Thursday, July 10, 2008

Swamp thing invades ER

Jess posted today about her ER experience yesterday with her fiance, and asked about ours. My comment was getting way too long, so I made it a post:

I've been to the ER more times than I can count, for myself and/or my kids. The best story, I guess, was when I had to go in the middle of the night one night for chicken pox.

As a kid and teen, I was immune to chicken pox. This was chalked up to the fact that my mother had contracted chicken pox when I was 6 weeks old, and though I never broke out, they figured I had had it as well. But (and this is the reason why the vaccine now has a booster for an older child), a mild case that doesn't cause actual pox does not provide sufficient immunity to last throughout adulthood. So when my oldest got the chicken pox around age 3, so did I.

Since I was sick, Meg's dad (we were divorced) kept her. I got sicker and sicker (chicken pox is NOT something you want to have as an adult). My face looked like something out of some kind of swamp monster movie, red and puffy and oozing green pus. It was truly nasty. But what finally drove me to the ER was the fact that I could not swallow ANYTHING, not even water, without debilitating pain, and I knew I was getting severely dehydrated.

I couldn't talk, so I wrote a note to show to the guy at the ER entrance (they don't normally let you park right there; it's for drop-off only. I was going to grad school at the university affiliated with the hospital, so I was very familiar with it). When I pulled up and the guy walked over to my car window, he literally RECOILED at the sight of me. As in jumped back and obviously considered running away. When he crept back over close enough to read my note, he let me park right there and go right in.

They took me right back because I had a contagious disease, but really I think it was because they didn't want anyone in the waiting room to see me. The only room available had one of those short OB/GYN tables in it, so I crawled up on that and they gave me an IV with fluids and pain medication. The only thing I remember anyone saying is a nurse saying to the doctor, "It's too late for Zovirax, huh?" which pissed me off because I had called the doctor's office at the first sign of the bumps on my torso, told them I had chicken pox and they said I just had to ride it out. I didn't realize there was MEDICATION that would make the case MILDER. I fell asleep and spent the night on the OB/GYN table, with my feet in the stirrups. When I woke up, a nurse came in to tell me they had done a little research on me and found out that my mom worked upstairs in Cardiology, so they had called her and were sending me home with her. Yes, they called my mommy. I was 26 years old! But at this point, I was relieved to have someone else taking care of me. I went home with my mom and spent two days lying in bed and sucking on popsicles. It took much longer than that for me to decide against going to the doctor's office and demanding the rolling of heads.


LoriD said...

How awful! I love that they called your mom. I still want my mom when I'm sick.

Jess said...

I have always heard that it's important to have chicken pox as a kid because it is much worse if you get it as an adult. Apparently that's true!

Shelly said...

Wow, that is an awesome story. I would have been WICKED PISSED at the doctor's office that could have helped you but didn't!

moo said...

wow, what a story! I'd always thought that if you got chicken pox as an adult, it would be shingles instead of pox.

That being said, I didn't get the pox until I was 14 and I was absolutely MISERABLE. There is DEFINITELY something to be said for having it very young!

Alice said...

HOLY CRAP, WOMAN! SO HAPPY now that i got it when i was 4.

my sister still hasn't gotten the pox.. my mom exposed her all the time when she was little, knowing it would be better to get it then... but no luck. or good luck. hard to tell :-)

Anonymous said...

So nice to have a medical professional recoil at the sight of you!!

TheWeyrd1 said...

I usually got everything second from my younger brother when we were kids. I know not way. But thankfully I got the chicken pox first and he got the overexposure version second. Poor guy had a bad case, even for the kid's type. I never did get a booster for those.

Saly said...

My baby brother, at age 19, had them last year and it sucked for him a lot. My brother and I both had them when I was 9, thank god!!