Monday, November 21, 2011


The thud vibrated through my body as the pipe refused to budge against the sudden upward force. Damn crawl space! My eyes closed and bright shards of light shot through my visual field. I struggled out into the open and put my hand on my scalp. I could feel the lump beginning to form.

The vague pain in my head and neck lingered. I payed little attention as I continued to inspect the house. My thoughts limped forward as if caught in a deep haze. When I was finished, I slid into the passenger seat of the car and my wife began the long drive home.

My eyes felt heavy and my head woozy. A spasm of nausea started in my abdomen and worked its way up my throat. The saliva spilled into my mouth as I gulped to keep from vomiting.


It's just a concussion. It's just a concussion.

I kept repeating as I crawled into bed. The nausea abating only in complete stillness. My head was pulsating. My eyes felt heavy as they rotated to survey my surroundings.

I fell asleep hoping that I would feel well enough to make the long drive to work the next morning. Every few hours I awoke and choked back the uncomfortable feeling in my belly.

As morning came, I arose and walked down the stairs to get a Tylenol. I stumbled over the ledge. I felt like each step was another turn on a roller coaster. I walked past the bathroom but thought better and turned back quickly.

As I lay on the ground in front of the toilet my body heaved and convulsed rhythmically. Each wretch sent spasms of pain up my spine and down my forehead. After a few minutes I was able to get up and flush the toilet. I wandered up the stairs and woke up my wife. It was time to go to the emergency room.


The ER is such a different place seen through the eyes of a patient. I slumped in the chair at the front desk as the intake person took my insurance information. As she asked me questions, I tried my best to control the war that was raging in my abdomen.

I was walked quickly back to a bed. The gown was cold and the bed had neither sheets nor pillow. I laid flat and moved as little as possible. A nurse came in and placed an IV. The blood trickled down my arm as she applied pressure.

Sorry we hit a bleeder!

Zofran and ativan were pushed through my IV. The nurse dutifully scanned my wrist band after each new medication as If I was a box of cereal being checked out of the grocery.

The attending came in and checked me over. I fidgeted at the thought of the radiation of the suggested cat scan, but I felt too sick to argue. This is what I would have suggested for my patient.


The cat scan was negative and I was sent home with an anti emetic. After sleeping most of the day I finally feel well enough to sit up and write this blog.

Tomorrow I will return to work and forget this day as if nothing happened.

But maybe I'll be just a little bit more understanding of what it's like to be sent to the emergency room.

Maybe, from now on I'll avoid crawl spaces.

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