Listen to Your Body
Dr. H came into the room at about 10:00 pm that Friday night. By then, my four-day headache and puffed temporal vein had subsided. I had taken two Aleve’s five hours prior, when I first decided to get a doctor’s opinion.
Dr. H spoke to me like a preschool teacher speaks to her charges: head tilted, prayer hands pointed down between her knees.
“We’re going to do blood work to see if you have any inflammatory markers for arteritis, and I’d like to give you some pain medication to break the cycle of the headache,” she said. “Then you’ll go home and sleep it off and be all better in the morning.”
Just ten minutes before that, I told the nurse I was going to leave. I felt fine. My headache was gone. I couldn’t wait in that room any longer.
But, I consented to the doctor’s recommendation.
Within minutes, a new nurse was in the room—the shift had changed—and she drew three vials of blood, swabbed my nose for covid testing, and started an IV of fluids.
Into that stream of sodium chloride, she administered ketorolac, also known as TORADOL, for pain, metoclopramide also known as REGLAN for nausea (which I did not have), along with diphenhydramine also known as BENADRYL, she said, just to help me get drowsy.
They also gave me two tablets of Tylenol, and lastly, a subcutaneous injection of sumatriptan succinate also known as IMITREX, also for pain.
Did all of this work?
Yes! It worked at making me feel even worse. I felt as though heavy weights were being pressed into my head and neck. I felt agitated and nervous. Instead of relaxing me, the cocktail of drugs made me want to walk around and get out of there, but the heaviness of it all made it impossible.
I was on the verge of a panic attack. I rang the nurse.
This is common, she said. It will wear off. Oh, and the blood work came back normal, she said.
Fast forward and I was discharged from Urgent Care at about 11:15 pm. My family picked me up, and though the drugs had indeed induced a twinkly feeling, I fell into bed still anxious and had fitful sleep regardless.
The next morning I woke up looking like I had aged 20 years. No lie.
It took the balance of the weekend for the chemicals to fully wash out.
Did I do the right thing and go to Urgent Care just to rule out that I wasn’t having a temporal arteritis, or worse, a stroke?
Sure, but I didn’t have to move forward with all the meds. I could have declined and listened carefully to what my body was telling me: Leave. Go home. Thank them, and then go take care of yourself with loving care. You are your first patient.
This Post is republished on Medium.
Photo credit: Unsplash