Sometimes life hands you a curve ball and you stand there like wtf? Sometimes it is a giant pile of poo that you can’t decide if you should wade through it or shovel it. And even better is when life hands you a giant tarantula, putting your fear in overdrive and you stand there terrorized, not knowing what to do because you literally cannot think. Even typing the word tarantula gives me the willies…they literally scare the poo out of me. That is what happened to me this week…I even wish it had been a big pile of poo to wade through instead of a health crisis that was scary and really made me realize, as a nurse, that I need to stand up for myself better.
It all started out as a simple little cold. I got the usual I work with snot nosed little children all day cold that most Peds/PICU nurses end up with once a season. Being asthmatic, I did what I was supposed to do and started my inhaled steroids and using my inhaler on a regular basis so that I would not get an upper respiratory infection. I lost my voice with this cold, probably because I immediately started coughing but I did not feel bad so I went to work. Yeah I was a little snotty and coughing and had a squeak of voice, but I was determined to make it through the shift. My co-workers were all concerned since I sounded like a Minnie Mouse cartoon, but I assured them I was fine. As the night wore on, I could tell something was going horribly wrong. yet, I managed to put myself in our treatment room and give myself breathing treatments to keep going. I met BFF for lunch halfway through the shift and realized I could barely do the simplest function…that of eat, talk and breathe at the same time. She looked at me concerningly as I was obviously struggled and could not finish my lunch but again I assured her I was fine. Even though it felt like I was breathing through a straw and not a big fat McDonald’s straw, but more like a coffee stirrer straw. Think that is easy smartass? Then you go get a coffee stirrer straw and breathe through ONLY that and see how it feels. Yeah, it pretty much sucks ass. A few hours later, I went to the staffing meeting and made the decision I needed to go down to the ED when I could not walk and talk at the same time. So downstairs I went. The ED doc, at my own facility, treated me like I was a nuisance and basically told me there wasn’t much he could do for me but give me a different kind of breathing treatment and some narcotics to stop the coughing and send me home. I was a little put off but agreed.
I asked the nurse to hold the narcotics for me though…I hate the way they make me feel and I needed to drive myself home. The breathing treatment was a combo of Albuterol (my normal inhaler) and Atrovent (a new medication for me) and actually made me breathe better. When the doc came back in, he was surprised I refused the narcotics and said “I guess you aren’t drug seeking then” to which I was floored. What even makes you want to say that to me? Do I look like a druggie to you? Last I checked, I was NOT Nurse Jackie. At that point I just wanted to get out of there. I left the ED with a new prescription for the new inhaler and went home.
Here is where life handed me a tarantula. I tucked myself into bed and started myself on a new medication regimen that included a new inhaler. I thought a day of rest and I would feel better and at work. Halfway through the next night I thought something was wrong. I felt just plain weird. Out of my body. Of course I just thought maybe I needed more sleep. I got up to get some water and noticed right away that it was hard to breathe and I was super dizzy. My eyes also felt wrong. I stumbled into the bathroom (and I do mean stumbled) to see that my eyes were swollen and red. I struggled to get enough air to get back to bed to try to get to my phone. I must have passed out upon reaching my bed and as I awoke later I struggled to get to the bathroom to pee. I literally collapsed on my bathroom floor trying to get on the toilet. I felt like a beached whale, laying there on the tile trying to decide if I could get back to my phone to call someone to help me or could I get on the toilet to pee. I sure as hell didn’t want to call someone to come help me like 911 while I was covered in my own urine struggling to breathe. That would be awesome. Plus they would have to break into my house considering I sure as heck could not get to the door to let them in. I managed to get my breathing under control and pee (in the toilet not on myself) and back to bed somehow. I immediately stopped using the new inhaler as I felt like that was making my breathing worse for some reason and my eyes swell shut. I texted Bubby and asked him to come over and help me take a shower as I was still super dizzy. I just knew that something was wrong with me and could not put my finger on it. Bubby agreed there was something wrong. He came over and with his Pocket GF, they changed my sheets, made sure I had movies, Gatorade, kleenex and everything else at my bedside that I might need. Pocket GF even did some of her awesome dance moves for me. They are super awesome and you guys should be jealous that you were not there to see them. When my PICU Intensivist called me later and I asked about a possible allergic reaction to the inhaler, he immediately asked me “Do you have a peanut allergy?” YES. YES I DO. WTH? Apparently Atrovent is contraindicated in people with peanut allergies and the ED doc should have known this. I followed what our PICU doc told me to do to help the allergic reaction and sat there in my bed and got mad. Why would the ED doc, with my chart in his hand, allergies written all over it, prescribe me such a medication? I could have DIED from this medication considering I have an ANAPHYLACTIC reaction to peanuts. Thank goodness I didn’t but the repercussions of this allergic reaction have NOW caused me to go on oral steroids and eye drops for the inflammation. Stuff that didn’t need to happen if he had taken the time to LOOK at my chart. I am beyond furious. That doc needs a swift kick in the taint. Seriously. Or maybe he need his car filled with tarantulas so he can feel the fear I felt as I almost peed myself on my bathroom floor because I could not breathe.
Oh yeah I DIDN’T die today. I probably almost could have from the new medication that I did not ask enough questions about even as a nurse but I didn’t die. I am fat girl who now will stand up for herself and put a load of tarantulas in that doc’s car as long as I don’t have to touch them at all (shudder) running. The experiment continues….