The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Will Knit For Bananas

Posted by thedarwinexception on June 20, 2008

Yes, I’m home. Released from the fucking clown hospital, which, if it’s accredited anywhere *as* a hospital, is a direct insult to hospitals the world over.

This time, instead of getting the trainee nursing twins like I did last time, you know, the ones who asked if I had received my “ammonia shot” this year, and who were surprised that all three of my c-section surgical procedures coincided with the birthdates of my kids, I got the phlebotomist trainee.

This chick finally got the needle into my arm, the one with the long tubing on the end to attach the actual IV unit to, and after she did, and had it all taped down, she reached for the empty blood vials on her little cart and tried to attach them to the tubing. They wouldn’t fit, and, luckily, the training person who was with her came back from getting the rubber gloves the trainee was supposed to be wearing before she even attempted to put the needle in my arm, and said “Oh, honey, no, we aren’t *Taking* blood, we’re inserting an IV, remember?”

You can REALLY tell that the employment pool for this hospital is made up of Malonians.

And I really do need to get one of those MedicAlert bracelets that says that I am allergic to Morphine on it. I learned this time (through the trainee who was doing my heart monitor) that the mnemonic for triaging patients who come into the hospital with chest pains is MOAN. Only I’m OAN. The “M” is for “Morphine”, which I can’t take. And I just know that one of these times I’m going to go to the hospital and be unconscious and I’m going to get Morphine. I have absolutely no confidence that this information is written down anywhere in my medical records at this hospital, since at least 5 people came in and asked “Gee, how come they don’t have morphine in your IV drip? I’ll go check that for you…” After the second person, I stopped volunteering that I’m allergic to morphine and just let them go running off tot he nurse’s station, mostly to ge tthem out of the room.

The rest of the mnemonic is Oxygen, aspirin and nitro. And, as Leslie said, the nitro really did help. So did the dliadud, which they kept shooting me up with in lieu of the morphine. The pain in my chest was still there, but I didn’t care.

But I have absolutely no confidence in this hospital, especially after seeing the doctor who was to treat me. He had a few very odd ideas about the source of my pain. He thought it was NOT my heart, mostly because the monitor showed no irregularities in my heart rhythm, and thought instead that it was a result of my “activity level”. Proving that he has no idea who I am. I told him htat the only regular exercise I get is walking with Milo to the post office every other day – which is about 6 blocks from my house. He said that is *way* too much activity, and that this is why I am having pains – because the walking is raising my heart level.

Now, he offered this right after saying there is nothing wrong with my heart. But, I’m kind of thinking that if a leisurely walk at a very slow pace (MIlo has to stop and pee on anything vertical), results in intense pain from the elevated heart rate – well, maybe there’s something worng with your heart, right? But he’s sure there’s nothing wrong with my heart that a lower activity level won’t cure. Oh – lowered activity level and a banana every day – because I’m seriously low in potassium. They gave me potassium pills and an IV bag of potassium – and don’t ever do that, either, because although the nurse said “This might burn…” it didn’t burn, it fucking HURT – like someone was sticking an ice pick in my arm muscle.

But, anyway, I stayed for the day, then overnight, then the next morning Dr. “No activity level” came in and said they were still waiting on more test results and that I should stay another day – which I pretty much refused to do. There were no impending test results that would really necessitate my being there another night, so I told him to call me at home with any results he got after I left that morning. It was impossible to sleep there, and since I hadn’t really slept since Sunday, the simple lack of sleep was going to kill me before anything else did.

The only reason I went to the ER in the first place was to get rid of the intense pain, mostly so I could sleep – and move and breathe without feeling like I was going to die, and since the “edge” got taken off the pain with the nitro, and Dr. “No Activity Level” gave me a prescription for the diladud, I was quite sure I could go home and sleep.

So I left.

But, I *do* need to go somewhere else and get a real diagnosis on the pain in my chest. It’s too intense to ignore, and does interfere with doing *anything* and *everything*. I can’t sit in one position long enough to knit or sew or be on the computer, I can’t walk up and down the stiars without stopping in the middle, and even grocery shopping is a pain in the ass because I can’t walk through the whole store in one visit. Since Malone doesn’t have a cardiologist – in any form, and God forbid I get a cardiologist trainee, I do need to go to Massena or Plattsburgh and see what’s up.

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes and thoughts. I appreciate it.


15 Responses to “Will Knit For Bananas”

  1. Michele said

    Hi Kim,

    Happy to hear that you’re home…and still alive given your description of the hospital / the staff there. I know that you’ve shared a lot about your medical condition on the site but don’t remember if you ever mentioned if you do in fact still have your gallbladder? Because the symptoms you describe coupled with the (although questionable) statement from the doctor that there were no heart irregularities, are consistent with signs of gallstones / might be worth a check. I had a similar episodes several years ago and it took over six months and several trips to the ER / various doctors before someone actually listened to what I was saying and found the problem (and I was a nurse)! Just a thought…

    Best Wishes,


  2. Kay said

    Kim, so glad you are home and the chest pain is somewhat under control.

    Quote from Kim’s post on “Will Work For Bananas”
    But, I *do* need to go somewhere else and get a real diagnosis on the pain in my chest. It’s too intense to ignore, and does interfere with doing *anything* and *everything*. I can’t sit in one position long enough to knit or sew or be on the computer, I can’t walk up and down the stiars without stopping in the middle, and even grocery shopping is a pain in the ass because I can’t walk through the whole store in one visit. Since Malone doesn’t have a cardiologist – in any form, and God forbid I get a cardiologist trainee, I do need to go to Massena or Plattsburgh and see what’s up.

    please let making that appointment be S O O N !

  3. luvgabe said

    So glad to find a new blog from you, Kim!–and that you’re home.

    I read your blog with laughter and tears. You’re right not to have confidence in that doctor. Good grief, even the physicians in Malone are maroons.

  4. JayDee said

    You’re most likely having Angina attacks, which is a logical companion to the blood pressures you’ve mentioned in prior columns. It’s generally manageable once you get it pinned down.

    Run… no, wait… walk at a reasonable pace… to the closest cardiologist, and get worked up. In the meantime, keep your potassium levels normal.

    And… for your own sake… avoid teenagers with needles.

  5. HT said

    Hi Kim,

    Welcome home where you can interact with people whose IQ’s are higher than room temperature.

    HPB, tiredness, chest pain classic symptoms of NEED TO SEE A CARDIOLOGIST……very soon especially since you’re a woman and women don’t always get second chances when it comes to heart problems.

    OJ is high in potassium also if you get tired of bananas.

    I think it’s time to go to St. Mary’s and light a candle or two for you.


  6. Gail in NC said

    Kim, Your sense of humor amazes me! To have the problems you have and still make such wonderful comic stories out of them is phenomenal.

    Please seek a cardiologist’s opinion ASAP. You are too special to take any risks!


  7. tess said

    Welcome home, I am glad that you survived another visit to Malone Hosp. I “ditto” the above thoughts. Call a reputable cardiologist in Plattsburgh and get to the bottom of the problem. It is most likely very fixable, so get relief and a quality of life. Do it soon.
    Again, its nice to have you back.

  8. Cathy said

    I used to work at a hospital very similar to what you are stuck with in Malone. Minimal diagnostic capabilities, minimal staff talent too! Thankfully that traumatic part of my life is over …

    Kim, go somewhere that the doctor(s) will sit and listen to you… really listen. You never got any answers after your abnormal stress test … and don’t let ’em blame this on your other health problems unless they can prove this is all tied together.

    I’m not convinced this is all tied together.

    P.S. Try some cantalope melon for potassium if you are sick of bananas.

  9. AtwoodLady said

    Hi Kim……happy to hear you are home and a little more comfortable.

    I hope you find the medical care you need soon.


  10. Sandy said

    I am not happy. Your body cannot take another chance of going through something like this. If you don’t get to a decent doctor soon, I will also be mad at you. You are worse now than when all started. I do not want anything to happen to you, now, not ever. That you cannot sit and even do the things loved is the most telling of the situation.

    Women are so overlooked within the health industry and know you can kick their rear ends to follow through. House would love to have you as his patient right now. I can see him going through your house and picking through all the yarn wondering where all of the odd stuff came from and what it is made of. Checking out the Harley Barn and odd people running around through it. And perhaps ZL’s house….you haven’t been in there have you? Who knows what is living inside of it.

    Bottom line, we do not want you this sick. We want you well. So let your next post in a next couple of days be telling us you have an appt next week with a specialist.

    It is always a mystery to me how someone never met can be loved so much. But we do and my heart goes with you in taking care of all.

  11. your bro said

    glad your back. when i come here and don’t see new posts from you i start to worry. since i know you are on your computer daily so i start to wonder why you haven’t written. anyways, i miss you humor and wheres the crazy shit from the newspaper monthly? i know i’m not the only one who misses it. take care.

  12. luvgabe said

    Kim, I second what Sandy wrote. You MUST go seek a second opinion from a good doctor ASAP–if not for your own interest, then for us, who love you.

    Do it! You must stop being in denial about the gravity of your blood pressue & heart condition.

  13. Leah said

    I just went through similar symptoms. At the ER ( I had a stroke), they diagnosed blood clots in both my lungs. I also do not get much exercise, much like what you say about yourself, and the clots had developed over a period of time. Your hospital sounds scary!! I am so glad you are a good advocate for yourself and can overcome the incompetence. Please get yourself checked out and don’t stop until you get an answer that makes sense and will lead to feeling better. By the way–I absolutely love your blog. I found you during the spector trial, and have enjoyed your sense of humor since.

  14. skweekie said

    Kim, I haven’t posted for a while. Remember me. I thought up the Zombie Lady Couture idea. Are you still getting thalidomide treatments? From Canada? I attended the annual convention of clinical oncology a few weeks ago, and gave the Celgene rep an earful about the problem you described in your post about MM last year. You should have seen the Celgene display booth at the convention. They are really pushing Thalidomide for MM. The rep wasn’t very helpful. Just thought I would let you know that someone is trying on your behalf.

  15. gaia said


    I’m not sure, but I think I’ve never posted anything to you before. Just HAD to do so this time because your symptoms are so close to the ones I had for too long before I was diagnosed, it makes me shudder. I should have died, but was very lucky and I was going to my family Dr. all the time with the same complaints. I was told I had asthma or was plain crazy and given antidepressants! Meanwhile, I was worsening. One other Dr. in the group was SURE it was my gall bladder. Test said NO. Another group Dr. took one look at the x-ray and said it looked like I had fluid gatherings around my heart…I had Congestive Heart Failure. Please go to better Drs. My drs. were considered to be excellent, but they missed this entirely. There is a blood test that can tell them if you have this. Your description of how you can’t walk upstairs and so many ordinary things cause so much trouble for you. This was just like i was. Do you have a cough? Do you find it better to sit up in the bed? Just wondering. The great thing is I was I had between 3-5 years to live, and I accepted this very easily (I’m a Buddhist)but the rest of my family went nuts. End result: I did everything the cardiologist told me to do and last year I received a clean bill of health for my heart. I never thought that was possible.

    Hope you trace this malady down and get it taken care of very soon! Life ain’t no good if you can’t have any fun! I love reading your blog and wish only the best for you.


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