As I replay the day's events in my head, I am struck by the fact that I could have died today, and in fact, death was much closer than I suspected at the time. This post might appear maudlin and dramatic, but there's truth in those words as well as in the situation. In writing this, I'm trying to digest these earlier events and come to term with what I feel is a traumatizing event. So traumatic, that 6 hours after the fact, although I am safely tucked in bed at home, I'm feeling an undercurrent of emotion rising to the surface. It threatens to become a riptide: carrying me out to open water on uncontrollable tears and this agony of retrospective terror.
I'm not afraid to die, by no means is it that. But it I am afraid of losing some One and this Love I've Found.
Succinctly, I went to the hospital with severe wrist pain and immobility from my bike ride on Sunday. I suspect it's nerve impingement, but didn't receive that diagnosis. What I did receive was excellent and expeditious medical care. In fact, I was at the last stage of the treatment process: in the space of an hour I had consulted with the MD, had X-Rays and physical therapy, and had a painless steroid shot delivered into my butt for pain and inflammation, when the fit hit the shan in my body.
Within 60 seconds of receiving the injection, I became dizzy and disoriented. Something felt really wrong, and I started to cry as the medic wrapped my arm for casting. A pressure in my head unlike a headache arose. I tried relaying how I was feeling, but apparently either couldn't do so effectively, couldn't overcome the language barrier, or both. Still crying and saying I didn't feel right, that I was dizzy and felt bad, I was escorted to the cashier and paid my bill.
(The good part of this story? The bill, which included a visit to the ER, Dr. assessment, 3 differnet forms of physical therapy given by 2 Aides, and one ruinous injection, was $36. Yep, Americans, I said $36. I will revisit this topic when I feel better. Big rant!)
I sat down to rest. Somehow I found the presence of mind to ask for help, and I mean, I literally waved a nurse down and started calling "Help!" because I was getting worse. They RAN to get the Liaison interpreter who listened and started comforting me, saying, "Don't worry, calm down, we will fix you." I was calm, actually, because I was so dizzy I couldn't stand, and I could just barely explain what was happening to my body as a result of that damn shot. By then, two nurses had to help me to emergency, and the heat under my skin had started. I felt so hot, but yet I was not sweating at all. I had also started shaking and couldn't breathe as freely as I could minutes before. Crying all the while because I was terrified about what was happening to me, had no control over it, and couldn't communicate properly to get them to act faster. That horrific feeling of something is really really really wrong with me! kept voicing itself in my head; I felt truly awful.
They wanted to give me another shot, I said no. They named the steroid medication they given me not 15 minutes before. It meant nothing because all I could think about was the weird pressure sensation I was feeling that was making it harder and harder to breathe and that my skin was on fire. "I'm so hot", I kept saying, as I shook and grasped my head between my hands pressing into my eye sockets and temples to decrease the ever-building pressure. I don't remember what was said. The Dr. arrived in a hurry with 5 nurses in tow. He stated the obvious: my reaction was due to medication and the new shot would counter that. The Liaison Nurse mentioned something about monitoring my blood pressure and oxygen saturation. A few minutes after the "histamine (?) shot, I could breathe again. The heat subsided. The anxiety diminished. The tears remained and kept coming because of the shock and fear still coming in waves.
Right now I feel so alone and afraid and powerless and I want to go home more than anything, I'm writing all this because I can't seem to verbalize it orally. I want to go home and not deal with this alone. I need acknowledgement, I need shared caring, I need to share this occurrence and my resulting feelings. I want my friends and family. I want to curl up in a little ball under my covers and go to sleep and forget, but when I try, the images and feelings keep returning.
I'll feel better tomorrow, after an unconscious and heavy sleep. I will no longer wish to leave Korea for that reason.
I'm not fighting it, not wishing it hadn't happened. I don't feel pity for myself, there's no being a victim. I'm not sharing it for the "oh my god"s and the "that's awful!"; I don't want any of that. I want recognition that this occurred to me though, that it was a reality. I don't want it downplayed or up-played. I happened, I'm acknowledging it and I'm working through it by writing my experience here. I'm not saying it shouldn't have happened, but I am questioning the why and what is the take away. Maybe I'll know that tomorrow.
My over-arching desire at this moment in time is to get on a plane and go home to Texas, I feel weak and thrown about and tossed about. I am strong, but I certainly don't feel strong enough to handle any of this anymore, whatever "this" is. I want comfort and solace, peace, familiar ground, support of friends and family, and rest. In this moment, I think I can sleep forever.
I hope tomorrow is easier.
...Small actions in a dynamic system will trigger vast and unexpected changes