I've had a scary week.

  1. Last week started out normally enough. Had a hard time getting out of bed on monday and tuesday (as I do most days!). Headed off to my job as the clinical coordinator of a 46 bed LTC floor. On tuesday, was headed into the locker room to wash my hands before heading to lunch and.....BOOM!!.....I found myself on the floor, with incredible pain running up my left leg, from my knee to my hip! The floor had just, and I mean JUST, been waxed, and there was no "wet floor" sign up yet.

    So.....off I go to Occupational and Employee Medicine (at one of our local hospitals). Anyway, to make a long story short, my leg is in a knee immobilizer and I'm on crutches. I can go back to work if I can only stand/ambulate for NO MORE THAN 1 HOUR A DAY!!!! So, needless to say, I'm home for a while. There is no fracture, just a nice contusion.

    So....as if that weren't enough. About 24 hours after having my leg immobilized, I started becoming short of breath and I was coughing alot. It continued to get worse over the next 24 hours and my husband finally called my doctor. She told us to get into the ED immediately to rule out a pulmonary embolus.

    Alllllll righty then, so off we go to the hospital again. First thing they did was do a CXR. That was OK. Then they decided they would do a spiral CT to rule out a PE. By this time it was about 2:30-3:00 in the morning. I thought I might have to wait for a while, so I sent my very tired husband home to get some rest. For the next hour or so, I laid there trying to sleep, but I couldn't because I was so worried.

    Know what I was worried about? I wasn't even worried about having a PE. I was more worried about cancer. I have been an on-and-off smoker for half my life (I'm 47). I get winded going up stairs, or sometimes just walking fast. When I get a cold, it doesn't come and go. It comes and stays.

    As I was wheeled into the freezing cold room where the CT machine was, and was asked to lay down on the thin little thingee that gets pushed into the CT machine, I felt like the rest of my life would be defined by the next few minutes. I tried to be brave, but I was shivering from the cold. I was afraid of what the dye would feel like when they put it into my veins. I tried to make jokes (as I usually do in uncomfortable situations), but they just wouldn't come. I didn't tell anyone I was a nurse, because I was afraid they would think I already "knew it all" and wouldn't offer me the same comforting they offer other people. The test itself took less than a minute, for which I was very grateful. The "tray" I was laying on was pulled back out and I was told to wait for a few minutes while they looked at the results.

    I am not a religious person and usually only go to church for weddings and funerals. But, I talk to God when I need to. I felt this was one of those times. I made one of those "battlefield" promises that if everything was OK, I would never smoke again.

    I moved my head, looking around the room. To my left, was what I'll call the "viewing room". On a couple of screens I could see my lungs. OK.......so I'm no x-ray expert (unless maybe someone has swallowed a spoon or something!!) but my lungs looked really weird. OK...keep in mind I've been up for 24 hours at this point!! I can't even describe what they looked like, but I was sure they weren't "normal".

    I was wheeled back to my ER cubicle and waited for the official word. I don't remember thinking or feeling much of anything at this point. Whatever the answer was, I just wanted it NOW!!

    Soon, the PA came in and said that the CT had been looked at and that my lungs were just fine. No PE....no nuthin' else!! No pneumonia either. Thye think it's just bronchitis. Well, I feel kind of stupid for going into ER for something like that, but I guess it was better to be safe than sorry.

    I feel like I have my life back, as though I've been given a second chance!! I'm not trying to get all "touched by an angel" on everyone, it's just that it feels sooooo good!

    And guess what..............I haven't had a cigarette in 3 days!!!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    No moment is too cheesy or "touched by an angel" if it encourages you to make positive changes in your life.

    Congrats, and good luck to you on the smoking cessation!

    Heather
  4. by   lindalee
    FYI--one of our neurosurgeons sued the hospital and won a huge settlement for just this very thing. I sure would be sure all your medical costs are paid and that you have full salary until you return to work. I hope you are well soon and that you have no further problems. Thank God your Ct was normal--Good job on three days with no cigarettes! Perhaps something good will come from this needless injury.
  5. by   CATHYW
    So sorry to hear of your fall-hope you're back to work soon. Keep up the good work with the cigs. God heard you, and answered your prayer. Nice to know people still keep up their end of a "bargain" with God!
  6. by   ComicRN
    Four days and counting!!!!
  7. by   CATHYW
    Keep it up! One day at a time, that is all. One day at a time.
  8. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    CONGRATS!

    Heather
  9. by   Brownms46
    Glad to hear you're on the mend...and that you have found a bright spot in all you have been through! Congrats on taking charge of your life....and riding yourself of one possible future worry! Take it one day at a time now....and I'm sure you will win the battle...
  10. by   ktwlpn
    I am not a religious person and usually only go to church for weddings and funerals. But, I talk to God when I need to. I felt this was one of those times. I made one of those "battlefield" promises that if everything was OK, I would never smoke again.

    I moved my head, looking around the room. To my left, was what I'll call the "viewing room". On a couple of screens I could see my lungs. OK.......so I'm no x-ray expert (unless maybe someone has swallowed a spoon or something!!) but my lungs looked really weird. OK...keep in mind I've been up for 24 hours at this point!! I can't even describe what they looked like, but I was sure they weren't "normal".

    >>>>>>>You go girl!-good job and keep staying away from those cigs.I DO know how hard it is-I have quit smoking(several times) It is not easy being the patient is it? It is pretty scary to be lying on a table alone and overhear a tech in the other room exclaim "Man-check this out!" or "I have never seen anything like this" ... And trying to read your own xrays,labs,etc-forget about it! I think your mind-eye connection goes on the fritz when it's all about you....Nothing makes much sense then....Glad you are o.k.
  11. by   live4today
    Said a little prayer for you, and glad to hear you are going to be okay! Congrats on the three days away from your cigs. One step at a time with a lot of focus will have you weaned from those things. I praise God for your continued recovery back to wellness! :kiss
  12. by   mattsmom81
    I hope this resolves quickly for you! Don't be afraid to get a little pushy if it doesn't...nurses injured on the job are not always treated well; or 'blown off' in their concerns about the injury.....be an advocate for youself! We are so used to caring for others, it's hard to shift the attention to ourselves.

    Sometimes leg pain indicates discogenic pain from injury to the spine....are you having any paresthesias or burning? If so...could be more to this. Let us know how you do and best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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