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internal desert.

so what happened was bad pizza led to food poisoning led to severe dehydration led to kidney failure.

some of my time line is a little fuzzy, but the details are pretty much all here for those that are interested. (why you would be, i don't know, but here it is. :) )

it started on sunday. katie and i had planned a trip up to powell's where i got harrington on hold 'em volume ii and katie got a bunch of architecture books and a couple of random english lit. books i think. Afterwards we stopped by the pizza place across the street for dinner where i had a slice of pizza with chicken, garlic, and mushrooms.

i'm pretty sure that this was the culprit of the problem, due to the chicken. I was pretty tired all day due to not getting a lot of sleep the night before, so my increased lethargicness after getting home didn't worry me too much, nor the headache i also eventually got.

but it kept getting worse and eventually hit a point sometime around 2ish in the morning where i decided i couldn't go into work. i sent off an email to my manager stating that i planned on coming in on tuesday or at least trying to work from home on tuesday with the intent of coming in wednesday.

sometime around then was when my appetite completely disappeared and i started having diarrea problems, shitting liquid only and at intervals anywhere between five to twenty minutes. i didn't have any crampy sort of feelings in my stomach or anything, it was just affecting what was coming out, which also kept me from sleeping off and on through the night. At around five in the morning i decided that i was in need of "boy are you sick" fluids so i hopped over to the s'leven and picked up a bunch of gatorade. The act of standing up and walking around was much more effort than i thought it would have been.

i kept drinking fluids as best i could, otherwise pretty much living on the toilet through the morning. i started to get some stomach pains to go with the diarrea and i wanted very desparately to vomit, but i wasn't too keen on inducing it or forcing it to happen. But eventually around 11am or so, i threw up. for the first time in about twenty-five years.

The sensation of me throwing up was actually very fascinating to me since it had been so long since it had happened. I had a lot of fluids up to this point and the most recent thing i had drank was orange vitamin water, and i could taste it all the way up my mouth as stuff expelled. Everything solid that came up was cushioned by the amount of liquid that i had in me, so none of it hurt. it happened in three or so waves, and as i was going through the first one, i had this image of Ed Harris when he expelled the liquid oxygen towards the end of The Abyss. It was pretty crazy, and it wasn't... *unpleasant* exactly, but i think i'm satisfied with the experience to last me another twenty-five years.

After that was done, i felt better, but the diarrea didn't go away and minor stomach pains started to come back. i was drinking lots of random stuff to try to keep my fluid levels all happy, and katie was doing her best to take care of me (she came in earlier that morning), went out a few times to get supplies. That day i was only able to stomach about four or five crackers. Even the smell of other food made me feel a little nauseous.

Katie left for work at about 2:30am with the intent of coming back when she was off. i sent another message to work and then tried to sleep.

The role of me trying to ride the food poisoning out and katie trying to take care of me changed tuesday afternoon when suddenly Katie got sick as well, which surprised me because i ddin't think food poisoning was contagious. (afterwards, Laurel conjectured it was because she used my toilet.) The thing is that while i was generally weak, constantly feeling thirsty, and still shitting a lot of liquid and all, i was still drinking a lot of fluids and feeling fairly alert, Katie's symptoms were *much* worse. In addition to her own bowel issues, she started throwing up constantly even when there wasn't anything to throw up. As time went on she got paler and paler and eventually it got bad enough that i decided i needed to take her to the ER. I intended to check myself in too just as a precaution, mainly because i wanted to make sure that it was just food poisoning and not something more serious so it could maybe help in Katie's diagnosis - otherwise i probably wouldn't have checked myself in at all.

We arrived at the ER room around 19:30 and we ended up waiting there for about three hours before katie was able to get to see anyone because it was so busy there. I was feeling weaker and weaker, but still felt otherwise alert and just keeping aware of my surroundings and keeping an eye on katie who kept on looking worse and worse. she threw up a bunch in the lobby and hit a point where she was too weak to even stand.

Eventually (around 22:30) she got in, and about a half hour or so later i got called back as well (after randomly running into Naima who was there to see someone). I got an IV put into me and it immediately made me feel better. i don't remember them taking a blood sample, but they must have based on what happened later.

i ended up describing and repeating what had occured in the past couple of days to two nurses and two doctors between the hours of 23:00-02:30ish. Most of that time was spent waiting more than anything else, and although the iv really helped me, my mouth felt really dry. The second nurse, an asian named Tiffany, gave me a cup of ice to see if i could stomach it, and it was some of the best ice i had ever tasted in my life.

In between the first two nurses and the first doctor, there was a woman who was brought in via some sort of emergency ambulance or something by her brother who was pretty drunk, and she was being very loud and combative with the nurses and security, saying that 'she just wanted to go home', and raisied enough of a ruckus about it - yelling, trying to leave, trying to say she just wanted a cigarette, saying why the fuck were they keeping her here, etc. that they ended up locking her in her room. i overheard one of the nurses talking to another about how rare that was. i kind of wanted to talk to her to hear her story or to at least calm her down or something, but i didn't think it was really my jurisdiction.

Towards the end of the drama with the combative drunk female, the first doctor came in, a very "stock attractive doctor" with slicked-back hair and a nice smile named Steve. He asked me questions about what had happened, took notes, took vitals, etc., and at the end of the whole thing he said, "well, the blood tests are back from the lab and you're so severely dehydrated right now that your kidneys are failing, so you're going to have to stay the night, and we're going to have to monitor the kidneys closely."

i think my response was to widen my eyes and say, "really? no way." in my normal mendel sort of way. It was a little shocking, but my reaction wasn't horribly strong. The first thought that hit my head about it when he told me was, "i don't have a computer around to tell my boss that i'm not going to be at work tomorrow, and if katie stays here too, she won't be able to pass the message for me either." He said that i was going to get transferred up to the hospital all proper-like, but it would be a little while since they had to shuffle people around and it was unusually busy that evening. I said, "no problems", and resolved to wait more. I was also worried about katie, so inquired whether she was still around, but he didn't know. (i eventually found out she was, in a different room on the other half of the building.)

so i waited around a little more and a nurse named Aaron came and refilled my IV, and then i waited another half hour or so and then another doctor, an older guy named Ben with a complicated last name who hardly smiled at all asked me pretty much exactly the same questions i had just answered and wrote down exactly the same info. I got the impression that he was the "higher eschelon" sort of doctor, outside of the ER department.

After that, i waited around for about another half hour before another nurse came in named Brittany and told me that i might be getting out tonight after all, and i said, "no complaints about that". And then about a half hour later, Tiffany came back and said my room was being prepped. I said something about how another nurse had said i might be leaving tonight, and Tiffany contradicted it, saying, no i'm definitely staying the night. i shrugged both mentally and physically, figured it was probably better.

Tiffany left, and after another bout of waiting, another nurse came in and said, "i need to get a catalog of your belongings." i think i read his name tag, but i don't remember it now. it might have been Nathan. He asked me, "do you have any [blank]?" with blank being medication, wallet, purse, credit cards, cash, weapons, etc. With the credit card/cash thing he asked, "do you want those put in the safe in case of theft?" and i asked, "do things like that usually get stolen?" and he smiled a little and said, "i don't think so, but i don't work upstairs." i decided to keep the stuff on me, but for cash i said to put down "five dollars" because i didn't know how much cash i actually had, and i said, "let's make the thieves who look at it think i don't have a lot of money," to which the nurse laughed a little.

After that, he left and i sat there for a little while longer before another nurse whose name i didn't read came in and said, "we ready to go upstairs?" and i said, "sure." she put all of my and katie's stuff in a bag and brought in a wheelchair for me so we could go upstairs (i said i could walk, and she said, "not an option."). I inquired about katie again because i was worried about her, asked if it was possible for me to get any info on her, and then i got put into my room, room 362, where i was given a more sophisticated IV machine that was able to control the mL rate of fluids being pumped into me which they started at 175 mL/hr, apparently pretty fast, but necessary because of my level of dehydration.

not too soon after i had gotten in the room, katie showed up. she still looked pretty pale, but they had released her to go home, so we talked for a little bit said we'd call to check up on each other, and then she left to go back to my place to crash since that's where all the gatorade and fluids and OTC medication we had was stored.

the stay in the hospital over the next couple of days was a mixture of interesting observations and not unpleasant boredom. i wish i had some staff paper with me to write some music or my work computer to get done some work, but ah well. There were several things that happened over that period of time that i found interesting.

First, the cartoon network has changed pretty drastically since i last watched it years ago. Ed, Edd, and Eddy has a lot more prominence than it ever has before and is probably the remaining "classic" cartoon still in heavy rotation from the Dexter's Lab/Powerpuff Girls sort of era. The animation style has improved quite a lot since it was first on the air, but the stories are still pretty bland and the humor not too funny to me.

The other shows that i saw for the first time were Camp Lazlo (which had its moments, but generally was also not too appealing to me), My Gym Partner is a Monkey (similar sentiments), Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (which is absolutely fantastic), Ben's 10 (which i also find pretty fantastic, enough that i want to maybe rent some dvds or find torrents), Blood+ (which, like all anime, was difficult to comprehend without seeing all of the episodes surrounding it but didn't look too shabby), and Frisky Dingo (which didn't interest me at all, sorry Williams Brothers).

I also watched a family guy episode for the first time in years and still found it amazingly dull and predictable and humorless, a feeling that was oddly comforting.


The second set of observations is about the room itself. The wallpaper was the sort that was designed subtley with kid-friendly sorts of things, the sort of thing that could make a kid feel welcome but was also so background that an adult wouldn't mind. The room was smaller than i thought it would be, with the sophisticated hospital bed, some equipment hookups in the back, a telly with a vcr hooked up to it, a white board and stat sheets up on the far wall, and a small closet and a bathroom. The walking space between the bed and the far wall was maybe large enough for two people to squeeze through if necessary.

Hospital bed technology has changed somewhat, and i'm not sure that i like it. In addition to the flexibility of raising or lowering the front or back half of the bed (and also as an aside being used as a way to measure my weight), the bed had some sort of sophisticated weight sensing everywhere in it designed to contour or fit whatever body and whatever position that body happened to be in. So any time i moved around the bed, motors would start churning and whistling and i'd feel various parts of the bed beneath me change to be slightly higher or lower to match what i was doing.

it wasn't uncomfortable when it did this, but the annoying thing is that i think it always made the assumption that i was lying on my back. I dislike sleeping on my back, but when i tried to turn to the side, the bed made a particular sort of adjustment that stretched a part of my body incorrectly and uncomfortably, and no amount of "bigger picture" upper or lower torso adjustment i had control over was able to fix that. i wanted there to be some sort of setting i could push to turn off that function or at least tell it, "hey idiot, i'm lying on my side now, thanks." in the end i just tried to sleep on my back, and it worked okay off and on.


The third thing i found really odd was the structure of how the staff looks after patients. it felt very much like a casino poker room. When i first arrived there, i had a nurse and a CNA who was in charge of taking my vitals and makinig sure i had everything i needed. They wrote their names on the board in the appropriate spots (in addition to writing some of my vitals). After maybe seven-ish hours of maybe one or two interactions with those two, two others would come in and end up being my new nurse and CNA. This happened maybe five to six times when i was there, and only in the morning that i got discharged did i see the same nurse that i saw the first time (but with a different CNA). Some of the names were fairly memorable too - there was Roxanne and Daniel and Mona and Char and Martha, and another nice lady whose named started with an H and ended with an A, but i don't remember exactly the letters in between. But i thought it was a little strange that it rotated as quickly as it did and with such frequency. Like, maybe it would make sense for there to be three sets assigned to a wing (morning, night, late night), and then i'd start seeing the same people.

The other odd thing was that while the second doctor from downstairs was listed as my primary doctor, i never saw him again. The guy who checked up on me wednesday morning and thursday morning identified himself as "the day guy". His name was Larry and his demeaner was very pleasant and very easy going with me, actually offering me the option of leaving wednesday night instead of thursday morning if i wanted to undergo some outpatient guidance and a follow up. I thought it would actually be better for me to stay in the hospital until i was at full strength - one more evening in the hospital wasn't going to hurt - so i stayed.


finally, the food. At first i was put on a liquid diet, which consisted of jello, juice, and chicken broth. They also offered me coffee on wednesday morning, which i thought was really odd. Eventually they gave me the option to have Real Food as it seemed like i wasn't throwing up at all and my diarrea was decreasing, so i had my first real food offering early wednesday afternoon, a mediterranean lentil soup that wasn't too shabby. The first proper meal since sunday was that night. From the stuff i had to choose from, i opted for their beef in gravy with carrots over white rice, a salad with ranch dressing, a tomato cheese soup with a slice of wheat bread, and apple juice. The beef texture was okay, though the rice was a little dry. the whole thing needed a little bit of salt and pepper and maybe some basil, but i wasn't objecting to the blandness of it as bland was better for my stomach anyway. The salad was unforutnately iceberg lettuce based and was too small, like a half serving that contained carrot shavings and a couple of cucumbers and one small tomato. The soup was definitely the best part of the whole thing, although more likely because it's hard to muck up your basic tomato cheese soup, especially when served with good bread (which this was).

late at night i ended up getting hungry, so they gave me a fridge-based turkey sandwich which served no particular taste purpose but at least offered something other than iceberg lettuce for greens and filled the hunger void i had better than nothing.

for breakfast the next morning i had a denver scramble which was probably some of the worst eggs i had ever had in my life. i think that whoever is in charge of that part of hospital meals never learned the basic rule of scrambled egg cooking (being that you take them off *before* they're done because they'll continue to cook when off the grill). No amount of salt, pepper, tobasco sauce, or a zagat rated $30 plate of the most amazing pad thai noodles coculd have saved those eggs under any circumstances. I was glad that i also opted for the wheat bagel, otherwise i probably would have self-destructed.


anywway, i think that's pretty much it. i was discharged on thursday morning where Larry told me that my kidney made a complete recovery back to normal and that in general i was healthy enough that not only did i not need to go back for a follow up exam, but if i really wanted to and i kept on my current life path, i probably didn't need to see a doctor for a general check up until i hit age 40.

so i called katie to come pick me up, got discharged, got some more supplies for both katie and me since she was still feeling fairly sick, and pretty soon after made some soup and ate it ravenously.

i'm still a little weak, but my appetite and my digestive system seem to be pretty back to normal at this point. I still feel a little queasy about eating any sort of pizza - i'd rather stomach a good spicy thai curry than eat even a good quality piece of pizza from, say, mezza luna. I certainly feel even less inclined to order any shitty delivery pizza that's below the quality of the pegasus/PRI/mezza luna sort, and if the thought of Dough Co was nauseating enough for me before, it's pretty fucking revolting to me now.

*smiles* that was my week. How about you?


( read spoken (15) — speak )
Aug. 25th, 2007 11:55 am (UTC)
Wow! How scary! I'd never guess that dehydration could lead to kidney failure (so quickly).

Glad you are better and hope your medical bill isn't too awful.

(Deleted comment)
Aug. 25th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
aw! that is terrible. food poisoning scares me, as does throwing up, as i hadn't done it for a long time either until sophomore year of college, knock on wood. Did the pizza or chicken taste funny at all to you? eek. The sad part is that it can happen anywhere, even in salads!

I'm glad you are feeling better!!
Aug. 25th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
the pizza didn't taste too funny to me at all, nor to katie for the one bite of it she had. the chicken was in such small pieces and masked by the other flavors of the pizza i think that whatever alert i could have had about it being past its expiry was masked. i've had their pizza a couple of times before and haven't had issues with it and it kinda sucks because it's really not a bad pizza place. but i'm sure not going there again for a long time.
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's quite an ordeal.

I'm so glad you're all right, though, M. You have no idea. *hug*
Aug. 25th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
hugs back at ya. :)
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
Wow, that sucks.

Glad to see you're feeling better, though.
Aug. 25th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
I've been lucky to never have gone through food poisoning. Glad to hear you're allright [a].
Aug. 26th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
You're the first person I've heard say they LIKED Ben 10.

Of course most of the people I talk to are huge Teen Titans fans who are a little bitter toward B10 because it has a lot of the same animators and it feels as though that show has kind of 'replaced' TT.

But I digress.
Aug. 26th, 2007 06:11 am (UTC)
ah, that makes more sense.

don't know why they should feel bitter about it, though. it wasn't their fault that TT had to be cancelled, they wanted to continue on their own thing so they created their own thing. better that they do that then just let their creative talent go to waste.
Aug. 26th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC)
Dude... Mendel I'm SO glad you guys are okay. I hope that you both are feeling all better soon. I'm sending the Rachel-loves your way, dear. *hugs*
Aug. 26th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
Glad things turned out well and you're okay. Hope the bill didn't cost you a leg :(

And it was Rocco's pizza? That is too bad.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 29th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
jesus christ! I've been LJ absent - glad you are feeling better :)
( read spoken (15) — speak )


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