Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I've now survived electrocution!
24 hours ago - I was sitting in a very overcrowded ER waiting to been seen after our toaster decided to try and eliminate me at dinnertime. It didn't like that I reached over to stick the waffle farther in while it was on; something I've done a thousand times before. (Now that I think about it - I"m wondering if my ring touched the toaster element?) There was an odd sensation of current/buzzing down my left side and into the floor ... being motionless ... then jumping, only to grab the fridge handle. D'oh - bad idea- zinged again! Then I floated free off it. I must have made some noise because Allan was calling "ARE YOU O.K.?" on hearing the commotion from the dining room.
In a strange, disconnected voice - I said, "No - I've been electrocuted by the toaster". My left side felt numb and tingly at the same time. My left arm and leg felt like they were made of lead. I was talking out of half my mouth like Jean Cretien and couldn't move my left hand; my arm and shoulder felt hot inside.
I phoned home where my mother - roused from near sleep - immediately hung up so as to phone my dad who was working in the ER. She phoned back immediately and said "Dad says GO TO THE ER NOW - they need to make sure your heart is o.k."
I asked Allan to take me - but the M's had already put themselves into the tub and both babies were crawling around in diapers that needed changing. Sensing that it would be a LONG time to get everyone out the door - I headed out alone. Halfway to the hospital I realized I wasn't really safe to drive: I still felt really odd, and I also had no cell phone.
I arrived at Langley Hospital ER to find the busiest ER I had ever seen. It was a 40 min wait just to see the triage nurse. By the time - I had been checked into the waiting room - it was standing room only. For some bizarre reason - dozens of people had chosen after work on Monday to go to the ER for problems that had, in many cases, been bothering them for quite some time - days even. There were the kids with broken bones, tummy flu patients needing IV's, a post-surgery patient who was having a reaction, older men with chest pains, and so on. A foul smelling, drugged or drunk, unkept man with an injured foot was urinating on the floor and being hostile to the nurses. He was finally taken off to a locked room somewhere.
There were both parents of an 8 month-old happy baby boy with a red spot on his forehead. I overheard them explaining that he pulled to standing and fell down bonking his head on the chair. They were there when I arrived and they left the same time I did. They waited over 4 hours that evening to see a doctor, with a boy that was eating, playing, fussing, smiling, and filling diapers, just to be told that the boy was fine: something completely observable to everyone else in the waiting room. Obviously first time parents!
Good thing they went to Langley not Surrey. In Surrey - they would be getting grilled more along the lines of "are you sure you didn't hit your baby?" How do I know this? Well - let's just say it will be a cold day in ........ before I take any of my children into the SMH ER voluntarily.
Getting back to the ER though - as I waited, I noticed I was regaining feeling and movement. I had arrived at the ER at 8pm and by almost 11pm was still waiting. Since I was feeling so much better - I decided to go home and walked up to let the nurse know. She looked me up in her papers and said, "oh no, don't leave - just come back here." Assuming I was next - I followed her as she buzzed me through the double doors and motioned me to a chair across from the curtained-off beds housing ER patients. Then she left.
I fumed there for a while until I realized it was a lot more interesting on that side of the door anyway; I got lots more info on what different patients were in for. Hey - it's not evesdropping if they TELL you to sit there and than talk loud enough that you can hear them!
So all told - once the doctor got there - things didn't take long at all. I was - as I had suspected several hours earlier - fine. So after a stop at a 24 hour McDonalds drive through - I was back home by 2am. I deposited the offending toaster in the dumpster today and hope that will be all the "shocking" news for a long time.