Yep! You read it correctly. They tried to kill me. Who is “they” you ask? One of the major hospitals in my city. I went to the emergency room because I was having extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, and few other annoying symptoms that I experience a lupus flare.
Anyone who lives with a chronic illness knows that this process is very tedious and frustrating. I mean, who wants to spend a beautiful day cooped in a room, hooked up to machines that beep every 2 minutes while lying on a yoga mat they call a bed. Lord knows I love that I have the right to go to a hospital to get treated for any problems that I may be having. I fully understand that there are so many people around the world, including some of my fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, who do not have access to health care of any kind; just know I am explaining, not complaining. I digress.
So, the doctor immediately began treating me for the pain. I really can’t remember if I wasn’t paying attention or if he wasn’t fully explaining what was about to happen next. So, I really don’t want to blame him for malpractice if possibly, my thoughts were louder than his voice. I was in so much pain, that I didn’t notice the nurse come in and attached Ketamine to my IV (intravenous therapy). I don’t remember the dosage, I just remember what came 5 minutes after she left. I felt this high that I can only describe as the very first time I smoked marijuana. It was a familiar high. Five minutes after that, I began to feel a high I can only describe as a heroin high. Now, I have never ever in my life taken heroin. I’m just saying, based off of what I’ve seen in person, it felt how a heroin addict would look when they’re finishing that first injection.
In elementary school, when D.A.R.E. officers came in and told us, students, that drugs would kill us, I believed them. It has always been in my head that drugs=death. That’s a little weird to admit, but I’m sure it’s saved my life a few times. I’ve never thought about, dreamed about, or wondered a little bit about what those kinds of drugs would feel like. The strongest drug I’ve ever taken was Percocet 7.5/325mg, I even hate that! So, needless to say, drugs aren’t my thing. *Disclaimer: Marijuana is not a drug, it is a plant.* Sorry, I digress again.
This Ketamine high was absolutely horrific. First, my body felt like it was melting all over the hospital bed, I was so relaxed. Then, I started laughing hysterically like something was funny. No one said anything! I was just laughing, like, “Joker from Batman” laughing. Then, I began hallucinating, but that didn’t last long. Not compared to how long my body felt lifeless, like I was dead. Not to mention my heart rate went up. I was terrified. I’ve never felt anything like it. And the worst part, it only took away my pain for 30 minutes. 30 Minutes! I was high as a kite for almost 24 hours after that. Early, next day, I remember feeling like I was floating through space.
Come to find out, the nurse had the IV drip up way too high, so there was fluid entering my bloodstream faster than it was supposed to. So, instead of the medication entering my body at squirt gun rate, it’s entering my body at a water hose rate. Oh, and did I mention that I’m currently weighing in at 105 pounds?
This experience taught me so many lessons and I want to share them with you. Even if you do not struggle with a chronic illness, please use this as an example, even if it’s just for a check-up.
BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE
You know your body better than anyone! Medical doctors may be experts in their field, but you’re an expert on you. Below is a list of ways to help you become your own advocate
It’s true. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Especially when it comes to your health. No matter how big or small, crazy or sane, ask your questions, all of them. Gain as much knowledge as you possibly can so you can have a full understanding of what you are growing through.
Write everything down
Keep track of all important documents and what you and your doctor discussed that day. Also, keep track of conversations that you may have had over the phone with one of your doctors’ nurses or supporting medical staff. This really helps if you have multiple doctors. If you’re like me, I talk to so many different people, it’s hard to keep track.
Keep a list of current/past medications
Doctors are human, they make mistakes. One mistake that they can possibly make is prescribing a new medication that may counteract your current medication(s). So when they say, “We’re going to start you on (name of medication).” You can say, “Will it counteract any of my current medications?”
Know and respect your limit
If they want to perform invasive procedures on you and you’re not comfortable, don’t let them do it. Express your concern. If you feel like you’re not getting heard, get another opinion.
Keep A Journal
Write down your feelings. Write down your goals. Write down anything that you feel is in important for your recovery. That way, you’re not just keeping track of your body’s needs, but also your minds need as well.
I may have exaggerated a little. They really didn’t try to kill me. It was an oversight made by the nurse. Although, if I would have known the above and did a little research on my smartphone, that could have been avoided altogether. For now on, I’m making sure I know everything there is to know about the health care plans my physicians have for me.
“Oh, no, not I! I will survive. Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive. I’ve got all my life to live. I’ve got all my love to give. And I’ll survive, I will survive, hey, hey.” -Gloria Gaynor