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Looking drunk and my ER visit

August 17, 2011

I need to get a hospital bracelet tattooed on my wrist. It would save time and trees.

Anywho, yesterday started out fairly well. I was wobbly, a lil bit shaky and couldn’t feel my feet but I was in fairly good shape. My hug had finally let up completely and my TN wasn’t acting up as badly. It went downhill fairly fast though.

I had to run some errands in the morning, and as I was walking back to the parking lot downtown I noticed a cop giving me a funny look. He was on the opposite side of the street as me and was about to cross the street when there was a sudden rush of traffic (thankfully, for me). I can imagine what he must have thought. Young female, stumbling, no visible illnesses, no medical alert….must be drunk. Thankfully he gave up on me and didn’t bother me. If a cop ever does question me thinking I’m drunk, I’ll just show him the ICE app on my blackberry explaining what is wrong with me. Driving back home, I started to have a mild TN attack while I was driving. Ugh…rolled up all the windows so the wind wouldn’t make it worse, but of course that just made it horribly hot in the car. I had someone riding my arse half of the way, then got stuck behind someone that was driving below the speed limit the rest of the way. Got home, slugged it out through the rest of the attack, then went to see Dr. Fabulous in the afternoon.

Turns out the patient before me was one of my old preceptors. I liked her and all but I’m glad she didn’t see me. Just didn’t have the patience or energy to explain what was going on (she was the preceptor I had in a placement where I got horribly sick on the first day and ended up in the ER that night for my first “hug”). Dr. Fabulous looked kind of grumpy but she perked up when she came into the exam room and saw how much better I looked since my last visit. I’m walking much better now and there is nothing visibly wrong with my arms, so to her it was a huge improvement (she was mainly pleased with how much my balance has improved). She seemed so much happier than she was before coming into the exam room I decided not to mention the non-visible symptoms and the flareups I’ve had between visits (stupid, I know, but those are issues for Dr. Kickass, why ruin Dr. Fab’s good mood, right?) She refilled my tegretol, and told me “Don’t come back! Haha! nah just kidding call me or Dr. Kickass if you need anything” and I was on my way.

When I got home is when the trouble started. I suddenly felt just insanely tired. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I started to feel a little sick to my stomach, so I figured I just haven’t been getting enough sleep lately and took a nap. I slept for…I think about 3 or 4 hours, and had a really really bad dream. I dreamt that my grandmother had died and that my aunts were the ones that broke the news to me. I felt horribly guilty about finding out about the death before my mom did. When I woke up, I was so confused I didn’t realize it was just a dream. I wanted to call my mom to apologize to her and break the bad news, but I couldn’t remember where I kept my home phone. I was very dizzy and more nauseated than before, I was so upset from the dream that I thought was real I was crying. By the time I remembered where I kept the phone, I realized that it couldn’t have been real because my grandmother died several years ago. Realizing I was that confused scared the hell out of me. I went into the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up, and wow, I was white. I had no colour in my face at all, even my lips were white. I felt extremely hot, couldn’t cool down, yet I couldn’t stop shaking. Seeing how bad I looked, I decided it was time to see a doctor. I went to get dressed, and that’s when I noticed my leg:

I freaked. Note that this picture was taken after I got home from the ER several hours later. It was much worse when it first appear and had visible red streaks in it. For hours it looked like I had been scratching it, even though I hadn’t touched it. It was not there before I went to bed. It’s not painful or itchy; I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t gone to get changed.

I called my mom to get a ride to the ER. I was still sobbing because of the bad dream and how terrible I felt. I was slurring like crazy, the only words that came out clearly were “ER” “gonna puke”. My stomach was killing me, lower left and right quadrant and right up the middle (the most intense pain was in the center). Mom rushed over to find my hugging the kitchen garbage can. I tried to slur out what was wrong, showed her the rash, then tried to get in the car. I almost fell flat on my face in the driveway.

I showed the triage nurse the rash, pointed to where the pain in my stomach was since I couldn’t verbalize it properly and somehow managed to slur out that I was also having a trigeminal neuralgia attack. Through much repeating and gesturing, I got him to understand that though I have TN, I was concerned now that I had a dental infection a month ago that I ignored because of the TN and was worried that it had spread into my bloodstream. That is why you DO NOT IGNORE DENTAL PAIN. That will kill you. I felt so sick, I felt like I was going to die. I have never been that scared in my life.

He asked me again what my stomach pain was on a scale of 1-10. “Did you say it was an 8 or…?” “I think I said 6 I don’t remember” “Ahh ok…..*whisper* if you say 8 I can get you into fast track” “Ok it’s an 8”. Off to fast track I went.

Most of that experience is covered in my last entry about the wonderfulness of Nurse J. The doctor was wonderful as well, but I can’t for the life of me remember his name. He went “WOOOOAAAAHHH” when I showed him the rash and immediately started rubbing it with an ungloved hand *facepalm*. He explained that a rash like that, which doesn’t go white when you press on it, is usually from an injury, capillaries bursting, that sort of thing and could be from a clotting disorder. I don’t know what my temperature was, but when I had blood drawn the lab tech remarked about how warm I felt. I gradually started to feel less nauseated and the pain started to go away on it’s own. Eventually the room stopped spinning (thank god). After my labs all came back normal, the doctor asked if I had been through a viral infection lately. Nope. He seemed confused (most ER docs are confused by me now, HA!) He suspects it is Henoch-Schonlein Purpura. He had doubts since that’s more common in children after a viral infection. He’s referred me to internal medicine for more testing, exams, blah blah, etc. No idea on what caused the horrible confusion. I told him I’m waiting to get more tests done to look for MS and asked if it could be related to that. He considered it and verbalized his thinking on that one, and followed the same reasoning I did for think of that possibility. “Hmm…well……don’t know the cause of it but its probably autoimmune…if the immune system is all messed up from that already…HMMMMM….well….I’m not sure, I don’t think so though”.

So, now I’m just waiting to hear from the internist. Rash is still there and I’m now developing more spots on the same leg, but opposite side. Abdominal pain is pretty much entirely gone (it comes back for a few minutes every now and then but not as intensely, just feels like horrible indigestion now), the room still isn’t spinning, and I’m not as nauseated at all. Still feel quite warm, but overall feeling much much better.

So, if it is HSP and it doesn’t go away on its own, I’ll likely be put on prednisone. Oh joy. If it’s something else, then well…who the hell knows, we’ll see what the internist says.

The joys of being sick. Dear body: NO MORE MYSTERY SYMPTOMS, OK?! Frig.

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