I’ve been asked to write this rant about my say in Hospital. A little over a year ago, my right knee swelled up and ballooned out. At first, it felt like a cramp that wouldn’t go away, but it got progressively more painful and my right knee also became very much warmer than my left, so after a week of this, when I couldn’t walk or even really move, I called an ambulance to take me to the hospital.
Because I had stairs, the EMS team tried to force me to bend my knee onto their stretchers, nearly bursting it. It was a rough ride up the hill to the ER. Once in the ER of the Montreal General Hospital, they transferred me onto a hospital bed in a way that caused more pain.
My first night, there was a loud, obnoxious tennis game in French, blaring at full volume on the TV. Nobody in the ER wanted that station, but the night receptionist insisted. It had to be sports, very loud, in French.
The lights were on all the time. There were junkies, a few noisy drunks and several people who were actually suffering: two heart attacks and several injuries. There was even a tourist who was asking about the price of a hospital stay and to the tourist, who I think was American, the price quoted was sixteen thousand dollars.
They gave me some little orange pills, “for the pain” they said. They told me these pills were the strongest pills they had, but they had no effect on me. I was still in pain.
Around four hours after I was admitted I saw a doctor who said he need a sample of the fluid from my knee. I told him I don’t like needles, but he stabbed me with a few of them anyway. The pain was excruciating. He played me like a musical instrument, a different scream for each direction the stabbed me in. The fluid was in the back of my knee. This doctor went in from the front.
The doctor I later had called him a “Butcher.” I think I saw this same doctor again a few months later, on TV. They said he was going into outer space. He can stay there. Preferably without a helmet.
At least it ended better than it began. I got my current rheumatologist, who, with a team of medical students drained the offending fluid from my knee. It looked like spent motor oil. From this fluid the doctor and medical interns were able to diagnose the problem, which it turned out was a disease that had been attacking me repeatedly, usually in my ankles, since I was a child.
I have an age-old disease called gout. Now, I’m told, gout usually affects old men in the big toe. I know that it is a blood borne form of arthritis that can attack any joint in the body without warning. It is extremely painful, but only once was the attack severe enough to put me into a hospital. I can be stubborn and I can be mean, even to myself.
I’m now taking pills for the rest of my life to prevent another attack. I still get lots of pain, though, now probably caused by other things.