when what I should've given up was Arterial Blood Gasses.
In case you didn't do the little clicky right there, let me show you some of what I consider to be the key phrases in Wikipedia's definition of Arterial Blood Gasses:
"As its name implies, the sample is taken from an artery, which is more uncomfortable and difficult than venipuncture."
"Arterial blood is taken from any easily accessible artery..."
Now let me tell you some of the key phrases that Wikipedia's definition is lacking:
"If you happen to have the tiny arteries more commonly seen in a fetus, your technician may have a difficult time obtaining a sample."
"He will then proceed to try and ram the needle through your wrist like a corkscrew."
"During this procedure, you may wish that your vocabulary included more curses, as the ones you know will seem paltry."
"After three kits (6 needles & 8 punctures) in one arm with no sample, your technician may wish to switch arms and try again. You are then well within your rights as a patient to refuse, cry, and/or knee him in the balls."
Unfortunately, I did none of those things. Fortunately, it only took one try in my right wrist to get the sample they needed.
Here's the thing: I am not a needle-wuss. I'm so used to getting blood drawn that I usually don't care at all. During my hospital stay, did I complain that they kept sticking me for blood draws even though I already had IV access? No, I did not. When I left the hospital, I had 8 blood draw holes & my IV hole: no big deal. But this blood gas thing?
Big Huge DEAL.
Ranked all the way at #2 on my "tests they say are no big deal but turn out to be major" list. (Leaving the dreaded Tilt Table Test still as ranking #1, but bumping muscle biopsy, bronchoscopy, & ultrasounds all down a rung. The muscle biopsy I knew was going to hurt more than they said: this ABG was a big surprise.)
All in all, not my most favorite trip to the doctor.
I was in for just a couple of days, so I'm just kind of plugging back in now. Catching up on my e-mail and blogs and what all y'all been doing since I've been gone.
The 'trip' to the hospital has provided me no more answers, unfortunately. I may have to repeat some of the tests before we can tell anything; some of the other tests are in, but inconclusive. My body is, apparently, one big fat question mark.
And while this was not news to me, I had a ton of new nurses, doctors, med students, student nurses, & volunteers who were all hearing the conundrum that is my medical history for the very first time. Some of them were skeptical, others excited & intrigued. I swear to you that one of them clapped her hands in excitement when she heard about the brucellosis. Mostly, though, I got a lot of: "Well, gee, that's odd. And significant. But we don't know what it means. Or how to help. Or, really ... anything."
So, while I have stories aplenty to post from my time on the ward, for today, I am SICK to death of doctors, tests and all that jazz. I'm going to wander around and see what you all have been doing ... it's got to be better than this!