New Video & Lessons from the Hospital

This is a long post- filled with my latest Lyme adventure. Feel free to skip to the bottom and just watch the video but if you’re anything like me and frequent the ER often, this might prove useful knowledge to have in your arsenal. 

November was quite the month for me. Some of it was fantastic and wonderful with beautiful weather and decent days where I was able to leave the house. And then smack dab in the middle of the month, literally, on the 15th, things turned dark.

There was more in store for me this month than sunshine and pain-free days. Although I’m still grateful and appreciative of those too!

Sunday the 13th at midnight I doubled over in excruciating pain. My lower right abdomen was searing with pain so intense that moving and even the inevitable car ride to the ER was out of the question. I tried to sleep unsuccessfully but by Monday I was back in what has become a very familiar setting, the ER.

I was tested and tested, poked and prodded, cold, scared, and in the most pain I had ever experienced. At the end of the night, there were still no answers. I had no telltale signs or symptoms of appendicitis, aside from the pain. My white blood count wasn’t high and as far as they could tell my appendix wasn’t inflamed. An ultrasound revealed two ovarian cysts on my left ovary but none on my right… still no explanation of the excruciating pain.

I was admitted Monday the 14th and told the surgeon would come sometime in the morning. I wasn’t allowed pain killers in case the pain were to become severe enough to indicate a ruptured appendix.  I wasn’t allowed food or water, which was bearable because I didn’t have an appetite, but it was adding to my overall weakness. It was misery waiting for the surgeon to show his face.

10 AM Tuesday morning, the surgeon finally appeared. It sounded promising at first, he assured me I would operated on that day but made it clear that I wasn’t anywhere near the top of the list. He had many surgeries lined up and I would be fit in somewhere.

Agony. The waiting had become too much. I was sleep deprived, in piercing unrelenting pain, not allowed painkillers, food, or water. And waiting 18 hours for what is supposed to be an emergency surgery? This is where my lesson to you comes in to play, listen up:

Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, in the hospital too weak and broken down to speak up for what you need. PLEASE do these two things for yourself.

1) Never be afraid to voice what you need.

I learned this the hard way. I’m in the habit of keeping quiet and suffering in silence. Of smiling through pain and making things easy on others. This is stupid and can be very, very destructive. If you’re in the hospital, chances are the stakes are very high. You need to be thinking of yourself and only yourself. You need to be selfish under these circumstances. This is your life and your health and you know best what you need. It wasn’t until I started screaming and crying 18 hours into my stay that I was listened to. But even that wasn’t enough- and this is where my other lesson comes in, and this is absolutely crucial.

2) Have an advocate.

Even pleading and crying for the surgery to be moved up, in the fear that my appendix would rupture wasn’t enough. And this is why I’m so beyond thankful for my advocate, my mom. She did everything I couldn’t and probably wouldn’t. She got in the nurse’s faces and called everyone she knew with connections to the hospital. She spoke up for me in a way I never could of, and guess what? The surgery was moved up immediately. I was taken to the OR 4 hours before the scheduled time. If there’s one thing you ever hear me on, please let it be this. Always have an advocate with you in the hospital. Someone whom you love and trust to speak up for you when you are unable. It absolutely makes all the difference in the world. Thank you Mom!

And… with that here is the new What to Expect video. You guessed it, the topic being appendectomies. This is a little late for the month of November but this is meant to be November’s second WTE video. There will be two more for the month of December so please keep the ideas coming! Email for video suggestions.



About Lyme Chick

Lyme Disease advocate/warrior still learning about Lyme treatments/recovery and wishing to inform, support, and commiserate with others along the way.
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3 Responses to New Video & Lessons from the Hospital

  1. I am a nurse and you story is sad. I also have Lyme, too. I am glad though that your appendix didn’t rupture and that you didn’t experience what I did….not related to appendicitis.

    Over the summer, I was working at a summer camp that was not honest with me about the amount of hours that I would work. After working 120 hours w/ hardly any breaks (seriously) in one week with some really mean women, I had a day that I missed some of my medication that was helping me from getting sick. So I started to get a little sick with Lyme symptoms I got fired “bc I was not a good fit with these insane women and this insane camp” (they were trying to get me to quit first, though) It was all very crazy- the full story.

    The kicker that really put me over the edge was that they were going to kick my 13 yo daughter out of this camp that was affiliated with the one I was working at…..she was going to be packed up and sent home by a driver that she didn’t know without having so much as a conversation with me. She had no clue what was going on at the camp that I was working at and she was very happy at her camp.

    So on top of everything, I had to fight for them not to kick her out immediately and not to send her home by herself. I stopped taking care of myself during this time and I got VERY sick with the Lyme symptoms and very dehydrated. I went to the hospital so that I could get an IV.

    The moment that I told the triage nurse that I had a history of depression and one suicide attempt (forget about the Lyme), I was considered a mental patient. I was not suicidal at all. Didn’t matter… I never experienced anything like it. After going through triage, my stress level went up along with pain (as you know increased stress equals increased pain) and along with that I got dizzy. I went back to triage and told them that i was feeling dizzy. I was told by another nurse to just go back to the waiting room and have a seat. Um, as a nurse, if someone told me that he or she was dizzy, I would have gone to that person and assisted him or her. Luckily, there was a chair nearby and I grabbed it. A 17 yo volunteer came to my assistance faster than the nurse and got me a wheel chair.

    After that, it was all down hill. I knew exactly what I needed and no one would listen to me because I had a history of depression and one attempt like 7months prior. I had a guard outside of my room. They thought I was mentally unstable because I knew what I needed and I told them what I needed. I was nuts bc I knew I needed an IV and rest, go figure. (they knew that I was an RN, too).

    I didn’t even want pain meds. I had brought something with me that could be heated up and I wanted it heated up for my back. They wouldn’t do that for me. The funny thing in all this is that the thing that I brought was a giraffe which was designed to be heated. Yeah it looked like a stuffed animal but it wasn’t for that. So, I said to the nurse “can I have my giraffe..” and then she cut me off and said “of course you can have it”…! then I said “no, I want it heated up to be used for my backpain.” She just assumed that I was a looney who wanted her giraffe.

    They called in Psych. A social worker came to interview me but for whatever reason left without doing a full interview; she probs was with me for 5 minutes. About a couple of hours later, after I was feeling better and had rest, a different social worker came to wake me up to tell me I was being admitted. I knew why. It had nothing to do with being dehydrated and my pain. They wanted to admit me to psych. I told them that they were not admitting me. This social worker came back and practically reamed me a new one. She never interviewed me, she told me how it was going to be and that was that. Thankfully, my father was on his way from NJ to upstate NY. He arrived shortly after this SW ripped me apart and she flipped the switch & was as sweet as pie to my father. All because I had admitted that I had a history of depression and a suicide attempt. I did not once say to anyone that I had suicidal ideation, thoughts, plans….quite the contrary, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that my mental status was intact. Ugggh, it was the biggest nightmare.
    I hate to say it but I don’t think that I will ever admit that I have depression and a history of suicide if I ever need to go to the hospital again unless it is for depression or for suicidal thoughts. The second that you do that all they see you as is a mental patient and they forget the real reason that you are there.

    • hello, fellow RN and lyme chick. Happy new year. Let’s both pray that women with lyme are not classified as mental patients in 2012. A large dream, to be sure. I am 501/2 years old, inactive RN (MA has nurse/patient ratios-hahahaha) I graduated in 1986 with an ADN and the typical starry eyes of a “newbie” I quickly learned the facts of life!!! Change of topic to lyme. I got bit june 30, 2011. I knew it, but chose to ignore it. Mandatory healthcare (another MA first) dictated that our (hubby & I) being non-group had a 4,000 deductable for any kind of medical care. Long story short, I’ve got it, but IT does not have me!!!!!! Best of luck with sx, work and your child. LAE

  2. Debbie says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your “adventures”. Makes you really wonder about the medical community. I had the same symptoms about 2 weeks ago and was in the ER with all tests showing nothing. Now I am experiencing vertigo, dizziness and tremendous nausea. The vertigo and dizziness are new symptoms. Sick of this as I’m sure you are as well. Thanks for your help and also for listening.

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