25 October 2009

My Nancy Drew Act: The Quest To Find Out What The Hell Happened, Wednesday, 21 October, 1230

(If you haven't already read this saga from the beginning of this nightmare, go here first)

Immediately after the outpatient session was over I raced over to the trauma center I was taken to and put in a request to receive my complete medical record of my ER visit. I detailed that I wanted all the doctors’ notes, the nurses’ notes, all lab results, and any legal paperwork filed against me—or at least evidence that they were requested and ordered by the doctor. I was told it would take approximately 15 days. Then I thought to stop by the business office and get a copy of my bill. At least I could determine from that what tests were ordered and what medications were given and anything else that was billable. That they gave me immediately. It was a start.

What a fucking rip-off. The entire bill was $3910. Here is how it broke down: 5 0.1mg clonidine tabs @ $3 each, 40meq of potassium chloride @ $3/10meq, 1 800mg ibuprofen @ $3, venipuncture @ $25, blood alcohol level @ $196, 2 basic metabolic blood tests @ $200 each, 11 drug screens @ $88 each, CBC @ $105, urine culture @ $171, urinalysis @$93, ER Fee-Level V @ $1,524 (I was charged twice for that one), EKG @ $250, and finally the ER physician’s fee of $234. If I were that doctor, I would be humiliated to know that the damn EKG cost more than I did.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the medical records. I am going to match each billable item to an order in the chart. If I don’t see 11 orders for the separate tox screens, I’m sure as hell not going to pay for all of them

Aside from the ridiculous costs of each item and why the hell they had to run 11 tox screens, everything billed seemed to be a reasonable action taken by the ER considering my supposed presenting symptoms. But, just what were those presenting symptoms? I still can’t remember shit.

Then I went over to the E911 administrative offices. I told them I wanted a copy of the paramedics’ record on me that would reveal the time the 911 call came in, how they found me, what condition I was in, etc. I also told them that I wanted a copy of the 911 recording (they could send me the .wav file via email). While I got a hard copy of the record right away, I was told it would take about a week to get the recording.

As I sat there and read it, I was totally blown away. As best as I assumed before reading this, someone called 911 reporting a suicide attempt. Yet, at the top of the record, it states that they were dispatched at 0259 on 10 October with no lights and sirens. Hmmm…guess they must not take suicide attempts very seriously! They arrived at my house at 0313. But get this—they departed my location to transport me to the ER at 0330 (arrival to the ER @ 0338—again with no lights and sirens). They spent only 17 minutes at my home (btw, that bill was $250).

Then I flip to the second page. This only gets more bizarre. According to the report, “patient found sitting on porch with city police talking with her.” Talking??? So, I was up and talking. Explains HOW they gained access to my house. But, why were the police there? Oh yeah, that’s right, in my state it’s against the law to commit suicide.

I kept reading…”Chief Complaint: Category-Psychiatric Problems,” (geniuses, aren’t they?), “History of Present Illness: patient states that she has been having suicidal thoughts recently. Patient states she sent a message to her pastor detailing that she was going to overdose on medication with alcohol. Patient states she has been off her psychiatric meds for about three months. Patient agreed to go to the ER after admitting to sending her pastor the message about intentions of overdosing. Patient states she has not made an attempt to overdose or any other type of suicide yet.”

Third page “Neurological Exam—Level of Consciousness: alert, Orientation: oriented to people place and time, Loss of Consciousness: No, Chemically Paralyzed: No, Motor Comments: moves all extremities equally well, Sensory Comments: equal and normal sensory functions, Pupils: normal and reactive.” The GCS, airway, respiratory and cardiovascular entries all reported “within normal limits.” “Injury Details—Drugs/Alcohol? Alcohol, Drugs/Alcohol Indicators: patient admits to alcohol use, smell of alcohol on breath” Here is my favorite entry… “Impression/Diagnosis: mental/psych” (God love their training!).

Fourth page “Patient Authorization Signature Form” There was my signature, plain as day and clear as a bell. This was followed by a similar page for the receiving nurse’s signature at the ER.

Reading all of this only raised more questions. If I was so fucking alert and oriented, why the hell can I not remember a damn thing? Why would I send a message to my pastor of all people (sure enough, I checked my cell and there was an outbound text message basically saying what was in the report, so I now know WHO called 911)

What I do remember was being depressed at being so alone and pissed off that I couldn’t go to sleep, and making that huge Kamikaze. I don’t remember being suicidal (well, enough to actually do something about it). Besides, I already know how I plan to commit suicide—with an IV overdose of potassium chloride or insulin, whichever I can get my hands on (which I can quite easily). As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m certainly not going to take a chance by swallowing a boatload of pills and chasing it down with alcohol only to risk vomiting up all my resources. Plus, as evidenced by this occurrence, there is no telling what I might do in that period of time as my mental state starts altering after drinking a lot of alcohol (God forbid I make the mistake of sending another text message). With an overdose of the pills that I do have, there is the risk of resuscitation. With IV potassium chloride or insulin, especially the former, hell, I’ll be doing good to be around long enough to pull out the damn needle. No chance of resuscitation. It’s quick and it’s permanent.

Nevertheless, there are still more questions. Why were all the lights on in my house? Did the cops search my house? There didn’t seem to be any evidence of that. The only things out of place were the coffee table and the two speakers. Why were they moved if I was found sitting on my porch talking to the cops? Well, at least I know HOW the paramedics got in and WHO called 911. Huh, I wonder if the cops’ lights were flashing the whole time they were in my driveway? I’m sure the neighbors loved that. Well, at that hour, that’s probably a moot point. Besides, I don’t even know who they are, so I could give a flying fuck what they think.

Now I want to get in touch with the police department and talk to these cops who were on my porch. Maybe they can fill in some more of the blanks. And the nightmare continues…©2009


  1. It's not for me - or anyone else for that matter! - to tell you that you should not kill yourself. Much as I would deeply regret it, as I enjoy communicating with you, at the end of the day it's your life (and death). The only thing I would say is that if you sent the text message to your pastor in this seemingly disocciated state, is there not some tiny part of you, however hidden, that wants to live? I hope that doesn't come across as patronising - what the fuck do I know? I'm certainly not judgemental about suicide, but I think it's important to be absolutely 100% certain and to have exhausted all workable alternatives.

    For now, please take care of yourself as best you can - thinking of you.

  2. Thank you for sharing your blog with me:) I find it so interesting to read all of the similarities from one BPD sufferer to another. I have had some HORRIBLE hospital stays as well and I completely get what you said about not wanting to socialize with the other patients and feeling as though the medical "professionals" are all being condescending. How can they possibly expect anyone to want to cooperate with them? To feel comfortable enough to open up when someone is treating you like an idiot is impossible. And some of those nurses....I would love to wipe those smug looks off of their snotty little faces;)

    p.s Glad you noticed and appreciated my "Doors" reference:)

  3. Amnesia - or I'd rather call it limited memory-erase, occurs with certain drug overdoses - such as Ambien. I was fully coherent on my overdose, according to those that we there, but I don't remember all of the night.

    I always had the habit of emailing my church's leaders - we have a Bishop and two counselors. Some of those email had way too much information that I wouldn't have revealed if I thought I would have a chance of living through the attempt.

    My one mistake was, I would email at two or three in the morning; not realizing that one of three seemed to always be online reading emails.