Eight months ago, I went to the doctor for a routine check-up/renewal of prescriptions and told her, off handedly “Hey, while I’m here, I have this weird rash all over that looks a little like burst blood vessels.” She says “hmmm, I have no idea what that might be, but let’s get a blood test.” So I go and give blood, get my prescriptions and go about my business…..


Cut to Tuesday afternoon, and I have a voicemail from my doctor “Hi, this is Dr. F, your lab work came back, and your platelet count is 8,000, normal is 150,000. I’m going to call a hematologist colleague of mine and set you up with an appointment for this week.” So I go to the cube next to mine and let my team lead know that I might have to take time off for a doctors appointment this week. Gone from my desk for five minutes maybe. Get back to my desk and I have another voicemail. “Hi Christy, this is Dr. F, I talked to a hematologist and you need to get into a cab and go directly to the ER.”Ooooook, so now I’m a little concerned. So I go tell my team lead, “Change of plans, I gotta go to the ER.”  My friend, who I work with, drove me to a Virginia hospital.

In the meantime, my doctor’s office is calling me, trying to confirm that I got her message and am heading to the hospital, AND, they’ve called a former coworker of mine who also goes to the same practice. They’ve told her they need to talk to me, and did she know how to get in touch with me. I swear, this woman could find Osama Bin Laden given the right resources. She proceeds to text me, send me a g chat, email me via my personal and work email, and send me a facebook message. It was awesome.

I call my doctor back and tell her I’m on my way to Virginia Hospital Center and she asks “Is that the closest hospital? Can you go to GW or Georgetown?” because, and I quote “They have the ‘medicine thing.’” Which made me cringe and laugh all at the same time.

I finally tell her that the Virginia hospital is the closest, and think to myself that it’s not like I’m going to Ken’s Lube/Tire/and Urgent care center. I’m fairly sure they also practice modern medicine at Virginia Hospital Center, not prairie medicine. She tells me she’s going to call the hospital and let them know what’s going on, and I should go directly to the desk and just tell them “My platelet count is 8,000.” So then I have to hang up before I start laughing over the phone. I’m freaked out, but come on, really? I just walk up to someone and go my platelet count is 8,000 and they’re gonna jump to it?

We get to the ER, and I go to the desk and tell the woman sitting there that my platelet count is 8,000. Let me pause here to say that I think Virginia Hospital Center is participating in some sort of “Virginia Employs Old People Program.” I’m not sure if she was the equivalent of a docent or what, but I tell her about my lack o’ platelets, and she gets up and walks, I kid you not, 10 feet to tell the nurse to my right. I am literally standing equidistant between the nurse and Miss Daisy. It seemed to be a poor use of resources. Anyway, she tells the nurse, they take me back, take my vitals and slap a bracelet on my wrist. I ask the nurse “So, what’s going on?” She says “Your platelet count is 8,000.” Thanks for the update! And, by now I’ve figured out that they’re afraid I’m going to fall down and start bleeding internally.

I’m sent back out to the waiting room to wait with my friend, and I’m feeling inappropriately healthy. Seriously, I feel FINE. I should have made myself a name tag that said “My platelet count is 8,000” just so people know I’m not just kicking it in the ER. Finally, they call me back to the actual ER examination room. I follow the guy back, and he takes me to a private room. I’m not sure if I’m going to do this next part justice, but it’s a private room, and there’s a gurney with a sheet on it. The sheet on the gurney doesn’t mold perfectly to the mattress, but kind of tents where it’s angled up and looks like it’s a covered body, my immediate thought was “Wow, they didn’t even move the last guy’s corpse before they assigned me a room.” This immediately sends me into giggles, and I’m not sure the orderly was amused. He hands me a gown and is says “here, put this on.”

“Wait, a costume change?” I say, “That seems kinda long-term.” So I change and wait. And wait, and then the doctor that my primary care physician talked to comes in, and he’s about 15 years-old. He reminded me of a specific kid I went to high school with that was funny, hilarious and a lot of fun to hang out with, but if someone had told you he was going to be a doctor, you would have asked where and what kind so as to avoid any and all interaction with him on a medical basis. He was wearing a necklace with some sort of shell pendant  SHELLS. ON A NECKLACE. So we go through the whole 20 questions, what happened, are you on medication, do you smoke, blah blah blah. Then they put an IV port in my arm to take blood (and let me just point out that after this, that IV port was NEVER USED AGAIN. It just stayed there annoying me and eventually leading to a slight infection).

I continue to wait, and eventually the Doctor comes back and is like soooooo, your platelet count is now 2,000, and I am officially admitted to the hospital. (And, I want to point out that at one point the ER Doc pumped his arms over his head and said WooHoo! Not necessarily at an inappropriate time, but the “woohoo! from your doctor is never confidence inspiring).

I’m admitted to the hospital and hours later am moved up to a private room (with a lovely view). I am taken up via wheel chair, which is awesome for about 30 seconds until I feel like a little old lady being pushed around with her purse on her lap. I get to my room, and I ask the nurse if I can take a shower and she says “I’d really rather you wait until tomorrow.” Translation: I don’t want you to fall down and bleed to death on my watch, so wait until the next shift starts. The charge nurse then gives me a run down on all of the amenities, pointing out that the wing I’m in was built a mere four years ago. I’m close to telling him that he should lay off the hard sell – I’m pretty much committed at this point.

This is my first time in the hospital, so I don’t sleep very well. The next morning, a nurse comes in, takes my vitals, and tells me that at 7:00 I can call room service for breakfast. Room service? That’s bizarre. She also tells me that the hospital prefers that the nurses call the patients “clients” instead of patients, which, again, is bizarre….like it’s a vacation?  They take more blood and I proceed to….just. hang. out. There’s a TV, which is awesome, but the remote only goes one way, which means, if I see something that says “breaking news” and push the button too fast, by the time I come back around to it, that news is no longer breaking.

I end up seeing a hematologist, who explains that my antibodies are tagging my platelets as bad, so my spleen was pulling them out of my system, causing the low platelet count. In order to fix this, he has me on a high dosage of steroids (I have a whole other post I’m planning to dedicate to the evils of steroids). I was in the hospital for a total of two days, and was by far the least exciting patient. In fact the Hematologist tells me he would not have sent me to the hospital.  He’s also not amused when I tell him I’ve spent the previous day watching House and I think I may know what’s wrong.

The poor student nurse didn’t get a whole lot of learnin’ out of me (other than cleaning out my unused IV port), and at one point a nurse came to check on me to essentially escape the excitement of her other patients. Overall, I was fairly amused by the whole situation (although not the part where they don’t know what causes this condition – medicine is apparently 65% guess work).

I did learn that an all day House marathon is maybe not the best thing to watch while you’re a “client” in a hospital.

To Be Continued…..