Serenading the ER Staff

There is something about getting stuck with a needle that makes me want to break out in song.  Actually, it makes me want to break out, period, like….head for the nearest exit.  But since I’m an adult, I try to contain that impulse by singing as I’m having blood drawn or getting shots.  My doctor and her nurses are used to this.  When I have an appointment when they know I’m going to have blood drawn, the nurses always greet me with “What song are you going to sing for us today?”    It’s free entertainment and I usually end up with several of them standing in the doorway, laughing and applauding as the technician finishes filling the tubes.

Swollen Hand

Well, yesterday I woke up still fighting a red, itchy rash on both arms and one hand and noticed that I also had some new welts on my back and under one knee. Jeepers, creepers. It’s been 3 weeks and enough is enough. I’ve cut out every medication I can think of that could be causing a reaction. My doctor and I thought perhaps the Prednisone or the new antibiotic she had prescribed were causing an allergic rash so we stopped that just shy of the week’s course. But I’ve been off those for one week now and I’m still experiencing a spreading rash. My arm is swollen and warm to the touch. So yesterday was the final straw. Of course, it was a weekend so I just decided to head over to the ER and see what they had to say. My sister-in-law went with me for moral support.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the ER waiting room and saw noone. Wow, this could be my lucky day. Maybe I wouldn’t spend hours waiting around. In less than 5 minutes, I was ushered into the back and into a room. Wow, again. A technician came to take my vital signs and I thought to myself that things were looking up. But I had brought my knitting “just in case” and that proved to be smart because the wait began. After about 45 minutes, my SIL came in and we have fun chatting and I introduced her to the joys of “Bejeweled” on the iTouch.

Finally, the doctor came in and looked my rashes and me over and looked over my two pages of chronological notes (I come prepared) plus the color pictures of my rash in various stages (I come SUPER-prepared). She was perplexed. Finally she said that she thought it was probably an allergic reaction to something (OK) and that she thought I needed to have allergy testing. I HAD the full gamut of allergy testing about 6 years ago but I guess you can get sensitized to other things over time. Who knows? She disappeared and then another tech came in to draw blood. Oooh, not good.

“What is this for?” I asked.

“The doctor wants you tested for Lyme Disease,” she replied. “It’s going to have to be sent out so you won’t get the results immediately but your doctor should have the results within a few days.”

“I’m going to tell you right now that I sing when I have to have blood drawn”, I said, with much trepidation, not knowing how good a “sticker” she was.

“Um”, she looked at me, “OK. You’re going to feel a little pinch now.”

“We all live in a Yellow Submarine….a Yellow Submarine…..a yellow submarine. We all live in a yellow submarine…..a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine. Everybody sing!”

Unfortunately, that was all I could remember of the lyrics and so I kept singing that stupid chorus over and over and the nurse was taking her sweet time getting that blood sample. Why in the world that song popped into my head, I have absolutely NO idea. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone sing that before for a blood test,” said the nurse. “Oh, I’ve got quite a repertoire,” I replied.

No sooner did she leave than another nurse popped in with a container of 5 horse pills and a container that seemed to have something that had a needle in it. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding,” I said. “What’s this?”
“Well,” said the nurse, “You need to take these pills which are going to give you a mega-dose of antibiotic that will help fight Lyme Disease and then I’m going to give you a steroid injection.”

“A shot?”, I squeaked. “Oh, come on. I just had blood drawn. I haven’t even had time to recover from that. This is just NOT fun. Really! I’m fast losing my sense of humor. I mean, this is the 21st century, for Pete’s sake. Can’t they come up with ways to treat people that are just pills and not these stupid shots?”

“I know,” she sympathetically replied. “But just two shots and then you’re done.”

“TWO? You’ve got to be kidding me. TWO? Oh, come ON! You’re just going to have to give me a minute to prepare myself for those. And I’m warning you right now that I’m going to sing because that’s the only way I can get through a shot without passing out. Which arm is it going in?”

“Well, these aren’t going in an arm. They go in your bottom. And I can put one in each cheek if you prefer,” she said perkily.

“WHAT! I haven’t had a shot in my rear since I was getting ready to move to Morocco and that was years ago and it hurt. Oh, come ON. This is just not fun anymore.”

“Do you want to hold my hand,” my sister-in-law offered.

“No, I just want to get this over with,” I said through clenched teeth as I dropped trow and bent over. “And I’m not going to sing ‘Yellow Submarine.’ I’m going to be singing ‘I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.'”

I belted out “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with a verve that would have made George M. Cohan proud and a volume that would have made Ethel Merman sit up and take notice. “All done,” the nurse said. “I am a Yankee Doodle Boy…..SHIT!” I finished, giving the lyrics my own unique spin at the end.

In short order, a technician came to give me my paperwork, a new Rx, and to tell me that I was free to go home. Rose and I headed out the door and by the time I got to my car, my normal good humor was starting to reassert itself. We collapsed into the car and started to giggle. “That ER staff is going to be talking about you for days,” Rose said. “I’ll just be they’ve never had anybody sing to them before. Where in the world did you come up with ‘Yellow Submarine’?”

“I have NO idea,” I replied, “other than the fact that I felt I was sinking fast. I know one thing though…I’m ready for some ice cream after this ordeal. Let’s drop off this prescription and head to Friendly’s.”


3 Responses

  1. Oh my goodness! I can’t believe you are still haven’t so much trouble! Hopefully they get to the bottom of things soon!

  2. golly, you really went thru it! congrats on getting it done though…have you noticed a tick bite anywhere?
    hope you’re feeling better
    what an ordeal…

  3. I read your first sentence and thought that perhaps you had sat on a knitting needle! LOL!

    What a story! You must have been the talk of the ER for days!

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