I’ve been stabbed. With a needle. More times than I can count this month.
Okay, maybe ‘stab’ is a bit dramatic. I’ve been pricked, pricked good. I’m surprised I still have any blood left!
A couple weeks ago I found myself at a hospital doing what no one should ever be doing (in hospital or not). I Googled things like:
‘Can air bubbles in IV lines kill me?’
‘What does it mean when you see a bubble in an IV line?’
Yes, I could see myself spiraling. I often feel the panic meter steadily rise as I start to Google-search the most extreme of scenarios (usually in the realm of death).
Recently I found out, through a battery of tests, that I was very anemic. My iron levels were extremely low, so low that everyone (clinical professionals) who reviewed my results kept asking me questions like:
“You must be tired.”
“How are you feeling at this moment?”
“How did you feel yesterday?”
“Do you feel okay today?”
I’m sorry- you want to know if a mother trying to keep everything in her life afloat is tired? Who isn’t?! Amiright? My unflappable answer to their constant query was always the same: “I feel fine, why?” Most of them were taken aback that I was still standing, coherent, and telling jokes.
I was due to have minor surgery for an unrelated issue at the end of July so with the news of my anemic condition, my family doctor made an urgent referral for me to have an iron infusion just before the surgery to boost up my levels. This is where I found myself spiraling.
“Um. There’s an air bubble in my IV line.” I nervously informed the nurse after she (finally) successfully inserted the needle into my dehydrated vein.
I have to admit, the casualness of her “hmm” nearly set me off. Her gentle pondering, as if deciding what sandwich to order at Subway rather than understanding that my life hung in the balance of this errant air bubble, had me feeling distraught. Then she proceeded to try to unkink the line and tap it to no avail.
“It’s fine, I think. We can just keep an eye on it.” She stated this with an air of indifference, seemingly more to herself than me.
I think? Did she just say, I think?
This nurse, Tonya, was a very patient and lovely nurse, but I couldn’t help but feel paranoid about her lack of confidence. My eyes frantically oscillated between the IV line and her badge and back, trying to confirm that she was indeed a highly skilled nurse who knew what she was doing.
I decided then that I couldn’t leave the fate of my being solely in her hands. So, I feverishly texted my boss (a nurse practitioner herself) for her expert medical advice.
Clearly, that wasn’t much help after all.
After obsessively tracking the static air bubble with my unblinking eyes for nearly 3 hours, I was finally released from the bloody death trap. Suddenly, I was pumped full of iron and a will to live like never before. I was a brand new me! Maybe, I thought, this is what’s been missing for me this whole time. My complete lack of patience, my pettiness, my food “sensitivities,” my moody bouts, my resting betch face, my many irrational phobias, they all finally had a source! Maybe this is what it was all along- a lack of iron.
Do you find yourself second-guessing medical professionals or self-diagnosing your condition via Google?
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