Anna Gregoline | March 19, 2004
Yesterday, I left work and went to the hospital with a swollen face and hives all over my arms. They gave me a shot of cortisone and a cortisone IV, and I'm better. Some sort of allergic reaction, although I don't know to what. I'm going to get allergy tested on Tuesday to see what it could be.

It made me think - I've been fortunate enough to go to the hospital only 3 other times - once in college when I woke up with extreme pain in my abdomen, eventually diagnosed as a ruptured cyst on my ovary (painful, but nothing serious); a broken arm the summer before fourth grade, sustained during a roller skating birthday party; and one time I got a fish bone stuck in my throat and it bothered me so much that I got out of bed and had my parents look at it - my dad wanted to remove the thing with pliers, but my mom insisted we go to the ER, where they removed it with pliers. =) If I had gone to bed, I could have died though, as breathing problems would have resulted.

What are your experiences with the ER?

Lori Lancaster | March 19, 2004
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Scott Hardie | March 19, 2004
Looking to share gruesome stories of ER visits, huh? You must be bored. :-)

Fortunately, I've only been to the ER once as a patient. I was comfortably reading a book one night when I was suddenly and simultaneously hit with shortness of breath, dizziness, thinning blood (pale face/hands), a weak pulse, and a loosening of the bowels... all signs of an impending heart attack, without any actual chest pain. But I felt better by the time I arrived at the hospital. After keeping me in a bed for six hours and running tests, the doctor concluded it was a "caffeine attack." He said my pulse was irregular in general and that any future overdose of caffeine (or barbituates) would cause me to experience the same symptoms, eventually passing out or having cardiac arrest if it was bad enough. I still drink a couple of cans of soda a day, but I can attest to having re-experienced the same symptoms when ignoring the doctor's advice and having too much coffee or NyQuil.

The downside of having visited the ER, besides the months of piddly health-insurance bills that followed (this is your final notice! pay $0.11 at once!), was how long it took them to draw blood. The layer of fat on my pale underarms made it nigh impossible for the staff to find a vein. It literally took eight people almost an hour to stick me, and they gave me several bruises in the process. I wouldn't have minded except that the idea of being pricked or probed makes me nauseus and faint, and after ten minutes of hearing them talk about needles and veins, I felt worse than before I arrived. I had to ask them to pause between each attempt to let me breathe and clear my head. It's nothing serious I know, but unpleasant all the same.

Melissa Erin | March 19, 2004
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Melissa Erin | March 19, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | March 19, 2004
Lay off the caffeine, Scott! That's scary!

I have absolutely no problem with getting shots. I'm slightly squeemish with IVs and having blood drawn. I don't like the idea of a needle going into a vein. It bothers me for some reason. But, I'm a big girl, and I dealt with it.

I was bored, but I do like gruesome hospital stories, and shared experiences.

Melissa Erin | March 19, 2004
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Steve West | March 20, 2004
When I was a kid, my brother hit me with a rock when I was "in the way" of what he was throwing at - got 16 stitches and lost an eyebrow for a while for that. Later, he (same brother) broke my collar bone while playing football. And once more had a trip to remove a lawn dart from my calf thrown by guess who. Oh, I just love him (sincerely). Skip ahead thirty years and I go now for my children. There was the infamous "Lego in the ear" incident for my son and one time a really high (very scary) fever for one of my daughters.

Anna Gregoline | March 20, 2004
Lego in the ear! I know I shouldn't laugh, but it's kind of funny. =)

Melissa Erin | March 20, 2004
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Steve Dunn | March 20, 2004
Hmmm. Medical stories.

I had to get stitches once, after my brother threw a flower pot at my face.

Now I'm married to a doctor, which involves all sorts of medical stories (usually other people's). The most painful experience of my life was a toothache I had a couple years ago. The tooth started hurting around 5:00 p.m. and it got progressively worse all night. By 2:00 a.m. I was curled up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor, whimpering.

My wife gave me Advil. I took as much as she would let me take, but it didn't even make a dent in the pain. I begged her to write me a prescripption for something stronger, but she refused. She only had a provisional medical license at the time, and she was reluctant to write a narcotics prescription for me.

Finally, in the middle of the night, I started getting dressed. She asked me what I was doing, and I told her I was driving myself to the emergency room because I simply could not bear the pain any longer. She thought about it a moment, realized if I went to the ER, they would make me wait a long time and then prescribe Vicodin. So she FINALLY wrote me the prescription. We went to the 24-hour pharmacy, and I managed to get a couple hours' sleep.

I got in with an oral surgeon for a root canal at 7:30 the next morning. I'd always heard that root canals were miserable experiences, but this was one of the greatest days of my life. Anything to stop the pain...

I can totally understand that guy in Castaway knocking out his own tooth with a rock. Ain't nothing like toothache pain.

Erik Bates | March 21, 2004
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Melissa Erin | March 21, 2004
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Scott Hardie | March 22, 2004
That's a rough story, Steve... Makes me wonder why we evolved such intensely sensitive nerves beneath our teeth. Maybe because infections there are especially deadly? Who knows.

Anna Gregoline | March 22, 2004
I'd imagine because having teeth helps us eat, a basic form of survival. So any problem with the mouth should be resolved right quick, and pain is a good motivator.

I forgot about your hives incident, Erik. Luckily, mine wasn't quite as serious, and I only had to spend about an hour at the hopsital when I finally got there. I've still got remnants of hives and cracked skin on my hands from the incident. I'm going to the allergy doc tomorrow to get tested. I hope they find something.

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