Yesterday I went to the hospital because I was experiencing chest pains. Well, actually I went to Urgent Care and than they sent me to the ER.
Once upon a time I would have had to been dragged to the hospital or any semblance of a doctor. When I was younger I very rarely went to the doctor. If I was sick I just waited it out. Eventually I got better. Maybe not the smartest route to take, but when you’re young you feel invulnerable. I rarely took sick days at work. I think I once went at least two years or more without calling out.
Everything changed right after Katrina. No, this time I’m not going to talk about the hurricane, it exists in this story only as a supporting player and to provide background. It was a week or so after we had come back home from the storm. My parents lived in Picayune Mississippi, about thirty minutes from me and they home went through the storm fairly well. A car cover, some roof shingles, a tree across the drive way back to their place that we had to cut in half to get by; but overall nothing too terrible. In fact they had their power back on within a few days.
My home didn’t receive any major damage. A tree limb had broke off and pretty much flattened my grill, which I had forgotten to bring inside before I left. But my home itself, pretty good. Except I didn’t have power. Still I was home, cleaning up and going into work. We were not open for business, but we were open for any police or fire fighters or anyone helping with rescue operations to come get shoes, underwear, flashlights, whatever they needed. So there were a few of us there during the day.
The day before I had went with my brother to his house on the Westbank. Unfortunately he wasn’t quite as lucky in escaping damage to his home. He had about two feet of water in his house. We went in and started the clean up process. We worked throughout the day and than went back to my parents. From there I decided to go home and spend the night so I could go into work the next day and see what was going on.
I woke that morning feeling terrible. My stomach was killing me. I was sweating like I was on fire. My head hurt something fierce. I held off for about half the day and than decided I needed to go to the doctor. Now remember this was not much more than a week after Katrina. I took a chance that one of the local clinics was open and I was lucky. I saw a doctor who said I had a urinary infection. He prescribed some medicine for me and than told me to come back in a week or so.
I went home, feeling worse every minute. I remember laying down on the couch. It was hot in my house. No power meant no air conditioner. But the sweat pouring off my body was not due to the heat. As bad as I felt I decided to drive to my parents. I figured if nothing I could be miserable with lights and air.
I made it there and the next morning I woke up, feeling worse than the previous day. My parents took one look at me and said they were taking me to their doctor. Now normally I would have argued and probably refused to go, I had just went to the doctor the day before. But I was feeling so bad I didn’t say anything.
As soon as we went into their doctor’s office he took one look at me, felt my stomach and than told my parents to bring me to the hospital and don’t worry about checking in, he was going to call ahead. I got to the hospital, they had me in a room and before I knew it I was been put under and operated on. My appendix was gangrene.
The doctor later told me that if I had waited another day I would have more than likely been dead.
I was in the Picayune hospital which was, I think, only like three floors and the roof had blown off the hospital so the top floor was not being used. They had one doctor working in the entire hospital and a handful of nurses. The first night they had me in the maternity ward, but in the middle of the night someone came in having a baby so they woke me up and wheeled me down to ICU, where I spent the next week or more. I actually don’t remember how many days I was there, I know it was at least a week, but after awhile all of them seem to blur together.
Since than I find myself a lot more respective to going to the doctor.
Now when I have aches and pains I don’t automatically say no to a visit to the doctor.
So when I had chest pains yesterday, even tough I felt like it was nothing, and didn’t want to go to the doctor and didn’t for the first half of the day, but after listening to everyone tell me that I should go and remembering that day back after Katrina, I decided that it was pretty safe than sorry.
Everything turned out great. They ran every test they needed to run and at the end pronounced me in good health. Which is what I would rather hear than something was wrong. So maybe I didn’t need to go the hospital, but you know what, I’m glad I went. Who knows? It could have been something and putting it off might not have been a good idea.