Monday, May 21, 2007

ER Shithouse and the Retired Bong

I went to the ER this weekend after experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, and serious breathing problems. It all started late on Monday when I felt like complete ass. At first I thought it was allergies. By mid-week the symptoms resembled a cold. By Thursday night, things had gotten worse. After drinking downtown with The Rooster, The Joker, Jeff, and PKPNF, I left the gang early to go home. Before I went to bed I noticed that my breathing was not right. There was heavy wheezing. I didn't think anyone of it and crashed.

When I woke up on Friday, the wheezing was worse. I went to the drug store about bought Vick's vapor rub hoping that would help me breathe better. It worked for about five minutes. Then I had one of those moments where I freaked out. My brother has one elevator in his apartment building and it's slow as shit. There was a moving truck in front and people were loading stuff from one of the floors to bring down to the lobby. I was forced to walk up seven flights of stairs. By the second story, I was out of breath. By the third, I was shaking and broke into a deep sweat. I had to rest for a few minutes on the fourth landing. By the time I got up to seven, I felt as though I ran a marathon. I was shaking, my vision was blurry, and I had difficulty breathing. I thought I was going to die and nearly collapsed upon entering Derek's apartment.

Smoking was impossible and when I went to bed on Friday night, I had a slight panic attack. I never get those, but I was freaked out because I couldn't breathe properly. With a stuffed nose, I was convinced that I was going to die in my sleep. I lathered globs of Vick's vapor rub all over my chest. All that did was make me smell like a gym and gave me an ugly rash. I barely slept on Friday. The same process repeated on Saturday. Of course, I couldn't sleep because I couldn't breathe. I aslo couldn't fall alseep because I couldn't smoke... and smoking pot late at night helps cure the insomnia.

I finally went to the ER which ended up being a terrible decision. I waited for several hours without getting any medical attention. So I walked out. At one point I was sixth on the list. When I checked an hour later, I was 12th. An old lady with a fracture wrist was being wheel in and I knew that made me 13th. Unlucky 13.

The hardest part was having to share a tiny exam room with three other people. All of them were older Hispanic women. One was in a bed near death. The second was in a wheel chair and complained about hemorrhoids. The third was in a walker and couldn't barely breathe. She had serious asthma and I thought she was going to collapse at any moment. Two of them women had at least four family members with them even though there was a strict rule about not having more than one person with you at a time.

As I waited and waited, the old lady with the hemorrhoids complained the entire time. Then it got ugly. I heard her fart for three seconds which was followed by a foul odor. That's when she busted ass all over herself. All over the wheel chair and all over the floor. Shit and diarrhea was spilling down her legs and onto the floor. It took a nurse five minutes to clean it up. At that point, I decided to leave.

I don't have health insurance and a trip to the ER would have cost me a pretty penny. Since I didn't get any treatment, I figured that I didn't have to pay for anything. After all, I never received any medical services. I just sat and wait. A triage nurse took my pulse and temperature but that was it.

I sucked it up and went home. My plan was to go to Derek's doctor on Monday morning. I called this morning at 8:15 and they took walk ins. I was there by 8:35 and sat in a crowded room. I read about 150 pages of Bigger Deal before a nurse took me in to an examination room. I didn't have to side step an old lady's shit to get there which made me feel better.

The nurse was very nice and chatty for a Monday morning. I made an Office Space joke about having the "Mondays" and she thought that was hysterical because that was one of her favorite flicks. My blood pressure was perfect (her words) and I was 183 pounds. Then the doctor finally saw me. She was about my age and a very good looking woman. She wasn't a Jewish doctor like Showcase suggested I see but at least she was American.

I explained to her what happened as she quickly typed stuff into a laptop. I imagined she was writing everything I said word for word, but in reality she could have been checking email or doing anything. I told her about all the travel both domestically and overseas and the fact I work in casinos which have lots of germs and old people. She said that I had bronchitis and she quizzed me about my copious drinking and smoking. I was honest with her about mostly everything even my drug use.

"You have to stop smoking. You have to stop smoking pot."

"Well, how else am I going to get high?"

She frowned and said that one of the reasons I caught bronchitis was due to my smoking. I didn't call her out and say, "I've been smoking almost daily for half of my life. You're full of shit."

I didn't argue and said I would turn over a new leaf. No more weed. No more hard liquor. Just good old fashioned clean living. I asked her if she could recommend a bible store and if she knew any cute Mormon girls. That made her laugh.

She gave me an inhaler and that gave me a slight buzz. She checked my breathing afterwards and my wheezing had disappeared. She prescribed me some Azithromycian and cleared me to fly to Hollywerid on Thursday. If the wheezing returned, I had to go see a doctor in LA or as soon as I got to Las Vegas. In fact she said I should see someone in a week regardless of where I was to make sure I'm fine.

Before we ended our session, I hit her up for pharmies.

"I have to work for seven weeks straight and stay up until 5 or 6 am writing deadlines. I have trouble focusing and need to stay awake. Can you give me something to keep me awake."

She smirked and said no. She couldn't help me.

I was hoping she'd whip out her pad and hook me up with adderral. Instead she told me to drink coffee but to avoid too many Red Bulls.

"Maybe if you stop smoking pot, you might be able to stay up longer?" she said.

Doctor's logic. She had no idea what kind of insanity runs rampant in Las Vegas at the dead hours between 2am and 6am. Alas, I gotta do what she says. Looks like I have to retire the bong for good, at least until after the WSOP ends in late July.

Without health insurance, the trip to Derek's doctor cost me $90. Add the antibiotics, that's another $50. So it cost me $140 to finally breathe properly and find out I can no longer engage in high altitude training.

Time to start huffing glue.

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