19 August 2009

Strengthening My Resolve

We had a bit of excitement around here last night. Rather, very early this morning. The Mad Scientist and I went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary, and about 8:30 I began to feel just a touch ill. I figured I just over-ate (I'm developing a love affair with Indian food, and that Panak Paneer was GOOD!), but about twelve I started feeling severely nauseous.

I'll spare you all the gory details. To sum up, about 1:30 my poor husband rousted my mother (a nurse) out of bed to see if she thought he should take me to the hospital. At that point I was on the bathroom floor (too afraid to get any further from the toilet), with numb tingling hands and feet, shivering and shaking, and feeling like death could be a welcome relief. Vomiting can do that to you, and this was pretty intense. My mother was most emphatic that, yes, we should go to the hospital, so I got my first ever ride in an ambulance.

Now, I understand that nurses and doctors, generally speaking, really want to help people. I'm sure most of them are wonderful people doing their best at a difficult job, and I've interacted with many that have deeply impressed me with their compassion and competence. Last night, however, was not a stellar example.

To begin with, of course, they wanted to know if I was pregnant. (You must realize, much of this information comes from the Mad Scientist, who arrived at the hospital shortly after me. I was in no condition to be aware of what meds I was being given.) I replied that it was possible. They cathetarized me to check for a Urinary Tract Infection, and told me the pregnancy test came back negative. I had given them the date of my last period, but I re-iterated that it was too early for a pregnancy to show up on a urine test, and emphatically (as emphatically as possible, given that I was throwing up and in pain, trying not to hyperventilate), insisted that nothing be given me that could harm a baby.

Then they gave me Phenargan, for the nausea. Notice that paragraph right at the bottom? Here it is:
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Phenergan is harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether Phenergan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Phenergan without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from Phenergan.
They also started me on an anti-biotic, because it turns out I have a UTI. But, guess what, I'm nursing. And no one asked. And neither of the drugs they gave me are safe to use while nursing. So that was irritating thing the first.

Then I was also very frustrated by the nurse, who was extremely abrupt, rather rough (in my opinion) and disgusted by my attempts to ask questions about what they were doing. I object to being treated like an idiot. It's just sort of a thing I have; I like to know what's going on before things are done to my body. So when she informed me that I was being sent for a CT scan, I asked why. She said the doctor wanted to check for kidney stones. I replied that I had no pain in my kidneys. And rather than giving me more information (like, "Kidney stones don't necessarily cause pain, and the doctor thinks it's important to check. Is that ok?") She replied, harshly, "Well, do you want it or not?" I'm sorry, but CT scans are pretty expensive, and no, I don't want a test unless it's really necessary. Is it ok if I ask a few questions to determine how necessary this is, so I can give my INFORMED consent?

I have never been more grateful for my dear husband, who pulled out his laptop to check the meds and realized they weren't safe for nursing. He asked the doctor, who changed my anti-biotic prescription, but still gave us the Phenargan prescription. What's UP with that? That stuff is pretty dangerous for young children, and they have NO idea if it's excreted in breast milk or not. So we didn't fill that one.

Overall, the whole experience left me extremely underwhelmed. The hospital staff were abrupt and left me feeling that my questions were a nuisance. It reinforced my determination to continue having my babies at home, and we're both glad it's over. I spent today in bed, and I'm feeling much better. (Except for my ridiculously engorged chest, sorry if that's TMI, but I'm pretty irritated about not being able to nurse my frantic son, who watched his mother get carted off by a bunch of strange men, when I got home.)

Edited to add: Actually, it turns out they didn't give me Phenargan in the hospital. Which is good, except THAT means that I left with no idea of what drugs they had actually pumped into my system. Which isn't so great. And they DID give me a prescription for the stuff, which is not safe to take while nursing. So I'm still not very happy with the way things were done.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon! I had a similar experience when my 3 yr old was an infant and had the same problem as you as far as nursing was concerned. I don't think they even asked me if I was pregnant or nursing that I remember. It is truly miserable to be that sick. I was SO weak for several days afterward. Take care of yourself and get better!

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