I’m stressed, so I’ve peeled off my sweater to prevent overheating. My husband is still holding pressure and paper towel on his pinky finger, and I’ve made a point of not seeing the wound. I have seen a drop of blood run down his knuckle when he showed the wound to the triage nurse, but I’m still sure it’s the stress that has me a little warm.
Normally the ER is a very full place, but surprisingly despite the flu warnings we were through the waiting room quickly, and straight from triage into a care cubicle. The doctor comes in, he obviously needed to see the wound and confirmed that stitches are indeed the order of the day. I’ve had stitches, I knew this was what was needed, so I’m not sure why the back of my head is buzzing, a faint dizziness coming through my brain.
I lean my head back, breathe deeply, smelling hospital. I mention that I’m just starting to have my dizzy spell, and when my stomach begins to lurch I know I’m reacting to the blood and hospital. Just as they move the paper towel around in order to administer the lidocaine shot I know I’m wobbly – I make my excuse and get up to leave the cubby.
Next thing I know I’m back in my chair, my thoughts wandering, head back against the wall. The doctor is in front of me? I’m apparently coming around and my husband, as well as the doctor, is laughing… I guess I didn’t get up?
Oh no, they inform me, I was up and half way to the door when I passed out from the blood and hospital. So they take my blood pressure, check my heart rate, and per my request get me an ice pack I can put at the back of my neck. Then, to prevent further issues, put me in a wheelchair and deposit me in the mini waiting room, while they wait for the lidocaine to work and stitches to be administered. Rather quickly the dizzy finally passes, the ice pack sitting against the back of my neck warming slowly.
I try to be patient. It works for a while. I don’t have a book, so I check the world on my phone. Another patient waiting for a cubicle is brought in briefly with her family. They eventually disappear when her cubby is ready. After a half an hour I stand up to see if I’m stable – sure enough I am. Pacing, putzing around, restless. I’m nervous to go back, but I figure they should be done. Another 15 minutes or so pass, I think. Alright, I ask the nurse station if it’s okay for me to return and they give me the all clear.
Sure enough, stitches are done, and we’re just waiting for the dressing afterwards. So I banter, sit, relax. The doctor peeks in to confirm that we’re just waiting for dressing, comments that my color is much better (apparently I went pale?), and moves on. I’m good. I’m stable. I’m fine. Then the nurse comes in to do the dressing and sure enough a touch of fuzzy starts to return, so I retreat into the hallway. Chatting with another nurse, she gets me a cup of water and I’m fine again. I still give them plenty of time to finish the dressing, then tentatively creep back… catching a fragment of their conversation I retreat again. A few more impatient minutes and I am able to return. Once everything is wrapped up (literally and figuratively) we are cleared to go.
Check out takes a bit, but the first breath of cool night air is a sweet balm to my senses. My hands feel firm and not shaky, I’m ready to drive us home, and boy am I looking forward to finally getting dinner. Did I mention he got this cut trying to open the cheese for our burritos?