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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Being Too Independent

It has been brought to my attention multiple times lately that perhaps I'm too independent. I don't rely on others the way humans ought to or something of that nature.

The most recent example of this was my last trip to the hospital. I woke up in severe pain and quite reasonably, so I felt, did nothing about it, attributing it to food I had eaten the day before. Around one in the afternoon, I attempted to take my kids to the State Fair as had been planned. Let me say here, since I attributed the pain to having eaten something I knew I shouldn't have, I was expecting it to go away by afternoon. But I've also been in chronic pain due to an injury and so I took the pain medication I had for that with me and dosed myself while waiting to park, absolutely determined to enjoy the fair with my kids.

When I went to get out of the car after parking, the pain was so bad, I could barely get out of the car. I told the kids I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go to the fair, but I would at least get them to the gate. Despite the drug I had swallowed approximately 30 minutes before, I was in so much pain I could barely move. I shuffled along at a snail's pace and then finally, I became dizzy, clammy, nauseous, and began hyperventilating. I stopped my kids and got down to the ground in the event I lost consciousness. I described all my symptoms to the kids, in the event an ambulance had to be called. I had a moment of absolute panic. The symptoms subsided within five minutes and I realized I could not even get the kids to the gate. I chalked up the symptoms to taking the drug, the hot sun, and the energy drink I had consumed in the car. I told the kids they were welcome to go to the fair, but I needed to go home and possibly to the hospital, but I was unsure. The kids walked me back to the car and then took themselves to the fair.

I drove home, contemplating whether or not I should go to the hospital. I've been in lots of pain over the last six months and while this was different, it didn't necessarily translate to needing treatment or warranting emergency. After I arrived home, I rested for an hour or two, attempted to take something for my stomach (remember, I thought it was something I ate) and when I realized I had been in severe, unsubsiding pain for over 7 hours, I finally admitted that I needed to see a doctor to have the systems checked. I should include here that both of my parents are nurses and I have a LOT of medical knowledge. I grew up with parents who assessed my symptoms and followed a lot of "wait and see," before seeking treatment, both with myself and themselves.

My personal experience with emergency rooms, whenever I've sought treatment for myself or one of my children is that, for the most part, they administer a lot of first aid. Unless something is truly life-threatening, there's not much they can do. Much should be handled by a regular physician as opposed to the staff whose real job is to save lives.

So why didn't I go to the emergency room sooner?

I didn't feel there was any threat to my life.

Why did I go to the emergency room when I did?

Because when pain has lasted that long and has not responded to a drug which is designed to eliminate/reduce pain, there's potentially something life threatening going on.

And indeed, six CT scans later, I was admitted to the hospital to have my abdomen hoovered and my appendix needlessly removed (it was an excuse to hoover the abdomen).

Was there ever truly an emergency?

Probably not.

Should I have gone to the emergency room sooner?

I could have, but it wasn't necessary. Even the surgeon agreed that my timeline was reasonable and acceptable.

But now, I have an increased reputation for being "tough as nails," "too independent," and "stubborn." I drove myself to the ER, and had some intervening company while I was there. I was mostly by myself in the hospital and while I might have liked more company, I was zonked, so when my bestie and my daughter came to visit, I sent them away within a half hour so I could sleep more (they also had a toddler with them and they are contradictions to rest).

I balk a little at this reputation, but on the other hand, I accept. I know myself to be logical and reasonable. And sometimes, just like any other human being, I get illogical and unreasonable, but I'm always willing to hear out the reason of others. That's why I'll be going back to the hospital tonight or tomorrow (is there ever a convenient time to do so?) and getting treated for my continuing issue. In the meantime, I will know that those who call me too independent and stubborn are doing so because they care.

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