Bashing my head

These past few days I feel as if I am knocking my head against a wall. Like everything I do takes me off on a tangent of confusion and frustration.

Technology, largely.

Anyone who has an on-going prescription for a controlled substance will understand. Apply for renewal two days ahead of time and they look at you as if you are a drug addict. But if you wait until you are down to those last couple of doses, you better hope that the system works, which so often it doesn’t.

The doctor’s office prefers you to apply through the pharmacy, but the pharmacy website won’t allow you to because it’s a controlled substance. So you call the doctor’s office and wait for their interminable voice system to advise you which button to press and yes, remind you that you should be doing this through Hannaford’s (in my case).

“This is my name, rank and serial number, etc…then you wait.” You can’t even be sure anyone will get your message, because you aren’t allowed to speak to a live person.

When no notification comes through, you check with Hannaford’s.

“No, we have nothing on file “… then they agree to launch off a request. And you wait.

And you wait. Hannaford’s still has nothing. These days, I know to call the administrator at the clinic. Poor lady must be getting inundated with irate calls because guess what, the system has failed again. No messages going back and forth to the pharmacy. They say they will send it again…God forbid they hand you a paper prescription, as in the Good Old Days.

Not allowed. I guess you might sell it to someone.

And then you wait some more.

I get very twitchy about this, because I was once in a hospital once, that totally messed up, failing to provide my medication, even though I had given them the list in writing twice and it was also in their computer system.

At the time I had not realized that anything too terrible could happen to me if I was deprived of the dreaded controlled susbstance, other than being in severe pain. And it took a little while for the proverbial penny to drop. After all, no-one had ever warned me about the extremely addictive nature of oxycodone which I was going to need for the rest of my life, or about the side-effects etc.

My situation was fairly embarrassing. I was occupying a hospital bed for the simple reason that I required finger surgery. Can you imagine? A single finger.

One of the new foster cats I had taken in in got chased, one day, by one of our resident thugs and had taken refuge on a shelf.

You would think I should know better, but I always feel the need to offer comfort, even when it’s a cat that I know very well just wants to be left alone.

So it was totally my fault when she bit me.

In the knuckle of my right index finger.

The bite occurred early in the day. It hardly drew blood, so I washed off the finger and ignored it. See what that picture says? Take head.

By early evening, my finger was rather sore and I began to wonder if I should go to urgent care but it seemed like a lot of fuss over nothing. I did actually ask Grant for his opinion but to be fair, he was elsewhere, and didn’t see the finger, so I can’t blame him for thinking it probably didn’t require an ER visit.

In the morning there was no longer any doubt. Off to the ER, where my finger was poked and lanced and antibiotics were administered. But it was too late.

Next day being Monday, (see what I mean about it always being a weekend?), I went off to see my PCP who frowned at my finger and sent me off to the Creep who put me in hospital.

Really. I have had so many surgeries in out-patient care, but you can’t do a finger?

Do you know how embarrassing it is to be in a ward with a lot of really sick people and know that the medical staff are looking at your chart and saying “finger?”

My Creep doctor did do his bit, in an attempt to make it a big deal, cutting open the finger again, on the other side, and generally poking the hell out of it. I was anesthetized for that part, fortunately, but not when he came the next day to remove the bandage which was stuck firmly to the wound.

After he did that for the third time I nearly did lose my cool.

But in the meantime, I had been deprived of my medications and discovered what it was like to be in opium withdrawal.

I was rather dazed over the whole “blown-up finger” thing, or I would have probably managed my situation better, but back then I was an innocent. Hadn’t yet experienced withdrawal.

Being just “the finger”, down the hall, the medical staff unsurprisingly didn’t pay much attention to me. It would have been fine if I had been discharged that afternoon, but when Creep-doctor finally stopped by and ripped off the bandage, he declared that things were not going well. In fact he even mentioned the “A” word. Amputation. No joke.

He left me alone with that thought, and I sat there starting to unravel, as it were.

In truth, I would probably have allowed him to take my finger off. It was hurting like the devil and I was generally fed-up with the whole scene. I began to experiment using the other three fingers. I would cope.

So It wasn’t that thought that bothered me, as I sat in my bed hurting all over. Why is it that hospital beds are so incredibly uncomfortable? There was no position I could assume that was any better.

Like it says!

Then the dark thoughts began to creep in. The medical staff had also failed to provide my anti-depressant. Back then I was depressed at the best of times.

No one knew I was in hospital, and I began to think about how I was all alone, misunderstood, misjudged, un-cared for etc etc etc. and I began to weep.

Then the jitters set in. It was as if every nerve in my body was standing on end, raw. It felt as if I had little crawly things all over my body and I thought I must be going mad. I wanted to rip my legs off because they had too much feeling.

Each room had a computer terminal for the nurses feed in the patients vitals. I began to look at that computer with interest. It sort of became the irrational focus of my anger, and I started to visualize picking it up and throwing it at the window.

When I observed that thought floating by, the penny finally dropped. “It’s because I haven’t had my meds!”

Whereupon, I left my bed and sailed forth into the corridor, where I grabbed the first unfortunate person in uniform. I must have looked slightly demented. I certainly felt it.

“What do you need?” she asked, looking rather alarmed.

“I suggest you bring me two Ativan, right away before that computer goes out the window!”

I’m told I can appear a bit fierce when I am agitated.

I got the Ativan, and the head nurse, who was not best pleased to find herself with a patient going into withdrawal. Particularly a patient who was only a “finger”, for God’s sake!

I then became very calm and curled up in a fetal position on my blasted bed and eventually went to sleep.

The following day, Creep-doctor again ripped off my bandage and was even more unimpressed, so it was back under the knife for another poke around.

Finally discharged after five days in hospital, Creep-Man recommending amputation, Grant intervened, telling me not to allow it, that we should seek further advice.

The problem with the finger was that the bite went into the knuckle and the infection spread into the bone. My situation could have been avoided if I had been put on the right antibiotic as soon as I was seen in the ER. I don’t think having the wound poked so many times was very helpful either!

A six-week course of the right antibiotic, administered straight into my blood stream took care of the infection. We had to measure the size of my finger every day and eventually it reverted to a more normal size. It had been impressively swollen!

Long story, to explain why I get twitchy when I start to run out of my pain medication!

Which appears to have finally arrived, so I shall sign off and head for Hannaford’s.

But do pay attention to the lesson: DON’T IGNORE CAT BITES!!!!!!

Poor beautiful Tikka who put me in hospital for five days. We got her a home that seemed to be very loving. I hope it all went well for her. I still worry about all those cats.

3 thoughts on “Bashing my head

  1. What a nightmare! Everyone has a horrible hospital story. Health care is broken.

    I despise anything medical. So funny I had a bad experience with a prescription yesterday, not an opiod or anything anyone would want to steal. Still, it took over a week to have it filled. I called three times over a week and didn’t receive a call back. Yesterday I noticed she gave me a one month supply instead of a six months. Hit the roof. Left a scathing message. Gesu!

  2. Thanks for writing about your finger ordeal. Fortunately, none of my bites have been in such a vulnerable place as yours was, but I couldn’t count the number of times I have been bitten or scratched by cats, dogs or rabbits. I always act tough and usually just wash the wound with some dishwashing soap and go on about my business. If I am doing something outside, I might not even get around to washing it right away. After hearing your story, I am determined to take better care of myself. I really haven’t had a cat wound since my precious Furby passed.

    I hear you about the filling of the pain meds. It seems you only have a window of a day or two to fill them. A day early and they won’t fill it, a day late and you have no meds. I’m glad my tramadol is not that big a problem. My thoughts are with you, Carolyn!

  3. Your experience with your finger from the cat bite turned into a horrible experience! The Dr that did the poking of your poor finger sounds awful.
    If only ER did the right thing, it most likely would have been okay and not need to be in the hospital.

    So glad your medication arrived on time!

    Be well ~

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