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My Visit(s) to the Vanderbilt ER

Posted by on Friday, April 8, 2011 in College Life, Health Care, Student Life.

I’d like to apologize to all of you for being incredibly MIA as of late. I’ve been dealing with a very interesting health situation, resulting in two trips to the Vanderbilt ER. While this is unfortunate news for me, it allows me to share knowledge that I gained with all of you worrisome parents out there that fear for their child’s safety when going off to school.

About three weeks ago, I started experiencing some pretty odd symptoms: my eyes swelled up significantly (see Eileen’s picture of me from AOII’s Red Rose Ball), I started having an incredibly sporadic fever accompanied by nausea, I had intense pain in my throat, and on occasion, my throat would swell up so much that I had difficulty swallowing a small pill.

Now some of you might say, “You really should have gone to the ER when your throat started closing up, you idiot. You could have died.” Perhaps. However, I decided to wait it out. Eventually, my symptoms became so intense that I called my doctor back home, who instructed me to go to the ER. So last Tuesday (the 29th), I walked into the ER at about 10:30 PM. Luckily I brought a friend with me to talk to, as I wasn’t seen until 4:30 AM Wednesday morning (to be honest, I expected more from an award-winning emergency department who brags about “door-to-doctor” times of 10 minutes). The doctors did a blood test and a chest X-ray (the latter to check for atypical pneumonia), and it turns out I had a very strange case of mono. With mono, there’s really nothing you can do to treat it, so they sent me home and told me to come back immediately if I had any sort of pain in the upper left part of my abdomen, as it could mean that my spleen had ruptured.

So, given my luck: at 5 AM on Friday morning, I began experiencing intense pain in the upper left part of my abdomen. I called 9-1-1, and they sent an ambulance to take me back to the ER. I was strangely taken off the ambulance and then put into the waiting room for an hour and a half (Doesn’t an ambulance signal an immediate emergency?), so the rest of the waiting room got to hear me moan for a while, doubled over in agonizing pain. However, an incredibly nice lady from Housing came on behalf of Vanderbilt to make sure I didn’t need anything and to talk to the ER staff about getting me back there as soon as possible. She also told me that my dean would be notified so that I didn’t have to worry about missing class, and my professors would be notified of my illness and would work with me on making up any work I missed. It was truly a nice touch on Vanderbilt’s part, and it really made me feel comforted to know that I had someone from the university there looking out for me.

Eventually, I was taken back into an examination room, and they performed two ultrasounds and a CT scan for discovering that, while my spleen had not ruptured, my spleen and liver were both extremely enlarged, there was inflammation in my intestines, and there was some free fluid (which could signal a ruptured organ) around my bladder. So, they kept me overnight to keep an eye on things and make sure nothing worse developed (Did I mention Sunday was my birthday? Great birthday weekend.). Luckily, nothing did, and they released me on Saturday with some pain medication. My mom drove up from Pensacola in case the doctors had to operate, so I got to spend some time with her, which was great. I also got my room restocked with groceries while she was here for free. Added bonus.

Also, I’d like to add (before I sound too much like I’m ragging on the Medical Center), that though the waiting room times were indeed absolutely ridiculous, once I was taken into the examination room, I received excellent care. The nurses that took care of me in between doctors’ visits were truly superb. They had great attitudes and were all incredibly comforting. As someone who has never been that sick on my own before, much less in need of an ER visit on my own, I felt truly at ease. In addition, Vandy has accommodations for those who are too sick to get around. For instance, I have to go to the Student Health Center to follow up, get reexamined, etc., and the lady from Housing notified me that VUPD will gladly escort me there and back (and would have taken me back from the hospital had my mom not come into town). So parents, rest assured. Your kids will be absolutely fine, and there is some wonderful care here.

So, hopefully that all explains why I’ve been so busy lately. I’m definitely planning on getting some hardcore blogging in within the next couple of days. I have a lot of stuff to share with you guys that’s been on my mind lately.

If you have any questions about my ER visits, be sure to comment below!

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