Friday, June 01, 2007

Sicko (Day One)

It started at around 7am on Tuesday. I woke feeling a little clammy and sore in the stomach. I paid a couple of visits to Diarrhoea City, but other than that I felt reasonably okay, so I trundled off to work.

I was not reasonably okay.

By late morning, I casually announced to our receptionist that I was going to have a little lie down on the floor in my office, and asked her to do something if I swallowed my tongue. She later told me that my skin colour had gone from “Aussie Tan” to “Simpsons Yellow”. As I lay quietly on the floor in my office, she brought me a wet tea towel to put on my forehead, and called my boss in. I swore I’d be okay after a few minutes, and a quarter of an hour later I was back up and walking around. Then sixty seconds later I was back on the floor again, reluctantly agreeing to let my boss drive me home.

I reclined the passenger seat in my boss’ car and lay there feeling wretched as we scooted down the freeway. I thought to ask her to turn down the heating, since I felt stifled and was starting to sweat, but when I glanced at the centre console I noticed that the heating wasn’t switched on. I wriggled around in my seat, trying to get comfortable, and as we passed through the final set of traffic lights before my house, I reassured myself that I’d soon be home and settled down in my bed.

Then I noticed something odd. My eyes were open, but I couldn’t see anything. This isn’t normal, I thought. I blinked a couple of times, and yes, my eyes were definitely open, but all I could see was darkness. I thought to comment on this to my boss, and suddenly the world started to resolve in front of me. I realised we weren’t moving. I heard my boss talking to someone, then I felt cold water being sprinkled on my face. We were in the car park of my local Pizza Haven, and I was being doused in rather expensive Nature’s Spring mineral water from their refrigerator.

Apparently, according to my boss, I’d lost consciousness and started convulsing a couple of minutes earlier. The darkness I’d seen with my eyes wide open was actually the inside of my eye sockets, as seen when my eyes rolled back in my head.

She drove me back to the hospital where we work.

I was admitted to the Emergency Department at around 1pm. Chipper orderlys shuttled my gurney from one bay to the next, as the emergency staff tried to classify me and decide what needed to be done. Nurses checked my temperature and blood pressure. A doctor ran an ultrasound probe over my heart. Medical students asked me questions. A resident lost his patience with an ECG machine that refused to admit that I was still alive.

I had two more episodes while in the ED. The first one was short, nixed almost before it started as I was being manhandled by two doctors who tilted me back so that the blood rushed to my head. The second one occurred while I was propped up on my gurney, with no way to lower my head. I was about to lose consciousness again, but as soon as I weakly muttered “help” to a passing nurse, I was surrounded by every kind of medical specialist known to man. They seemed touchingly pleased that they might have an actual emergency in the Emergency Department, and then they looked rather crestfallen when I perked up again almost as soon as they’d started treating me. It was to be the first of many times that medical specialists would glare at me over the next 48 hours for having the temerity to pass out, then pop back up again without any apparent symptoms, ill effects, or dramatically prolonged ECG readings.

As afternoon passed into evening one of the senior doctors ambled up to my gurney and informed me that he wanted to keep me overnight in the Observation Ward, since they could not as yet determine what, if anything, was wrong with me. All of my tests were coming back irritatingly clean, but for just a couple of tiny anomalies that didn’t seem to mean anything. I commented that my stomach still hurt, and seemed to be gradually getting worse, but he seemed to regard that as a distraction from my heart and my brain, which he was inclined to blame. Around 9pm I was shunted into the Observation Ward, given a saline drip and some jasmine tea, and told to get some sleep.

But of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy.


Blogger Iris Flavia said...

Soooooo??? Did you fade again? Is this going to be a thriller or something?

Since you have been writing this, you made it at least for that night and back home. If you can read this, you are not unconscious - so... write!

6:23 PM  
Blogger MC Etcher said...

holy cow! i hope you are all better soon!

5:12 AM  

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