Friday, October 1, 2010
Yesterday I cut my hand on glass and had to go to the ER for stitches. I've avoided hospitals all of my life because 1) I don't have insurance 2) I'm really afraid of them. I fainted minutes after I cut myself and began sobbing after I came to, a natural reaction of having a loss of control over my body. (I've heard that some people wet themselves and I'm glad I didn't do that although my friend who caught me said he wouldn't have told me if I did). My friends looked at my cut and told me I was going to need stitches. My initial fears were of the bill. I don't have insurance and have no idea how much it would be. Then I feared the actual thought of getting stitches. All my life I've stuck a bandaid on things and ignored pains because I feared hospitals and their bills. (Hence my now useless knees from a long period of ignoring the pain). Had my friend not escorted me to the hospital I actually would've gone home and continued to change the bandaging each time it bled through.
It was quite the eventful afternoon in the ER between all the people who were waiting for their various injuries to be looked at to me bursting into tears every few minutes, overwhelmed by my fears. A homeless man walked through the waiting area and then peed on the hospital wall right in front of us. It was so disgusting yet so typical of something that would happen in NYC that we just started laughing. Then the nurse needed me to take a pregnancy test before I got my x-rays and anesthesia. After that another nurse asked if I wanted a free HIV test. I thought, my God, this could potentially turn out to be the worst day of my life! Thankfully, both tests were negative, so there was a bright side to the day.
The anesthesia might have been the worse pain I've ever felt. I mean, doesn't it seem ironic that something that is supposed to numb my body causes so much pain? I fainted again, immediately after the anesthesia. After I came to, I was wheeled into another room where I could lay down while I got the stitches, which made a huge difference. I kept apologizing for being such a baby but the doctors were so accommodating and understanding, even teaching me that there was a term for what I was experiencing called Vasovagal syncope. I have been fainting at the sight of blood or experience of pain ever since I was 5. I wish it were something I could control as I am utterly useless (and more of a burden) during emergencies, but I just can't. Alas, I was all stitched up, but I couldn't leave without a tetnus shot.
I can't begin to express how grateful I am that my friends were there to initially clean my wound and temporarily patch me up. My other friend stayed with me the entire day in the hospital, holding my hand and telling me funny stories to take my mind off the pain and needles. I could not have gotten through it alone.
When I got home, after all the excitement of the day, I was all alone again. I wanted nothing more than the comfort of my family to tell me that it was no big deal and I was going to be ok. Except, I couldn't call either my mom or my brother. I miss them so much and I think all of my emotions of the day just began to surface and I began to sob uncontrollably. I know, it was such a small injury, but my mind began racing with "What ifs?" What if it were something worse and they weren't able to be there? Or what if something happened to them? I was just reminded how fragile life is and how at any moment your day can go a completely direction than you had planned.
After a few hours of sobbing I got it out of my system. One little papercut just released all of the emotions that I had buried deep inside. I miss and love my family so much and am so grateful for my friends who have stepped in to be my stand in family.
And look...I get to wear this cool emory board on my finger for a few days...