I asked on my twitter what you guys wanted me to post today. I held a poll and most of you picked a story from my childhood. So I thought to go big or go home! Let's start off a storytime series by telling the story about the time I almost died.
When I was 4 I got my first really bad cold. I was coughing uncontrollably for the first time ever so my doctor prescribed some children's cough syrup.
My mom's heart beats fast when she takes cough syrup so she only gave me half a dose. Everything seemed fine so when the 6 hours passed for the next dose she gave me another half dose. This is where things when bad.
I was only 4 so I don't remember how long it took but I think around 30 minutes after I took the 2nd dose is when I began to have trouble breathing. It got worse and my mom rushed to the hospital.
Now let me stop for a second to say the hospital near where we lived is the worst hospital I've ever been too. We only lived 2 minutes away and yet it took almost 4 hours for me to get treatment.
Now back to the story. We get to the hospital and I don't remember much other than forcing breaths in and out. My lungs were closing. I'm almost positive they didn't take us back right away.
I remember bits and pieces. I remember sitting on the bed in the exam room pushing air in and out the best I could while 4 nurses held me down trying to get blood.
A little back story, my body has never given blood easily. When I was born and they went to take my blood they were getting very much. I was told that they keep digging and digging. I still have knots on the heels of both feet because of it.
Back to the story now. I think you could probably tell by the few details I've given that I was in anaphylactic shock. Most people think it is always a super fast process but sometimes it can be slower. And luckily it wasn't too fast for me, because no one in that ER thought to give me a shot of epinephrine.
So, since my body refuses to give up the blood it worked so hard to make, the first nurse started digging in my finger and wasn't getting much of anything. So she called another blood tech and being 4 years old and having been tortured for the last 15 minutes I tried to get away when 2 people tried to take blood at the same time.
I tried to squirm away but then they got 2 more nurses to hold my arms out and started digging in my fingers. I remember them squeezing my super tiny arms and digging needles in my fingers all while I was screaming bloody murder.
I was super small back then. I had a super-fast metabolism that actually caused me to be underweight. I was on a high protein diet and my doctor was trying everything to get me to gain a little weight.
That problem actually gets completely flipped on its head by the end of this story and becomes an overweight problem but I'll get to that in a minute.
So needless to say that needle experience has left me with a lifelong fear of medical needles. I get so anxious around them. It's so bad that my veins dive.
So back to the story. I also remember that the hospital would not let my mom take me to another hospital. They told her if she wanted me to be transferred I'd have to go on an ambulance and that she would have to drive behind them.
So they haven't done anything to help at this point. We'd been there for over 2 hours, 4 nurses held me down and tortured me with needles and for some reason, no one has given the little girl who is obviously anaphylactic shock a shot of epinephrine. Now they are a saying they well call the cops on my mother if she tries to leave with me.
So another 2 hours go by. I don't really remember much other than forcing breaths in and out, which was getting harder and harder with every breath. I think I might have passed out at some point though I'm not sure.
Finally, some genius decides to give me a shot of prednisolone which is a steroid. Now at this point, you can probably imagine I'm terrified of needles. So when they come at me with a needle I try to getaway. The doctor, 4 nurses and my mom hold me down so they can give me this shot. It had to go in a butt cheek so not only was I being held down I was being held down face first. (Sorry if that was TMI)
Finally, I start to breathe easier. But they decide to keep me for evaluation. So they take me up to the kid's floor. In a wheelchair because for some reason the shot made me sort of numb and tingly from the waist down. Kind of like when your foot goes to sleep. It's not supposed to do that so I don't know what happened there.
When we get up there I think it's all over and that I can go to bed but then they take me into another exam room and they try to give me an IV. That's right I'd been there for 4 hours and they haven't given me an IV.
Of course, by this point, I want nothing to do with needles ever again so I try to get away. My mom promises this is the last one so I agree and they start trying for an IV. After the day I went thought all of my veins and dived from stress so they are digging and then they are like we have to try the other hand.
Then they go for both hands at the same time! I try to get out and the nurse trying to do the IV hold me down. This grown man leans down on top of me and holds me down with his forearm across my chest.
They poke around in both hands and then finally get a vein. I've screaming the whole time. Finally, they take me to a room and I get to lay down and go to sleep. I still have a cold so they are giving me the steroids for my allergic reaction and antibiotics.
Then in the middle of the night, some dumb ass who doesn't know how to read a chart comes in and tried to give me COUGH SYRUP! I'm like half asleep and he comes in and just lifts my head up and tried to pour it down my throat!!
I recognize the horrible grape flavour and spit it out immediately. To this day I've convinced he was an assassin! Haha, but for real like what the actual fuck was that guy thinking?!
After I think 2 days in the hospital I was sent home with a 7-day steroid pack. I had gained a ton water weight from them but my doctor told my mom "oh it's just water weight. It will go away when she's finished the medication. For now, let's keep her on the high protein diet."
The weight didn't go away. The steroids destroyed my metabolism and caused me to gain a ton of weight. My body has never processed food the same since. I was overweight after that no matter what we tried. It finally started to come off about 3 years ago. I still don't know what made it start coming off but I welcomed it.
Maybe my body is finally starting to heel. I not only walked away with a weight issue I will probably carry with me all my life but I also ended up with lung damage because they took so long to treat me. I've had asthma ever since that day and probably always will.
I have to do occasional breathing treatments and I have an inhaler I always carry.
We didn't sue and I'm not quite sure why but we really should have. It is a terrible hospital that is somehow still open. And they are still just as shitty. When I broke my arm about 8 years ago (almost 10 years after my lungs ordeal) it still took 5 hours in that ER and then they didn't even cast my arm for a whole weekend. Just put it in a splint.
And that is the story of how I almost died. I am so happy I was able to walk away but I didn't walk away from it the same. I will have medical issues for the rest of my life because of what happened that day.
At least my allergy is very avoidable. My allergic to the decongestants in the cough syrup. So as long as I don't take anything with a decongestant in it I'm fine. So I don't need an EpiPen or anything. That hasn't stopped many doctors from trying to prescribe all sorts of decongestants to me over the years.
I learnt that day to go to the best hospital you can get to. If I had gone to the hospital that was 20 minutes away instead of the one down the road probably wouldn't have the issues that I do.
But it's all in the past now. At least I walked away.
Thanks for reading my story.
Photo Credit: taken by me with a Canon T5 Rebel and an 18-55 mm lens
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