Note: I greatly respect the medical field, but this part of my experience tells of my awful encounter trying to get medical assistance. This is a long essay, so I am going to break it into 2 or possiblely 3 parts.
There are times in my life when I sense something is wrong. Like when I leave a candle burning or when the cats are too quiet and probably up to no good. On Thursday, September 17, 2020, I knew something was wrong. I had been sick for a while, since the previous month, probably even longer when I thought about all the symptoms that I ignored. This day was different. I stayed in bed all day, not even going downstairs to sit in my chair. Around 5:00 in the afternoon, I went to the bathroom. I ended up vomiting. I felt gross, so I wanted to take a bath. I didn’t have enough energy to stand in the shower, plus I was dizzy.
I made a mental plan to go to urgent care in the morning. I took a fairly short bath and moved to the front of the tub to let the water out, so that I could easily get out of the tub. Something was wrong. I immediately became out of breath, like I had run some long distance and my chest hurt. I hadn’t brought my inhaler into the bathroom, even though I had been using it a lot. I luckily had my cell phone. I called the home phone twice, no answer. I called my sister’s cell phone. No answer. I panicked as I lay in the tub. I wasn’t panting, but gasping painful, shallow breaths.
I managed to eventually drag myself out of the tub. I was extremely dizzy and only was able to wrap a towel around myself and walk the short distance to my bed where I collapsed. Luckily, my sister came to check on me a short time later. I told her what I experienced. So that she wouldn’t panic, I calmly told her that I needed her help getting dressed, then I needed her to call 911.
It seemed like it was a long time before the ambulance arrived. It was probably about 15 minutes. My mother sat with me in my room while we waited from the paramedics to arrive. They finally arrived, a man and a woman. They asked me questions and already there was a sense of a bad attitude or a chip on both of their shoulders, like I was wasting their time. I was in my late thirties and probably looked like there was nothing wrong with me, but I knew that something was amiss. I never felt that bad in my life, even with chronic illnesses. I insisted that they take me to the hospital. I had to put on my shoes and walk down the stairs with my legs feeling like they would give out.
Once I got in the ambulance, the woman got in the driver’s seat and the man in the back with me. He rudely told me to sit down in the chair on the side, while he did whatever paramedic stuff he had to do. Then, he told me (rudely again) to get on the stretcher. Once he saw my heart rate, he realized that it was abnormally fast and told the woman so. She stopped the ambulance that was only a short distance from my house. She came and hooked up the monitors to me, then returned to the driver’s seat.
It hurt to breathe, and my heart was pounding so hard it was making me dizzy. Even with my distress, the male dismissed me. He said, “It’s probably a panic attack. You have those, don’t you?” I did not and I told him so. I told him the pain in my chest was getting worse. He said there was nothing he could do. The hospital is located approximately 30 minutes from my house. After arriving at the hospital, I had to wait on the stretcher near the nurse’s station. I think it was probably at least 20 to 30 minutes before the man was told to wheel me over to the office to check in. He was extremely and unnecessarily rude to me the entire experience and talked to me like I was stupid. The woman warmed up to me a little, but she left me alone with him to go get a snack.
This experience was scary enough (I’ve never had to go to the hospital before for an illness.) without the horribleness of that douchebag. If I could go back, I would have just taken an Uber or had my sister drop me at the emergency room. Help and kind people were to come, but I still had to experience more suckiness.
Stay tuned for part 2 later this week.
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