Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hello, E.R.

Trips to the hospital Emergency Room are not unfamiliar to our family.  In the last seven years, we've had a lot of them in varying levels of urgency and each was always different from the one before it.  Suffice to say, we know how it feels to bring a loved one to the ER. Having never been confined in the hospital, I've always wondered how it felt like to be on the hospital bed, IV drips and all, but not that I wanted to experience it.

Around this time last year, I took a personal trip and experienced it for myself. It was harrowing, it  being a 'first' for me in many aspects: first allergic reaction; first time to drive myself to the ER; first time to feel extremely out of breath - the type where you grasp for air not knowing when you're going to pass out; first time to be injected for a hep-lock; and first time to lie in a hospital bed as a patient.

It was the uncertainty of it all that bothered me to a great extent. I didn't know what was happening. I didn't know if I was going to die. I didn't know if I could really trust them with my life. I wasn't sure that they were the best in their fields. Inspite of all my concerns, everything was resolved eventually. The doctors gave a good explanation (enough to satisfy my curious and discerning mind), including a proclamation that I shall avoid eating clams and similar shellfish for the meantime.  After that incident, there were three more instances where I had to be brought to the ER. Two of them because of allergies and one because of heartburn.  The heartburn was the scariest and most dramatic. I almost had an Armageddon moment when I thought I was having a heart attack, which turned out to be just an extreme case of acid reflux from all the vinegar I had that morning with my longganisa. I was imagining scenarios in my head while they took me around in a wheelchair, transferred to a hospital bed, injected with a hep-lock and attached wires to my chest for ECG. I noticed that the wrist tags were color-coded. The blue ones were for children (pedia), yellow ones were for adults, while red ones were for priority cases (read: SOMEWHAT critical) regardless of age. Camown.

That seemed a lot for a person like me who has never been confined or subjected to any life-saving treatment prior to this, but then again, it all seems minor when mom enters the picture because she always steals the show in terms of levels of urgency.  Most of the time, I wouldn't even inform her that I've taken a trip to the ER in order not to stress her. My father, on the otherhand, seemed to make fun of the situation everytime (I think only my mother can really make him enter a state of panic), snapping pictures of my swollen face and fingers and yapping about how I ate too much shellfish, more than what I deserved and this was why the universe was trying to get back at me.  Somewhow, that helped ease my worries a bit. Someone with a sense of humor holding my hand in an urgent situation is one thing I'm really thankful for. I had the happiest (and weirdest) emergency bed in the hospital.

Two months into the new year and I haven't had any allergic reaction even when I accidentally ate shellfish.  I hope I don't get to take any more trips and that the allergic reaction goes away. It sucks to not be able to eat all the shellfish that I want.

I swear.