Oh, the fun of going to the emergency room when you’re not exactly dying, but there isn’t anywhere else you can go when you need help with your medical issue.
For me this week it has to do with some excruciating upper abdominal pain, right under my diaphragm (remember I said upper abdominal you dirty birdy) and it makes it really hard to breath when it feels like someone is taking a javelin and piercing your chest. I went to the emergency room after I had two attacks on Wednesday, once at work and then again on the way home from work. I had experienced these pains 2 other times at work after eating lunch, about 3-4 weeks apart, but when I had the double wammy on Wednesday I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
BTW; really, really hard to drive when you feel like the alien is breaking out of your chest and the mo-fo old guy in his Lincoln Continental is driving exactly the speed limit. Like, what’s that about?
Anyway, my experience at the ER was uneventful, for the most part, they stuck an IV line in me, which they didn’t end up using, so I’m kinda annoyed that a) I got pricked twice when she tried to set the stupid thing (I warned her I have skittish veins) and b) My deductible is going to take the hit for a lot of stuff that didn’t need to happen. When it was all said and done, the ER Dr. only had some hypothetical ideas. I don’t blame him, he’s not a diagnostician, and I didn’t have enough of any one symptom present to really scream out “It’s GALLSTONES!” or “ULCER!” or “Unusual Heart Attack for a 34-year-old female!” I did have a VERY mild elevation of one of my liver enzymes. He gave me a print-out from some website and the first 8 things suggested I was about to die and/or I was a hard living alcoholic. Not so helpful actually.
I also have to mention the other thing about the IV dealie-bop, they decided to take more blood to test and so she used the IV line to draw blood.
If you ever find yourself in the situation where they say, “Oh, we’ll just use the IV line instead of pricking you again.” Say back, “No, thank you, I’ll take the prick.”
First, she had to ‘flush’ the line which basically had her hook up a syringe with saline in it and swish it back and forth sucking some blood in, but then pushing a bunch of it into my vein and I could feel the cold liquid back-washing up the veins of my arm. Gross.
Second, she needed two vials of blood (I don’t know how many cc’s, but whatever) and the vein was not cooperating, she had her finger(s) holding down the line while she let the ‘vacuum’ of the vile do it’s thing, only my little vein (the line was in my wrist) was like not pumping enough juice so the stupid thing would vibrate IN my arm and make a rubber suction noise.
Imagine this noise in your mind; when you suck on a straw and you reach the bottom and you are digging under the ice for that last bit of tastiness and you slurp up the dregs along with a bunch of air bubbles– that was the noise and sensation that was coming out of my veins and running up my arm from the IV line.
Once she had vacuumed out my vein of blood then she RINSED it again! More gooshy cold stuff running into my arm. I thought my eye-balls would roll backwards into my skull, it was so gross.
OK, so enough about my sad story. Naturally I am trying to make this funny as possible, or that the least moderately interesting, and that means not making it about me, because I’m just not that funny. Here will be a list of odd and traumatic emergency room stories. I’ll warn you ahead of time before I post anything gross.
Instead of trivia I’m tossing some ‘brain teasers’ at you, courtesy of Braingle.com:
1. Should you be institutionalized?
During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criteria is that defines if a patient should be institutionalized.
“Well,” said the Director, “we fill up a bathtub. Then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient and ask the patient to empty the bathtub.”
Okay, here’s your test:
1. Would you use the spoon?
2. Would you use the teacup?
3. Would you use the bucket?
“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would choose the bucket, as it is larger than the spoon.”
What was the director’s response?
2. How can all your cousins have the same aunt, who is not your aunt?
3. Spell “hard water” using only 3 letters.
4. If it takes 5 storks 5 minutes to catch 5 frogs, then how long will it take 1000 storks to catch 1000 frogs?
5. There are three girls and they walk into a small black room. This room has no windows, closets or any way to get out other than the door they came in. A couple of hours later only two girls walked out. No one was left in the room and no one had left earlier. How is this possible?
Buddy, a 6-year-old German shepherd mix, wandered into the emergency room at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Bellflower, Calif., in October after having just been hit by a car, and he resisted efforts to remove him, apparently waiting until someone attended to his injured hind leg (which turned out to be broken), according to local animal control officials interviewed by the Whittier Daily News. Owner Fabian Ortega was called (by virtue of Buddy’s implanted microchip), and a vet fixed him up. [KNBC-TV (Los Angeles), 10-5-06]
After a 35-year-old man reported to a Brunswick, Ga., emergency room in January complaining of abdominal cramps, doctors removed 55 thin glass cocaine pipes (one of them 4 1/2 inches long) from his stomach; the man said he did not realize they were there because he was always high when he accidentally ingested them.
In September, according to a New Delhi, India, newspaper, veterinary surgeons removed 100 pounds’ worth of plastic bags and other litter from the stomach of a cow during a four-hour operation.
Angela Bridges filed a lawsuit in June against the Washington County (Ga.) Regional Medical Center and a doctor for failing to clean her wound properly. She fell into some shrubbery in her yard in 2002, cut her leg, and reported to the emergency room for cleaning and suturing. Nine months later, another physician found that a small boxwood twig, with five thriving green leaves, had broken through the sutured skin. [Sandersville Progress, 7-23-03]
In a weird-behavior genre that has been out of the news for several years now, the Taipei Times reported that a man went to the emergency room of the National Taiwan University Hospital on Sept. 6 with an empty Taiwan-brand beer bottle lodged in his rectum, it having been inserted “wide-end first.” Doctors took two hours to remove the bottle and said that the man had a history of such inappropriate insertions. [Taipei Times, 9-7-04]
In Ogden, Utah, in October, Adam Manning, 30, accompanied his pregnant girlfriend to the McKay-Dee Hospital emergency room as she was going into labor. According to witnesses, as a nurse attended to the woman, Manning began flirting with her, complimenting the nurse’s looks and giving her neck rubs. When Manning then allegedly groped the nurse’s breast, she called for security, and Manning was eventually arrested and taken to jail, thus missing the birth of his child. [Salt Lake Tribune, 10-10-09] (Looks like a real winner, pictured below).
Three physicians, reporting in The Canadian Journal of Urology in July, described how they handled an emergency-room patient who arrived with a ballpoint pen in his urethra. The man, 57, had assumed that the insertion would be pleasurable, and when it wasn’t, thought initially that maybe the pen was not in far enough. After pushing further, to even greater discomfort, he thought that if he pushed it all the way through, it would exit in his rectum, where he could remove it more easily. (Actually, they’re not connected.) Doctors removed the pen with the same procedure used to remove kidney stones. [Canadian Journal of Urology (July 2009) via Neurotopia blog, 8-28-09]
News of the Weird has reported several times on lucky victims of point-blank gunfire who were saved when the bullets were absorbed by a stack of coupons in the target’s pocket or by a Bible in the hand, or deflected off of keys or a golf ball in the pocket. In September, Steve Mackins, 41, was shot in the stomach by an unidentified man who pulled Mackins’ truck over on a rural road near Kings Mountain, N.C. Mackins was taken to a hospital emergency room doubled over and grimacing, but doctors determined that the .25-caliber bullet had merely bounced off his belt buckle.
A Rough Summer for Weird India: (1) Doctors at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital reported that black ants were crawling out of the left eye of an 11-year-old boy (June). (2) Six members of a family hanged themselves on a hillside near Tirupati, but the bodies were not discovered until the odor wafted into a nearby village (July). (3) After doctors in Angara found 15 students unconscious following a lightning strike, they covered the bodies in cow dung as per a traditional remedy; 13 recovered within a few hours (but not even cow dung could save the other two). (4) Doctors at Burdwan originally diagnosed parasitic flies emerging from the penis of a 13-year-old boy while he urinated, but doctors at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata disputed that (June). [Newindpress.com (Chennai, India) 6-25-03] [Sify.com (Delhi), 8-2-03] [Newindpress.com, 7-27-03] [The Statesman (India), 7-4-03]
A 37-year-old man, having reported to a hospital emergency room with a knife penetrating his brain, waited, conscious, for six hours while doctors planned the complicated surgery (which was successful)[Sydney Morning Herald, 7-29-03]
Derek Ogley, 70, had just been discharged from Tameside General Hospital in Ashton, England, in November, but doubled over in pain in the waiting room (eventually diagnosed with pancreatitis). Nurses informed Ogley’s family they would have to call 999 (the UK’s 911) or drive him around to the emergency entrance about three minutes away, because, since he had been discharged, rules prevented them from treating him.[The Mirror (London), 12-1-06]
From, Discovery: Fit & Health:
A recent survey of American emergency department visits showed that more than 500,000 people who visited ERs had foreign body-related diagnoses.
However, many accidents involving foreign objects are more common than you might think, and the patients involved run the gamut from infants to the elderly. Basically, anyone is at risk of having an accident where an object gets stuck in the skin, eyes, ears, throat, nose or … elsewhere. To learn more about the freakish possibilities, keep reading for the most common places on the body for an ER extraction.
It’s inevitable that people will get things in their eyes. Many of the objects that end up there are irritating, but minor — like dirt and sand. Others, such as pencils, pocketknives and fishhooks, are painful to even read about. Then there are the ones that are truly unusual — chopsticks, a fish jaw and a faucet handle.
Often, people get objects stuck in their eyes when they’re on the job. A Massachusetts survey of work-related emergency department visits found that in a year’s time, more than 3,000 workers went to the ER because of a foreign body in the eye.
The list of items children have shoved in their ears, noses or mouths is a long one, and includes buttons, batteries, marbles, jewelry, coins, safety pins, hair pins, toothpicks, beads, crayons, ball bearings, stones, staples, computer parts and more.
No one liked how the little Minneapolis boy (warning, photos below) looked in July of 2007. His nose was quite unsightly. But, more importantly, the young fella didn’t like how it felt.
The child had been holding a fork in his hand as he got into a booth at a Chinese restaurant. He fell on the silver utensil, emerging from under the table with the prongs sticking up through his nostrils and out the top of his nose. ER staff told the boy’s mother they’d never seen anything like it. The fork was cleanly removed, leaving nothing but three tiny red scabs on the smiling boy’s face. His mother kept pre- and post-nose-job photos of her fortunate child to show him when he gets older. She also saved the fork.
The 46-year-old Athens, Ga. man visited an emergency room in 2010 suffering from bronchitis. An ER nurse looked into his ear and knew that something was awry. Forty-one years prior to Wright’s ER visit, when he was just 5 years old, his sister had forced pearls from a broken necklace into his ear. A doctor at the time claimed he’d gotten the pearls out. Turns out, he missed one. Four decades later a specialist was able to remove it.
Wright had long dealt with hearing problems. Whenever he spoke, he had difficulty hearing his own words. Of course it’s obvious now that he wasn’t partially deaf — he was unknowingly carrying a piece of his mother’s jewelry in his ear canal.
A Hollywood special effects team couldn’t create something of the horrific nature that was seen in a northern California emergency room following a minor traffic accident. The patient — a 75-year-old man — was brought to the ER by police who were on the scene of the wreck. They couldn’t help but notice that a 5-by-6-inch (15-by-17 cm) section of the man’s skull was missing, exposing his brain, which was pinkish in color and crawling with maggots. What was more unusual is the man had not been injured in the accident but was, instead, suffering from a form of cancer, which had destroyed his scalp.
The bugs were gently removed and the man was given antibiotics. He refused the needed surgery and was taken to a nursing facility where he died three months later.
Pennsylvania paramedic Ralph Provance treats patients of the human variety. But when a desperate man walked into the ER of Mount Pleasant Hospital holding an injured dog, Provance’s heart went out to the animal.
The whimpering dog clearly had a broken front leg. The fracture occurred when the dog’s owner became entangled in his pup’s leash and fell on him. Provance was able to immobilize the limb with a type of splint like a cast.
“(We) really don’t treat animals in the ER,” he told WTAE Television, “but I had taken some training on K-9 medic and how to take care of K-9 dogs during tactical training, so I asked the medical director if it was OK if I splint the dog’s leg.”
After getting some much-needed TLC, the furry creature was taken to a nearby animal hospital.
Emergency workers treat victims of assault every day. In that sense, what happened in Elkton, Md. in the spring of 2011 was not that unusual. A 48-year-old Walmart shopper was the target of pranksters who, police say, committed second-degree assault. But there was nothing routine about it. The victim was not punched, kicked or stabbed — he unwittingly sat on a bathroom toilet seat covered in Super Glue.
Authorities unbolted the toilet seat from the stool and transported it, along with the embarrassed man, to a hospital ER staff used acetone to undo the sticky situation. In addition, they did their best to preserve the victim’s ego: Even during transport his face was covered to protect his identity from onlookers.
On that note, lets end with a great comic from The Oatmeal:
May you all have yourself a happy-ass weekend!
Riddle me this…
1. Pull the Plug on the Tub.
2. She’s your Momma.
3. I-C-E ice, baby… (<— click it, you know you want to.)
4. 5 minutes
5. 2 girls walked out carrying the third who fainted. :)