Thursday, February 21, 2008

E.R. Tales...

At 11:30 last night, after his third bout of vomiting in a month, we packed J into the car and hauled him off to the emergency room. His blood pressure was 88 over 50, he was a weird shade of gray and he was cold...despite the long johns, pajama bottoms, jeans, three shirts, a sweater, a fleece, a down jacket and a fleece face mask. The E.R. staff was fairly nice but the physician's assistant and one of nurses were so rude and condescending that I wanted to throttle them. When the nurse suggested that J follow up with a doctor and he said, "Well, I don't have insurance so I don't have a doctor," her response was, "well, it cost you $350 to come here (add condescending tone)." What a b!tch! Guess what, lady? Some people are poor and can't afford insurance. And sometimes, they're not poor enough to qualify for Welfare. What are they supposed to do, just sit at home while their blood pressure drops and they vomit up all the life-sustaining fluids in their body? Stop acting like a lack of insurance is a choice, b!tch.

Sorry. Anyway:

They gave J an I.V. drip of Sodium Chloride mixed with Promethyzene (for the nausea and dehydration) and ran some blood tests and a urine test. They concluded that nothing is wrong and that he's sick, which, of course, we knew already (the sick part). He's had the nausea, upset stomach and sinus-y symptoms for almost two months. The vomiting happens every week and a half or so. He's taken 2 courses of antibiotics and a bunch of OTC drugs, so the doctor thought that maybe the antibiotics had exacerbated his condition. But they don't know.

And that's how where we were left. J doesn't have any answers and he's upset. He feels like he's not going to get better and I don't blame him. Sometimes an answer, even if it's not something you want to hear, is better than no answer at all. I hope that the discontinuation of his antibiotics will help and that he'll feel better within the week. He said he wants a gold star if he makes it through the semester with good grades. I'm giving him one right now.

5 comments:

Zach Miller said...

I wish you both luck. I'm sorry about the bad attitude from that nurse--I know what you mean. I'm in and out of the hospital sometimes, and I'll occassionally get that one nurse who's worked a whole shift or something and is just mean.

Sounds like J needs Dr. Gregory House!

Laelaps said...

Oh no! That's terrible. Tracey and I don't have insurance either, and we both dread a similar situation. I hope J gets better and that you both can get through the stress ok. You both deserve a gold star.

Julia said...

How horrible. You'd have thought nurses were sufficiently poorly paid that they had more sympathy for those without the means to get insurance. And maybe I'm being unfair to your doctors, but the thought crossed my mind that had you had insurance there might have been a diagnosis. The prospect of the richest country in the world withholding treatment or diagnostics from lower income patients doesn't sit well.

I am no doctor, but I wonder if J's symptoms are similar to a food allergy or intolerance. They can be pretty violent. It'll suck but try to keep a food diary. And make a note of anywhere he goes, if he walks past a particular factory or something. Just in case. And it goes without saying that vomiting blood, especially if it's dark blood is an emergency.

Amanda said...

Thanks everyone! We ended up back in the E.R. the next night and they did a chest x-ray and took a stool sample, so hopefully we'll get some answers on Monday. I really appreciate the best wishes and advice.

Smilodon said...

That's awful! Not knowning what is causing all the vomiting is not good even if you did have insurance. Good luck to both of you, and especially to J.