I had an interesting early morning in the ER today. As a patient, though – not as an RN.
Around 4am, I was awoken from a very deep sleep by the worst pain imaginable. This, according to the 1-10 pain scale that we nurses are supposed to use to judge a patient’s pain, would be a 10. At first, in my slumbery stupor, I thought it was a charley horse in my back and would go away. Then I became fully awake quite quickly and realized that it was not going to just go away.
I don’t know if you can imagine being in so much pain that you actually consider calling an ambulance, but I was. I then figured there was no way I could just passively sit there and wait for them. So I woke my fiance up to take me to the ER. It hurt so bad that I didn’t even care about what I was wearing – I just threw on a coat and we left.
I guessed that it was a kidney stone because it was in that area of my back and only on one side. I’d heard that kidney stones hurt like a bitch, but in my short life thus far, my worst pain has been dry socket from wisdom tooth extraction (which I would have rated a 10 at the time) and when I injured my back. I would now rate those two situations as 6-7′s compared to this.
We finally get to the ER in the hospital that I work at, and have to fill out a goofy form. We tell the receptionist person that this is the worst pain ever, but she seems quite unfazed and said that the triage nurse would be with me soon, and she was. As with the receptionist, I’m convinced that even if I’d come in with my arm cut off spurting blood with every heartbeat, this triage nurse would not have gone ANY FASTER in taking my vitals and gathering info.
I finally got to a gurney, got an IV, and got some freakin’ Toradol, which turned out not to be as great for me as it has been for my patients. After that didn’t work, they gave me some morphine and phenergan. I’ve never had morphine or phenergan and was actually a little scared to take it – one Benedryl tablet can zonk me out for 10 hours easily. It did end up taking the pain away a little, but not for very long at all – maybe 15 minutes at the most with both doses. Mostly it just made me very very sleepy.
Then, just like that, the pain vanished. Disappeared. Now it’s just a dull ache that I can definitely manage. So brings me to the title of this entry. Isn’t it kind of a weird feeling when something hurts so bad and then just stops? It’s like a tangible relief. I was so fascinated with that feeling.
I can’t get in to see my doc for another week, so I hope it stays that way! It was really interesting to see how morphine made me feel. Despite sleeping for 3 hours before I went to the hospital, I easily slept 8 more when I got home. Yay phenergan :-)
I normally work fast when my patient tells me they are having 9-10/10 pain – I think now I’ll work a little faster.