Medical Horrors Week, day 4

The more I think of these, the more I wonder how I am still alive, and I am only telling stories that resulted in a trip to the doctor/hospital/ER. Maybe next week we should do “Dumb things that should have resulted in serious injury or death.” Not that this story is really in that category.

My first normal year in college, I lived in the dorm. I tried really hard not to schedule any 8am classes, but Chemistry I lab was at 8am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or maybe it was just Thursdays. I forget as that has been a LONG time ago. This story starts on the Thursday before Labor Day, which was the first full week of classes. Not being one to willingly rise early, I didn’t get up in time to go get breakfast, which I rarely ate breakfast anyway back then. My allergies were bothering me so I took a Benadryl that I chased down with a Dr. Pepper, and had my morning cigarette on the way to Chem lab.

Standing at my station in the lab, as Dr Krause was going over the lab, I got hot like there was no ac on. That should have been my first clue that something wasn’t right because the ac was on, and I was wearing shorts and a tank top. But I just tried to position myself into the draft from the ac vent, and failed. Then I started feeling dizzy. I remember looking into the connecting hall/room between the 2 labs and thinking about grabbing one of the chairs to sit down on until my head cleared. Instead, I kind of leaned across the lab table, and the next thing I knew, I was in bed with blurry vision and people in white around me doing stuff. That happened a couple more times (maybe), but the rest I remember my mom being there. Not that I could really see her well, but I could hear her very well as she would try to calm me down. I was a bit agitated until she got through to me that I was in the hospital after passing out in lab.

As far as the fainting details, I got them second hand. One of the women in Chem I with me also had a class with my cousin Sharon. She filled in Sharon on what went on, and Sharon filled the family in. When I fainted, she said my head hit the tile floor hard. That explained why my head hurt so bad when I did finally come around. But I didn’t come around in lab. One of the guys in lab with me was a lifeguard, and took over the first aid. When I didn’t come to right away as should have happened with a normal faint, Dr Krause called the school nurse and an ambulance. Mom said the first Doc who saw me in the ER was 99% sure that I was ok, and just had a concussion from the fall itself. That doubt I guess kept him from discharging me until another Doc could come in and evaluate. Doc #2 was concerned about why I fainted in the first place since I had no history of fainting. He had me sent from Conway to a hospital in North Little Rock for testing.
There was concern that I might have had meningitis, so I got put in an isolated (but not completely quarantine) private room at the NLR hospital. The doc there did a spinal tap to test for meningitis. I remember that, and it kind of hurt. But I guess I should add at this point I decided I was just dreaming. None of what was going on seemed real to me, but I had one killer of a headache. The results of the meningitis test were negative, and so he wanted to test for an aneurism. But they couldn’t do that until after Labor Day, so I got to spend the weekend there.

Now again, I was so out of it, I wouldn’t even eat the first couple of days, and can remember Mom feeding me. Anyway, after lunch one day (which she pretty much force-fed me), as she was eating or cleaning up, I had an episode. I absolutely thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest it was beating so hard. Finally, I said “Mom, I think I’m dying.” She said, “No, you’re not. They are giving you codeine. I’ll go tell them to change your pain med.” LOL I didn’t have any more panic attacks after that either.

When they did the test to check to see if I had an aneurism, they inserted a tube into my groin and when they got it in place they shot in a dye while they xrayed my brain. And yes, that is all kind of fuzzy. I remember it, but I don’t, hence the lack of detail. But there was no aneurism, so they discharged me, and I went back to UCA where I remained about halfway out of it for another couple weeks. And Mom is still convinced the first doc was correct that I just had a concussion from smacking my noggin on the hard tile floor, and that the school nurse’s assessment as to why I fainted in the first place was probably correct too. When she called my parents to notify them, she asked my mom if it was time for my cycle noting that “freshman girls tend to drop like flies” in the first couple months when they get their periods. Naturally Aunt Flo made her visit shortly after I was checked in at NLR.

Fast forward a few years, and I was rummaging through the desk at my parent’s house looking for something. I found a piece of paper that had my signature on it that I didn’t recognize, and proceeded to read it. It was a release form for that xray procedure in NLR. The procedure carried a risk of stroke, seizure, death, and so had to have a release form, and since I was 18, I had to sign it myself. Only I have absolutely no recollection of signing that release form. Was definitely my signature, but no memory of signing it.

4 Responses to 'Medical Horrors Week, day 4'

  1. MacBros says:

    You forgot the “Girl Stuff Warning”

    Is there a medical book out on you yet? LOL

  2. mehdi says:

    nice story. worrying about help and suspecting about too many things can be make sick itself 🙂

  3. mel says:

    You know what? That is SCARY AS HELL! Or almost. Hell is scarier. But still. WOW