Only the educated are free
I didn't like it.
I went to the hospital because my feet were so swollen and I was having this freaky chest pain, like a heartening dizzy spell. The pain on my chest was heavy then it would vanish with a light fluttering that left me spaced and approaching euphoria. I wasn't too sure that this wan't the way that death would signal its approach.
The heavily swollen feet and legs indicated congestive heart failure but all the tests, and there were plenty of tests, showed that I did not have another heart attack. There were four blood tests to back this up.
They took a lot of effort to explain to me each time that they were only taking about half a cup of blood so I needn't worry. About then they realized that my present EKG looked better than my EKG from about 2 years ago. My heart has been healing but still showed about 17% of it was dead, or in medical euphemisms wasn't beating as efficiently as the rest.
They had me all wired up to do a stress test for a sonogram of my heart when they abruptly decided to switch over to nuclear medicine for a more exact picture of my heart.
In nuclear medicine they inject you intravenously with some radioactive isotopes that cling to your heart so they can do a catscan like picture of the thing. They were going to do it twice; once with my heart rested and then another trip to the treadmill to stress test it and me.
But then came the rub. They took me to the bench to do the layered x-rays. When they strapped me in the trouble started. No one but orthopedists take a frozen shoulder veery seriously. They don't relate or even glimmeringly comprehend the intense pain it brings.
My right shoulder feels as if it's dislocated while the shoulder blade feels exactly like a bad separation. I've done them both often enough to be able to dissect the pain. Because of all the inflammation in the shoulder important nerves and veins and arteries get squished and shut off so it feel alternately as if the arm is going to explode from too much blood coagulating in the hand and arm, to tingling numbness as it falls asleep starving for blood. The muscles in the hand and arm knot of ferociously trying to protect themselves. They do quite a job at that. When I had the frozen shoulder on my left side it was 3 times a week physical therapy for 7 months to get 80% of the use of my left arm back.
The Nuclear Medicine bench os about 1 foot wide. They strapped me to it with 2 1/2" black nylon straps, which is fine enough but they wanted my left hand strapped over my head with my right arm strapped flat against my right side.
It didn't work.
My body convulsed from the pain like those movies of mental patients getting electroshock therapy. It was beyond my control.
They conferred and gave me some intravenous tylenol. Sitting there relaxed it took away the pain in the shoulder immediately! When they went to strap me up again the pain bounced back unbearably. So they decided to do morphine. The pain ate through the double dose of morphine like it didn't exist. So after more conferring and me suggesting they just knock me out we had to wait for a special doctor to come down and inject me with about 150 units of demerol.
It was expected that this would knock me out and Nuclear Medicine could get back on schedule. The demerol knocked me for a loop. My shoulder felt like it was non-existent. My wife showed up about then. I remember wishing she'd brought along one of the dogs. Demerol is synthetic heroin. Eichmann of the Nazi's was addicted to it. Five to ten times more powerful then heroin is the hype. It's the crack of the downer world. I don't much like narcotics. The high lasts too long for my tastes and the side effects are creepy. And in my case they didn't work.
they expected me to lie dead still for 15 minutes, even with the demerol I could only lie still for about 45 seconds at best, and that 45 seconds was filled with terrifying agony.
After more conferring they decided to try it with me lying on my stomach with both hands over my head. The demerol made this endurable but it still hurt like hell.
But the vengeance was still to come. It was decided since I had enough narcotics in me to knock me out I couldn't so the stress test on the treadmill. I told them I was fine but they ignored me as an idiot. As it is only my body that I know pretty well. They told me I was going to do a chemical stress test. An injection that would fool my body into thinking I had just spent 30 minutes running uphill. I could have done without the reassurance that if the injection caused a heart attack that I was in the best place to have that heart attack.
The chemical stress test was the worst experience of my adult life. The only thing that compares was the time when I was 10 and I got cast in a riptide at Zuma Beach and nearly drowned trying to get back to shore.
Suddenly I could not breathe, all the strength flooded from my arms and legs. My torso felt on fire and burned hollow, the only thing there were my lungs fighting desperately for a tiny wisp of air.
The doctors were satisfied. I could go get the next Nuclear catscan. It was worse than the first one. They screwed it up the first time so I had to do it twice.
My wife spent her time with me. I was grateful. I worried about her as I knew the last time she'd been in a hospital it was to do a death watch on her mother. It was too recent not to be in the front of her thoughts. We managed to find her favorite show ("What Not To Wear") on TV. I wonder if she's serious about going to the hospital every Friday night to see the seasons reruns.
After a couple of sonograms on my legs and liver they released me. I went to work the next day as if I don't work I don't get paid. Work was terrible. The after effect of the narcotics was too reminiscent of the aftereffects of chemotherapy. I was seriously nauseous, my shoulder screaming at me and I was still having the spells that signal the pale rider.
We got through it.
The dogs were thrilled to see me again. My little girls keeps staring at me adoringly which is a bit disconcerting. I'm used to her bullying me.