|Nov. 10th, 2007 @ 05:32 pm I Got a Ride in an Ambulance!|
|And stayed concious the entire trip for a change!|
When I had the accident my own doctor had fallen and broken an ankle the day before I believe.
As a result I have never really had one physician coordinating my recovery but rather a bunch of different doctors who never spoke to one and other thanks to the US's wonderful new HIPPA laws. One emergency rooms patches me up and sends me packing to another emergency room with the assurance I just had some scalp damage that needed dealt with. I arrive there unconscious and lucky me the on call physician isn't actually there but his plastic surgery partner specializing in breast augmentation is filling in and sure they can sew my head back on and she looks at me and has to spend an hour first debriding my back of all the glass embedded in it that the first ER must just have missed and she's totally unaware that gee maybe someone should have thought to x-ray my neck but she stuck it out and in my opinion did the best she could for being ambushed with a multiple trauma victim instead of the simple stitch his head back on for us please that she was expecting.
I woke up and looked around and got out of bed and why the hell does my neck hurt so bad and the nurses scold me for standing let alone walking down the hall and soon the doctor comes in I say in my stuttering and slurry voice everything is gonna be fine and hey what is wrong with my neck why are my arms tingling straight to CT and a cervical collar and soft tissue tears and hey I can deal with the pain send me home my wife needs me.
In the Docs defense I would have left regardless but she explained about the need for a mega dose of antibiotics and well yes I was almost a nurse once fine I will stay 24 hours then I am leaving we shake it on it, it gets done and I go home.
From lala land I knew to call my primary doc he will be out for some time they say and it's a drive from here to there and I am sure I could drive if it didn't take me so long to get out of bed and through the house and into the car and a few of my DFSI customers stop by and I get an appointment with someone local and they take me there and wait on me and I am dosed on pain killers and antibiotics and anti-inflammatory but gee a month later they took VIOXX of the market LOL honest I do not make this stuff up and I am out there trying to do light yard work cause ya gotta keep moving and sure it makes the world spin but I seem to recall physical therapy as being really important almost like I should have actually been told by someone to do it but no whispers in my ear I'm on my own keep moving I change my own dressing as best I can the ones I cannot reach the former customers stopping to check on me and could you fix this one covering my back I don't even remember who to say thanks to and I know I need to stay clean staph infections kill especially with deep wounds and I bleed all day and all night on the bed but the glimmer of thought running my systems lets me make the bed and just cover the entire thing pillows and all with a sheet and I sleep above and everyday a new sheet but still the sepsis makes its way into my blood and a spot of scalp falls off and two days into delirium scratching my skull and wondering why there is a hole and why is it rough and I think of this during the hour a day I am conscious and the next day I get a mirror and hold it barber style in front of the bathroom mirror and oh gee that's just my skull no wonder it feels rough and how interesting bone is really yellow not white like the movies and well I better go see a doctor tomorrow for a few stitches and no way am I going to the emergency room at eleven at night and sit there ignored for hours just cause I need a stitch.
Delirium is really a very strange place to visit and sure enough I drive to the doctors the next day stopping at my stepsons so he can take a picture of my newest scar he is ill to look at it but complies and I arrive at the waiting room and the doctor glances out in the waiting room sees me and turns white and pulls me to the back and then a huddled conference in the hall with every doctor on staff looking at me with that scared of malpractice look and you need to go right into the hospital nonsense I say just give me a shot or something and some stitches but really wouldn't you prefer to have the surgeon that fixed you do this and I resist but they asked real nice and called for me and I think it was Jim the former customer now bandage changer comes to my aid and drives me to Pensacola and I suspect has some words with the doc about shoddy care and did you really think it was such a good idea to just send him home alone and she whisked me away to a private room and maxed out the IV Antibiotics and got on the phone and found an actual expert to take over after a week of IV's to save me so it would be safe for me travel the 300 miles to UAB Medical in Birmingham and Five Stars for that place they got me stabilized and took flesh from my leg to make me a new half head and thanks to Jim for explaining my lack of nursing assistance at home they kept me in spite of my insurance's whining that can't he go home but KNOW! the doc holds his ground there is no one to care for him and it almost killed him once so five weeks they keep me and I walk seven flight of stairs twice a day because still no one has ever brought up the subject of physical therapy but I knew by now it was ingrained above all the other thoughts fighting for my attention, Ya Gotta Move and I do I have never been to a city I walk the streets in my PJ's find a Starbucks there is a God and it's a scary place but not for me because ignorance is so bliss I will be ok it is what I do and the panhandlers eye me up as I grasp my five dollar bill in the quest for a grande latte with two extra shots and the second day a man named Willy intoxicated but smiling and he tells me he is Willy the Crackhead give him a dollar and I say hey Willy I'm Mike and I cracked my head and lets walk up the hill and I explain to him the need to keep moving and how I lost the top of my head and that's why I slur my words and stumble and drag my right foot as I walk up the hill and he sits outside and waits for me to get my order and I come out with it and brought him some form of pastry and I give it to him and tells him food is more important than crack and he follows me back the five blocks downhill to the hospital.
He was there the next day, and the day after as near as I can recall everyday after that and he took the point and cleared the sidewalks of those that would try and take the five dollars clutched in my hand as I stumbled to starbucks and back and spoke to the others about me cracking my head leave him alone and he never asked me for a dime let alone a dollar after that cause I suspect I spoke to him as a real human.
Or maybe he just thought I was more nuts than he was...
I walk and I walk and I do seven flights to make up for PT I should have gotten every day up at least once usually twice and suddenly I am trying to talk to people Hello, how are you, do you hurt is that your child and for the first time in my life I take a step out of the shadows of my Isolation and I can make some laugh and give some hope or perhaps just a smile and a nod but it was as close to being social as I have ever been and it wasn't as scary as I imagined and I have a few words with a Spanish speaking man who lost two fingers at work and they are using leeches 4 inches long to increase the circulation to his reattached digits I am fascinated and with his wife translating he lets me look at them and he is all smiles a good man an immigrant on a work visa and so they wave everyday walking past my door and I wave back then and one day its is July fourth and I ask the nurse can I push this guy in a wheelchair to the roof of the parking garage to watch Fireworks I have already mapped out the route the day before and found which direction to face from the helopad for the rockets red glare and well sure you can he probably would like that and gossip spreads at the nurses stations visitors asking can we follow you would you wait a moment to get my mother or my child up so she can go and we start a convoy in the quest of the horizon. I move and we get to the turns I pause and look behind at the line fifty people at least the stragglers catch up and I continue and we reach the elevator which hold just six but someone stays behind to explain the last leg. Get in and go to the top floor and the roof begins to get crowded and there is music broadcast from outside and below but we hear it and the fireworks begin in synch to the sounds. A lady walks up to me and says are you Mike? and I affirm that I am and she delivers a messages from the nurses on the 7th floor to the guy with a camera and bandages on his head, Thanks for the break you emptied every room in the wing and for an hour the ohs and ahs of the lights sent everyone back to a happier time without pain and worry and fear and I take pictures cause everything is gonna be OK.
They send me home with a follow up on the surgeon that does the breast enhancements see her in two weeks to look things over and to remove the staples and by now I have confiscated a staple remover they throw them away and I may have removed one or two or more as the skin tightened and so I am home and I call and I had to actually argue that I needed an appointment with this doctor that really didn't want to see me again but what about the 200 staples in my head you're not going to remove them?
Gee they can fit me in and hi and bye no there is no bill you were never here and its clear to me there will not be any follow up and man do I have headaches and my neck is wacked and my back and my shoulder and by now I can finally return to my regular doctor he has recovered I ask can you get all my records please and see what I need done and he sends me to the admin that wants me to take some forms and fill them out and send them to all my doctors cause after all it certainly isn't there job to do it for me and I ask what if I was comatose would you do it for me then and I explain the difficulty ready and staying on task as long as I looked at something but turn my head it's is gone but no they cannot possibly do that you need to remember every doctor you saw and find their address and mail them this form filled out and signed I again tell them I cannot I can hardly remember what it is I am looking for when I enter a room but sorry it's not our problem it's not our job we just do billing and so even now three years after my wreck no one has compiled my medical records, no one has ever sat down with me to make a complete lists of the things wrong and I see the primary this hurts and that hurts and the only thing he wants to see is my head and you should expect to have things hurt cause you were in an accident its normal and no you don't need an MRI of your spine cause you are walking around just fine and I ask during the next trip and what about this shoulder what's wrong with it I dunno let me see your head and this goes on for a time and not a mention of physical therapy or a you should do this or don't do that but the one thought I can still remember is Ya Gotta Move and I'm bricking the house and I can get a couple hours work done if I try for ten hours pausing to throw up and laying down for a bit when the world won't stop spinning. I do it again and again Ya Gotta Keep Moving my body gets stronger but still I am sick everyday half a dozen times nothing stays down but I will not quit to quit is to Die and I get a cavity in ever single tooth from the stomach acids The dentist scolds me for eating sugar and wants to pull all my teeth time for a new Dentist but back to my Primary cause I believe him to be intelligent but overworked due to Managed Care and I hurt everywhere and gee its been several months and you say you are working you shouldn't need pain meds anymore let me see your head and of course you have panic attacks its not a heart attack I know this cause I have a stethoscope and no you cannot get a 30 day heart monitor you need to see a shrink cause I won't put you on zanax and your throwing up is probably mental see this guy and I agree to.
The Shrink is so facinated by something about me it's in his eyes and have you ever had an IQ test or placement test he asks and they all maxed out at the 99 percentile I tell him and in spite of crushing my head in an recent accident and the panic attacks only beginning after the head injury this really needs researched back to your elementary school days I need you to ask your mother for your report cards from fifth grade and no I will not prescribe anything for the panic attacks until I get them and we have had many more sessions and I glance at this guys wall and noticed he likes to write books and true amnesia is not common and I see he has a goal in mind but not on my back I tell myself and I tell him goodbye and I return to the primary and insist I am having panic attacks and there is a problem with my back and you will schedule me an MRI because it is my right.
He gets the report and Low and behold gosh five ruptured disks you need to make an appointment with a neurosurgeon he explained as he called to try and get me back to the office and then the mail comes a denial from Blue Cross Blue Shield we put a rider on your policy seven years ago and yeah we know we said it would last two years then be removed but you didn't call us and formally ask it be removed and so we are not going to cover your back even though the rider was for the lumbar region and not the cervical area and so I think as I read this denial letter did this person actually graduate high school the letter was full of blatant contradictions and signed by a senior claims representative so I look at this and I look at the scanner on the desk and I scan the letter and upload not once but to four different servers and I make a post and I asked the readers please help read this leave a comment tell someone and in five day's it has 3000 views and then I call blue cross and apologize if the press has been calling them about me putting their denial letter online for everyone to see and I get a return call from the very very very senior guy in Jacksonville could I see the url and yes of course I give him the website and I sit there refreshing my stats page until I see a hit from Jacksonville then a moment later I see two more boxes light up different machines on the same internal network and I go back to my post and I hit refresh ten times and the counter they are watching leaps ahead just a tad and I watch them read my words looking for facts and reading the comments I had gotten which spilled across three pages so far and I wait and every new hit from there I added another five so in the hours they spent reading the count went up two hundred clicks then all three IP's click off closing time I wait a good 40 minutes watching the clock its the end of the office day they powered down and went home and I add 200 to the counter and wait as my words are read and gee suddenly someone logs on from Jacksonville using a residential IP this time and the first hit is to the denial letter so I bump the counter again and I watch this person travel though my pages and returning to check the newest count and I am refreshing the numbers up up up but modestly, just enough to let them know it was gaining momentum and a day or two later a letter arrives Mr. Mike this was simply a clerical error we will of course remove the rider immediately and cover those $30,000 dollars in medical bills we had refused to pay before just a simple mistake and I they kept their words the bills began to get paid.
The Power of Page hits.
And still not a mention of Physical Therapy but I suck it up and I work and I work tiny baby steps but unending and I grow stronger and the fog thins I think I can I think I can and as I do this I am also caring for my wife as she first has a shoulder replacement then the other then a fall and a new hip and on and on and on I am her caregiver in need of my own caregiver but in her foresight she had bought a supplemental long term care policy she can have a care giver eight hours during the day and I can continue my self imposed therapy of building the house and refusing to die and learning to slow my heart by going to the zero room as I learned as a child, stand still when the head is crushed in the vice and the tunnel vision brings the dark and the urge to fall is in the wings take a breath it will pass just stand there for the minutes as life returns and I can again see.
Several times a day for a year and gradually they subside just a racing heart occasionally past the 140 beats a minute I can count I cope no sorry you don't need zanax your not having a heart attack I can just look at you and tell and once again in defense of my doctors I do not complain of pain in that whiny I need a scrip voice and yes some people just want a buzz a Doc needs to be careful.
I go around my primary my wife's surgeon he is a good man I bring him the MRI's of my shoulder bone spurs tearing into something when I lift my arm and I explain yes I can lift my arm it hurts incredibly but it is not in me to cry.
He has seen my bones and cartridge and he knows without my words the pain and tells me there is surgery that will fix this.
My wife cannot stand without assistance I tell him she is terrified of losing me and of my having my arm in a sling and I promise her my left hand still works but she is scared and she is my wife and I ask the doc will I permanently injure myself putting off the surgery and not likely he says. Use a painkiller when it gets bad and heat and we will do the surgery as soon as you are able and I ask can I get a nerve block will it help will it permanently kills the nerves in my arm or will if fade away because I will not trade use of a limb in a trade to ease my pain and here's a referral that's a good idea.
The panic attacks have diminished greatly now just ten minutes of tachycardia and not even every day but then this past Thursday I awake and I am throwing up and shaking to the point I cannot hold anything in my hands and the tachycardia and sweats and chills and shooting pain up my neck and I am just gonna walk this off but 30 minutes and it is worse and I tell myself this is not normal and I tell my wife do not panic I need you to call 911 and I am going to get a shower and clean clothes in case they have to take me to a hospital and holding onto the hand rails installed in the handicap shower I let the warm water try and calm me and I dress and I come out and 911 is on the phone I speak to them be calm I tell them this is probobly just a panic attack but I want someone to put a scope on my chest to be sure and moments later the volunteer firemen are here they walk past me in a hurry as they ask where the victim is and I say hey hold on it's me you guys stay calm I have them sit in the living room and put me on 4 liters on O2 they don't know what to set it at I tell them max it out for a bit I need it now and they try and take my blood pressure but the convulsions in my arms make this hard and their auto defib gee the battery is dead LOL and so I grab the stethoscope and I tell them I will say now for the systolic and diastolic just watch the gage cause I can't see it and now they have the data the pressure is sky high you need to calm down Mr. Mike I explain to them about meditation and the need to breath and I tell them don't make me sit if I want to stand and don't make me lie down if I want to sit this is my game I have some back ground you listen to me and I rattle off my no known allergies except for the rattlesnake anti-venom and I have them gather the meds I have been prescribed and I tell them of my head injury and as many of my various injuries I have survived particularly the need to for them to know that ever since I had hypothermia while lost in the snow I am prone to going into shock if moved from a warm to a cold environment if I lose consciousness look at my skin for Goosebumps and then wrap me in blankets I tell them to take care of my wife, to keep her informed and not to leave her unattended she is terrified I am dieing and they let me walk to a gurney cause I insisted on not being lifted and they wait patiently as I have them get my wallet and cell phone and I tell the wife I will have someone call her.
Then I am looking out the back window of the ambulance relaying my medical history be quiet Mr. Mike when you talk you hear rate spikes but no I will control this like Spock would, and I make them leave the volume on the heart monitor on loud when it raises I go to a happy place and I tell the paramedics my many stories of near death not because they wanted to hear but because it let me forget and calm down and I knew they weren't really listening but I kept it up except for when they had me chew the aspirin cause of something on the EKG and then they ask if I have ever had nitro and I Know why they ask and it occurs to me it might really be a heart attack but they are not gonna tell me I say is it a patch or a pill under the tongue and he laughs are you a paramedic? No pills we have a new thing a spray under your tongue and I get it and I get it again and again as the man's eyes watch the monitor and I hear the high pitch of something powering up like the flash in a disposable camera but I don't ask I just wait to see if things go dark and then we are there and I am whisked straight to bed 2 and wired to machines and calm down Mr. Mike you just relax.
I need to call my wife can I please?
Yes they say.
The ER doctor is good in under a few minutes he confirms yes you do have panic attacks and they are not mild they are severe and I mention that my regular doctors didn't want me on anything for it that they said it just wasn't a big deal and I ask if I should be put on a heart monitor if I had requested it just to be safe and certainly you should have! They told you no???
He gives me a warm blanket I requested from preop I know they keep an oven full of them at all hours I have worked in a hospital I needed two more semesters to be an RN I have been the first to arrive at accident scenes this is something I know a bit about and yes certainly he sends someone off and in no time the chills are gone and he gives me a wonderful shot of something and an hour goes by I have put myself in the Zero room and am forcing my heart rate down and my breaths and I am repeating My Mantra everything will be ok.
This man diagnosed me during our first encounter and told me I should have been treated for this from the beginning and he documented it for me to hand deliver to my own doctor. See him as soon as possible here is a script for the weekend do not do any strenuous activities if the tachycardia returns call 911 and I am free to go home.
Up until late last night I was still in a prolonged panic attack heart rate over a hundred for more than 40 hours but gee I filled the prescription and in time the zanax seems to have worked or perhaps I just told myself it worked and it was merely a placebo but this morning I had two good hours before it returned so a painkiller for my shoulder and a zanax for whatever is making me shake probably just a mental thing crushing your skull certainly could not be related.
A call yesterday and someone smiles from above the pain management place has a cancellation we can do the nerve block Monday instead of In December and I mention the need for follow up from the trip to the ER with my Doctor could you also see me for that since for three hours on Friday my doctors phone had rung unanswered a severed line somewhere just Murphy's law like the dead batteries in the Fire Department's equipment and yes they will the doctor already knows of my accident I had talked with them before I got a referral and they will help me with everything and they said without a doubt I could sign one form for them and they could gather all my medical records from all the doctors I have seen and all the hospitals I have visited.
It only took a 1000 days or so.
Sometimes you must take things into your own hands.