Monday, October 18, 2010

What to Wear to the ER

Inquiring minds want to know. What do you do when you have to make a mad dash to the ER? After all, you've followed your mother's dictum from when you were a kid: "Always wear clean underwear in case you have to go to the Emergency Room."
To that universal admonition, I'll add another: "And be sure your bra straps don't have safety pins."
Okay, so Friday, I was dressed in clean underwear and no safety pins in my bra, when I encountered yet another nosebleed. This had been happening since Wednesday afternoon, off and on.
I called my doctor's office,not so much to find out how to stop the gusher, I was doing very well at stopping the flow, thank you very much,but I wanted to know how to prevent them from happening. Doctor's office was so backed up the answering service answered. I wanted to talk to my doctor NOW. Couldn't help me, there. So I held on while I had a bloody tissue to my nose, and when the receptionist finally answered, I blurted it out: "I have been having nosebleeds for a couple of days. Can I come in and see the doctor?" She didn't hesitate. "Go to the ER right away."
Okay, I'll do that. But first, I looked at what I was wearing: mismatched top and pants. I love the pants; they're cool and comfy, but the mismatched top had to go. I rummaged around in my closet and found a top that was in the same color chart and put it on.
Then I got my son to take me to the ER.
After all, I didn't want to be talked about later...."Did you see what she had on?"
"Well, no. But did she have on clean underwear and no pins in her bra?"
"Then that's okay."
So they tell me.
What the heck did they do in the ER, you ask? Well, first the doctor gave me a nasal spray cause he thought my nasal passages were dry. I waited a while for him to dismiss me, and sure enough, SPURT. more blood gushing. Son summoned the ER doc, who said, "Okay, it's a good thing you hadn't left yet, right?" I nodded while holding a gauze pad on my nose.
"We'll put a balloon up your nose," he said. HUH? Then he showed me what looked like, essentially, a tampon, with a tube at the end that would remain outside my nostril. Then he proceeds to put it way up into my right nostril, to the point where I'm almost groaning and wincing. "Now, we leave this in for a few days and it will form a clot. An ENT doctor will have to remove it and then cauterize the wound."
I then got a referral to an ENT doctor, a prescription for antibiotics, and I was dismissed.
I have become a mouth-breather. I don't like that at all. But it's coming out tomorrow, thank God.
So why the nosebleeds? Best guess amongst my lupus support group is that I'm having a flare, with neurological involvement. Oh, fine.
I have been having some double vision, eyelid twitching constantly, and a tingling on my right hand, near my pinkie finger. I have an appointment with a neurologist for Dec. 2nd, thank goodness.
Then again, it might just be "common for the elderly."
But this elderly person was at least dressed for the occasion.

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