March 17, 2008

Don't kiss me--I'm not Irish

Well I've had a helluva weekend here. It started with a bang as I felt ill with bad abdominal cramping, nausea, and some lightheadedness on Thursday. I took a nap and felt a bit better so decided to go ahead and go to work anyway.


While standing at my register at work attempting to be cheerful, my abdominal cramping went from very bad to very worse, and then the room started spinning and contracting. My vision reduced down to tunnel vision and I nearly passed out. I managed to sit down in time, then made my way upstairs but was so disoriented I took a wrong turn out of the elevator on my way to the break room (and that floor is not large). I finally managed to collapse in the break room where my sainted manager commented in a very concerned way, "Oh my God, you're turning yellow."

Long story short, Disney first aid was called. Over a decade or so ago, Disney ran into a lawsuit where there was a gang knifing at the park and they didn't respond quickly enough to the medical emergency and in a rare instance, actually lost a lawsuit about it. So Disney has quite the emergency procedure in place. Within about 2-3 minutes the Disney nurse was on scene, followed shortly by the Disney EMTs. The Disney nurse arrived carrying the AED (external defibrillator). I pointed to it and said, "Don't worry, I've got one."

After determining initially that I wasn't having a heart attack, they called the ambulance, at which point the Anaheim EMTs arrived. So in our tiny break room was me, my sainted manager, one Disney nurse, one Disney EMT, two uniformed Disney security guards, one "executive" (out of uniform) Disney security guard (and presumably the one who would then testify that if I filed a lawsuit, everything had been handled correctly), two Anaheim EMTs, a gurney in the hallway, and several other bear builders saying, "Um, I just need to get into my locker to get my wallet/jacket/purse."

As I was completely unable to walk, I got to hop up on the gurney and go down to the ambulance. Fortunately we went down the back way through the loading dock so it's not like I got to ride through Downtown Disney waving at all the guests. Unfortunately we went through the loading dock which also happens to be where we dump our trash at night and it STINKS. Once in the ambulance I asked to go to the good hospital, St. Joseph's in Orange. I have to say, on the whole, Stanford hospital holds a special place in my heart (har har har) but St. Joe's is the best ER. I've never spent the night there so it's hard to say whether or not the food compares to Torrance Memorial, however. St. Joe's is also the CHOC (children's hospital) of the Central/Northern OC area.

At St. Joe's I had a number of people say, "HI Shelby! Oh, my kids love Build-A-Bear!" I found that very strange until I realized I was still wearing my uniform shirt and NAME TAG. Sheesh. Still, I wasn't as bad as the girl who was there the last time we were there wearing her complete costume (plus name tag) including striped socks that looks like they should have been sticking out from underneath Auntie Em's post-cyclone house. While we were there this time a guy dressed like a chef (I recognized the uniform as one from a Downtown Disney restaurant) who had apparently cut his hand. St. Joe's is Disney's go-to hospital for all work emergencies.

My experience at St. Joe's was good. They were very good about keeping us informed as far as what to expect time-wise. They took approximately half my body weight in blood and did the typical--EKG, chest x-ray (I get a chest x-ray no matter what due to my heart condition. It's like "I stubbed my toe!" "Oh, okay, let's just get a chest x-ray first..."), etc. Then the nurse said it would be 1-2 hours for the blood test results. Then the doctor came in and did his thingy and explained (again) that it would take 1-2 hours for the blood test results. They were also concerned about a possible blood clot due to some major muscle pain and fatigue I was having, so apparently one of the blood test checked for markers. The doctor said that if the test is negative, it's 100% negative, but if it's positive, it could mean a blood clot or it could mean several other things. His ETA was 1-2 hours on the initial blood tests and if the one came up positive, I'd need a CAT scan which would add another 2 hours.

Naturally the blood test was positive and I needed the CAT scan *sigh*. His estimate was just about right though--we were out in around 4 hours.

Needless to say, there was no blood clot. I went home with a diagnosis of a vasovagal response to abdominal pain (no explanation for that) and got some pain medication (woo!), muscle relaxants, and some anti-nausea medicine. And instructions to see my normal doctor in a few days.

I then completely lost track of Friday and most of Saturday as I slept in my drug-induced stupor. We knew things were bad when we were watching Simpsons episodes on DVD and I kept saying things like, "I don't understand this. Is it just me or is this way over our heads?" Kevin was like, "Honey, it's a cartoon. It's just you." By Sunday I was feeling significantly more functional and it occurred to me that my abdominal pain may very well have been a ruptured ovarian cyst. I've had that once before and the symptoms were very similar (intense pain, fainting, nausea, etc.).

Today I had hoped to see my regular doctor but he had no open slots so I went to the Urgent Care center. I got 3 diagnoses there:

1) She agrees with my assessment of a ruptured ovarian cyst. She said I had the classic symptoms and her exam indicates that would have been the case. It wouldn't have show up on the CAT scan because, well, it was already ruptured.

2) The upper abdominal pain I was experiencing was probably my gastric reflux acting up. I'd been taking one prescription medication but it pretty much quit working. I've been meaning to get to the doctor to try something else but never got around to it. Until now, which would be around to it. I got a new prescription for that.

3) The upper body muscle ache and fatigue I'm feeling is most likely the flu. She said that this year's flu tends to either attack people in an upper respiratory manner, but a lot of people are having just general fatigue and muscle soreness. Kevin has been coughing and hacking up a storm (poor guy!) and I've had the sniffles and a minor cough, so I would definitely put money on having the flu. Of course, there's nothing to be done about that except live with it until it goes away.

So that's that. Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Don't kiss me--I'm not Irish and I've got cooties.

Posted by Shelby at March 17, 2008 10:41 PM

Isn't St. Joe's cool? Disney sent me there once for a strained ankle...Disney has their own fast-track waiting room so guests don't stay there as long. You don't go through the regular waiting room when you come from the park. Best ER experience I ever had (much better than when Kaiser wheeled my broken body into an unused OB-GYN room and left me to writhe in the dark all alone). I hope you're feeling better!

Posted by: Sherri at March 18, 2008 03:05 PM

Damn, lady!! The universe threw a ton of stuff at you all at once. Sounds like you're handling it all quite gracefully though. Unlike me-- I'm moaning over nausea here, but that's just the first tri talking. (yep, #2 is due in Oct.!) So sorry about the ruptured ovarian cyst, the reflux *and* the flu-- that's rough!

Posted by: Anita at March 18, 2008 07:45 PM

Wow. My little dizzy spell seems incredibly insignificant now. Hope you're feeling better and on the mend very soon!

Posted by: Staz at March 18, 2008 09:26 PM

That's so scary! I didn't know we had vagal nerves in our stomachs. Or we don't and it just effected it? Anyway, glad you got in and out fairly quickly and that you are ok :)
Drugs sound like they are good!

Posted by: Raz at March 23, 2008 08:09 PM
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