Warning: This post may contain subject matter that may be disturbing to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
It was our second day in Vegas, a sunny hot day. We had plans. Oh, so many plans.
First up was some pool time. It was crazy hot, almost 90 degrees; so sunscreen was applied often and dips in the pool frequent. We drank water and margaritas. Well, half margaritas as most of mine spilled and Amy wasn’t a fan of the sugar free drink. Honestly, neither was I so my spilled drink didn’t cause tears.
After we cooked enough, we threw on clothes and headed out for an afternoon of lunch and shopping before our big night out.
We found this amazing Mexican restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. While we devoured chips and salsa, we kept repeating how happy we were. The food was amazing, the day was awesome and we were in VEGAS!
When we finished eating, I went to the bathroom quick before we headed out.
As I sat there peeing, I decided to blow my nose. (multitasking!) I pulled the tissue away to see blood. “No!” I thought, “Not here. Not now!”
Pause for a quick back-story:
I may be mighty I have a very weak nose. I get bloody noses often. Mostly in the winter when it’s dry. I’ve suffered from them for most of my adult life. I’ve had to leave work, been to urgent care once and the ER twice.
This was me on Thanksgiving last year:
They are awful, but I get them to stop. Most times.
I do not have a brain tumor or sinus cancer, as you were probably thinking. It’s OK. Most everyone does. However the truth is, once you have a nose bleed (on the caliber I have them) you are susceptible to them. I haven’t had my nose cauterized but after my experience in Sin City, I’ll do it myself if my doctor won’t.
So there I am, on the pot, pants down around my ankles and my nose is gushing. It’s not even pretending to clot. The blood is coming out so fast it’s coming out both nostrils and my mouth. (see warning above) I’m 1200 miles away from home, I didn’t bring my purse into the bathroom so I can’t call Amy back at the table, and I don’t know how I’m going to get out of the stall because I can’t take the tissue away from my nose for long enough to pull up my pants.
Somehow I manage to get them up enough to slink out of my stall, with a now bloody shirt and a wad of toilet paper to my nose. A woman sees me and asks, “Are you OK?” I wanted to say, “Fabulous! How are you?” but instead I mutter, “No. Can you get my cousin for me? Her name is Amy…”
Since I’ve now been gone for close to 20 minutes Amy comes in the bathroom on her own accord and sees her cousin looking like Sissy Spacek in Carrie. “What the hell!?!!”
Lots of women come and go (since we are in a women’s bathroom and all) and give me terrible advice like putting my head back (to which I choke on what feels like gallons of blood) putting ice on my nose and massaging my neck. None of it works.
After close to 40 minutes and no stop in site, the management of this poor restaurant closes the restroom and calls 911. At this point I’m losing my shit and in a full blown panic. Which does wonders for the nose bleed and my blood pressure.
Before long Vegas’s finest come tromping into the bathroom. Even though I’m close to being bled out, I come to enough to say, “God, you guys are all so hot!”
I am a wonder, no?
“Are you feeling weak?” they ask me.
Hot Firefighter #1 holds me up as we walk past the entire restaurant (“Hi everyone! Please don’t mind my bloody face and shirt. Enjoy your meal!”) and onto a stretcher.
As they wheel me into my very first (and hopefully only) ambulance ride I yell, “Please let Amy stay with me. Amy! Call Matt!!”
The paramedics were wonderful! They hooked me up to an IV, fretted over my high blood pressure and told me this is a Vegas tour not everyone gets, all while I’m trying very hard not to vomit. Amy rides up front and somehow figures out my Blackberry enough to call Matt.
When we get to the hospital and the paramedics get me checked in and then they leave. I should have left with them.
Welcome to fabulous Sunrise Hospital’s ER.
As I’m shuffled to one plastic chair to another, I realize I’m not in Kansas anymore. The staff all seem like they are on their last legs of patience. I understood this was a very stressful place (all 75 beds were full with more stretchers coming in every 10 minutes) but after I came back from the bathroom and asked if my name was called I didn’t realize I asked if I could poke them all in the eye with a sharp object.
Before too long, I gave blood, got my saline and was seated in yet another plastic chair next to a homeless looking woman who was passed out cold, slumped over in her chair. Even though she was unconscious I like to think we bonded over having our IV bags hooked up to the same 3M plastic hook on the wall.
Hours passed, when finally a nurse calls me and I felt like I won the lottery.
I’m taken to a bed where the same questions I’ve been asked for the past few hours are asked yet again.
No I didn’t fall. Yes this has happened before. No my blood pressure isn’t normally that high. No I’m not from here. We are staying at the Mirage.
The doctor comes in surprisingly soon after the nurse leaves. By now my nose has stopped bleeding which is the reason I assume he didn’t bother to even LOOK AT MY NOSE. Instead he too is consumed with my blood pressure, which actually wasn’t that high. He says he’s going to give me something to bring it down and he’ll be back in an hour to check on me.
My last wish from him to get my cousin from the waiting room. To which he asked, “What’s her name?”
“Gee, she’s not Jewish huh?”
The lose of blood and the shock of bedside manner left me speechless.
Seeing my JEWISH cousin after hours of being apart made the hell of this place dissipate. (no it didn’t)
While we are waiting for many a minute, we not only realize there is a previous tenant’s pee left on the counter…
but a crackhead two beds down starts screaming in pain about the holes in her gums while begging for narcotics and a guy in a straight jacket is roaming the halls.
I look at Amy and say, “We have to get out of here…” She flags down my nurse who I hear say, “I have her insulin right here…”
The nurse and the doctor come in and I say, “What? Insulin? I’m not ON insulin.”
Doctor: You’re blood sugar was very high. 270.
Me: Yeah, because when you took my blood I had just eaten a huge meal. It was 112 this morning. Not to mention this has been a very traumatic experience.
Doc: 270 is very high.
Me: Well I’m not taking insulin.
Doc: Your blood pressure is still really high even after that medication.
Me: Which I never got!
Doc to nurse: She didn’t get it?
Nurse: She won’t let me give her anything.
Me: OK. You know what? I’m done. My nose has stopped bleeding, I just want to go.
Doc: I don’t think that’s a good idea.
Me: (taking off my blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter) Can you get this IV out of me, please? Now!
Doc: You’ll have to sign an AMA form. You are leaving against medical advice.
Me: Where do I sign?
When we got discharged and I happily paid my $50 co pay (I’ve never slapped down fifty bucks so fast in my life. Insert “that’s what she said” joke here.) we hopped in a cab and went back to the hotel.
Where… I had to walk through the gargantuan hotel lobby and entire Mirage casino with a blood stained shirt and a blood clot in my nose that was big enough to wave at people walking by.
Needless to say, Amy and I didn’t go out that night but instead ordered in, took showers and just stared into space about what just happened.
So when people ask me how my 40th birthday trip to Vegas was, I just smile and say, “Memorable.”
p.s. if you’re ever in Vegas and you injure yourself, rub some dirt on it, push that bone back in place and get really drunk to numb the pain. ANYTHING other than taking a trip to the Vegas ER.
p.p.s. the diagnosis for my nose bleed? I was dehydrated and the desert is very dry. Bring Vaseline next time.