The day after Christmas, I woke up feeling terrible. I had a very bad fever. I'd go from extremely hot to freezing cold. I was shivering so badly that my jaw still is still sore. Then around 11 am, I started throwing up, then I would go to sleep, and then every time I would wake up I would throw up again. About once an hour. Eventually it got so bad I had to call my mom home from work so she could drive me to the ER.
The Waiting Room
Mom and I sat in the waiting room for ages. I'm not sure how long it took, because I fell in and out of sleep, but I know it took longer than an hour. The worst part were the other people in the waiting room. There was a whole family in there speaking very, very loudly in Spanish. And when they weren't talking, they were listening to music on their phones very loudly. Then, this mother with her sick baby sat next to me, and the first thing she did was get on her phone and start calling everyone she knew to tell them about her baby. Thankfully, she sat somewhere else after I ran to the bathroom to go throw up.
My Mother, The Hero
My mom was great. She kept asking the nurses if they could hurry and see me because I was rapidly getting worse and have Lupus. Unfortunately, all the hospitals in the area were filling up, so they kept sending people to the ER I was at. We had to wait for a bed to empty. When the Urgent Care by my house started to open, my mom kept asking family members to go see how crowded it was, but no one was close by. So she asked the nurse if there was anyway I could get a bed in the hallway or a bag of saline solution so they could get me stable.
There was a bed in the hallway available, so they let me lie on that while they checked my vitals. My heart rate was extremely high and I had a fever of 101. You should have seen the nurse's face when he saw my heart rate. He had a shocked look on my face. That's probably why they wanted to give me an EKG. They gave me some aspirin or whatever it was to bring down my fever and wouldn't let me wear my jacket or a blanket, even though I was freezing. Which was a good idea with my huge fever.
Eventually I got my own room, and apparently I slept for a few hours. It felt like a few minutes, but my mom told me some nurses had checked up on me and said I wasn't dehydrated enough for some saline. Soon after that, the doc came in and had me checked out. I had the flu, but he also said I have a throat infection, an Otitis Media with Effusion (fluid in the middle ear). This probably has something to do with the Eustachian tube problem I had a while ago with the sinus infection I had.
I have a lot of new medicines because of this little hospital trip. Every three hours I alternate between Motrin and Tylenol, then I take Clindamycin (an antibiotic) three times a day, along with Zofran (an anti-nausea medicine that works by blocking the body's production of serotonin) three times a day if needed. At least today I've been able to eat.
And in an hour, I'm leaving to go visit a doctor in my area. I'm hoping he's a good one because I hate driving so far to see my Rheumatologist for everything.
Some ER Tips To Remember
1. If you are really sick, sometimes it is better to just call an ambulance so you don't have to wait hours and hours for care.
2. If you are waiting in the waiting room, and you are getting worse, it is okay to ask to be stabilized (especially if you are like me and when you get sick you go from okay to hospital status in a matter of hours or sometimes an hour).
3. Stay hydrated. Hilariously, I was too hydrated to get a saline bag right off the bat, but I was still pretty dehydrated. My mom and I were joking that I shouldn't have had so much to drink, but I knew it could have been a lot worse if I hadn't had that fluid in my system.
4. If there are people being excessively loud in the waiting room, it is okay to ask the receptionist to ask them to keep it down. Waiting rooms for the ER are not for get-togethers, they are for sick people and family of sick people. Also, do the same for others and remind loud family members to keep it down for the people who might not be feeling well.
5. Know the hospitals in your area and know when to go to an ER and when to go to an Urgent Care. That way, you can get the best care for what you are going through and you don't take away from someone who needs it more.