The weekend started out well enough: I got out of work at 4, went home to take it easy for a bit, and then went to visit some old friends at a hotel they were staying at. We had some pizza and some laughs. I eventually left, and hit I-10 to go back to my apartment for another exciting Friday of grocery shopping and Guitar Hero.
Life was good, I was cruising on up the freeway, Phil Collins was on the radio and somewhere around West Avenue it hit me…I felt a numbing sensation on the left side of my body. I immediately suspected the worst…and next thing I know I am flying up the freeway towards the Medical Center trying to remember where the nearest ER was that wasn’t University Hospital.
(for the record, yes I have been there before, and yes, the waits are as long as people say)
In addition to the numbness, my heart felt like it was pounding a mile a minute, and yet I wasn’t breathing hard. Occasionally, for some odd reason, I would check my pulse, perhaps to make sure it was still there. I have been involved in medical emergencies before, but prior it was stuff that I either saw coming (appendix blowing up) or that weren’t life-threatening (broken wrist, pulled back). This one had me scared, I think I recited every prayer I could think of as I sped towards Methodist Specialst and Transplant Hospital.
I parked the Reliant, took an extra minute to place my Netbook in the trunk (old habits and all that) and waited in the Emergency Room frightened out of my wits. I preferred to stand up, I figured that if Something Bad occurred, the sound of my 275-pound body hitting the ground would garner more attention than me simply slumping over and going off into The Big Goodnight.
I called one of my brothers, whom I had just seen, and let him know what was going on. I asked him not to tell our parents, I didn’t want them to worry. About five minutes later, I called them beause I didn’t want them to be the last ones to know either.
I filled out a form saying what I was there for, handed it to the triage nurse, and watched the TV in the ER waiting room for a bit. The Simpsons were on, followed by Family Guy, and they temporarily distracted me from the more pressing issue at hand.
The triage nurse called me over, and I must have sounded very nervous as I rattled off my symptoms, meds, and other pertinent information. The nurse took my vitals and sent me to registration to get checked in so that she could start some tests.
The gal at the registration desk was cute, I remember thinking at the time that if my clock was to be punched tonight, this wouldn’t be a bad time for it. At least the last thing I would see on God’s Green Earth would be something pretty. I gave out more information; insurance, address, yadda yadda yadda, and sat back down briefly before the triage nurse called me over to do an EKG and take some blood samples.
After taking the EKG and before taking the blood, she got a phone call, and she started discussing “Mr. Soliz” and his “abnormal EKG” which didn’t help matters much. I was then told that the EKG did not appear to be a heart attack. To her credit, the nurse nailed the IV on the first shot, which is no mean feat, I am quite literally “thick skinned”. One nurse way back when actually TWISTED the needle while it was in my arm and had the effing nerve to ask if it hurt. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to kick someone’s ass so badly.
I phoned the family with an update, and I was soon whisked to a room in the ER, where I waited, and waited and waited. A new nurse peeked in on me about two hours in, remarking that they were quite busy. I didn’t let it bother me, hey, its Friday night, right?
Two hours and change after that, I finally saw the doctor. He gave the the usual once-over with the stethescope, and asked me a lot of questions about the day. Everything looked fine, he said, but he wanted to take a chest X-ray, so not 15 minutes later, another gal and the giant X-ray machine drop in. She also looked cute, so I tried to be Mr. Cool and failed miserably…my fly had been open the entire time. Story of my life, I tell you.
I sheepishly zipped up and awaited the doctor. He came about a half hour later and told me that everything had come up roses, blood, urine, x-ray, and vitals (don’t ask where the roses came from…Just. Don’t. Ask.). I have had odd unexplained things happen to me in the past that had no explanation (for example, I am allergic to something but don’t know what, I break out in hives every few years or so) and so we dismissed it as Just One Of Those Things, and I was sent home with instructions to return should it flare up again. The nurse then removed the IV and I was sent on my merry way.
As I got up I saw someone who didn’t make it being wheeled by, and it served as a reminder of the initial gravity of the situation.
I called the family again and assured them that all was well and then I hit the road. An hour later, here I am banging out a blog post about the whole experience, but at least I won’t be known as “that guy that sent tweets from the ER.”
I did consder it though.