Wednesday morning, as I was getting ready to go to sleep, I noticed I was having trouble swallowing, like a lump in the back of my throat I couldn't clear. Didn't think much of it; I wasn't having difficulty breathing or anything. Also started itching on my leg, figured it was a bug bite. Went to sleep. Wake up several times to scratch during the day, but I was too tired to think anything about it. I wake up around 21:00, ate, played online for about 30 minutes until I notice I'm itching everywhere.
I'm covered in hives all over my legs, stomach, back, and thighs. Then I start to notice my lip feels funny. Like when you burn it on hot food? Look in the mirror, and it's swollen. Very noticeably swollen. I'm starting to freak out a little bit, take two Benadryl and hope to god that it'll go away before it gets worse.
The swelling doesn't subside, and pretty soon my arms are covered in hives. Now I'm really scared, so I contemplate going to the ER. I take a shower, get prepared in case I decide to go. The Benadryl is starting to kick in, so I'm sleepy, I tell myself I'll just lay down and hope to god I don't die before I wake up from anaphylactic shock. Set my alarm to go off in four hours so I can take the next dose of Benadryl. I wake up, take it, reset my alarm for another four hours, fall straight back to sleep. Wake up around 0400. The swelling is starting to go down, but the hives are in full force. Now I'm starting to itch on my face. Look in the mirror, I have them above both my eyes, my right eyelid is swollen, and there's a massive one under my chin. I go to use the bathroom, get violently nauseous and grab the garbage can and promptly throw up twice. Wobble back to the couch, sleep for about an hour. I try to stand up, and I get nauseous again and throw up twice more. Fuck, okay. Tell myself I'll be okay, more Benadryl. Benadryl cures all. Take another dose, pray I can last until the Kingston Clinic (walk-in clinic that caters to commercial and Medicare insurance patients only) opens at 0900.
Drive over at 0900. My lip is much better, hardly noticeable, but everything else is spot-on still. By this time, I look like a walking rash. I'm having palpitations and am insanely weak. I knew I should have went to the ER, but I was already in Kingston, so I continue on. Finally get called, after close to 45 minutes (it opens at 0900--I got there at 0910. I don't understand how all the other patients they must have been busy with came in in the 10 minutes before I got there). But anyway.
Nurse triages me, takes vitals, all that good stuff. Apparently I'm running a fever, which I never thought to check here at home. Just a low-grade one, around 99.7. My pulse is 155. This is what pissed me off. I sat in the waiting room for 45 minutes, get taken back, discover my pulse, fever, and BP are all elevated, I'm covered in hives and my eyelid is swollen.
So hey, I work in the emergency room. Person presents with my symptoms, they get marked as 'urgent' in triage, taken directly back and a doctor is in the room within 10 minutes. The nurse would have had an INT started before I even had a chance to say hello. Solumedrol, Benadryl and Pepcid administered before she had a chance to say hello back. Chances are, would've had an EKG since I was extremely tachycardic (seriously, that's getting into we-betta-do-sumthin-bout-that-thar-range there). Labs probably drawn since I had a fever and had been vomiting.
But at the clinic? The doctor didn't show up in my room until 35 minutes later. No one came in during that time to check to see if I happened to still be breathing. That's not an absurd request--I was obviously having a pretty severe reaction to something and had abnormal vitals. You *have* to think about respiratory arrest. While waiting for the doctor, I hoped it was Dr. Colonel Sanders (not his real name, obviously), who I've worked with in the ER, and who is in charge of both the clinic and the ER. I wanted to ask what the fuck was up with this place. But it wasn't. Now the doctor is a very nice lady, I had seen her once before for another problem. But she never even mentioned any of my symptoms besides the hives and swelling. I mentioned I had had nausea and vomiting and how my lip had been swollen and how I was weak. She just kinda glossed over these things, examined my hives, ordered a shot of Decadron and discharged me with a Medrol dosepack.
So I left. I never had repeat vitals done. I had been there over two hours for this? The Decadron did shit for me. The nurse came back in for the discharge, asked how I was, told her still itching. Kinda laughed and told me to follow her. Handed me my chart, told me to take it the receptionist and I was ready to go. She looked back at me at one point and saw me scratching my arms and laughed again.
Whatever. I'm not happy at this point. I take my 'script to RiteAid, go home, don't bother staying for it, call into work for last night and tonight, and pass out again. I should've went to the emergency room at that point, but I was pretty sick and pissed, and all I wanted to do was sleep.
So now I've been awake for a few hours, and the hives are better. My lip and eyelid are both back to semi-normal. I've still got welts, but many have cleared up. I'm holding out hope, but I'm starting to itch again as I keep writing.
The more I think about it, the angrier I get. I don't run to the hospital or the clinic everytime something goes awry in my life. I tend to be able to tell an emergency vs. a non-emergency. Yes, I was dumb for not going to the ER initially, but I was trying to self-medicate myself and save a few hundred bucks. Stupid, I agree. I had only been to the clinic once before, several months ago. I don't even have a family doctor anymore, so haven't been to one of those in several months either. This was literally the only time in my life I was frightened enough to seek medical attention as soon as I could. And I get... two hours, a flippant nurse, a ditzy doctor, one prescription, and no explanation or follow-up on obviously out-of-whack issues I was having (heartbeat, fever, blood pressure). And see? I hate people that complain about medical service. I know how it is on the other side. But I can't even comprehend what was going on in the minds of these people.
So I apologize to anyone I've made a snarky reply to here regarding health care services. I see now that it truly can suck, and not everyone can be treated by competent nurses and doctors like the ones I work generally seem to work alongside.