Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Christie's (Kinda) Excellent ER Adventure

Saturday morning, July 14, 9:50 a.m.

I slip inside the NAL booksigning before the doors open with buddies Barbara Freethy and Christina Dodd, just to hang out for a few minutes. There, I spy another friend, Maureen Child, and we commiserate about our swollen left ankles. Maureen said she’d been so concerned she’d “throw a blood clot” the night before, that she’d made Susan Mallery promise to comb her hair before calling authorities if she didn’t wake up in the morning.

Saturday afternoon, July 16, 12:50 p.m.

I’m eating lunch beside debut historical author Monica McCarty (BTW, check out the luscious covers of her trilogy here) when I suddenly notice a plum-colored, plum-shaped bruise over the pulsepoint on my left wrist. Monica and I both think it’s weird and I decide to go lie down.

Saturday afternoon, July 16, 1:50 p.m.

Wonderful friend Barbara Samuel tracks me down in my room. She encourages me to call a nurse helpline who advises that my symptoms (the leg) mean I should see a doctor within the next four hours. I decide (a bit tearfully) to head to the nearest ER, but run into Susan Mallery, who when I tell her about my destination, my swollen leg, and my left wrist, tells me that Maureen has the exact same bruise! We rush to find Maureen who almost instantly decides to accompany me to the ER to be checked out as well.

Saturday afternoon, July 16, 3:30 p.m.

Maureen is given a clean bill of health (and thinks she remembers that she got her bruise stopping an elevator door from closing. I, on the other hand, am in a hospital gown and waiting for an ultrasound test since they’re still worried about my left leg--my wrist is nothing, they tell me). Maureen, bless her forever, refuses to leave me, even though she’s presenting a Rita that night (in the very category I’m competing). She enlists the ER staff in hurrying my situation along, telling them we’re romance authors, etc. They google us (didn’t we look like romance authors?) and then the race is on to get me tested! Not only did they move quickly to wheel me to the ultrasound room, but they all rushed around to get results and paperwork ASAP. Thank you, Methodist Hospital ER Staff!

Saturday afternoon, July 16, 4:30 p.m.

I’m cleared of deep-vein thrombosis, but maybe not of an over-active imagination. No, seriously, they said my symptoms truly warranted concern and a check. As I was getting on a plane the next morning, I was much relieved not to have to worry the entire flight about the cramped seating. They call Maureen and I a cab…it doesn’t arrive…it still doesn’t arrive…it still doesn’t arrive…. (The photo was taken when Maureen and I were waiting for our ride.)

Saturday afternoon, July 16, 5:45 p.m.

I make it back in my hotel room, after three calls to the cab company, much frustration, and an endless love for Maureen Child who made the whole experience so much less upsetting than it could have been.

Saturday night, July 16, 9:45 p.m.

I didn’t win the Contemporary Single Title Rita. But I came home with the knowledge that I’m in great health and have great, supportive friends.

All right, everyone, let’s hear your ER story.


Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- Darlin' deep-vein thrombosis is nothing to take lightly! I'm very glad you had only a swollen ankle and not thrombosis. I had a case of "superficial thrombosis" (after my last trip to Dallas oddly enough) and know that doctors take this very seriously. I was on meds and with my feet up as much as possible for a week.

Christie Ridgway said...

What's "superficial thrombosis," Deb? Once I got home to California I spent the day with my feet up...and then my left ring finger swelled up. Just that one finger. Freaky-deeky.

Helen Brenna said...

Heading to an ER is bad enough without being out of town. That's happened to me a couple of times. Once when I scratched my cornea and found out I'm allergic to Codeine and once at a conference in Atlanta.

Oh gawd. I also fell and hit my head and had a mini-amnesia episode after a ski jump I obviously didn't land well. My dh still can't get me to wear a helmet!

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, and Christie, you look awesome in those hospital whites. The only thing that's missing is the Cosmo!

Christie Ridgway said...

I'm trying to figure out why I look remarkably happy to be getting a test that might mean I have a prolonged hospital stay, Helen. But point a camera at me and I automatically smile.

Betina Krahn said...

Christie, I had no idea you were going through such a trauma! Every time I saw you, you were smiling and radiant!

I had a similar incident about a year ago-- terrific left leg pain, no swelling. I went to the ER at one in the morning. Fortunately my nephew was on duty there and helped take care of me. No clot. Still now sure what caused that, but it was taken seriously all right.

My sympathies! What a thing to have happen when you're half a continent away from home!

And I agree, Christie. . . you look smashing lying on the hospital bed. But I hope you don't have a repeat performance any time soon.

Michele Hauf said...

Wow, what a conference story! And so glad to hear it was nothing serious, Christie. If you would have worn your hospital gown to the ceremony do you think you could have garnered a win on the sympathy vote? :-)

I, fortunately, have never been subjected to the long waits at an ER for myself. But did take in The Boy last year for chest pain. A six hour wait, and there were only three other people in the waiting room!

Why do they call them Emergency Rooms? I mean, I've never seen them rush like they do on TV. Oh right. That's TV. :-)


Diane in Syracuse said...

I'm very glad you're OK - and you were definitely wise to be sure of it before traveling! I lost consciousness once from (basically) poor circulation in a middle seat. Everyone was very nice and gave me oxygen and everything, but it was the only time I've ever passed out, so it was a little weird.

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- "Superficial" means there's a clot in a smaller vein close to the surface. I had an actual knot on my leg that throbbed. That made the diagnosis a little easier because the swelling wasn't really that bad at all. At least I could point and say, "Feel that? It throbs from time to time."

They did make me go get the ultrasound to be certain there was no deep-vein thrombosis to go along with my superficial. Now that I've actually had this, I'm got to be careful about airplane travel, sitting at the computer or quilt frame to long, etc.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Christie! So glad you got checked out. All's well that ends well, but take no chances.

I've done the ER thing with my kids, and that's scary. Both incidents ended well, but one happened when we were away from home--visiting my brother in Indianapolis. Our daughter helped herself to my mother's pill. She was about 3. Keeled off the toilet seat, pill box in hand. Mama had forgotten about toddlers and their fast hands. ER visit was interesting. Our baby was given a dose of Epicac, which did its work.

The interesting part was the hallway lined with bloody people waiting to be treated. The nurse noted that business was good. "Couple of shootings and a few beatings. Hey, it's Saturday night."

Christie Ridgway said...

Diane: Eeek! You lost consciouness in the middle seat! I had to sit in the middle on the way home and I was so mad because I know I had booked an aisle seat. I think they changed the plane to a bigger one, hence dif seat. I'm glad I didn't know about your incident or I would have worried about that!

I had no pain associated with my swelling...they did keep asking me if it was possible I was pregant. Yikes.

Michele: I wore my hospital bracelets to the Rita ceremony! I figured if any of my buddies won (Kathleen, I'm thinking of you) I would have tried the sympathy thing and asked if I could please, please take the Rita home. LOL.

Christie Ridgway said...

Kathleen: Oh, man, so scary with kids. I've never seen anything very bloody in the ER. I've been twice, once with each kid. One time my dh looked at the long line (there'd been a bus accident) and we took the 3-year-old home and butterfly-bandaged the big gash on his forehead. (Well, he did. I cried in another room.)

Last year we spent about 7 hours in the ER for my younger son's skateboarding fall. They kept sending him back to x-ray as he was banged up all over. It was a Saturday and there were sports injuries galore in there.

Cindy Gerard said...

Christie - I knew you were having trouble and I'm so glad all checked out okay.
i do have an ER story. 10 years ago, me and my 5 gal pals were driving in a van to our cabin in Minnesota when I became deathly ill. I mean, sweat drenched gray pain in my tummy you can't imagine ill. We raced 90 miles an hour to the closest town who sent me directly to Mayo Clinic. Long story short - no heart attack and that's what they were thinking but a gall bladder attack. The sonogram showed a badly diseased gall bladder and several stones. they wanted me in the hospital THEN. I said, but I'm on vacation. And my buddies said they'd take good care of me and we went on our way. Needless to say, i didn't feel the greatest during our week BUT when I returned, instead of checking into the hospital for surgery, I went to NYC instead. Hey. It was RWA national :o) And I was up for a RITA so there was really no choice. I HAD to go. I made it through, came home on a Sunday and had the surgery on Monday. Happy Ending. But jezz, what a trip. :o)

Maureen Child said...

Christie, it was QUITE the adventure!!

And since my flight was delayed FIVE HOURS the next day, I was really glad we went to the hospital!

Christie Ridgway said...

Cindy: You have such fortitude! I know what you mean about the vacation and conference thing, though. I kept saying, "I have a dinner meeting. I have to go to an awards ceremony."

Maureen! Guys, this is the absolute nicest person in the world. I feel like I dragged her to the ER, and even when she was given the okay, she wouldn't leave my side. I just started reading her MORE THAN FRIENDS this evening and I so love the heroine who owns a housecleaning biz. Great book, great woman.

Anonymous said...

Christie--I'm so glad you were fine - we were all so worried about you! And you did look super cute in your hospital whites.

My ER story--a couple of months ago I had pneumonia and the breathing thing was sucking. Frankly, I think my ER trip made it worse. They were super crowded and crazed and had a hell of a time finding the viens on my arms.

Hope to see you again soon! Hey--you should come talk to our SF RWA chapter about your career. Does Liz live nearby? Could you come together? Any interest?

Bella Andre

Michele Hauf said...

I'm reading More Than Fiends right now. Love Maureen's writing!

Christie Ridgway said...

MORE THAN =FIENDS=. Sheesh. Thanks, Michele. My fingers just typed away.

Bella!!!! Liz is in Kentucky, but I'm in SoCal and my mom still lives in the Bay Area. I'm so going to come up and visit with you guys soon!