Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Almost Died

On Friday, I went in for a fairly routine pelvic/abdominal CT scan with IV contrast. I've been having pain in my lower back that is now 24/7. Doctor wanted to check for kidney stones and to rule out cancer.

I have been very independent for most of my life. At the age of 10, I began going to the doctor by myself. When I was 11, I had a thyroid biopsy alone (my mom was at the mercy of the bus and didn't make it in time). In high school, I went to a brain surgeon (for headaches) by myself. Ditto the dentist. I say all of this so you understand that it was out of the norm for me to be anxious about this appointment and to pull out all the stops to get someone to go with me.

J was out-of-town so our friend, the Divine Miss R came with. I was double gowned and an IV stuck in me. Once in the CT room, I was told to lay down on my back and put my arms behind my head, outstretched. I assumed their bondage position as my left hand IV was hooked up to the machine. First few passes of the scan went fine.

They put saline through the IV. It was fine. They added one contrast (total of three). It was fine. Then they added another contrast. Felt really hot and like I had to go really bad but it was fine. And the last one.

I felt nauseous. Then the heaving started. The nurse/technician came running in, moved the machine and brought me a container. My hand was still attached to the IV so needless to say, it was awkward at best. I was half sitting up, half laying down but with my torso twisted towards the head of the bed as that is where the IV was coming from.

I couldn't stop throwing up. Blood. Lots of blood. Can't breathe. It won't stop coming up! Breathe. Can't breathe. More coming up. More blood. Calm your core. Can't breathe. Is this how I'm going to go out?! More. Slow. Breathe. I can breathe. Finally, the violent heaving of my torso stopped. First a shallow breath. Then a deeper one.

The doctor was there. The nurses were there. The looks on their faces got me alarmed. I knew I must have looked really bad. Then she asked if I could lay back down and finish the last two scans. After that, they wanted to observe me. I have since learned they thought I was going to code on the table. Even though I was at a hospital, it was a fair distance to the ER and they didn't think I would make it down before my throat closed.

When I got back to the observation room, the Divine Miss Rosie was there. I got her to give me a mirror. I knew I looked bad. I didn't realize how bad! The whites of my eyes were blood red. My entire face had red, broken blood vessels, my eyes, forehead, cheeks, nose had swollen with hives. Black mascara was smeared above and below my eyes.
About 1 hour into recovery after the swelling started to go down

I am extremely grateful to the Divine Miss Rosie for being there with me. Knowing I was not alone and having someone to drive my car were priceless. Our friend, Usher, came to be with me in the afternoon. Having Usher there was so comforting. That evening Dr. CC picked J up from the airport so I didn't have to at night. 


Alicia Sturdy said...

wait so what happen!? did you have an allergic reaction of some sort?! feel better soon!

Andrell said...

Frightening... thank God the situation didn't go the other way... it's jarring to consider just how quickly life could have changed without notice for all who know and love you. Glad you followed your intuition and brought the Divine Miss R.... grateful for your life, your friendship, and your continuing place in this world...