Today, I slapped on the sunscreen and kept to the shade when I ventured out to sell off some old video gaming equipment. I was in the sun less than one hour total--most of the time I was in an air-conditioned business or bus. Despite every precaution I took, I still ended up with severe heat exhaustion--for the second time in two months.
I don't remember many of the details, but by the time I got to Wishard (never go to a hospital that has a letter in its sign burnt out), I was confused enough to where they asked more than once if I'd been drinking alcohol (I don't drink), and my heart rate was high enough to where I was asked if I'd ever had a heart attack (I'm 31). I'd broken out, swooned, and I was shaking. They triaged me, handed me an ice pack and made sure I had a bag in case of vomiting (I had dry heaves), then told me to sit in the waiting room. The ice pack lasted about twenty minutes. I'm not sure how long I sat there, but it was an entire episode of Jeopardy and a good chunk of the movie "Hurt Locker" (where the girl sings "Popular" from "Wicked" to the end of the movie).
When I was called back, the doc asked me what year it was. I said "Two thousand... damn. Uh... Two thousand ten? I want to say 2008, but I know that's not right." He ordered an IV. They couldn't get a vein--nurse said something about "I can see it bunching up" (no clue what that means, but I don't like the sound of it)--then gave it through my hand. Since they accidentally left a hospital phone in the room, I was able to time the elapsed time between the IV finishing and being visited again--more than one hour. Ironically enough, they paged the phone--and still didn't find it. I tried to flag a nurse down, but no one came by the room except this woman who kept pacing. It creeped me out, but considering that I'd had some hallucinations from the heat (and yes, I told them that), I'm not surprised.
The doc finally told me that I needed to "sit down and have a long talk with your psychiatrist". Apparently, I'm on enough meds to create a pre-disposition to heat exhaustion and dehydration. I told him she wouldn't return my calls, and he said that he couldn't do anything, and he knew how it was with Medicaid patients trying to get help. They discharged me, telling me to return "if you develop confusion, repeated vomiting, severe headache, severe muscle spasms, fever, chest pain or shortness of breath." I already had a severe headache, confusion and chest pain. I still have bouts of shaking, and I feel like I'm burning up and freezing at the same time.
They asked if I had a bus pass, and I said yes. However, IndyGo doesn't run a 24-hour schedule, not even to Wishard. How's that for an oversight? Even though I live in an independent facility run by the Midtown mental health division of Wishard, Midtown can't take me to or home from Wishard, and Wishard can't take me to a Midtown facility. Strange, because Midtown can take us grocery shopping... The Midtown residential facility can't take us to our appointments with Midtown, either.
So there I am, at two in the morning, sitting at a bus stop with no way home. Medicaid cabs won't take you home if you didn't take a Medicaid cab to the hospital. My father's out of the country, my mother's out of state, and both of my brothers have pregnant wives. I didn't feel safe there, and I knew that even if I had the strength to do so, walking home wasn't a good idea. I live in a neighborhood marked by a daily changing parade of discarded bottles of hard liquor. I called a friend from church, apologized, explained the situation and she gave me a lift home.
I spoke to a counselor and was informed that since I hadn't seen my psychiatrist, I could be held in contempt of court for failure to see the doctor.
I know this is normal for a low-income psych patient in Indianapolis. What I'm wondering is "Am I being unreasonable or am I really being screwed?" I told my friend "I know they're not trying to kill me, but I feel like they are."