Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Paralyzed Face: Part 2

Last week I shared some of the story regarding my paralyzed face, or at least half of it. To clarify, only half my face was paralyzed and I only shared half the story. This week I will share what is left. By that, I mean that it is the left side of my face that is paralyzed and I will share the rest of the story with you. First, I must let you all know that having half your face broken is no fun. I have been thinking deeply about how to remedy this situation and I realized that if I simply removed, or cut off, the left side of my face, what would remain would be all right.

As I mentioned last week, shortly after I arrived in the Emergency Department, I was taken back to a triage room where a wonderful nurse took my vital signs. When I saw what my blood pressure was, I became quite nervous. It was in the very high range. This, however, did not seem to bother the nurse, since she sent me back to the waiting room. Nor did it bother the next nurse, who repeated the vital signs five hours later, at 4 o’clock in the morning. At that time, my blood pressure was down a very little tiny bit, but it was still extraordinarily high. I was perplexed at how I could be having symptoms of a stroke, dangerously high blood pressure, and be asked to wait in the waiting room, but then again, I am not a doctor, a nurse, or an EMT.

Finally, at 5:45 am, after six hours of waiting, watching the young woman with the broken thumb walking out with her brand new cast; the young lady whose  chief complaint seemed to be about the cold fries she received from the local burger joint walking out asking about a good place for breakfast; and the two homeless gentleman packing up their belongings and heading out to the bus-- I finally got a room. The doctor was the first person into the room. He explained the rest of the mornings activities. Just like the recreation director on a cruise ship. “At 7 you are scheduled for a Cat Scan. After that we will get a report, then we will discuss it with you around nine, unless circumstances change.”

After the kind recreational director Doctor left, a nurse came in. She was pleasant enough with a bunch of probing questions. My favorite was, “How are your words?” I knew exactly what she meant. “Can you take your thoughts, form words and weave them into complete sentences to communicate with other human beings?” The inability to do so would be an indication of having a stroke. I could have answered this question quickly, easily, and simply, by replying, “Fine, thank you.” But after sitting in the lobby for the entire evening, I was feeling a bit puckish, so I answered that with half my face falling off I found it hard to pronounce my words.

The nurse said she understood that, but she wanted to know about my words. “You know, how are your words?” she repeated a few times. Finally I replied, “I seem to have a good command of vocabulary and can use it to accurately express myself.”  That seemed to satisfy her and the computer screen that prompted her to ask such questions.

Very soon after that, I had my Cat Scan, which had nothing to do with cats, or dogs, or any other furry cuddly animal. As I was being wheeled back to my little cubby in the Emergency Room, I heard that lady in the ceiling announce a “Level two trauma”. For hospital employees, this means that something very bad has happened and everyone needs to run around urgently until the traumatic situation has passed. For the rest of us it means things are going to get busy so don’t expect anyone to see you in the near future. This is why those customers of the healthcare system are called patients, since we are always waiting.

1 comment:

  1. I hope there will be a 'PART THREE' to this scenario! You have me on pins and needles!! I do hope, your feeling will return to 1/2 of your face!! Actually, I think , you should become a writer (as a 3rd job, perhaps)!!