Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back in the Hospital... again.

   What prompted me to begin my New Years Resolution: Betterment! was yet another trip to the hospital. This one lasted for three days. Because of the smoking, (15 days quit!) and the asthma, when I catch a cold, it always turns into Bronchitis. This time, it didn't wait. I caught the flu on Christmas Eve and by Christmas Day I was running a 104 degree fever that wouldn't go down. Even worse, my asthma medication wouldn't work. I kept using my inhaler and it kept not helping. I would take cough syrup, same result. I got worse and worse and worse before I finally had to go in to the ER. During triage I got really confused about some of the questions they were asking me, like, "Why are you here?" and "What's wrong with you?" As it turned out, when they put the ET finger on me, my oxygen saturation was in the low 80's, so they hooked me up to some O2 and put a bunch of drugs in me. And none of them helped.
   They had to admit me to the hospital to keep me on O2 and I spent three days extremely uncomfortable and STARVING. They refused to bring me edible food. But I also wasn't allowed to smoke, nor was I given any kind of nicotine replacement. I was also assaulted by 19 year old sadists with butterfly needles. THIRTEEN shots, and that's not counting the ones that went into my IV. I was stabbed by 13 separate needles. Some of the bruises were so bad, they didn't even show up until I went home. One of the little miscreants actually used veins in my wrist to draw blood. That was after she stuck me in my forearm and proceeded to dig all around with the needle.
   Then a nurse's assistant took it upon herself to lower my oxygen from 5 liters to 2 and I nearly suffocated. And the day shift nurse actually chewed me out for my room being so messy. By that point, even with the oxygen on, I couldn't stand up without passing out. If I took the oxygen off, I had about 2 minutes before everything got very blurry and my hands turned blue. I was barely able to use the bathroom without assistance and she was reprimanding me for not cleaning up my room. They wouldn't even give me Advil to help with all the pain in my chest and back. (If you didn't know, gasping for breath causes you to pull muscles under your shoulder blades. Then every time you breathe in, you're treated to excruciating stabbing pains all over your back and sides.)
   Even after my fever was under control and the flu symptoms had subsided, my chest was still so congested and my bronchi were so swollen that I had to stay in the hospital another 24 hours. I wasn't even sure I wanted to leave when the doctor discharged me. I was still having trouble keeping my O2 levels up, but I went home, slept for a full 24 hours and when I woke up, I was feeling much better. Ha! Take that H1N1.
   I really learned something from this experience. #1 - Get an effing flu shot. #2 - Smoking is retarded. #3 - Prevention is easier than treatment. I am determined to lead a healthier lifestyle. I'm not in my twenties anymore. I can't eat pizza for every meal, smoke like a chimney, and pull all-nighters twice a week. I can't wait to get sick to start taking care of my body.

Jimmie Hammel
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