Tuesday Tunes

So about that big scary day at the hospital yesterday. First off: I’m alive! I’m sure you all had your doubts. I went in at 8:45 and was home on the sofa by 11:30. But that isn’t to say the whole experience wasn’t rife with terrifying bits, because it totally was even though I didn’t die. I’m sure you probably know this about me by now, but I am a humongous baby about everything. I think I’m missing the gene responsible for the basic human will to live; when faced with even the most minor of complications, my immediate instinct is to say, “Okay, well it’s been real” and lay down in defeat. This happens whenever I’m in an elevator and the doors take just a second longer to open then they should. My brain interprets the situation as, “You’re never getting out of here. You will die here.” To even get to the procedure yesterday I had to take two elevators, one in the parking garage and one in the actual hospital, so my limited coping skills were completely depleted by the time they brought me back to get changed into the fancy hospital-issued gown and socks. They might as well have been playing a death march or something.

Then, because why should things go smoothly, the nurse couldn’t get the IV in my right hand as I was back there getting all my intake work done. He hit a valve but decided to keep on pushing the needle in JUST IN CASE, and when he finally gave up and pulled the line out, a squirt of blood shot out from the end of the IV needle and across my lap. Do I need to tell you that the sight of blood makes my legs feel like they are piles of goo and my heart squeezes itself into my ears? In that moment (and there was maybe a drop of blood at most but I saw a gushing river pouring out of my body) I thought, you know what? I always knew this is how I would go. I was chattering nervously about who knows what, just talking at a mile a minute to my poor nurse to keep myself distracted.

They finally get the IV inserted in my left hand, use about 20 alcohol wipes to clean up the crime scene, and then explain the procedures to me and have me sign a bunch of paperwork authorizing everything. I was very aware that I was basically signing my life over to them and giving them consent to murder me, which I was sure was happening because the lead anesthesiologist took a look at my intake paperwork and goes, “You’re getting Propofol. That’s the drug that killed Michael Jackson.”

….

….

I mean COME ON. Just show me where you’re hiding the chain saw and tools to torture and dismember my body, why don’t you. Things You Should Never Say to a Patient About to Receive Anesthesia 101. At that point I was seriously debating booking it into the waiting room, grabbing Boyfriend and my mom and fleeing for my life. I could live with the esophageal spasms, right? They weren’t so bad. Anything was preferable to this.

They led me back to the procedure room, this terribly scary and sterile white room (the least beautiful all-white room I’ve ever seen) that looks like every operating room you’ve seen on tv. I got to lay on my side, and they hooked me up to all the heart and pulse monitors. My doctor talked to me about photography for a few minutes while they hooked my IV up to the anesthesia. They put a thing in my mouth to keep it propped open and fastened it around my head. The anesthesiologist asked, “Do you feel anything yet?” “Nuh uh,” I said, through the plastic mouth guard secured to my face. And I didn’t. I just remember feeling like there was a hair dryer running somewhere near my ears, because everything got sort of fuzzy. I was so proud of myself, though, thinking I was immune to Propofol. “Psh, I’m not even tired. I don’t feel anything. My body is so powerful!…..I guess I’ll close my eyes, since they want me to go to sleep. I’m not even tired but I—”

Cut to half an hour later and I’m waking up in recovery. I was expecting to be groggy and out of it and was sort of looking forward to all the ridiculous things I would say, but instead I woke up thinking, “Did they do it already?” There was no drowsiness or any sort of delayed cognition. I was alert and acutely aware of a long, thin tube running down my throat and out of my nose, connecting to a small black box in my lap. Oh, right. So the endoscopy was a breeze, but I’d totally forgotten about the manometry portion of the program. AWESOME.

I was only in recovery for about 10 or 15 minutes before they let me get dressed (YOU try maneuvering a pile of tubing coming out of your face under your t-shirt without accidentally yanking on it and feeling it all the way down in your stomach) and signed all of my release forms. The doctor came to talk to me and said everything looked fine but he sent off some samples to be biopsied. Then the discharge nurse gave me perhaps the grossest and least welcome gift I’ve ever received: pictures of my esophagus from the inside. There’s like a full page of small pictures that could easily be the cover of any number of slasher horror movies. When Boyfriend saw them later he said, “I actually love you a little bit less after seeing that.” MYSTERY, our relationship doesn’t have it anymore. Instead of scarring you all for life, here are some pictures of a ridiculous looking cat:


You’re welcome.

I was led upstairs (a third elevator ride!) and right into another doctor’s office. I should mention that the long tube coming out of my nose had interval markers with numbers all along it. I had a hunch this part would suck, and I was right. The Meanest Doctor Ever proceeded to pull the tube out little by little, so that the end inside of me lined up with certain sections of muscles in my esophagus. She would squirt a syringe full of water into my mouth and tell me to swallow. The little black box on the end plugged into her computer and recorded the results. She would pull the tube out a little more to test another section of muscles, and then squirt some more water in my mouth like I was a nursing baby farm animal. This went on for what felt like an hour, and I wasn’t permitted to swallow in between sips of water, even though the urge was overwhelming; I could feel the tube in the back of my throat and in the back of my nose and it burned.

I’ll spare you the gory details of what happened when the tube finally came all the way out, but I basically ran out of her office and into the arms of my waiting entourage. After making a follow-up appointment for April 11th to get all the results, I went home, had some soup and lots of gatorade, and tried to take a nap. At around 4 the doorbell went off, sending Fitz into a tizzy. Boyfriend answered and a delivery man handed over this wonderfulness:

Shock of all shocks, it wasn’t even from a relative. They were from Boyfriend’s office (my old job). How sweet and unnecessary is that? I haven’t worked there in 14 months, they were in no way obligated to send flowers. And it wasn’t even like the whole procedure was that serious, despite the tragedy I tried to make out of it. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to suck the helium out of that balloon. They were a very welcome treat yesterday.

I’m back at work today feeling sort of achey in my chest. Thank you all for your sweet and concerned comments yesterday. Before I forget, this is a Tuesday Tunes post. Clearly after my harrowing experience, the only appropriate song for today is this old school gem:

I apologize in advance for this song getting stuck in your head.

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March 20, 2012 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 20

20 comments

  • Oh poor Erin! What a horrible experience. I’m so glad your still alive, I would have been very sad if you’d kharked it (how on earth do you spell that?). Very sad indeed.

    I can’t believe that nurse said that to you about Michael Jackson, that’s so inapproriate! Appreciate you not sharing your oesophogaus with us (can’t be bothered to even try to spell that right). Isn’t it funny that we are all determined to get one over on the anaesthetic, like it’s some kind of personal triumph if we didn’t go under.

    How un-Beyonce does Beyonce look in that? Personally I would have chosen Kanye West’s Strongerer.

    Well done, you’re a trouper, and what lovely flowers xx

    So when do you get the results?

    • Thank you, darling. I’m glad I’m alive too! I won’t find out anything until the follow up appointment on April 11th. Seems like a long way away :(

  • Sounds like someone needs some ice cream. So glad to hear you’re better. ;-)

    • Did you make another batch?! I’m jealous! Thanks, Hainesy.

  • You poor sausage, sounds absolutely horrendous. The thought is making me wretch as I write. I’m sorry to laugh but the Michael Jackson comment is very funny in hindsight and its probably down to the way you tell the story.

    You are very brave, so well done you. Fingers crossed for the results and a quick resolution x

    • Teehee, sausage. Fingers crossed indeed! And toes, too! Thank you for your kind words, Sam. xo

  • Awwwww!!! *Hugs*
    Hospitals and the troglodytes who often work there can sometimes make ill health feel like a near-death experience, I find.

    Awful as that obviously was for you, I’m so relieved that the worst is over and that you lived to tell the tale. Aside from your poor, achy chest you must feel pretty invincible! :D

    So sweet of your ex-colleagues to send such pretty flowers! :)

    • Wasn’t that so sweet of them! I felt really touched by that. Thanks for the well wishes, Chi! xo

  • Well, I leave the awww, poor thing stuff to all the others. You know I’m delighted you’ve survived! AND more interested in the results.

    However, reading the f*king megillah (rest of you look it up) all I could think about was that this reminded me of another dramatic heroine: enter ‘Bridget Jones’ Whoever is looking at this blog, yes you scouts, publishers, film producers. Erin is the real deal. Neurotic, funny, charming and well versed, she can write you a major hit! Don’t be shy… get in contact with her.

    Ha. Can’t get over the cat photos….

    • Hey, I thought Purim was last week! ;) I’m probably wrong, I really am the worst jew.

      Yes! Yes, listen to Tina! All you lurking scouts and producers, PAY ME AND I’LL WRITE FOR YOU! Doesn’t hurt to throw that out there into the universe, does it? I promise I’m not anywhere near as talented as you make me out to seem, but I’m obviously flattered and pretty touched. xo

  • Oh, one more thing. You’re desperate to have kids? Have you thought about childbirth? No, start practicing now!

    • Girl, that’s why they invented epidurals. If I could have a round of propofol before giving birth, I would. I’m not at all going into childbirth (er, when the time comes, and it ain’t now!) with the mindset of “I want this to be natural.” NO WAY! I’m too much of a baby myself.

  • What’s the DEAL with people putting IV’s in? Last time I had one, the old woman (Moses’ sister, with a mouth that stank of Ghandi’s sandals) stuck the needle in my hand, then waved it left to right, so, like a subcutaneous windshield wiper, I could see the needle moving in the back of my hand.

    I woke up laying on the floor and the old witch/woman looking shit scared and blood all over my skirt. Apparently I passed out. SO YES. I feel your pain, and I know how horrible anything medical is. You have my utter commiserations, duck. FUH. Here’s hoping it’s the last of THAT business.

    Meanwhile, yes. Write a book. DO IT. And mention me loads. Every third page ought to do it.

    • I just about lost it at Ghandi’s sandals. How specific! But I bet it did not smell lovely. Oh my god, I would have passed out as well with a windshield wiper under my skin. I could barely breath as it was. I wish they made nurses PRACTICE more with IVs before just stabbing at people higgledy-piggledy.

      Mention you? Girl, the fake-book will be illustrated by you and I expect nothing less than awesomeness when it comes to drawing my mug :)

  • I have been a nursing student’s first time putting in an IV (childbirth) and a medical student’s first pap smear (no lie). Now *that’s* a story. So I feel your pain. And when it comes to esophageal spasms, quite literally, although that was only once but I thought I was dying. So get better! Besides, that second bit sounds awful (well worth the flowers, in my opinion), and you don’t want to have to do that ever again.

    • Why do they let people break their IV-virginity on someone in labor?? That makes no sense to me whatsoever. As far as the gyno’s office…I always say no when they ask if they can bring in medical students to observe or, gulp, “help.” And now I have a legitimate reason!

      I wouldn’t wish these spasms on anyone, let alone someone who already deals with migraines! You poor dear. xo

  • Gosh Erin, I hope you’re doing better. What a day you had! I’m not superexcited to see blood, specially if it’s my own but needles are the worst – I can lightheaded just seeing one. If I’m ever held hostage by China or something and they threatened me with a needle I’d confess to anything. And then you mentioned a tube down your throat..sounds equally terrifying. Let’s just agree that hospitals in general are scary places.

    Anyhoodle, take care of yourself and insist that the boyfriend spoils you with ice-cream and great movies. I recently saw Polanski’s Chinatown with Faye Dunaway & Jack Nicholson. Very good classic but The Ghostwriter is even better if you haven’t seen it.
    Or you should just rewatch my all time favourite: Lars and The Real Girl. I’ve seen it like four…nine..sixteen times. Who’s counting? Did you see the trailer for Jeff, who lives at home? Reminds me a little bit about the latter. Hope to catch it this weekend.

    Hugs from Sweden

    • Thank you, Mia! Yes, hospitals are just the worst, scariest places. And I’m totally with you, if any foreign country ever needed to gain information about our government all they’d have to do is threaten me with an IV or another round of esophageal manometry testing and I’d sing like a bird! Glad to know I’m not alone ;)

      I haven’t seen any of those movies, but I’ll add them to my list! I saw the trailer for Jeff, Who Lives at Home and it looks really good. If you see it this weekend let me know how it is! I’ll have to watch Lars and the Real Girl ASAP if you recommend it so highly! Loved that you used the word “anyhoodle” xo

  • Well, what a day you had! Ok, wait, I have to turn that song off … I am glad you survived and lived to tell the tale. The whole time I was reading your post, my mind kept flashing back to my own birth stories. You just wait, Erin. So much ‘fun’ stuff happens during childbirth…It’s going to blow your mind. I also kept thinking that a tube down my throat would trigger instant gag reflexes. No?
    Well, I can’t believe your back at work. Though, you did say the procedure was routine. Get some rest. April 11th can’t come soon enough. xx

  • OMG I would have passed out after the Michael Jackson comment or ran away. You were so brave! I once took off from the dentist chair after the dentist told me I had to get fillings in four of my teeth. I just ripped of that thing they put around your neck (bib?) and left. Not my proudest moment but I was only 14 and it was the first time I went to the dentist by myself.

    How sweet of your old office to send flowers! Cross my fingers for the results and that you won’t have any episodes until then!