Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Apparently I'm not dying it just feels a lot like it.
So it all started on Sunday. I was hanging out with my guy friends doing unspeakable geek activities. As the night progressed I found myself suddenly seized by a great pain in my chest. My face kinda crinkled up a bit and I developed a groan to accompany the pain. I informed my friends that I might be dying. I took some tylenol and went on with our activities. I'm a girl who tends to be grappling with her health on a regular basis, so I don't like to go to the doctor unless I'm sure this is a pain that's going to stick around. The pain subsided a bit so I ignored it.

Monday morning I got up and got ready for work. The pain seemed to be threatening to return, but was still at a tolerable level. As I drove to work (a 30 - 40 minute commute) I started to dream up wild scenarios involving me and a blood clot and driving off the road and having a massive car accident. Hey, I got time on my hands, and I'm trying to figure out what this pain is about....well, that and I have a vivid imagination.

I got to work and found that the pain was now shooting down my left arm. Now....I don't know much about medicine, but I know this is never a good sign. So I did what any good nerd would, and I got on the internet to read a little. What I found didn't make me feel any better. Now I decided to approach the boss. I entered her office and sat down. She asked what's up and I said...."I seem to have some chest pain (insert unintentional groan as a stab of pain catches me off guard), and now it's actually going down my left arm.". We discussed courses of action, but I was reluctant to go to a hospital. A doctor maybe, but no hospital (here in Toronto you can wait 8 hours or more in the emergency room). Finally we agreed I would call this Telehealth number, which is basically a hotline the government has set up to try and ease the crazy long wait in emergency rooms by helping people decide if they really need to go to one. You can call and discuss your issue with a nurse, and they offer advice. Anyway, in the end after a long chat with a nice man-nurse (or 'manurse' as I like to call him) he strongly advised me to go to the emergency room. I whined and asked if I could just go to my doctor. He said "Sure, then your doctor will send you to emergency. Or you could just go straight there". Smart ass.

So I put on my jacket and grudgingly headed to the hospital. I decided not to bring my mother along because I didn't want her to have to sit there being bored for hours and hours with me. I knew it would be a long day, and in all likeliness it would be for nothing. I can do this, I thought, I'm a big girl. lol

Once I arrived at the emergency room and talked to the triage nurse, things moved along fairly quickly. Seems that if you come in with chest pain they move you right to the front of the line. Good to know! And when the triage nurse put the little band around my wrist before I even talked to the second nurse who starts a chart for you...I knew I was in trouble. I felt unpleasant tests in my future....

They eventually called me into a room with two other patients (behind curtains) and told me to put on the lovely gown. I told the nurse that I was keeping my pants on, and I didn't care what she said. Well come on, it's my chest we're here for and this hospital is cold!! And may I just say, it's time one of those decorating shows visits this hospital, coz the lime green floors and lemon yellow curtains were giving me a headache.

A while later I got a visit from a lovely girl named Leslie. Leslie was there to take my blood (insert severe whining here, as I hate needles more than words can describe) and to give me an ECG to make sure that I wasn't in the throws of a mild heart attack. After spilling a bit of my blood on the sheets and causing me to scream like a little girl while YANKING the needle out, we moved on to the business of sticking electrodes all over my boobies. Good fun. There is NO such thing as dignity in a hospital.

After the ECG was done I called my mom again to tell her things were going fine, and I'd probably be out in an hour or so. Just gotta get some x-rays to be sure, and then I'm home free. She tried to be calm and told me to call her when I got out. No problemo! Heh..

After that we moved on to experiment number three. A chest x-ray. *snore* My bed was wheeled out into a hallway outside the x-ray room where I was parked by two other beds. It was like the x-ray department parking lot for patients. Evenutally I was taken in, and they took a couple of x-rays. No big whoop. After that Leslie came by and gave me some pills to thin my blood...."just in case". Oh yeah..that didn't worry me at all.

This is when time really started to crawl. Please understand, I hadn't even seen a doctor yet. Eventually Dr. Lee showed up to ask me some questions. He seemed VERY concerned that it could be a blood clot. I wasn't concerned up until that point (hey, I was *kidding* in the car, ok??) but after talking to him and watching him try and look casual, I was starting to sweat it a bit. He said that they would wait until the test results were back (blood and x-ray, the ecg was ok) and if they were clear he would send me down to the nuclear medicine department for a lung scan. Here's where I groaned again...I've been down to that department before, I know damn well how unpleasant those tests can be.

I decided to call me mom again since this was going to take a little longer than I had forecasted. I told her not to worry, they just had one or two tests to run still. No problem. (don't...sound...panicked...on the..phone)

My orderly friend came to visit me again. This time he said he was taking me to the basement....for a lung scan. I tried to enjoy being wheeled around but it felt weird being on an elevator with regular people getting on it. Like, there I am in my gown and looking all sexy while all these other people are in their winter coats with flowers in hand coz they're visiting someone. Anyway, down to the basement we went.

Here's where I met my friend Catherine. She told me the test would be a two parter and take about 45 minutes. Part one involved me inhaling a mixture of oxygen and radioactive gases for 10 minutes. PARDON ME?? You want me to breathe in radioactive material??? Yes, now I'm glad my mother wasn't present.
After that inhaling for ten minutes stuff I was to go and have some special x-rays. But after that, it gets better if you can imagine! Joy!! After that, my good friend Catherine will INJECT radioactive dye into my veins and then take some MORE x-rays of my lungs. How fun does THAT sound??

Ok, so she started setting me up with this crazy ass machine that mixes the oxygen and radioactive gas. At this point I asked her if all this radiation would have me Hulking out by the end of the day, but she didn't seem amused. tsk. So this crazy blue cylinder starts gargling and I put a tube in my mouth. Catherine told me to keep a tight seal around it, as she clamped my nose shut with some huge white clip. Evidentally she didn't want this radioactive stuff leaking out all over the place and potentially cause them all to glow.
After ten minutes of sucking up air that tasted like I was licking pennies I got to stop. Blecch. Didn't like it, and let's all remember...it HURTS for me to breathe. That's why I'm there. lol Catherine handed me a kleenex to blow my nose with afterwards but told me I'd have to leave the kleenex on the tray, and that she would throw it out; it might have radioactive "material" on it, she said. At first I thought, COOL! I have radioactive snot!! then I thought...wait...I have radioactive snot?? is that healthy???

We went to another room where I sat on a stool facing a big round machine. As we took the x-rays I was turned slightly for each shot, so as to get a different angle each time. The pics on the computer actually looked pretty cool, kinda three dimensional. After those x-rays, Catherine asked me to lay down on a bed. I pouted, coz I knew another needle was coming my way. I laid down and she began swabbing my arm. I began nervous chatter about how I hate needles, when I suddenly, accidentally, got a glance at the giant needle she was about to use (it's a metal tube they use to contain that radioactive goodness). I pulled my arm away and told her that actually...I didn't really want her to do that. LOL!! With a little coaxing I let her give me the needle and was surprised at how it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would (but isn't that always the case?). We repeated the procedure of me on the stool and turning for each shot. Then I was sent back upstairs to wait for the results.

And wait and wait and wait. It had been about five hours at this point and I was getting tired and cranky. And just when I was getting really super bored, lo and behold, my mother and brother showed up. Hurray! People to entertain me and listen to me whine! :-D My mother looked pretty terrified and I did my best to reassure her, though the pain was getting bad and I was looking a bit unhappy.

Blah blah blah (I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this to go on so long).. the doctor came by almost 2 hours later and said the tests were clear. He said I had pleurisy, which is basically when the lining around your lungs get very pissed off and becomes inflamed and (duh) causes great pain. He prescribed me anti-inflammatories and told me if it didn't get better in a week I had better come back and have it re-evaluated. *shrug* Ok.

So that's it. I went to my mom's and my brother brought me pizza (I hadn't eaten in 10 hours and was ready to gnaw my arm off) and then I crawled home to hole up here and wait for the meds to kick in. I was in some pretty brutal pain.
Today was better, with occasion trouble breathing, but I'm sure not allowed to go outside. We are once again in the grips of an unbelievable cold snap, and my lungs have enough trouble breathing on a day like that, let alone when they are not feeling well.

This means, however, that I am getting a little stir crazy. I have been cooped up at home, and I am startin' to get bored. Thus me deciding to come on here and post. And to get a new comment system and new tagboard system installed. My old guy is having issues, and I couldn't leave my page looking all crappy while he tried to figure out what to do. So now I have lost all my comments which kinda pisses me off. Oh well, at least I don't have a blood clot in my lung. LOL