08 May 2009

{gasp} how shocking {gasp}

several years back, i'd received the shock of a lifetime. literally. i was working at a clinic in alabama. the entire staff was the doctor, the nurse, and me. we would usually see between 60 and 70 people a day. that was if there was no flu or other infectious disease being passed around the general population of the second poorest county in alabama (which was the second poorest state~most of our patients were very, very poor and in need of medical care way before they would make it to the clinic, which meant that most of them were very sick by the time they got to us).

there was a new clinic being built just behind the old single wide trailer that was the clinic at that time. for the time being, we were using the old x-ray room as a sort of storage room, since the x-ray machine was not in use. it's important to know this to get an idea of what the circumstances were like at the time, sorta setting the scene, if ya will.

for some reason, we were closed for the day, i'm thinking it was cuz the doctor had a conference to attend. the nurse and i were sorting and packing some things that needed to be moved over to the new building, and shredding things that needed to be destroyed, or placing them into haz-mat bags if needed. loads of fun, it was.

since i'd stood in as the x-ray patient so the other folks from the county's other clinic and the doctor from our clinic learned how to take x-rays and develop them, i was explaining to our nurse (who'd not been there the day of x-ray instruction) about the charts and settings and positions and how to store the film and what to do and all that other happy crappy sorta stuff that we did with limited resources and no radiologist. since i knew where the book with all the charts/settings/positions was, and since we had actually gone to the other clinic to use their x-ray machine, and since our x-ray machine was not operational at the time...i went to get the book, which was actually sitting on the controls in the x-ray room.

the nurse is now one of my dearly fabulous friends (hello lovely freaky ferah!!), and at the time, we'd only been known/worked together for less than a month. so she was standing in the doorway of the room, cuz the room was jammed packed with stuff and there was barely room for me, let alone another person. i was precariously balanced, leaning over a stack of stuff, and reaching for the needed book when several things happened simultaneously.

the back of my leg touched an exposed live cable {the main feed for the x-ray which had not been properly capped or wrapped when disconnected from the machine, nor was the breaker flipped off; well, until that moment}.

there was a zzzzzzzz-POP! all the lights in the building surged and then all the circuits blew and i had not only knocked the entire building off the grid, but none of our emergency lights, or phones worked cuz i short circuited those too.

a horrible smell issued forth.

my mouth flooded with the taste of bright copper and my head arched back on my neck til it seemed i was looking at an upside down ferah in the doorway from between my shoulder blades {an impossibility, but still frigging weird all the same}.

a ball of white light ran up one leg, gained in size, crossed over my back, and split into two balls, one running down my other leg, and one running down my arm.

the top of ferah's head hit the door-jamb as she screamed from the sight of me contorting, the deep darkness, and the hellish white balls flying on my body.

when sound finally turned up the volume enough to reach my ears and brain, ferah was in the midst of chanting my name as one big long horrible repitition, "...anciancianciancianci..." {anci had been my name for about six years at that time} with some "omigawd"s thrown in for good effect. she was severely rattled, so much so that her nurse's training was not kicking in and i had to do some quick thinking under limited circumstances.

i didn't just sustain a shock, but it was the cable for the main portion of the x-ray machine, which in part must be able to use a surge of power in order to perform properly and capture images. my leg, the back of my head, my brain, my heart, and other internal systems such as most of my nerves and my brain's ability to process those nerve-sensations became overloaded in a very brief amount of time, and i was aware that i hadn't much time. as i walked toward ferah, she backed away, cuz the glow surrounding me was throbbing some and it scared the crap outta her. however, we both got outta the building and i got her to use her cell phone to call the ER directly; they told her to drive me down, as it would take them too long to get an emergency crew to me. fortunately our clinic was right next to the police station and they gave us an escort to the ER, some twenty miles away. i'm not sure why the police just didn't take me, but at the time, it seemed i was the only person thinking clearly and i was quickly losing my ability to do so.

by the time we got to the ER, i was not only having chest pains, with shallow faint breathing; but my legs and arms weren't cooperating with me, and were in constant state of seizure like activity. my brain was feeling like it was being bathed in a charged saline solution with eels swimming around in endless loops of infinity. and most thought was no longer an option.

i don't remember much after that, for the most part. i do remember that the hospital's staff were talking among themselves and the general consensus was bewilderment as to how i was still alive and not more severely injured. there was a nice neat tidy hole burnt thru my jeans, as clean as you please, and there was some general discussion about how the electrical impulses may affect my heart and other systems in the future.

not much is understood about electricity's effects on the body/brain in more detail than generalities. i was told that what i'd experienced was like several sets of jumper-paddles being used on me simultaneously. the long-term consequences were unknown and i was cautioned to be extremely careful not to sustain any shocks, no matter how minor in the future as the tissue of my heart might not be able to continue to function properly.

so imagine whatta total idiot i was earlier today, and how very lucky i feel; when i'd been moving an aluminum step-ladder, which overturned a bucket of grimy water, which sloshed across the floor, perhaps connecting with a slight tear in the fan's cord, or splashing up the wall and into the exposed 110 outlet...at any rate, i did experience a slight shock. i think i completed the circuitry by having both hands on the ladder. i also think that the rubber in my shoes saved my ass from a worse electrical surge.

my mother cleaned up the horrible mess, and i sat down for awhile, breathing and sweating and trying to determine the difference between a galloping pulse due to surprise of shock and whether the shock was having a more serious impact on me and my heart. i think i'm alright. i'm pretty sure that going to the ER is not neccessary at this point. and i've been monitoring myself while writing this to make sure my mental accuity is not lapsing. i've had to retype some words, as i accessed the wrong words from time to time {they were close, but not exactly what i was thinking and meant to type}. my mom keeps checking in with me, to make sure i don't fade away or seize {esp as seizing would be particularly bad for me due to some of the medications i take and paramedics administering treatment to me need to know exactly what i take and when i take it so that they don't do the wrong thing and cause me to worsen}.

whew. i'm alright, dudes. i think.


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!