I hit my head on a beam in my attic on Friday afternoon. That resulted in an instant headache that is still going now. I've been all zausted. (That's how I say "exhausted" sometimes. All zausted.) I've been dizzy and nauseated and disoriented-ish. My husband and I left town minutes after the incident occurred, so I didn't go to the doctor. And besides, who wants to go to the doctor to be told they have a concussion? I already know that part. I had two concussions in the same week when I was twenty-one. And I know how to use the internet to read about them!
But everything got even worse today. I was at the office doing my paperwork, having a hard time concentrating -- an impossible time making out the numbers on my computer screen. I called up the consulting nurse -- mostly just hoping they'd be able to get me into my doctor for a quick visit between my work shifts -- and was told, "You can't go to your regular doctor. Get to the Urgent Care center immediately! Now, or at least within four hours. This might be a simple headache. Or your brain might be bleeding. You might need a CAT scan. This is serious."
I left work and caught a bus from downtown to the nearest Urgent Care. I felt dizzier and more nauseated than ever. I was half-convinced I wasn't going to make it. But then I did. And everyone was so nice. The woman who did the intake and got my vitals. The nurse who set me up with warm blankets in my room. The doctor who examined me and explained what he thought was going on.
He said, "I can order you a CT scan. That is no problem. But from having just examined you, I am sure there is no injury to your brain. We can certainly do the tests if you'd like. Who knows. We might find something. It's up to you."
I didn't like it being up to me. I sat there, trying to think of what to do. Not the easiest choice while my head is aching and he's sitting there, watching and waiting for me to decide. Maybe if he'd been more persuasive one way or the other it would have been easy, but he gave nothing away. Finally, he said, "Okay, then. I'm ordering the CT. We'll have you take a pregnancy test prior."
He was being all smiley and saying he totally understood my choice. The choice he actually made by my perception. Then he left the room so someone else could come back to deal with me. The walls at the clinic? Not so thick. I could hear every word spoken at the nurse's station. And I heard the doctor basically telling whomever was there that there's nothing wrong with me and he tried telling me in every way he could think of, but that I wanted the CT anyway. And there was sort of this laughing/sighing thing going on with him and the nurses like, "Oh, Natasha Richardson! Now all the silly people in the world are being paranoid!"
So, I'm lying there in my room, hearing every word of this, and wanting to just get dressed again and get the hell out of there. Which, I maybe would have done. But I was kind of too dizzy to walk, much less go wandering to the bus stop and try to find my way home. Also, I knew my husband was on his way and I didn't want to miss him. (No, I wasn't thinking clearly. Obviously, I could have just called him and asked him to pick me up outside the clinic, right? No bus ride necessary.)
The whole thing made me feel completely ridiculous. Like I was wasting everyone's time. Like everyone who had been nice was just totally phony jerks.
Soon after, some young guy came in to bring the cup for my urine sample and he was being all nice (just like the others had been!), helping tie my robe thing on properly so I didn't have to walk down to the bathroom like that. I pretty much just wanted to punch him. Then, when the result came back negative, he came into my room to take me away in a wheelchair for the CT. I didn't want to speak to him because speaking made me cry. He attempted small talk on the way through a corridor, "So, head injury?"
I felt like he was perhaps making fun of me with that question. So, then I'm crying and he's running off down the hall to hunt down tissues for me and it's all ridiculous. Medical staff coming out of the elevator saw me sitting there all forlorn in the hallway and were like, "Can we help you? Are you okay?"
When he came back, he said, "I'm sorry about that. I wasn't trying to bring up a touchy subject for you."
I composed myself well enough to say, "It isn't a touchy subject. But the wall aren't soundproof, you know. I can hear everything. I have a terrible headache, I didn't want to come here in the first place, and then what everyone was saying just made me feel ridiculous."
He (apparently) hadn't heard and wasn't part of the actual conversation that had taken place. He probed for more and was all outraged. "God, I am so sorry. That is just not cool. You know, and that's the thing. They are always just talking like that at the fucking nurses' station where everyone can hear, and it's not right."
So, I had my CT thing, but I don't remember it. I laid down on a thingy and closed my eyes and then it was over. Then he wheeled me back to my room so I could wait for the results. He came back with more warm blankets and a business card with the customer service line and said, "I really think you should call about this. Quite frankly, I'm so pissed that this happened. Upper management needs to know about it, and it's going to accomplish a lot more if they hear it from you instead of just from me."
My nurse came in after that, having already been chastised by him, apparently. She apologized and said she understood how I felt because that happened to her a few years ago when she took her partner in for an appointment and heard everything the nurses were saying about them. And she said she thought that whatever was said might have been because the people who do the CT scans get annoyed when the doctors request those tests at that hour of the day when they're getting ready to leave, so they "aren't exactly nice about it." I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it. Maybe. Maybe the doctor wanted to blame it all on me and my supposed insistence that he do the test so they wouldn't be irritated with him over it. I don't know.
After she left, my husband came in, all concerned that I was in the emergency room in the first place. And because he could tell I'd been crying. I explained (in hushed tones) all the drama that occurred in the past few hours. He was very angry and stood up and said in a not-hushed voice that he was going to go out there and complain. I convinced him to just stay with me because it had already been said. I also pointed out that if House had been my doctor, House would have said the same thing and not cared if I heard. House would have even said it to my face. That sort of put things into perspective, I think. Ha.
Finally, the doctor came in and said my scan was fine, as he had expected. And then we left.
I still have a headache and might continue to do so for a month, according to the literature that the doctor gave me. I'm feeling all drained and miserable and not-entirely remember-y.
I can't say I blame the doctor for making fun of me to the nurses. I mean, he's the expert and I wasn't quite taking his advice because I didn't immediately say, "You're probably right. Send me home now without a CT!"
He needed to vent, I imagine. But the thing that bothers me a lot was that it was said in my hearing. I would have greatly preferred not having to deal with that today.