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A First-Hand Experience with the Society of Control

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago


Last night at midnight, while most of Penn State was out getting drunk and partying, I was being discharged from the hospital and soaring on some damn good morphine. The morphine almost made what I'd gone through during the preceding hours seem worth it. Almost. At least finally I had to relax. There is no way to be stressed while high on morphine, I've found.




Last night I was laying in my bed, reading something or other, when I started shivering. I grabbed a blanket, but it didn't help. I got under the covers, but I was still shivering. I turned my heater on high, but I still felt cold. I was getting a little scared because I'd heard stories of people with fevers getting brain damage, and I thought I might be getting a fever. I tried to sleep, thinking if I rested I would feel better. Then it started to become difficult to breathe. I was getting pretty scared at this point, and I was all alone in my house without a car. I tried to meditate, to tell myself to calm down. I tried deep breathing exercises, but my mind was racing. I was very afraid and I thought I was going to die. Thoughts of going to the hospital had occurred to me, but I didn't have any health insurance. I had been to the hospital with my ex-boyfriend when he had a pretty nasty infection, and so I knew the prices they charged for a trip to the emergency room. I started to panic thinking about the cost of an emergency room trip. I didn't know what to do, and I was shivering uncontrollably, almost convulsing at this point. I tried to use my phone to call my boyfriend. He was playing a gig at the Big Easy, and I knew he wouldn't be able to answer my calls. I didn't know what to do. My mom lives 2 hours away, and my ex-boyfriend had taken my car and my dog out to the dog park. I had no idea what time they would be back. I started having thoughts of death, I felt like I was going to die. I tried to relax, but I couldn't. None of the meditation techniques I'd learned would help me at this point. Every one of the muscles in my body were aching from the tension and shivering. Even my teeth hurt. Then I started to get a headache, I imagined my brain was swelling from fever. About this time, my ex-boyfriend came back with my car and my dog. He and I don't have the most congenial relationship, but as soon as I saw him, I began to weep. I told him how scared I was, how awful I felt, how I was afraid I was going to die. He offered to take me to the emergency room, but I resisted. I couldn't afford it, and I didn't have health insurance. But the more I sat there, the more I started to panic. My chest was getting tight and it was hard to breathe. Finally, I agreed to go to the emergency room. During the drive there, I was afraid I wasn't going to make it, that I would die in the car before I got to the emergency room. Every word I spoke made me out of breath. And I was so thirsty. I thought I would die of thirst. After an eternity, we finally pulled up to the emergency room entrance. While Nate parked the car, I went to the front desk. "Hi, I need to be seen by a doctor," I told the woman behind the desk. I had my favorite blanket wrapped around me and my coat over my arm. (Even though it was only about 30 degrees outside and I was shivering, I was also sweating with the windows down on the drive over, so I took my coat off.)


"Is it just your arm hurting?" she asked, looking at my coat draped over my left arm.


"No," I answered, "I can't stop shaking, I feel like I'm going to throw up, I'm really thirsty, and I feel like I am going to pass out."


"Okay, just have a seat and someone will be with you."


"Can I get some water?" I asked. I must have sounded pathetic, because I couldn't talk above a whisper without becoming out of breath. I was having a hard time focusing my eyes on anything, and I was swaying while I talked to her. She went to get me some water, and I walked over to the waiting area. My legs felt like lead. I was sure I was going to trip and fall. It must have taken me five minutes to walk the twenty feet to where the chairs were lined up against the wall.




There was a mother and son sitting diagonally from me and another mother and her daughter sitting beside me, as well as a man sitting across from me. They were looking at me like I was from another planet. I was sure they all thought I was on drugs. I don't blame them; I must have looked like a junkie, shaking and shivering and swaying and talking nonsense. My thoughts were completely crazy. I wish I could remember most of them, because I'm sure I'd find them entertaining now. All those people were in line in front of me, and I resented them for it. I was clearly worse off than anyone else in there. I thought I was in serious danger of dying, although I'm sure the waiting room staff didn't see it that way. Nate came in and sat down beside me and struck up a conversation with the mother and daughter beside us. Apparently, the daughter had fallen in the shower and was afraid she broke her wrist. They asked Nate what was wrong with me. I didn't say a word. I just sat there with my head in between my knees trying not to hyperventilate. I was so reverted into myself, so contained in my own head, that the entire experience was like watching a movie. I wasn't really there, I was removed and watching it go down on a screen.




I was incredibly relieved when my boyfriend finally showed up. His gig was over. He'd gotten my message that I was going to the hospital and he'd come as soon as he could. Nate left, and finally they called us into the intake room. Mike told the woman all of my information because I wasn't making any sense when I was talking. I was still shaking uncontrollably. Somehow I was able to give the woman my social security number, though. After she'd gotten all of my information, I was taken back to a room. Mike had to find a sub for his second gig, so he went out to the waiting room to make some phone calls. The woman who had taken my information led me back through the ER, past a bunch of beds and desk and equipment. I thought I would pass out, and I told her I didn't think I could walk much further. She seemed unconcerned and didn't even look back at me when she said it wasn't too much further. When we got to the room, she wanted me to give a urine sample. I had to pee very badly, and I sat down on the toilet and almost completely forgot that I was supposed to pee into the cup. Then I had to take off all of my warm clothes and put on a drafty hospital gown. I wrapped myself up in my blanket and curled up on the bed, still convulsing.




Lots of people came in and asked me questions. They were going to put an IV in. I knew it the second I laid on the bed, and i'd been dreading it. A woman came in and told me she was going to stick something up my nose. A long wire with some cotton on the end of it. She stuck it up so far, I thought she was going to touch my brain. Without thinking, I blew out of my nose when I felt it go in, and I blew some snot on her. She got real pissed off then, and said very curtly, "Please don't do that," in the bitchiest voice I'd heard in a long time. At this point, I just wanted to cry. I did cry. All of these strangers came and started poking and prodding at me, wanting things from me and being very rough. The man came and wanted to put the iv in my hand. I tried to reason with him, to tell him I didn't want it. But he was also a skilled negotiator (no doubt he had to go through this routine more than once a night) and it became clear that, like it or not, they were going to put needles and hoses in my veins.




He tried at first to put the IV in my hand. It hurt like hell, and I was so scared. My boyfriend had to hold my head. I was still tense, still shaking, and at this point I was thrashing wildly on the bed. I didn't want the IV. He had the needle in my hand and kept trying to push it in further. I asked him to stop, not to put it up any further. I felt the tube going into my wrist. I guess he gave up on the hand and decided to put the IV into the vein on the inside of my elbow. I was having wild thoughts about hollow needles and coffee stirrers in my veins. Finally he got the IV in, after about fifteen minutes of torture. Then they put a crap load of morphine and fluids into my veins, and I drifted off into morphine-land. They asked me to rate my pain, and I told them it was an 8 out of 10. They gave me more morphine. Later, I told them I had a headache and they gave me more morphine. The doctors and nurses were running tests. I laid there and listened to the family beside us talk about the little boy's strep throat. I listened to him cry when they put the IV in him, and my body tensed in revolt when I heard him shriek. I wanted to tell him I knew what he was going through. But of course I didn't. I laid awake in my bed, writing stories in my head. Morphine stories. Stories that made no sense. Finally I started to relax.




I was in the hospital for a total of 3 hours. I didn't have the flu, I didn't have menengitis, it wasn't a urinary tract infection or toxic shock syndrome. They didn't know what was wrong with me. I knew what it was. They tried to tell me it was some kind of unidentifiable virus. But I knew better. I had a panic attack.


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