|Always and Everyone.
||[Jan. 21st, 2007|07:47 pm]
I believe that Stories have Power. I believe that a story can be diluted by telling people. I believe that writing it down for all to see on the Internet has the potential to spead the power so that it's nearly gone. That's why some of my stories are saved for word of mouth and for those that I trust, because I don't want to dilute the power. For one of the first times, I consciously want to spread it as thin as rice paper, so that it's not my story any more.
So, on Friday I had an appointment in Phlebotomy in Loughlinstown hospital, in preparation for going to my endo. Because I didn't want to go up in front of O'Shea again without having my bloods done ahead of time. So I booked an appointment a while back and I was told "Fast from 8pm onwards". That's what I did. Now, not being able to tell my parents about such things, I had to arrange something where I'd be eating out, and could just say "Don't make dinner for me, I'll eat out" because I frequently get home from work after 8pm, so I didn't want to take that risk. There was also the fact that I wanted to meet people. So I met with bloodedrose, had a good meal in Yamamori's, one to take me through the night without any hunger pangs, and then we went to the cinema to see Smokin' Aces. The most exotic thing I had in the cinema was water.
So, I got home and slept. I got up and managed to accidentally-on-purpose not eat my breakfast, so that I didn't break the fast (isn't etymology great, kids?), I then got the various busses to get me to Loughlinstown hospital on time for my 10.40 appointment. Now, I have to admit, that all that morning, I'd been running over all sorts of stresses in my head (ever have one of those moments where you say "Oh hell, I'm a transsexual" - ok most of you wouldn't, not being trannies and all, but I'm sure people have had similar experiences) - currently there are quite a few, some of which I couldn't even begin to articulate. I arrived and, fortunately, didn't have to wait long for blood-drawing. I went in at about 10:50.
For anyone who either hasn't met me, or doesn't remember, I have pretty deep-set veins. I'm one of those people who's no problem for the experienced, but all kinds of problems for the inexperienced. Normally the nurse in the Phlebotomy dept (the one that takes blood samples and processes them for other doctors/consultants) is quite good - she's what I'd call a vampire. I thought that the nurse I was getting was The Vampire (the last time I had blood taken was by someone who was definately NOT the vampire), so I thought I was safe. This one had trouble both finding the veins, and once she found one, had trouble drawing blood from it. She needed about 4 vials of it, but only got 2 from my left arm.
I should mention at this point that I could feel the needle poking the other side of the vein. Normally, with the vampire, I just look away, feel a small pinch and I'm done. This time I could feel it and I could feel that the blood wasn't coming, and I was getting even more nervous. I was beginning to feel a slight tingle of dizziness, but I figured I could handle it. Then she decided to switch to my right arm, and as she put the tourniquet on there, I began to really feel dizzy. I actually had to stop and say "Sorry, could I get some water or something? I feel a bit dizzy" She left the room telling me to put my head down, and when she came back gave me the water, and then told me to keep my head down. I.e. I didn't have much time to drink the water.
Anyway, she asked if it might be an idea for me to come back in a little bit which, again, would not have been a bad idea if I'd had a chance. There again, while I'm well aware that I was thinking clearly, I might not have been clear. But at the time, I thought it was a good idea. At which point she hit the big red button on the wall - meaning that she needed some help. Some nurses came in, and she explained the situation. I heard the words A+E, and I really did not want to go there. Reason being, however bad I was, it wasn't something that really needed the attention of a group as serious as A+E. Still, someone brought in a wheelchair, and with well-trained-nurse-like skill one of them was saying "Do you want to sit in the wheelchair?", as if there was the element of choice on my part. After being asked a few times, I finally decided it was probably a good idea. Whereupon people noticed I was seriously sweating.
So, I was wheeled off to A+E. By the way, all of this probably happened in about 3 to 5 minutes. At first it seemed to be because the nurse wanted a particular machine to test my blood pressure, and the clippy thing on my finger (I think it measures oxygen in the blood), and then I was left there, lying on a bed, connected to a machine just checking out some bits of me. But apparently, I did have some stats that weren't normal, because later on when they checked on me, they said it was back to normal. That still didn't stop me from being all kinds of nervous. Here I was in A+E, when it should have been a quick ten minute job in and out of phlebotomy, also I was well aware that I was in A+E and taking up a bed - one of the favourite whipping horses of the media is that there are no beds in A+E when they're really needed - so I was not eager to be someone who should be in there. Also I was thinking "What on earth do I do if they ring my parents to let me know that I'm in Loughlinstown? They don't know that I'm out here. As far as they know I'm in work. How on earth do I explain that I'm miles away from where I should be? I mean, it's not even an incident at work, because it's on the other side of the city. Shite!" There were other things like "What if I end up here overnight?" - ok, looking back, not a credible one to think, but at the time I was just churning out ideas. Actually some bit of me was also aware of that, and asking "Ok, so that dizziness, and general tingling all over the body: Is that what a mild panic attack is?". Hell, even when one of the doctors (she had lighter blue scrubs than some of the others, and held herself differently, so I think she was a ) took a finger-prick blood sample I started to think "Ok, I know that's just a finger prick blood test, so it's probably to measure some quick and simple things, probably blood sugar and the like. I know that because there was someone in Motor Tax who was diabetic and had to do that for herself every day. Oh, what if they think I'm somehow diabetic. What if I am? How would I tell the parents I'd found this out?" - all of this while I was still in a daze and just knew that there was activity around me, and that while I probably needed what I was getting, I shouldn't be getting it from A+E (believe it or not, watery as I can be, I do have a stubborn streak about me on occasion, and this streak was telling me that I definately should not be here). Also, not low on my list of concerns was "What if they contact Dr O'Shea about this? What will he say? Might he want me off hormones? Will he hear about this? Gyah!"
Actually, I'm just going to take a moment here. I'm just recounting this, and I'm all over the place just trying to describe it. I can't get a clear chronolgical order in my head. All I know is that at points I was asked "When have you been fasting since?", and I always gave them the same answer. Thinking about it now, I don't know if it was because they didn't believe it, or if so many people wanted to know and it wasn't communicated properly, or if they just wanted me talking.
Anyway, eventually, I was brought out to the reception, told to sign up details (I was told that this could very likely cost me 60 euro - which while I appreciate that it was a waste of resources, it wasn't my choice to go there), and then I was brought into another room where one of the nurses (or possibly a doctor, but darker blue scrubs, and I just got this veteran "nurse" vibe off her - through experience, I tend to know that nurses tend to have more on-the-ground experience. It's like the difference between a scientist and an engineer - both know the theory equally well, but one's a lot less academic) asked me about my medical history and what happened and the like. At first she was very formal, but warmed up a bit, and in the end just said that it's probably down to the fasting and that should be addressed first. She led me back to my bed, where I decided that it would be a good idea to sit up, I didn't particularly want to lie down. So after a while, some food was brought: Fish, mash and turnip, along with some tea and some icecream. My immediate reaction was to go for the tea, then some of the mash, and the fish.
In the meantime, I could hear the nurses of A+E giving out stink to the Phlebotomy nurse. It seems it wasn't the first time that she seemed to panic and bring a dizzy patient to A+E. In fairness, I would have thought that it would be a hazard of the job of drawing blood. I mean, surely, I'm not the first to do this, and I'm unlikely to be the last. Of course, it can be argued that even if there was a procedure for when this happens to patients, and they have a place to lie down and there be a machine to test the various vitals it could still be put to better use in A+E.
About an hour and a half later, a doctor came around. He check my pulse, and my balance, breathing and heart, and if I could quickly transition from lying to standing without losing my balance. When he was satisfied he discharged me, but was concerned that nobody was with me, nor was there anyone to pick me up. Which leads me smoothly to my next point...
At any rate, while I was on my back, (still in a bit of a daze) I came to some conclusions. One big one is "Man, I've got to tell my parents. I don't want this stuff to come as a shock some time." When I was in the reception, I was asked for details for "next of kin". That kinda shook me. She quickly explained that I could put in a friend's name, just a name for if something really bad happened. I thought of putting in Jack, but then thought it'd be really bad just to do that without warning him, so I opted for the parents in the end. At that point, I realised I really needed them in the loop. I actually have to get the courage and deal with this. By the way, yes, that was one of the things on my mind before even setting foot in the hospital, but this just cemented it.
Anyway, once I left, I went to town, took the rest of the day off (although I was considering going back to work, for normality's sake, not necessarily to do any work), met with Jack because I needed someone to talk to, and just sat in Cafe Irie for a while, then met Alyssa, wandered around town (with me still kinda in shock - I figure that while the dizziness lasted for a while, I was also just in some sort of shock that I was finding myself in A+E, because part of me did wonder if there was anything serious enough to warrant me going there, and I still hadn't processed the whole event when I'd left) and then went back to his. It wasn't until I was back in his, at about 6pm, that I felt fairly normal/non-shocked. After that I was shattered. I left at 9, and didn't want to go home, in case the parents were. I didn't feel up to lying to them if they asked how work was. So I went to Peter's housewarming, plus I just needed to be among friends still.
I realise this is probably quite incoherent, but I just needed to seriously braindump on this. I need to thin this Story. I need to take the power and just neuter it. I need it to just be a story, not an event. I want it to just be something that I tell the proverbials. I know that, in the end, regardless of any outcomes, it will be just a tale in my life, but that's why I'm sharing it anyway.
To end: How was your Friday?