Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Boy, My Hero!!! pt 3

So, here we are once again. For those who have missed out, check out the two previous postings to catch up. (Im lazy to link at the moment).
We finally arrived at the health center only to be faced with a nurse that seemed unable to treat me adequately because of my weight.( Im no slim chicken but then again Im not immobile from weight...Im a size 20 to 22 depending on my last meal...sigh.) However, she kept going on and on about my size claiming she was unable to insert an IV because I was fat, she was unable to get my blood pressure because I was fat...unable to draw blood properly because...you got it...I was too fat. Then she made the medically sound declaration that my recent spate of intense vomiting was due to fast food and I should just cut that out right now...and I would be fine. She was all set to send me home with Panadol, more Maalox, and a kick in the ass for daring to be fat when a doctor happened to stroll in curious to see what was up. (why a doctor hadnt been called previously...I dont know...Im just the victim...I mean patient).
By this time, I might add, the husband had showed up demanding to know what had been done, what was wrong with me etc. He and the doc came in just about the same time. Doc checked me over, pressed on my abdomen...and declared I could either go home with the meds prescribed (by the nurse no less) or go to the emergency room at the main hospital if I felt that was called for...(if I felt like it was called for mind you...not him).
Well, hmmmm, lets see. Serious SERIOUS pain, vomiting like nobody's business, sweating a rainforest, and there was that whole "alien wanting to get out of my body" business to think about ...so yes...Im thinking I do feel like I should go to the emergency room.
The doc offered to let the Health Centers ambulance take me there...what a nice gesture...sure why not. Ambulances are allowed to cut through traffic and red lights and get you there in no time flat....much easier and saves lives...or so Ive heard.
I watch tv...dont laugh.
Now, I had never required a ride in an ambulance before that day (thank God) so my only experience with it was what I had seen on tv regarding procedure etc. You know, trained paramedics bustling around, getting you loaded on a gurney, taking your vitals, speaking in a radio to the hospital informing them of your arrival etc....oh yeah...strapping you down on the gurney so you dont fall out...things like that...very professional and all.
Here is what I got. I had to get my sick ass off the table and up onto the gurney as the two ambulance looking type guys gave me verbal encouragement. (no hands on help over here I guess) My husband had disappeared after the doctor so wasnt there to lend a hand. I was loaded into the ambulance in which the gurney was strapped in...but not me. The door was closed and we took off.
I say we as in the driver and I because for all I knew we were the only two people in the ambulance. Nobody was back there with me. My husband had been told we were off to the hospital emergency room so he left on his own.
Now on a good day (light traffic etc) it takes about 20 minutes to get to the hospital from the health center...thats without being in an ambulance with a siren wailing etc. With traffic obviously more...but just how much more boggles the mind. I have learned over the years here in Bahrain that people really do not care about seeing an ambulance with lights and siren on in their rearview mirror. They wont make any attempt to move...and the ambulance ends up stuck in traffic right along with everyone else. I have lost count of the number of times I have moved out of the way only for cars behind me to quickly jump forward and fill the gap rather than let the ambulance through. Its disgusting...and now I was inside one needing to get to the hospital. My husband informed me later that it took us about 40 minutes to arrive there....it doesnt take 40 minutes to get from Hidd to Hamad Town (a city down south in Bahrain).
Meanwhile, if you have ever wondered what it would feel like to be inside an ambulance lying on a gurney and seriously sick...and NOT have any sort of belt etc to hold you in safely...if your wondering what that would feel like...let me tell you....its like being inside a washing machine. Bahrain is full of round abouts (circular type intersections)...not to mention just very very bad driving standards...and so between the driver hitting the brakes frequently, going around round abouts every few moments, and dealing with irate drivers not wanting to get out of the way...I was left on my own to prevent myself from falling out onto the floor.
So picture this. Me, seriously sick. Hijab askew, no strength... trying to pathetically brace myself against the sides etc everytime we traversed a round about so I wouldnt add insult to injury and find myself face first on the floor.
This went on for a good 35 minutes (based on what my husband said as we arrived at the hosp soon there after) when I vomitted once again leaning my head over and letting it hit the floor rather than myself. It was then that I realized there was in fact someone else back there with me as a hand swiftly came out with some towels and wiped up the mess.
WTF!!! Im killing myself trying not to fall down, Im sick, tired, ready to call it a day...and thinking Im actually alone so trying to make the best of it and be patient...and the whole time there was a man sitting somewhere up by my head (I think the hijab swimming around constantly in my face actually blocked me from seeing him or even being aware he was there)...but still...he KNEW I was there and did nothing to help me...until I threw up on his clean floor....ARRRRRGH!!!
I would have chewed him out at this point but we arrived at last...to my hoped for salvation...yaay!!! Everyone cheer...this is good news! Or is it?
The TWO ambulance guys (I realized that since there were two at the health center then there were two all along...but since I had other things to think about it didnt cross my mind that there was in fact someone in there other than the driver...and since he wasnt doing anything for me...who can blame me) pushed me inside and just before leaving me on an emergency bed...patted my leg and gave me some platitudes about "be patient and everything will turn out fine"..yeah...thanks...appreciate the sincerity. Anyways...
I was finally at the hospital where hopefully all would be made right again...except for one thing...I was completely alone and would remain so for at least 20 minutes. No nurse, no doctor...just a few curious bystanders taking a good look at the obvious distressed western woman but not offering any sage advice or help...sigh!!! My husband finally tracked me down after discovering the drivers and asking them where they had left me.
I might add that on tv when ambulance drivers bring a patient...they are always calling out info to the docs...cause of injury...stats...things like that. In other words, giving the docs a heads up as to what they were facing. None of that happened with me. A pat on the leg and away they went...of course there was no doctor to fill in anyhow....or nurse...so what were they to do?
Husband went off to track down a doc and drag him back (which he literally had to do I found out later). This IS the emergency room right...in a very large
hospital...the MAIN hospital for Bahrain where all emergency cases go? hmmm?
While alone I felt the rising need to vomit once again...I turned my head to look around but there wasnt anything available to receive my "gift" and so ended up leaning over the bed and extending my gift to the floor (I was so embarrassed to do that for some reason...dont ask me why...there it is). I figured that because I had been vomitting all morning...had ate nothing previously...that the contents of my stomach were pretty much expelled. So imagine my surprise and utter shock when I enacted a scene from The Exorcist and spewed out a shit load of green vomit...at least a gallon of it...no lie!!! The whole floor in my cubicle was absolutely covered in it.
The curious bystanders now had something a little more interesting to look at since the novely of ME had worn off to some extent.
I might add that it was about at this point that I was very thankful indeed that I did not have diarreha to deal with as well...see...silver linings in every trauma.
Within a few minutes after that fun experience the husband showed up literally dragging a doctor (actually had his white jacket clenched up in his fist)...the doc took one long look at me...had a serious thoughtful moment to contemplate the nice piece of artwork on the floor (courtesy of me), listened for a brief explanation from the husband about my wonderful morning so far...and declared that my pancreas was about to rupture and I needed emergency treatment...
Gee! Ya think?!!!
Long story short (as if) I spent 10 days in hospital. Was informed by, what I refer to as a REAL doctor, that had I suffered much longer I would probably have died...it was that close.
Ok ok....here is the truly appalling aspect of this whole ordeal. Never mind the two ladies that delayed me so long with some erroneous belief that my "modesty" was more important than my emergency...never mind the bitchy nurse that insisted her incompetence was due to my weight...never mind the traumatic ambulance ride courtesy of inefficient ambulance workers....the one thing that pisses me off more than all of that is ...all of this could have been avoided if each and everyone of the doctors I had visited over the past year had actually taken the time to listen to me and hear what I was saying...because I was telling them EXACTLY what was wrong with me and they still had no clue.
While in hospital the doctors who cared for me informed me that not only had my pancreas been suffering for quite awhile but that my gall bladder would need removing because of the prolonged assualt without treatment. It was getting set to explode on me...my pancreas acting up and nearly causing my death was the only thing that brought my gall bladder into the spotlight...not one of those doctors I had previously visited had ever even mentioned my gall bladder or pancreas to me..not once.
Now heres the "funny" bit that pisses me off. Once I realized what was wrong with me as soon as I got home I looked up pancreas and gall bladder disorders etc. Under pancreatitis are almost word for word the exact symptoms I had been listing to my doctors again and again....painful to lay down...feels better when I sit up (which meant I was attempting to sleep sitting up more often then not)...felt like this...acted like that...occurred most often when I did this or that etc...WORD FOR WORD people. It was right there in black and white...with pictures no less.
I was in shock!!! Its not like I had some obscure illness that had doctors scratching their heads and doing countless tests and exams trying to figure out this medical conundrum...I had a fairly common (not common as in everyone has it...common as in its well known medically) illness that with even a bit of question asking...examinations or tests etc...would have been diagnosed and treated.
Instead I got buckets of maalox and addictive painkillers...and I almost died.
Unfortunately, malpractice medical lawsuits are almost unheard of here...and because patient medical records are sketchy at best (at least in health centers for expats etc and from my personal experience) there really was no way to be compensated for this gross case of negligence and medical malpractice.
I survived...thank God...but you can understand now why I am extremely leary with all things medical in this country.
My 3 year son acted more responsibly then all those others I had the misfortune of crossing paths with that day...for that...he is my hero!!!
btw my spell check is not working...I apologize for any missed corrections as well as the spacing so forgive me for the long paragraphs once again.


Jennifer Kabir, "The Creative Muslimah" said...

That's horrible. What's shocking to me is that drivers do not move aside for the ambulance.

San Antonio Cicily said...

No offense but these people sound like assholes!

mostlypurple said...

Your writing is so entertaining...but, now i'm depressed...I know that wasnt your intention. I spent a year in Karachi, so I was terrified that something similar to this could happen to me, can totally relate to the traffic issues; snobby entitled "how dare you bother me by being sick" attitudes of "nurses" and such. thank God when I got sick it over there was never this sick.

coolred38 said...

hijabwoes...they never move.

San Antonio...some of them defintely are.

mostlypurple...ty...its funny I can write about it with a bit of humor later...but at the time..oh my...not funny at all.

marianna68 said...

HOLY CRAP! I feel for you because I had pancreatitis. I was in the hospital for a month and had a PIC line to feed me through....I was more fortunate. I had a ERCP procedure done earlier in the day...got home, drank some broth and ended up vomiting over and over the green stuff. My ex rushed me to the hospital and when I mentioned the ERCP procedure and how the doc had cut open a bile duct opening and had not put in a stent I was rushed away. The pain is terrible...like someone stabbing you right through your torso. My fever escalated to 104 degrees. I cannot even imagine your pain and the incompetence of those idiots. My gall bladder was removed months ago because it was functioning at 35%. Now I have to contend with 30 fat grams a day for the rest of my life.

Those people who "treated" you remind me of the 3 stooges honestly. Lord...........

Chiara said...

It would be a comedy of errors if it weren't such a near tragedy. Indeed the only ones with a brain were Boo, the ex, and the Doctor who could diagnose and treat "bile art" so efficiently.

IV nurses who can't find a vein and blame the patient are the bane of my fortunately healthy existence. The ones who don't believe me that they have a better shot at the L arm are just being pig-headed. I finally had to tell one to stop her random poking in the general vicinity of where she was hoping to find a vein, whereupon she said with no apology, or even shame "I'm terrible at this, I can never find a vein, I'll get another nurse." This was in metropolitan Canada btw.

Great story telling and illustrations!!!

Now it seems to me we are still waiting for Part x of something else! LOL :)

janice said...

Oh CoolRed, I'm so glad to read that everything turned out well in the end.

Boo surely was the hero in this story, CoolRed! He kept his cool under pressure and showed sincere concern for his Mom. What a great boy!

And to say he acted more professionally and responsibly than all the health care workers you came into contact with that day, is a gross understatement. It's quite a testament to how well you raised him (and all your children) to that point in his young life.

coolred38 said...

marianna...I have never found the 3 stooges funny...maybe that explains it...lol.

chiara...I could write an entire post about the inability of nurses not able to put a proper IV in...one hosp stay (I do believe it was the broken jaw repair) had one nurse attempt no less then 9 times to get a needle in...both my hands twice...my forearms...near the bend and lower down etc...poking me everywhere...when she decided it was time for try number 10 I was shouting to beat the band. I refused to allow her and they brought an old male nurse...who slid it in the first try and I didnt even feel it.

Janice...ty...he has only grown more thoughtful and helpful as he ages...such a joy to have for a son.

marianna68 said...

Man, would be nice to simply slap some of those health care "professionals" across the face and blame it on hysterical pain or something.....just grateful you recovered. What is sad is that women especially, even here in the states seem to have their symptoms looked over and blamed on i.e. pms, depression you name it. We have to be empowered and not take no for answer if we feel that we are not getting the best care possible.

sabrina said...

I'm glad you said you survived at the end of your post, otherwise I would have thought that that alien inside your chest came out of your ear and wrote this whole thing pretending to be you.
Phew. Glad that wasn't the case.
Oh, and glad that you're okay, of course;)

Eastern Reflections said...

Oh man!!! I'm sorry you had to deal with all that bullshit. Were both of these hospitals government hospitals? Are government hospitals there known to be so incompetent? I'm curious cuz when I was in Dubai a few years ago, I had to go to a doc to get checked out after some health issues come up. I was nervous about having something wrong and being in a foreign country. I ended up going to this private clinic(Canadian funded?)....I wanted to try a regular hospital, but they had weird hours (It was during the Middle of Ramadan too) and I was anxious to get to a doc soon.

Everyone there was very professional from what I saw. The doctor that checked me out was a German guy and the nurse who was so helpful with my questions was a Filipina. The hospital even e-mailed me my test results 2 days later as I requested since I was due to leave in a few days, whereas here in the U.S. I can only do it via phone after a week.

Does the degree of professional care vary by country in the Gulf or the hospital? Is Bahrain's health care system below standards or just depending on the hospitals? Sorry for the 20 questions!

Yasemin said...

Why can't that nurse come here to Texas death row and struggle to find veins on drugged out death row inmates, instead? Seems like it would be a lot more useful to have her here, you should have told her that habibty :)

I kept thinking as I read this, that you guys have to get out of there asap sweetie. I mean how would you feel if you were going into a diabetic shock or having a heart attack, and the last thing you remember is that nurse telling you, you're too fat to find a vein on.

You deserve better. I'm just glad you found out what's going on, and I gotta say I'd hire an Expensive attorney just to TRY to sue.

I wish I could tell you it gets better over here, but our system is broken. Particularly, if you don't have insurance. I'm on self-pay and could barely force the doctor into testing me for strep throat last week. After 2 weeks with a sore throat, you want to explore the possibility.

Oh Coolred, sorry for being a stanger on your fun blog. I have been pretty busy and wanted to tell you that all of your comments profoundly helped me with my late period issue. I want you to know that coming from you, I truly listened and became emotional. Afterwards, I spent a lot of time with my little guy. So thank you sweet, sweet friend.

I love you and I'm just glad you are okay habibty.

Chiara said...

LOL When you do you your post on IV's remind me to tell you the one about the diabetic Amerindian woman (overweight) who had "no veins" and of course the stigma of coming from a reservation, so the Anesthesiologist found the "only" vein for an IV-- in her breast! I always thought there was more than a touch of sadism, to choose to humiliate her that way.

My own best blood draw was by a specialist Dr retired from the British military in Hong Kong, who chose my "bestest" arm, the L one, applied pressure above the elbow, uncapped the syringe with his teeth (verboten now in the days of AIDs), slipped the needle in the vein without my feeling a thing, same with the actual blood drawing out, then slipped the needle out, put his bare thumb directly on the puncture to stop the bleeding, chatted away, removed his thumb, and voila--no mark, no bruise, no nothing. I was still struggling with my surprise that he did his own blood draw!

coolred38 said...

marianna...that is sooooo funny....wish I would have thought of it. Next time...dont worry!! lol

sabrina...how do you know that didnt happen...lol.

Lisa...now theres an idea. Death row inmates deserve this more than me...I havent done anything to deserve such treatment...that anyone knows of anyhow...lol.

I hope you find your way through your personal troubles as well. Its a lonely road to travel sometimes...we can offer advice but we cant walk it for you.

Chiara...Ive had some horrendous blood draws and IV attempts...but then Ive had the odd one that leaves you amazed that its all over that quick...lol.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm not supposed to say this but I was like ROTFL!!! Esp when you noticed a guy in the ambulance! WTH! Are they like that to everyone who gets into their 'death' like 'carriage' or is it for people who don't fit into their desired category?! Just shocking! I'm simply not used to this unpassionate attitude of paramedics.

Thank God finally a Dr got to you in time like Boo! I hope you're completely cured from this illness which I hardly know about.Superb writing,coolred!I enjoyed it throughly.

Umm Omar said...

Wow, what a story. I'm glad you finally got the help you needed. Hope you're better soon! btw, I really like your style of writing-very funny, smooth, and entertaining!

coolred38 said...

Lat...I guess Im cured...I lived. lol As for my mental health...thats still up for question.

Umm Omar...ty. welcome to my life.

Sabra said...

My gosh! What a saga! Sorry - but had to laugh about your two neighbors being so concerned for your - ah - modesty [even though you weren't].

You have just confirmed why I always feel the need for a second opinion when something is wrong with me over here. Knee? Got a 2nd opinion in the States - even though the doctor here can run circles around the doctor there. Better to know, than not know...

Thankfully you are okay.

Your son, then three!, is indeed a little HERO!!!

Anonymous said...

I have read a lot articles on your blog and love them!!

I had a similiar problem in the Dubai where I was bounced around from one medical place to another over pain in my lower rib. It took a few medical professionals to figure out what was wrong with me. I had to speak loudly and clearly to them, on a fractured ribbed. If anyone ever had a rib fracture, the simple action of talking loudly, laughing can be painful.

My, this piece really brought back memories of have a phyisical ailment and not getting solved unitl the ninth-millionth doctor examines you...
I am glad you are o.k. now!!!

coolred38 said...

Sabra...sorry I didnt see your comment here.

Oh I got my second opinions..and third and fourth...sigh. I hate medical services in this country almost as much as the driving standards.

Anon...ty for stopping by...glad you like what you read. It is frustrating when you know something serious is wrong with you...but all those "trained" people wont even listen.