Thursday, January 31, 2008

I sure hope this isn't how the rest of the year is shaping up

As I mentioned I had the flu earlier in the week, but as of last night I was feeling much better. Around 10 o'clock I blew my nose and felt something odd in my right ear. It wasn't pain, but just weird and just barely enough of a feeling to make me aware of it. I didn't really think about it until about 11:30 when I woke up with the most intense pain I've had in a while in my right ear. I tried pretty much everything I could think of to make it stop(which wasn't really much) but it was gaining momentum so at about 12, headed over to the emergency room where I spent the rest of the night.

I'll spare you the details but apparently I had a major ear infection and something was causing pressure to build on my ear drum. They gave me some drops and a shot and about 20 minutes later I felt this quick release and everything was back to normal except for having fluid in my ear. They sent me home and this morning I went to the clinic to learn that my eardrum burst (not as bad as it sounds cuz that's what actually released the pressure and it'll heal itself) and now i have gauze in my ear. Crazy.

Why am I writing this? Well first off because it's totally nuts and i'm dead tired. But secondly, I think my sanity may have plateaued because as I was leaving the house in extreme pain, I actually grabbed a canvas bag to bring with me, which I then thrust towards the nurse at the hospital and (I'm sure somewhat unintelligibly) moaned "Can you please put any non biohazardous waste associated with my visit in here so I can keep it?"

Now moments of the evening come and go in my mind but I clearly remember saying that through gritted teeth, and even more clearly remember the odd silence afterwards and her look that met the question. I feel safe in the knowledge that this is probably the first time she's heard that one.

Hospitals are interesting because they create an incredible amount of waste, much of it necessary I'm sure but much of it unecessary as well. For instance, those little paper covers on the table you sit on. I was fully clothed, pretty much only leaned on it, and yet, when I left they threw it out (that Nurse did not want to play my game that early in the morning so i decided it was best not to explain). Now I don't fault them because they have much more important things to stress out on, but conceptually it bothers me because I am sure this is done just as much for legal purposes as it is for health reasons, at least in my case for sure. Again, i'm not trying to add to any ER workers job, just musing about how we all do things. For the record, everyone there was fantastic and I thank them (you) all for taking care of me.

The sharps box kind of fascinated me as well. I'd have to guess that this stuff gets incinerated. Does anyone know? I don't know what else could be done with them but how sad that all of that plastic ends up being burned.

As far as meds, they prescribed some ear drops, which I picked up on the way home, and then today I was told at the clinic that they were the wrong ones and prescribed others. Wasted time, wasted sleep, wasted money and I have the original unopened in the box with nothing to do with it. No one to blame there, it just shows how things slip by.

Anyway, I was awarded a few waste items that i'll list, but I'm really psyched that the doc gave me his blue rubber gloves cuz i can use them for the worms!

End of the story - I'M NOT USUALLY THIS SICK!!!! Really. Hopefully this is the end and I can move on (in a week or so anyway).



Anonymous said...

Get well soon.


here I am! said...

wow! a punctured ear drum???
hooe you are better now!

might I add...? said...

I hope you're feeling better by now, Dave. I'm just now catching up. A punctured ear drum sounds very painful. Take care.

VG said...

Ooo...I feel kinda bad about commenting on such an old post (usually I won't on anything older than 6 months), but I really felt I had to on why the nurses replace the paper cover every time.

You have a dog, right? Well, so long as your dog comes inside periodically, some fur and dander is going to get on your clothes no matter how clean you are. When your clothing, or even your hair, comes into contact with the paper, it can leave some of this fur and dander on it. If the next person in the room is allergic to it and does have their skin come in contact with the paper, they could have an allergic reaction. Best case scenario, there's some swelling and discomfort. Worst case scenario, the allergic reaction kills them, or, if they're an asthmatic, triggers an asthma attack which could kill them.

Obviously, the worst case scenario of somebody dying because you touched a paper liner and the hospital didn't replace it would be VERY rare, but I think enough to justify replacing the cover every time, no matter how clean or safe you think you are. What I don't understand is why they use paper for that instead of sheets. I know the hospitals here use sheets and blankets and real hospital beds in the exam rooms, and cloth gowns, all of which they wash and re-use. The doctor's offices don't, though; it's paper for everything.