So, here I am – Kali. My namesake is the goddess of entropy, and after a night in the ER it has finally struck me how ironic that is.
After all, so many of my health problems could easily be explained as an excess of entropy in my system! Joints breaking down too fast, too much chaos in my digestive tract, etc.
I ended up in the ER the other night because of what turned out to be gastroenteritis – also known as stomach flu. Yes, that’s right, stomach flu made me so sick I had to go to the ER.
It was downright embarassing. I was so sick that the receptionist later told me that she had been concerned for me, and fairly sure I was going to be admitted. The GI doctor on call, who I spoke to before going to the ER, was worried about a blockage in my intestines, or a twist. I had some concern that it could be my appendix as well, though I wasn’t running the fever that typically comes with that. I hadn’t kept anything down for hours, not even water, and anything I ate got rejected before it was digested. My medications got the same treatment, so in addition to the GI problem my pain levels were skyrocketing from being untreated. I was so weak I couldn’t use my crutches, and stumbled as I walked. At one point, an EMT had to escourt me the 20 feet from the bathroom back to my ‘room’ in the ER, as I nearly keeled over.
But a liter of IV fluids, and some IV pain meds and anti-nausea drugs, and I was doing somewhat better…right up until I reacted to the anti-nausea drug.
I had a dystonic reaction. The muscles on the left side of my jaw contracted violently, and because of my connective tissue disorder, it dislocated the right side of my jaw and twisted my mouth so that my teeth ground at my cheek and my gums. It caused an immense amount of pain. I’ll admit, I started screaming – the combination of unexpected pain and my body doing things like that on its own was quite scary enough for me, thank you very much.
At least this ER was highly responsive – within seconds, the doctor was in and assessing the situation, and within a few minutes, the supervising attending doctor was there. They had a brief discussion – give her a muscle relaxant? No, give her benedryl, it’ll stop the reaction (interestingly, not because it was an allergic reaction of any type, but because of a secondary property of benedryl that works against this kind of problem)
They gave me IV benedryl, and I managed to manipulate my poor contorted mouth enough to ask when it would kick in. The doctor told me 15 minutes, maybe 20, but within 10 the muscles started easing and my jaw clicked back into place, with nothing but the pain and cuts in my mouth to show what had happened. (for what it’s worth, a day and a half later, my jaw STILL hurts, and that’s with a fair amount of massage to it)
Not terribly long after this, the attending came back in to poke at me a bit and see if I was doing better, which I was. As I have already had 2 abdominal CTs in the last year, he decided that I ought not to have another one unless it was absolutely necessary, and he thought it wasn’t…because he thought I had stomach flu.
How…embarassing. To be that incredibly sick – and really, it was at the point of being dangerously dehydrated – from just the stomach flu!
I know that it’s because of the combination of IBS, not really being recovered from whatever made me throw up last week, and the stomach flu, but it’s still embarassing. I mean, I remember the utter misery of being sick with it as a child – once, over Christmas – but this was something else.
Too much entropy, that’s what it is. Perhaps I need a new name!