated as well, so she doesn’t feel safe anywhere at the hospital which is resulting in her wearing the N95 masks at all times, even though they are impossible to breath in. It’s just awful.

    I’m also friends with someone who was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She’s scared and overwhelmed, but she’s lucky to be surrounded by several good friends who have taken over the task of giving everyone updates and letting us all know how we can help.

    So why am I telling you all this? To remind you that you’re not alone. Also, to encourage you to keep reaching out to us and your loved ones. It’s so easy to allow yourself to become isolated, but it’s also not healthy for your mental health and you need to be surrounded by love and support in order to truly heal.

    Please let us know how we can support you. Sending you a big long digital hug from the Pacific Northwest. 🙂

  4. Bo Reddington says:

    I don’t know what to say that doesn’t sound stupid, but I hope everything works out for you. I hope it’s not cancer, and I’m rooting for you to get better. It sucks there’s so much suffering, and I hope yours passes.

  5. WillWriteInSecret says:

    Its a really heart breaking story. Im sorry for you. In Turkey most of the people got vaccinated so problems from covid decreased immensely. I hope it all gets better for you

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