Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mr. Bartender Visits The Hospital

Last Friday, Mr. Bartender allowed his chest to play social secretary for the day and it arranged an afternoon field trip to the emergency room! Some things I learned that day:

The Quickest Way to Get to a Hospital

Scenario 1 - Clutch pounding & aching chest and walk to GW Hospital. estimated transit time - 10 min

Scenario 2 - Call the on site EMTs at work. Wait 10 minutes. EMT's arrive and ask if you want an ambulance. You say no that a friend will drive you. EMT's inform you a friend can't drive you and they have to call an ambulance for you. You wonder why they even asked if you wanted an ambulance if you had no say in the matter, but you are too sore to argue.

Wait 20 min. Firemen arrive & discuss with on site EMT's their respective weekend cookout plans. Wait 10 min. Ambulance arrives. Gurney rolls through the door. You insist you can walk, they insist you don't. Roll out of work on a gurney. Sit in ambulance while various vitals are taken. Wait 30 min. Drive to Washington Hospital Center 15 min. estimated transit time - 1 hour 20 min

Leaving Work With A Bang!

While Scenario 1 above gets you to the hospital quicker, it doesn't quite have the same flair that Scenario 2 does. Stumble out the door and walk to the hospital hardly anyone will notice ya. If you wait around as the medical personnel begin to arrive, you allow time for gossip to simmer down the hallways. By the time they're rolling you down the hallway people have heard about your impending death and can be outside to wave goodbye to your sorry ass. Bonus points for running into as many Vice Presidents as possible on the way out. I got up to three!! Oh and the embarrassment you feel...I'm guessing that'll go away in about a week or so when people stop coming by to find out what the hell happened.

Providing an Education to the Emergency Personnel of Today and Tomorrow

Another rewarding thing about riding in the Ambulance is that you get the opportunity to assist in the training of the EMTs. This is their chance to figure out the intricacies of real life that they apparently just don't teach in med school.

For example the correct location for the adhesive electrodes they put on ya for the EKG machine. All you need to do is lay there as they apply and RIIIIIP off electrodes until they get them adjusted to just the correct location. Plus you get to learn facinating information as the intructor says things like "now you'll want to place this one about an inch below the nipple, if he was a woman and her breasts were off to the side you'd want to visualize in your mind where the nipple would be".

It's also a good chance for them to practice setting up an IV drip. Now needles in my arm don't bother me all that much from a pain perspective, I just can't handle the visual of it. So I didn't watch that process but I'll relay some of the conversation I overheard:

Instructor: "wow there ain't no missing those veins....Ray Charles would be able to see those things"

Trainee: "you'll feel a slight prick"

Instructor: "good just adjust the....oh no, like that...."

Trainee: "uhhhh"

Instructor: "nope now I knew that was gonna happen.......(to me) - looks like you're gonna have to get a new work shirt (back to Trainee) Now when you do that you need to apply pressure down here to prevent the blood spurting out like that. Pressure right here (presses down on my newly bloodied and sore arm)

Mr. B internal monologue: "ow"

Trainee: "here?" (presses down on my newly bloodied and sore arm)

Mr. B internal monologue: "ow"

Instructor: "" (presses down on my newly bloodied and sore arm)

Mr. B internal monologue: "ow"

Out With The Old, In With The New

When we got to the Hospital, they decided to run some vitals of their own on me. It was apparent that the electrodes and IV drip that was hooked up in the ambulance was more out of date than the fancy stuff they have at the Hospital. So RIIIIP off came the adhesive electrodes (who needs a chest wax when you've got these bad boys!) and replaced the contraption in my arm with a brand new model. The process took a little more blood out of me, but look at that fancy contraption!!

Ain't it sexy. Totally worth laying in a small little puddle of my blood for the next couple hours. Nurses kept walking by, would see the bloodied sheets and ask if I was okay and needed someone to stop the bleeding. I assured them I was fine..

I Am, Apparently, The Gayest Thing Ever

Now as a rule of thumb, in a professional environment I may make assessments about a persons sexual orientation but don't refer to their orientation until it has been proven relevant to conversation and has been confirmed by the person in question. Now the hospital staff either doesn't follow this same rule of thumb or I am so flaming - so undeniably gay that the medical staff at the hospital had me pegged as a big ol' mo from the second they carted my ass in the door. No hinting around or questioning of my sexual orientation needed. The nurse's assistant kept asking me if Sassypants (who was kind enough to come along with me for this field trip) was my partner. The nurse declared "It's like Gay Day in here....all my patients are gay today!!!"

Hospital Visits Test Your Anorexic Abilities

This whole ordeal got started shortly after noon before I had an opportunity to eat lunch. Having a minimal breakfast that day (yogurt) it was a good opportunity to see how good I'd be at being anorexic. The verdict is I'd be AWFUL. I just love food too much and don't handle being hungry very well. I was starving when I got to the hospital and unfortunately I wasn't allowed to eat anything until after the Dr. saw me in case they needed to draw more blood (they could of course just rung out the blood from the bed sheets).... 6:30 rolled around and I finally got the thumbs up to eat. They handed me a bag with a tuna sandwich in it which was pretty awful yet tasted like the sweetest thing I've ever eaten.... If I'm ever gonna get an eating disorder I'm so choosing bulemia.

Diagnosis = Not Gonna Die

At the end of the day it turns out all is fine and healthy in my world. The chest pains were related to inflamed lung tissue and/or chest muscle that got pulled from all my hacking, sneezing and coughing a couple weeks ago when my allergies were all askew. After an echo cardiogram, EKG, cholesterol screenings, etc it's very clear my heart is in tip-top shape. Low bad cholesterol & triglycerides, high good cholesterol, strong and healthy beating heart - oh and I'm still HIV neg. So I'm taking 600 mg of ibuprofen 4 times a day for 7 days to take down the inflammation in my lungs and get me back to normal.

And all sarcasm aside, most of the people who were assisting in my care were doing a great job. The nurse was a pretty cool guy who would hide out in my room when he needed a break from his other patients. All in all things could have been MUCH worse....still I have no plans to go rushing back over ther any time soon. HUGE thanks to Sassypants for being with me through the long day which would have otherwise been intolerable. He even starved alongside me at the hospital....that's the true messure of a good friend.


At 4:59 PM, Blogger Taylor said...

Oh, Mr. B!!! My goodness ... what a traumatic experience. Thankfully you are tip-top, and you had your annual cholesterol check and also saved a trip to Whitman-Walker. Hopefully your arm isn't too bruised. Or your wallet.

Oh and btw ... perhaps it was Sassypants gave you away as a 'mo as you are the portrait of masculinity.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Ow Ow Ow OW! That's my nightmare scenario when having blood taken. No trainees for me, thanks. Glad you're okay. Easy on the Ibuprofen, as it can damage your stomach if you don't eat food with it.

At 1:05 AM, Blogger Dop said...

Glad you are okay.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Gotta love GW hospital. Back in the rugby playing days, I had a head wound that required 22 stitches (6 by the skull and 16 to close the wound). I finally had to point out after waiting around for close to 3 hours, that if I wasn't seen STAT, the the wound wasn't going to properly close and I'd be forced to file a little lawsuit. Next think I know, the chief of plastic surgery is stitching up my forehead.

On a separate note, having to have one of my many knee surgeries there, I proclaimed my undying love for the Anesthesiologist imediately after he shot me up with valium to put a needle in my back for pain meds. It was so hawt!

Anyway, it's always an experience there, but glad you're all ok.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Dumbek said...

You know...If you didn't want to come over on Monday, you could have just said "I'm busy."

Glad you're ok - Get better soon.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous copperred said...

Yep, honey that thing in your arm is called a canula. I still have marks on my right hand from a few doctor installed ones. Never allow doctors to poke you, only nurses.

Next time you reply to a text message with "Spent the day at the hospital", don't make me wait for a response. I worry, and that's bad for my health.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger TOS said...

Holy crap! I'm glad you are ok!


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