Wednesday, August 31, 2005

One Lump, Or Two?

Early Tuesday morning, I woke up with this intense pain in the back of my head. I got out of bed, and went into the bathroom to check it. I felt around it, and it was a lump, the size of a golf ball. I never felt anything like this before in the back of my head. It hurt.
“Madelene! Feel this. What is that?”
“Hmm, did you clunk yourself somehow?”
“No.”
“Did you hit your head on the night stand by accident while you were sleeping?”
“Err, no…I don’t believe so.”
I said, as I kept feeling around this lump.
“Well it’s good that it’s tender to the touch, and not hard as a rock with no feeling whatsoever.” Madelene says.

The day went on, I tried to work, but my eyes started seeing double as the letters scrambled all over my computer like little ballerinas. The pain kept getting more and more intense. I took my temperature, and it was 100 degrees. Hmm. Was it a lymph node on the back of my head? On my skull? Believe me, I was reading every diagnosis on the internet. Bad move! Don’t do it if you have a medical problem. There are so many alarming ~guesses~ on there, enough to give you paranoia. I decided to just take some ibuprofen to reduce the pain and swelling and to lower my fever.

That evening, my pain was pulsing like a heart beat. Madelene came home and I was laying on the couch lifeless. My head, neck and now legs were in pain. (???) I couldn’t make what this thing was. Every part of my body hurt from this big lump on my head. The lump got a little larger and my pain got that much worse.
“We’re going to the doctor now.” Madelene says, as she gets her things.
“Mad, the doctor isn’t open now, it’s 9:30pm.”
“I’m taking you to the emergency room.”

I hope one day Madelene doesn’t decide to become an EMT worker, because we were traveling at the speed of 25 mph on the thruway. Not only was her lack of speed becoming more questionable, but her lack of night vision became a concern too.
“Mad? Do you have night vision? You’re going across the lines here.”
“Don’t talk, let me drive and I will get you there in one piece.”
She says, all angry that I insulted her granny driving skills.
“Thank God I’m not dying here or bleeding profusely.” I said, and chuckled as she had the same posture and driving techniques as Mr. Magoo.

I was dreading going to the ER because they take hours before they even get you into the examination table. The first step is registering, which may take you up to thirty minutes, depending on your insurance and what not. One time I was rushed there due to an allergic reaction to something, my throat was closing up and I nearly fainted right there as I walked in. No one took that as a sign that I ‘may’ be a priority case here.

I walk into the ER, and they immediately took me in. The male nurse took my blood pressure which was 104/62. Hmmm… I’m usually 110/80. This was different. My blood pressure was never that low before. Is it bad that it’s too low? Is that too low? The male nurse didn’t say much about it, so I didn’t concern myself. I started wondering what cologne he was wearing, because he smelled so good. He brought me out to register with this nice, tall skinny lady with big hair. Her heels were almost 'go-go dancer' high, and her outfit was very professional. It was an interesting mix.

“Date of birth?" She asks.
“Two four, seventy four.”
“You’re social security number?”
I mumbled this lowly so no one else on the other side of the cubical would steal my identity. Hell---if they saw me that night, who on God’s green earth would want to anyway?
“In case of emergency, who do we contact?”
“911.”
I said, chuckling from my delirium at this point.
“No, I’m sorry. Madelene. 555-2323.”
“What relation is Madelene to you?”
“Partner, girlfriend.”
I said, wondering if she was going to think Madelene was a business partner and a gal pal. Lovely. I outed myself in the hospital. Hate that.

They send me over to a room with a T.V. and bathroom. This was within the emergency room. I have never seen such a nice set up before. Everything smelled like cherries, and it was so amazingly quiet. Where was I again? Usually, when I have an episode, or some sort of trauma, this same emergency room is total chaos that smells like crap. No one had a room-like set up with a T.V.and their own bathroom.

Great. I had to go since the whole ride here! I ran straight for the bathroom since I was going to wait an hour for the doc. To my surprise, the toilet had left over remains of vomit in it. The toilet seat had smears of fecal matter all over it.

“Oh…my…sweet…Lord.” I said, slowly, backing up, thinking strategic ways to open that door without touching the handle. I walk out quickly, using the paper towel for a glove. I look up, and saw a black nurse with the biggest eyes I have ever seen in my life. She almost saw right through me; her eyes almost poking at me, even though I was across the room. She must have known my dilemma by the horror on my face, and the fact that there was no sound of the toilet flushing or water running. They're going to think it was me who made that horrific mess! Great. The male doctor walked into my section and asked me to sit on the bed. The nurse fluffed my pillows up, and adjusted it so I can lay upright.

“So what’s the problem.” Doc says, as he folds his arms, hiding his clipboard.
I tell him my situation.
“Is it one lump or two?”
“Just one.”
He starts to feel the side of my head where the lump is, and then feels the other side to compare.
“Hmm, yeah there is a lump here. Does it hurt when I do this?”
“OOOOWWW!!!! Yes!”

Doc pulls out his clipboard and then decides that it was an automatic diagnosis.
“This in an infection of some sort, may be from a spider bite, a mosquito bite, and also from a number of things. The best way we can zap this is to give you a strong antibiotic and a pain killer.”

That’s it? That was all I got? He felt me for five seconds and determined that it was an infection? He couldn’t even see what it was because it was through my hair. How can he make this assumption so quickly? This puzzled me. Was I just a number in that ER? Did they need that luxurious space for someone else more needy? Wait till they see that bathroom.

He walked out to get my prescription.
“See? Don’t you feel better now that you know what it is?” Madelene asks, smiling.
“No! I don't...Do you? Do you feel safe that he was a bit too quick with this?” I said.
“They know right away, Deb.”
“What if it’s this major tumor? What if I am growing another head for the love of God???”
I panicked.

The googly-eyed nurse walked back into my section. She gives me my prescription and pain killers. I couldn’t stop looking at those big eyes. They were so fascinating. She was the nicest nurse, but those eyes! Those eyes! I couldn’t help but stare. In fact, I hardly heard one word she said to me.
“Usually when there is an abscess near the scalp and head, it causes a lot of pain. So the medicine will definitely help. Here, sign here…and if you can, please fill out this survey and bring it up to me. Uh, don’t forget to bring me back my pen.” She says, laughing on her way out.

Was she laughing because she thought it was just a big zit on my scalp? I came all the way to the ER to get a zit checked out? I felt belittled in a sense, I didn’t know whether to laugh or call 911 right in the ER!

"Here's some zit cream, call us in the morning." They might as well have said that!

I am currently writing this in my bedroom, still with this huge lump on my head. I almost decided to make out a will on my blog, (just in case), but that would be a bit dramatic, especially if it was just a zit. Imagine?

I wanted to blog before I take my pain killers and go into lala land. If anyone may know a diagnosis to my problem, please put it in the comment section. I still feel the need to ask another doctor…in fact, I have an appointment with one tomorrow for a second opinion. A little obsessive? Maybe. Will it give me peace of mind? Definitely.

Diagnose away! Give me your advice. I need it.