The Blog of Dabido (the Baka one). Everything in this blog is copyrighted. Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 by D. Stevenson.

20 February, 2005

As Close to Near Death As I Care To Get

While reading another blog tonight, old memories returned to me regarding a few things in my life. The main memory that was brought back, was the year in my life that everyone around me seemed to be dying. (About 1990-1 I think). I can't remember how many people I knew died that year. I do remember that I always seemed to be up at the hospital waiting room. Though some of the times it was for other things. (Like my Ex had severe appendicitis that year too ... so that was another night at the hospital awaiting news. In her case, it wasn't bad news, unlike the other times). It also brought back another memory. The time I almost died in 1997. (Actually, there have been a few near misses in my life.) In this case, I was basically over worked & overstressed. I'd awoken that morning, and started vomitting blood in the shower. It wasn't the first or last time I'd vomit blood, but this time there was a lot of it. In previous episodes, I'd taken myself off to work. The managers had made it plainly obvious I was on a knifes edge as far as my job was concerned. (With one manager actually saying he was going to kick my arse out of the organisation as he didn't like me! Yes, it's illegal to do that. Never stops managers though.) This day, however, I decided to do the sensible thing. I thought, I don't care if they sack me, I'm going to the hospital. I was already doing thirteen hour days (or more) at work, and was being paid a pittance for my trouble. (Actually, there were a lot of twenty three or twenty four hour days too, where my manager would be walking in as I'd be walking out. He'd tell me to be back at work a few hours later. I'd have enough time to get home, sleep for one or to hours, and then back for another long day at work). My Doctor was forever telling me to quit (only at the time I didn't have anywhere else to go, and I was short of cash because I was going through my divorce). This day, I decided it was serious though. My flatmate Michelle was still at home, so I called out for her, as I needed a lift to the hospital. A few seconds later I heard the front door slam. She'd taken off on me. I was pretty dizzy. I got dry and dressed, and for some reason decided not to call an ambulance (maybe it was the lack of blood). Anyway, I drove myself to the hospital. I was okay on the way. It didn't occur to me to park in the emergency car park. I parked a block away and walked into Emergency. I explained to the nurse what had happened. I was used to having to wait an hour or two to get in to see a Doctor. This day, they let me in straight away. It was a good thing too. The Doctor spoke to me a bit about what had happened, and got me into a bed. The guy next to me must have had a heart attack or something. He was on a machine. We waved and said, "Hi" to each other. His wife gave me a strange look. At this stage, they just took my blood pressure and stuck me on a drip. They came back and checked that my blood pressure was normal, and decided to take a blood sample. The Doctor started to take it, when she was called to take a phone call. She asked me to hold onto the needle (which was still in my arm). It must have been a second later that suddenly the room looked like it was underwater and the whole thing just moved upwards. Then, there was blackness. I'd gone unconscious. I always assume the room movement and the way it looks when I go unconscious is my eyes loosing focus, and my head falling downwards. (I've done it enough to know it's always the same). The other thing which seems to be the same, is the dream I have when unconscious from lack of blood. I always dream I am being chased. I think (if my psychiatry/dream interpretation is correct) being chased means you are in trouble, trying to get away from something in real life. I came to, with the Doctor and Sister standing over me calling my name. They were still a little out of focus. I was looking at these strange people wondering who they were. They looked familiar, yet my brain was unable to place where I knew them from. I had the same problem with the room. I couldn't place it, yet I didn't know where I was. (Jaimais vu). I looked down and saw I was covered in blood, with a nice new red line of it going up my shirt. What had happened when I blacked out, was apparently I went into convulsions from the lack of blood. (aka I had a fit) I also vomited a heap of blood which had still been in my stomach. My blood pressure had hit zero. (Yes, Zero! Doesn't get any lower in blood pressure terms). Most of the blood was brown by this time, as it was pretty old. Some was red. The red line going up my shirt was from the needle that had been in my arm. When I went into convulsions, it pulled out and squirted my blood everywhere. After taking all this in, I suddenly rememebered where I was and why I was at the hospital. The Doctor was still calling my name. I answered her. She wanted to know if I was alright. Yeah, I was fine. I spoke to the sister later about what had happened. His name was Sister Ross. (Yes, my Doctor was a woman, my Sister was a man!) :-) That's why I knew about the convulsions. I'd pulled the drip out of my left hand when I'd had the fit, so they stuck it back into the right hand. My left hand was bruised for days. I told him I almost went to work that day. He told me if I had of gone, I wouldn't have made it. I would have died on the train on the way to work. (I've seen guys have heart attacks on the train before, so I know Sister Ross was probably right). They wheeled the bed away next to me. I waved goodbye to the guy who'd had a heart attack. He waved back. This time his wife smiled. Somehow I felt a bond with this guy. We'd both survived death that day. He was off to a ward I think ... or maybe surgury. (You're taking this man to surgury? Are you kidding, he's in no condition to operate!) :-) A funny thing happened when I had to go take a wiz. I grabbed the drip, and went to where I knew the toilet was. I came back to the bed, and was told off. Apparently my blood pressure wasn't high enough to go to the toilet by myself. Next time, I'd need to either go in a bottle or have someone go with me. :-) The blood sample they eventually took came back. It showed I'd lost a considerable amount of blood. I'm not a Doctor, so I have no idea how they tell this. Maybe it's all caffine and alcohol ... ha ha, I never used to drink either at that time! That test won't work! :-) The Doctor gave me two days off work. It didn't impress my manager who wanted me back to work the next day. He'd been wondering where I'd been. Apparently they almost fired me for not phoning in that day. I got to see my Specialist a few days later for a Gastroscopy. (You know, the guy always telling me to quit my job). Usually it took over a month to see him. With the letter from the Doctor at the hospital, apparently my Specialist took my condition a little more seriously. (Man I wish I could have had a copy of that letter to see what it said). The Gastroscopy just confirmed I had a bit of redness where they assume I'd been bleeding from. Previous ones never showed anything as they usually occurred a month or more after the bleeding occurred. Prognosis from the specialist was the same. He told me to quit my job before it killed me, and get some sleep. Yet, whenever I asked him to write a letter to the effect that he'd told me to quit for medical reasons, he'd refuse. (I used to joke at the time that I had a vague memory of sleep ... I think!) :-) My last gastroscopy (which was about two years ago) did show I had "what looks like a million paper cuts" (to quote my new Specialist). When I got home that night, I asked my flatmate why she ran off when I called her. Hadn't she heard me vomiting in the shower and stuff. She claimed she thought I was just mucking about. Something I find hard to believe, as she left half an hour early without having a shower. I think it was more fear. (One of the reasons I moved in with people at the time, was a previous "blood vomitting" episode when I'd been living alone. I thought living with people would reduce the risk of dying. My mistake!) :-) Well, it's about as close to near death as I've ever been. As Sister Ross said, if I wasn't in hospital and on a drip at the time, I wouldn't be here. Hopefully, it's because God wants to keep me around for a while longer to make a difference to this planet. I went back to that job, and outlasted all those managers who had sort to remove me. I stayed at that company for six and a half years. With what I saw, it was six and a half years too long. It also proved another thing to me. HR is on the side of the employers, and will always turn a blind eye to exploitation of workers and illegal happenings. If I had of died that day, I wonder how the managers would have exonerated themselves from the responsibilty. It always reminds me of that joke about capitalism. The Australian version is where you have two cows. You sell one and try to get four times the milk from the other one. You wonder why it dies.