No More “Genius” Moves

Another health focused entry.  Am I fixated?  Perhaps.  But I’ve learned something important about myself and I want to record it, so I don’t forget it!

I just arrived back from another visit to the emergency ward.

Let me explain why I went to the emergency ward in an ambulance, and what a “genius” I am 🙂

Last night I took Tylenol 3s, and slept like a baby. It was wonderful. Of course, this morning I did not take any pain medication. I felt fine at first this morning, even going to far as to tell Ariel, who I was talking to on the telephone, that I was much better. I figured I was.

Then, about an hour after that, just as I was finishing my morning coffee, I broke into a sweat, felt very dizzy, and very nauseous. Then I thought, I should be getting better after ten days, not worse. I called the doctor’s office but he is away this week. I thought about driving myself into the emergency department, but it is an hours drive away and with me feeling waves of dizziness, and sporting a fractured tailbone, I thought it best not to push my luck with a long drive in heavy traffic. I thought about calling Attila in from work to take me in, but that would mean sitting in the car (painful!),  Attila losing a day’s wages, and causing problems for his employers on such a super busy day. So, I opted for calling an ambulance. I could lie on the stretcher for the duration of the bumpy ride, and I wouldn’t have to stand for hours waiting in the waiting room at the hospital, dizzy and nauseous. The other thing was, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, so I wanted some immediate feedback.

The ambulance came, and my vitals were all good, that was the immediate feedback I needed. They asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital since my vitals were good, and I said yes indeed. One of the drivers didn’t seem to approve of my decision, the other assured me I didn’t have to justify the decision to them. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me.

The emergency department was in a state of the “grouchies” today, more on the part of the patients than the staff. The hospital is switching to a new computer system, and the speed of the intake procedure was affected, long wait times, some grouchy patients. I was lucky though, I didn’t have to wait very long at all in the waiting area before they called my name.  Kudos to the staff for being so very upbeat during a difficult phase of change.

After the doctor saw my swelling and bruising she provided me with pain medication almost immediately. She did a thorough check up, and also had an ultrasound performed on the impact area of my back, which is still hard, hot and swollen. She said there were a few fluid deposits, but probably nothing to worry about. What I have is called a sacral haematoma (in addition to a fractured tailbone).

The upshot was, the dizziness, sweating, and nausea were probably caused by pain. She prescribed pain medication for me, and told me I must take it.

The interesting thing is, with the exception of Wednesday night, I have not been feeling what I would consider to be a lot of pain, unless I touched, or put pressure on, the affected area. In reality, I was experiencing serious levels of pain, constantly.

This is a wake up call for me. I have learned that when my body is in severe pain, I block the severity of it in my conscious mind, so that I am not aware of the depth of it. I know that there is some pain there, but I cannot judge how severe it is. I learned to do this as a child, it had become habitual, but I didn’t know just how good I was at it. While I might not have been aware of the severity of the pain, my body knew all about it, and was reacting very strongly to it, with sweating, nausea, dizziness.

Next time a doctor says I should take pain medication, in the first place, I will be following up on that suggestion!

No more “genius” moves like not taking pain medication when it is recommended.

Attila ended up having to take time off work after all, to come and collect me at the hospital.  Luckily it was a gorgeous day, so I walked about the the beautiful gardens near the patient pickup area while waiting for him, and Attila enjoyed a few extra hours off work.  The trip home was rather painful, but I was soon comfortably ensconced on the sofa, with my ice pack.

I am hoping that the diagnosis is now complete and correct, and by following the doctors orders exactly, I will be right as rain in the near future.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Friday 3 July 2015
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 22.5°C
Dewpoint: 7.8°C
Humidity: 38%
Wind: SW 15 km/h
Humidex: 23

Quote

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
Galileo Galilei
1564 – 1642

20 Comments

  1. WendyNC

    Maggie, blocking is a great skill for chronic stuff (like residuals from old injuries triggered by weather changes), but with new injuries, we have to check in on them, unpleasant as that is. Here’s wishing you a steady recovery.

  2. Wendy, right you are! It was really interesting in that, after the meds kicked in at the hospital, I felt the pain. It had diminished thanks to the meds, so then I could feel it. I am still taking meds now, and I can still feel it now. I am glad I learned this lesson!

  3. WendyNC

    I did one of these a few years ago, falling on the stairs while carrying a plastic laundry basket. Short version is that I cut the little finger of my right hand on that darned basket and jammed it into the corner of the steps.

    Some 20 minutes later, my husband had the cut bandaged and had me sitting on the couch holding an ice pack. At that point, I decided to throw up and, while he was dealing with that, I passed out–first and only time in my life I’ve passed out. Silly man thought I should go to the emergency room, which I announced I was not about to do on a Saturday night (because it’s always a bad thing in the US).

    I went to bed, went to sleep, got up the next morning and showered, including washing my hair, and finally decided I’d be willing to go to the Doc-in-a-Box because the angle of the end joint of my little finger looked funny.

    Turns out I had a bad dislocation. When the doctor asked me what drugs I had taken and I told her I hadn’t taken any, her comment was, “Oh, good at blocking, are we?” She put lots of Novocain in before she reduced the fracture and suggested that I really wanted to accept the prescription she offered. She was right.

    Why is it that we have to learn the hard way what should be so obvious?

  4. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having more repercussions from your accident. I hope you can find a position that puts no pressure on the injury and will soon be able to be comfortable, not just blocked ‘comfortable’. 🙁

    *hugs*

  5. I used to run (or “jog”) for exercise. I would run on the streets, in the city, like around a big place called Riley Plaza in Salem. Lots of traffic and me – one time, very early in the a.m., I was running around the plaza (it was like I was doing laps on a track) and I went to put my right foot up onto the sidewalk curb to get out of traffic and I missed it slightly and turned my ankle badly and sprained it badly. I went down in a pile… and didn’t feel the pain for a few minutes, but my body’s reaction to the injured muscles/tendons was immediate and I felt like you did, all sweaty, nauseated and dizzy. I did not pass out but I had to hobble home (which was only 2 blocks from where I fell) and I was out of commission with that foot for weeks!

    Here are some (((hugs))) for you from here….

  6. Good question Wendy! Your finger ordeal sounds so painful! You must be a “master blocker” 🙂

    I know that I am extremely resistant to going for medical assistance, in the first instance. There are no drop in clinics near us, and it can take weeks to get an appointment with the GP, so the hospital emergency is just about the only option when it comes to needing immediate medical attention or advice. In Ontario we have a nursing help line, free of charge. My experience with that is that EVERY time I have called they told me to go to the emergency department at the hospital. I now skip the call to the helpline and just head for the hospital.

    As an aside, Attila and I were talking about the ambulance person who implied that I didn’t need to go to the hospital in an ambulance. When they were assessing me before we left in the ambulance, they asked about the fall, and I told them it happened at the little house in the city. From that I think they assumed I was an affluent and demanding seasonal resident, pushing my weight around. Thus the negative vibes from the attendant. This was confirmed when the reasonable attendant was telling me not to worry about it because I pay taxes, which didn’t make sense to me at the time, but would make perfect sense if they thought I was a cottager.

  7. Thanks for the good wishes Teri! Today I am lying on my side, with an ice pack, and feeling much better. I am going to stay here until the medication that was prescribed runs out!

  8. Blocking is a “mind over matter” thing. I think that people who have dealt with a lot of pain in childhood develop this naturally, in an organic way, so that it is almost an autonomic function, like breathing. I developed this at a very young age, acquiring it before language, so that I do it without being consciously aware that I am doing it. I think the skill can be mastered at any age though.

    It is handy, but also dangerous. In this instance I had no idea my body was in such distress, and so did not treat the injury the way it needed to be treated. Pain serves a real function. Sometimes I panic about pain, not because of the pain, but because in some instances I cannot judge how serious it is, and I am afraid that I might make bad decisions, like the one I recently made.

  9. NORA

    Hi Maggie,
    Hope you are feeling better. I’d never known about the ‘blocking’ though it brought back memories of a time in CA when I was having some problems and my vision started to go. I called the hospital to see what the nurse might recommend and she said to come in immediately.

    The upshot was that I was out of touch with my stress. I didn’t have a clue. So I am wondering if blocking might also be like being out of touch. I was told to discover my stresses and do something about them. One thing I did that worked well was put the phone in the closet and the ringer on ‘off’. Because of the situation we were in at the time it really helped. I checked the phone when I wanted to and that made a difference.

    I’m wondering how you were treated being taken on the stretcher to the ambulance? I had this happen once with a work injury and it was a very unpleasant experience. I felt like I was going to be tipped over and when I was finally put in the ambulance it was filled with exhaust because they had left the door open. I hope you had a more pleasant experience.

    It is actually good you took an ambulance because when my mother needed to go to the hospital my sister insisted on driving her (she did not want anyone to see how she was allowing her to live) and mom had to wait over an hour in the waiting room because being driven to the hospital is considered less serious than arriving by ambulance. Turns out my mother had a stroke. She passed three weeks later. Would it have helped her to have received immediate help?

    I did not realize an ambulance attendant could make a decision as to whether you needed an ambulance or not.

    So, you are in rest mode and will be right as rain if you listen to your doctor’s orders and behave. Hoping each day is easier and your healing complete sooner than we think. x0x0x0x0x

  10. You’ve experience trauma and it sounds like your body is protecting you with the blocking? Is that another word for *shock*?

    I’m so glad you’re with Attila. Take care, sweet friend. Rest rest rest. Midst the quiet you give your body, I think it will recover faster. Love.

  11. Nora, I think that your very good idea about putting the telephone in the closet with the ringer turned down is a good example of externalized blocking, action that takes place outside the body and mind.

    Your experience with the ambulance sounds awful!

    The ambulance here cannot make the decision to deny requested transport unless there are extreme circumstances, such as threatening them with violence. The young male ambulance attendant was very clear that they would provide me with service if I wanted it, and pleasantly so.

    The female ambulance attendant was “subtle” about her disapproval, saying things like, “well, we will take you if you really think you need an ambulance ride”. The ride though was comforting, because she drove, and the young man who worked with her chatted with me pleasantly through the entire trip, and stayed with me while I waited my turn in line at the triage desk. For some reason I was made to wait in the waiting room, in the queue, as if I had come in on my own, I suspect that was a result of the female ambulance driver having a chat with the hospital staff.

    One of the things the female ambulance driver told me was that one of my allergens was in tylenol 3s, which I had told them I had taken the night before, implying that I was faking my allergies. It isn’t in tylenol 3s, and that is something I will be talking to my doctor about when I have my appointment in a few weeks time. That is a serious piece of medical misinformation to have provided. I have checked with several pharmacists today, and they confirmed that my allergen is definitely not in tylenol 3s. The female ambulance driver asked me “how do you know” when I told them my tailbone had been fractured, saying it in such a way as to imply that I was making it up to be dramatic. The other incident was that she told me to sit on the stretcher, which I could not do, fractured tailbone, she would know what she was asking me to do. She was impatient when I hesitated, then when I responded to the impatience with “that is not going to happen” she was openly exasperated. I then told her I could lie on my side. It seemed like I was being tested as to my honesty every step of the way.

    I can understand an ambulance driver, or health care service provider, maintaining a certain amount of reserve when it comes to believing everything they are told, but most of them manage to remain pleasant and if they are skeptical they keep it to themselves. I saw her having a little chat with the hospital staff when we arrived, I think she was letting them know what she thought of me. A few of them seemed a little surprised at the severity of my injury, when it came time to have a look at it; as if they weren’t expecting there to be anything wrong with me. The hospital staff treated me respectfully through the whole experience, regardless of anything they had been told or what they thought.

    I am behaving myself Nora 🙂

    I have been taking the pain medications, and sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping. Just goes to prove the first doctor was right to recommend pain killers, and the second doctor was not only right in prescribing them, but also kindhearted in her dealings with me!

  12. Reenie, blocking is different than shock, but similarly inspired, a protective reaction.

    With shock, it is the body’s physical reaction to trauma, real physical things happen, like being cold and clammy, lowering of blood pressure, deprivation of oxygen to organs.

    With blocking it is a mental reaction to ongoing pain, an adjustment in perception. Blocking removes the awareness, the sensation of the pain, but the pain is still there, the physical aspect of the pain remains intact.

    Thank you for your sweet wishes Reenie, so apt, I am resting, resting resting, and it is sweet, sweet sweet!

  13. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I’m aghast at how you were treated by that female EMT! I don’t know if her problem was a type of ageism or if you experienced the same kind of reactions we’ve seen with male doctors thinking all women are overly dramatic and don’t know their own bodies (and are apparently liars) but she really needs an attitude adjustment!

  14. I agree Teri, she needs to change her attitude. Her partner was very professional and pleasant, she could learn from him. Ariel pointed out to me that the attendant probably picks on other people as well, who are less able to defend themselves, which seems tragic to me.

  15. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Especially tragic to pick on injured people who are less able to defend themselves. People who are ill or in pain have enough to cope with.

  16. crochetlady or Lee Ann

    I practice blocking at night. I learned it at a very young age also, and when my current ailments popped up, I returned to using it in addition to pain medication.
    I hope you do listen to your body more carefully now,Maggie. Please take care of yourself and don’t coverup the pain. As far as the ambulance driver, report her treatment of you. You had no other way to get medical assistance, not her to judge, and who knows, her prejudice could cost someone their life.

  17. Lee Ann, I too hope I have learned my lesson. I am not the EverReady Bunny 🙂

    Such a good point, that the ambulance attendants attitude might cost someone their life. I plan on talking the situation over with my GP, I see him in about a weeks time, hopefully he will have suggestions on a way forward with that.

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