When the ER strikes…

A Spoonie tale with a happy ending.

After three tough days and two awful nights… I ended up in my least favourite place, the Emergency room.

You never want to have to go to the ER for pain- you especially, however, never want to go to the ER for pain in a totally different state.

There were so many ways this could have gone terribly wrong and it started out looking like a complete waste of my time. It was three and a half hours before I saw the Resident.

My medical history is complicated, at least a half-hour to get out, and rather unbelievable. I have heard more than once, “Oh, there is the open heart surgery scar. I kind of thought you might have made that up.” (Yes, that has really happened…)


The Resident had to go talk to the main doctor and I admit, I was expecting the worst case- where they basically insinuate you are a total liar/drug addict and throw you out without helping you in any way.

I was also dreading the procedures that I knew would cause my already high pain to go off the charts.

What I got, was a miracle.


The doctor listened to me, believed me, and treated my pain going off the assumption that what I was telling him about the body I live in was the most likely cause of my swelling and pain. He didn’t argue with me when I explained ‘this is not my chronic pain, this is an acute incident.’ He agreed with me and told me that the plan was to treat my pain, rule out anything emergent and get me home.

Ruling out anything emergent can mean a lot of things. It is an ER doctor’s way of making sure to dot the I’s and cross the T’s.

For a Lupus patient, the biggest test is checked my kidneys to make sure everything was good and taking a ton of blood before we did the first round of pain medication. (You live and die by that urine test as a Lupus patient.)  If that urine shows anything off, medicating you can be rather dangerous.

I wasn’t worried, even though my kidneys did hurt. Abdominal pain is strange, it radiates out to your back, pelvis, hips- it is out of control. What usually happens when you treat it can be incredibly frustrating. The first round of pain medication isolates the pain by removing the radiating pain and you suddenly realise exactly where you are hurting. And because it is the only spot now hurting on your body, it makes the pain ten times more potent.

For me, it was right where I had expected. That evil left ovary.  Now, 90% of the time doctors are not willing to do another round of pain medication for just one spot, even if you would rate the pain there above an 8. They gave you one round of pain medication and expect you to sort it out with your medication at home.

I somehow managed to get a doctor who understands pain. When I explained what was going on and asked how we could fix it, he decided to go ahead and do another round of pain meds so that we could bring my pain level back down to at least a 6, which is manageable for me with my home medication.


Sure enough, before the nurse had even left the room after giving me the IV pain medication my pain was down to a 7 and as I continue to blog the pain is continuing to go down.

Just this alone makes this ER visit spectacularly wonderful.

But tonight I didn’t just get an awesome doctor, I got amazing nurses. All the little things added up to make this trip remarkable.

*When I told the nurse I needed oxygen when given a medication she didn’t argue, she didn’t go check with the doctor, she put me on the oxygen.

*When I told the nurse he could try for that tricky vein on my left AC but probably wanted to blind stick it a bit lower- he listened to me and went low and pushed through the valve and we got all the blood we needed and a 20 in me that flushed beautifully.

*When I told him that as strange as it sounded he needed to take the Blood Pressure cuff off and put on a regular tourniquet or the labs would be off, he nodded and did just that.

*When I mentioned that fluids needed to go on the IV or it would go bad, the nurse put some on right away. She didn’t argue with me, or tell me not to worry she had just flushed it.

When I let the nurse know that they might need to do a cathader procedure if I couldn’t get her the urine she needed because I knew she had to have my kidney scores before medication she nodded and said we can do that. (I avoided that, thankfully, but the point is she listened when I gave an alternative.)

When I asked for a bag of fluids because I had only urinated once all day but drank over 100 onces of water and had Sjogrens, the doctor said, ‘absolutly”.

Sometimes things go right.

I had forgotten that, to be honest.

Now I am waiting to be discharged and typing this up because I think it is important to not just blog about the ‘awful’ ER visits.

Sometimes things go right. Sometimes it’s a one stick night.

I freely admit that I am guilty of not remembering these nights as much as I should.

My BP started out 155/114 high enough to set the alarms off.

Right now it is 99/70 (close to my normal of 100/70)

My pain was a 9, and is now a 6.

I will probably not get to bed until close to three thirty in the morning. But, I will go to bed with my pain under control for the first time this week.

It sucks that I have to be here and I am not sure that I will be able to do what I wanted to do with the kids tomorrow.

But, I just had a great ER visit. So, whatever I do tomorrow, buying a lotto ticket should be on the schedule. 😉


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