Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My saga comes to an end.... hopefully

I should have written about this sooner - but I didn't.... Let me catch you up on my week...

Swollen Saga Part 1

Last week Wednesday, I took one bite of my Taco Bell Grilled Stuffed Burrito and my jaw swelled up like a balloon. Do you know that little zap you sometimes get in the back of your jaw when you eat something especially zesty? Well I was getting that feeling continuously as I tried to eat this burrito. It just wasn't happening.

"Maybe I've been poisoned!" I think to myself. "Maybe I ate a bug!" (it was Taco Bell after all.) I figured it would go away.

Dinner time that same day - I try to eat and again - zaps galore and more swelling. This time I hadn't even needed to actually eat the food - just the smell of it got me salivating and thus swelling again. This totally sucks.

I immediately log onto my computer and google my symptoms... swollen jaw, saliva, pain, etc.

I find this...article

and this...article

Nothing like freaking yourself out! To quote the first article...

"Mechanical removal of calculi and ductal plasty on strictures by utilizing dormia or segura baskets and angioplasty balloon catheters have been successful for treatments of these conditions."


Angioplasty balloon catheter my butt! You're not sticking a balloon in me!

Or - mumps? Isn't that supposed to be what I got shots for as a small child? It can be that.

Finally - I see this article

There is a handy dandy self diagnostic question section at the bottom. Oh a quiz! I like quizes.... Except when the answer is to go to the doctor! I answered yes to more than one of these questions and as you can see - each and every one tells you to call your doctor.

So I decide if I did indeed swollow a poisonous bug I better call my doctor.

Me - "Hi - um my jaw is swollen and stuff..."

Dr - "OK - you better come in and see me"

Me - "ok" (duh)

So - the next day (Thursday) I go in and he looks at my neck and jaw and has no idea what I'm talking about when I try to describe the "zap" in my jaw and decides I need to give blood in order to find out what is really wrong.


Swollen Saga Part II - Friday
Giving blood.

I hate needles. I know most people hate needles - I mean come on - who runs around saying - "Hey - please stick me with a needle!" (Well I guess these people may)

But - I mean I really hate needles. I have non -exisistant veins in my arms. The people who take blood never ever beleive me either. They're all like, "I am a professional - I can find your vein." and then they stick me like 4 times and can't find it. yeah - told you so.

So - they finally give up and use my hand. By now - my nerves are shot and I just want the whole thing to be over. It hurt like crazy to get stuck in the hand - even more than the missed tries in my arm. But they do eventually get the needle in and they start taking blood....

and more blood...

and more ...

after 5 vials - I start to feel a little faint. But there is no way I'm saying anything - because then they'll stop and have to do it all over again. (trust me - I've made that mistake before)

So - I say nothing and wait until they are finished.

Then - I finally say - "I think I'm going to faint."

Tech guy - "Uh - do you want some water or something?"

Me - "Yes.... something"

Tech Guy - looks around for water - finding none - stares at me some more. The finally goes out of the room and comes back with a wet paper towel.

Me - "I'm supposed to drink that?"

Tech guy - "uh...."

Me - "Can I have a drink of water or juice or something" - while I'm holding my head and moaning slightly trying desperately not to faint..

Tech guy finally brings me some water - in one of those paper cones that drips all over. I sip it and start to feel better - and then tech guy looks at me and hands me my chart and tells me I need to give it to the nurse on my way out.

I shakily get up and stagger like a drunken person into the waiting area where I nearly fall into a chair. I regain some energy and hand in my chart - then make a bee line (more of a zigzag line in my present state) to the vending machines and buy a coke. I sipped the sugary coke until my hands stop shaking and I am well enough to drive.

I go to work....

Swollen Saga Part III
Phone call - Friday evening

I get a phone call from my doctor (or rather someone he left a message with) the next day with the results of my blood work. I have an elevated level of Amylase and I need to schedule a CT scan of my neck and jaw.


Me - "What does that mean?"

Flunky on the phone - "I'm not sure ma'am - it just says you have an elevated level of Amylase."

Me - "What the heck is Amylase?"

Flunky - " I'm not sure ma'am - the doctor just left me this note. He left a few hours ago."

Me - "...."

Flunky - "you need to schedule a CT scan"

Me - great

So - I call and I can't get in until next Wednesday. It being only Friday - I marvel at my luck and look foward to my wonderful swollen weekend.


Swollen Saga Part IV
The CT scan - today - Wednesday

I have been dreading this CAT scan all weekend. My jaw is actually feeling better and I tried to get out of going - but my doctor (or rather Flunky on the phone) said I better go anyway since it was already scheduled.

Great... remind me to procrastinate more often.

So - I go.

I have to sign all these forms and acknowledge that I understand that I may have a severe reaction to the iodine they inject me wity (inject????!!! - that means more needles!) and that they aren't responsible for any nausea, vomiting, rash, painful outbreak, loss of limb or death! that may occur during the procedure.

Radiology chic - "Don't worry about those warning - they make it all seem scarier than it is."

Me - "Um - ok - thanks..."

I sign my life away and walk inside to the CT scan room.

Now - If you've never seen a CT machine - let me explain what it looks like. Picture the world's biggest dounut (mmm, dounuts) and a long board sticking out the middle and a loud swooshing sound all around. Kind of like a washing maching or something.

I climb aboard and the two radiology chics are chit chatting about not having enough solution left for the rest of the scans today. And joke about how they can use half water or somthing.... Great!

Radiology chic #1 starts to explain the procedure to me and tries to find a vein in my arms. No I tell her - don't. Just do the one in my hand.

This time (for once) she actually listens to me and puts in the IV in my hand. Man that hurt! It must have been a bigger needle than usual or something - because it felt like a knitting needle was going into my hand. Ouch!

Once it was in there and taped down it wasn't so bad - but I could feel liquid going into my veins.

me - "is that the Iodine?"

Radiology chic = "No - that's just a saline solution - we'll add the iodine later - but first we need to get some pictures of you without the iodone. When we add the iodine - you may feel a warm sensation as it travels through your body. You may feel like you have to pee - but you won't actually have to - it's just the iodine entering your bladder."

Me - "*Gulp*..."

Radiology chic - "Ok - are you ready? This should only take about 15 - 20 minutes."

Me - "that long!"

Radiology chic - "You'll be fine!"

She positions me and tries to get my head in just the right place and then straps me in. My hands are down at my sides and my head is on this neck pillow thing to keep it straight and my legs are on this knee pillow thing. I wouldn't say I was all comfy and ready to go - but I guess I was ready for something.

She leaves the room (which always makes you feel wonderful doesn't it? Even the dentist will leave the room when they take X-rays of your teeth ... I want to leave the room too!!) and goes into the little room behind the glass windows where radiology chic #2 and two other radiology dudes are all watching me.

The machine starts to do its thing. I just keep my eyes shut and try to pretend I'm in my own bed. And that the sound I hear is my washing machine turning out wonderful felted bags, and that is my IV is only.... (wait.... there's no way to explain that one away!)

Anway - it wasn't too bad.... yet...

Eventually radiology chic #1 comes back in and says - now she is going to start the Iodine. Again - she tells me - I'll feel a warm sensation as it travels through me.

She leaves again and I feel the iodine run into my hand, up my arm, into my chest and into my heart, down my legs and into my stomach.

Oh no...

Oh no - my stomach...

I am going to throw up. I just know it.

Keep calm - I try to tell myself - it will pass...

It doesn't pass....

I am definitely going to throw up.

Me - "I'm gonna throw up!"

Radiology chic (who apparently can hear me even though she's in the little room behind glass) - "Breath through your mouth"

Me - "ok - but I'm really going to throw up"

I now start gagging - trying not to barf all over myself and the machine - which probably costs more than I make in a year or ten.

Radiology chic # 1 dashes into the room while I struggle with the bindings keeping me down on the table. She finally undoes them in time for me to puke into the handy little puke tray she brought with her. I'm still puking when...

- radiology chic #2 runs in

- radiology dudes #1 and #2 (formerly behind the glass in the little room) run in and everyone is starting at me waiting for my head to spin around.

"I'm ok" - I finally manage - droolling and shaking and embarrassed.

Radiology chic #1 tries to clean me up and then starts whispering to the other people in the room.

Radiology chic #1 - "Um - we didn't finish the scan - we have to put you back in for a little more - are you ok?"

me - "I'm ok" I just kept thinking - please god - no more iodine - no more needles.... Just don't throw up again.

They put me back in and did the scan.

It was finally over.

Radiology chic #1 comes back in and takes out my IV - (which driped blood all over me in the process - great!)

After getting bandaged up and offered water (and breath mints) - I am allowed to leave.

I sulk out to my car and then finally allow myself to cry. I was embarassed, bleeding and I had puke on my shirt. Lovely!

I just hope it's all over now and I can just go back to my normally scheduled programming.

For those of you who made it this far... Thanks for bearing with me!


Kat said...

OMG, how scary, horrible, and does no one in a medical setting possess an ounce of empathy or compassion?? WTF is right!!

Anonymous said...

OMG, what a horrible experience. My heart completely goes out to you! What a bunch of unprofessional, unhelpful, ooo, oooo! I have no nice words to say about them. They should have been reassuring you, or at least act like humans, in your hour of need!

- 1Sk Secret Pal "Selkie" (not my real name... but I'll be anon for six weeks, and don't cotton to "hey you"...)

Lolly said...

Poor Jody!! I can't imagine how you must have felt - and all of this starting with a little meal at Taco Bell... I am so sorry about this whole ordeal!!

I really hope you are okay! *hugs*

Debby said...

Oh Jody -- that is awful!!!! You poor girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ((hugs)) It's bad enough to have the worry, but could they make it any worse?! I am so sorry.

I hope you are feeling better now and that after all this, you'll get some answers.

P.S. I haven't done the CT scan, but I did have an Xray with iodine. And I found out in the middle that I was allergic to the iodine, and broke out in big welts. I wonder if that's what made you sick? I'm told they have other things they can use if that's the case, so maybe if you have to do it again, they could use something less hideous.

The Crafty Weasel said...

Oh my god, I feel like crying too!!! I have the most unbelievable dread of needles, be it for anesthesia, whatever.

When I got to the IV part, I had to skip, I'm sorry - I started feeling it in my veins, that's how bad it is.

I am so so so so sorry for what you had to go through. I would have cried for a long time. :-(

A big hug!

Shelby said...

You poor thing!! I would have been in tears as well, nothing like the feeling when you know something is going to happen and no one will listen to you.

I really hope the scan comes out OK!

Large Marge said...

(((((hugs))))) from me, and
(((hugs))) & (((hugs)))
from frick & frack

Sweets said...

Hey now, I was there the whole time and I was the one who took you home and got you something to settle your stomach! Where's the credit?!?! ;)

Polly said...

That is horrible! And I am totally there for you on the non-existent vein thing. When I had blood drawn earlier this week I went through the whole thing, look I hope you are really good because blah blah... dont bother with the left (even though they always do and give up) And you get so anxious wondering how many times you will be poked or they threaten to stick you in your hand... and then finally always get a more senior person.. it's horrible... and dont even get me started with the iodine stuff. Poor you!

Remember the days when the worse that can happen from Taco Bell was the runs??

tocspaw said...

Oh my, it sounds like an awful experience!! I've had several CT scans, and the iodine makes me throw up every time. And it makes me shake. I'm hoping they find nothing on your scan and the swelling was just a weird flukey one time thing. Good luck!!

Rebecca said...

What a horrible experience! I used to donate blood with a friend who would turn green (literally) every time he tried. In the end (after about 4 attempts) they told him thanks but no thanks!

It sounds like we dyed our yarn the exact same way. The only difference was that I didn't use vinegar (I was told that kool aide was acidic enough). I also had the problem that I could have added a little more water to ensure that I had enough to properly soak the yarn.

It's great to hear that you're coming to Albuquerque. There are two knitting groups that I try to get to each week: Albuquerque Knit Night (on a Tuesday 5pm - 7pm) and Knitters Not Quitters (Saturday 1pm - 3pm). Both of these groups are yahoo groups so feel free to sign up. In addition, feel free to contact me when you get to Albuquerque so we can catch up.

Sorry I've rambled on....
Hope you feel better!

PuppyMomma said...

Oh, I want to give you a hug! That was horrible, I'd have cried too! My mother gets CT and MRI scans a lot (she has MS) and she meditates, or imagines ways to redesign my house while she's in them. Did they at least offer to play music for you? said...

Edward J.

Amylase - - Pharmaceutical ingredients - Amylase and its combinations of drugs and health products