Whatever happened to house calls?
June 18, 2010 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Gross Filter: How do I get myself to the doctor when I'm too sick to leave the bathroom for more than 5 minutes?

This thing keeps getting worse, and my fever keeps getting higher despite all the fluids I'm drinking and Aleve I'm taking (I'm all out of Tylenol). It started about 3 days ago, and it's a really nasty combination of all the sudden fluid loss you can imagine along with achy fatigue.

I know I need to see a doctor but now it's Friday night. I'm alone in the apartment for the weekend and there is a really good ER about 3 blocks away from my home. The problem is that when I move around for more than a minute or so (and even when I'm resting in bed) I suddenly know that I've only got about 5 seconds to get to the bathroom. I really do not want to be having these types of accidents on my way to the ER. I also want to avoid the expense of an ambulance given how close the ER is. I've thought about calling a cab, but I'm still terrified that I'll have an accident in the cab or when I'm in the waiting room of the ER. Part of me keeps hoping that I'll feel much better in the morning.

I do not have any imodium or anything like it around. All I have left is a bunch of Aleve liquid gels and a packet of Theraflu.

How can I handle this in the least mortifying way possible? Also summoning the energy to do this seems impossible right now. And my fever is so high that it is making me kind of stupid (sorry).
posted by ohyouknow to Health & Fitness (34 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: First call a cab.
Then, towels and a plastic trash bag inside your pants. Waddle away.
Best to take some spare clothes with you for the trip home later.

Or, better answer: Find someone, anyone, to call to help you. This is the time to call on a friendly neighbor, embarassing tho it may be.

Please don't wait til morning.

Mr. SLC had this problem once, but with blood. We had to shampoo the carseat, but he needed to be in the emergency room.

You need to be in the ER, too.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:57 PM on June 18, 2010

Do you have any friends or acquaintances who can drive you to the ER? They don't have to be close friends, just good Samaritans with a vehicle. To avoid soiling the upholstery, bring some plastic bags to sit on and barf in.
posted by coppermoss at 8:59 PM on June 18, 2010

Best answer: You know you need to get to that ER. The embarrassment of accidental bodily functions sounds like a small thing here compared to how sick you sound. Call a cab, bring a change of clothes and sit on a garbage bag or something for the 3 block ride.

Hope you feel better soon!
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:00 PM on June 18, 2010

Best answer: as i assume everything that's coming out of you is fairly liquid-y right now - do you have any pads? line the ass of your largest underwear/pajama shorts with them, put on jeans or a skirt or something that you don't mind throwing away. put some clothes in a back pack and then call a cab. if you have an accident, change clothes while you're waiting to go back at the ER.
posted by nadawi at 9:04 PM on June 18, 2010

Response by poster: Alas no pads around the house (but you're correct that it's all liquid). I may be able to find a panty liner or something. My friends are mostly all out for the night but I will call them. I also have this (irrational I know) burning desire to take a shower before this ordeal. My fever is 103.4 after taking 4 Aleves an hour ago. I think I just need to summon the energy to do this. But all I want to do is curl up on my bed.
posted by ohyouknow at 9:09 PM on June 18, 2010

Best answer: I've been there before. Even if you have immodium, you don't want to take it. Call a cab, bring towels, head to the ER. You'll feel much better after they get some IV fluids in you.

On preview, what blaneyphoto said.

When you get to the ER, make sure to tell the RN in triage what is going on. And every time you have to go to the bathroom while waiting, make sure they see you. I had to excuse myself about 4 times while I was being triaged!

They are used to it. If you weren't ill, you wouldn't be there. 'nuf said.

Get well soon.
posted by 6:1 at 9:10 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm presuming the accidents are coming out of your butt and not out of your mouth.

If butt, call someone you know and have them get you some Depends or equivalent. Wear those on the way to the ER. Drink LOTS of water and try and eat a banana.

If it's puke, bring plenty of plastic shopping bags, and puke in those. Drink LOTS of water and, well, the banana would probably be wasted. Good luck.
posted by not_on_display at 9:11 PM on June 18, 2010

No pads? Well then maybe a hand towel or something like that under a skirt with tight-fitting shorts? I really feel for you; this sounds awful but I think you do need medical care.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:12 PM on June 18, 2010

Makeshift pads: layered paper towels or kitchen rags or washcloths, lining your undergarments. Wrap toilet paper around everything, tucking it all underneath. Wear a tight-fitting pair of pajama pants or something to keep stuff secure, regular clothes over this.

You sound very sick, please give your friends a call. Make it clear how sick you are, how much you need their help. People are a lot more willing to help out a friend in need than you might think.
posted by Mizu at 9:16 PM on June 18, 2010

I would suggest stopping the Aleve (naproxen); it's a strong NSAID that can be very harsh on the digestive tract.

On preview: I'm a little alarmed that you said you just took 4 tablets an hour ago; 3 tablets is the maximum dose for any 24-hour period. If you've taken significantly more than 4 tablets in the past 24 hours, you may actually be having a bit of a naproxen overdose.

I would call someone to bring you some Imodium and take you to the ER if you don't stabilize in the next few hours.
posted by scody at 9:16 PM on June 18, 2010

In fact, I'm revising myself and thinking that you're getting close to ambulance time.
posted by scody at 9:17 PM on June 18, 2010

Best answer: I understand the shower thing. Don't sweat it, it's probably dangerous if you're dehydrated from fluid loss and the hospital has dealt with its share of grossness.

I have also been in your situation, unfortunately, and I understand the awfulness of it all.

What I did was this:
1. Wore granny panties and lined them with a big pad and a washcloth. I then wrapped a smallish towel around my waist/butt and smushed that all into a generously-sized pair of sweatpants. Dark sweatpants.
2. Lined the passenger car seat with garbage bags, then a towel over top of that.
3. I was expecting an accident on the way, but something about nerves combined with terror combined with anticipation of being cared for made it not happen.

I hope you have a caring friend who can help you out and at least get the car part of that ready for you while you get yourself ready to go to the ER. I sincerely hope you are better soon.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:21 PM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Everyone is right - you are very sick and all you need to do is get to that ER (it's so close! you can do it!) so they can take care of you and make you well. Being sick is undignified, but what's important is your safety (and cab drivers have seen it ALL, believe me! you won't even register to them!)

Do this now: Call a cab. Wait on the toilet until it's time to go, then put some dishtowels or t-shirts in your underwear. That'll do just fine for three blocks. It is important that you do this now - you are sick, and cabbies and ER people will think nothing of it. Call right now, and soon you'll be able to lie down and rest in a safe place where they'll take care of everything!
posted by moxiedoll at 9:22 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm worried that the heat of a shower might cause you to get woozy and pass out, I'd skip that step for now and just wash up with a washcloth if anything at all.

Keep us posted, please. You're sick and we're worried about you.
posted by kate blank at 9:26 PM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also if your diarrhea is tarry, black, or very dark blackish-red: please get to the ER immediately. That's indicative of gastrointestinal bleeding and you have to be treated urgently.
posted by scody at 9:29 PM on June 18, 2010

Best answer: Don't wash up - that's silly. The people at the hospital don't care about poop - and that's all it is. No big deal! Go now, before you get too dehydrated to get there. Just call an ambulance or a cab and get there as soon as you can - then you'll be safe and can finally rest and stop worrying!
posted by moxiedoll at 9:30 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Think of it this way: drunk people throw up in cabs all the time, and they're unrepentant and don't give advance notice. You're *prepared* to throw up/ shit yourself/ whatever, you're going to come strapped so you make as little mess as possible, and you're going to tip well.

Don't sweat it, and do get to the ER. That's some serious sick you've got going on and I'd hate for you to get worse.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:36 PM on June 18, 2010

Best answer: please take care and go to the hospital now. you'll start to feel better once you're being rehydrated. don't shower either, with that fever.

I'm with Burhanistan for just call an ambulance - this level of fever and dehydration can be life-threatening so don't mess around.
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:37 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Putting (layers of) clothes on now; thanks everyone
posted by ohyouknow at 9:38 PM on June 18, 2010

Don't drink plain water. You need to add a bunch or sugar and a little salt. The sugar will allow your body to absorb the salt and keep you from dehydrating too badly. This stuff is called ORT.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:45 PM on June 18, 2010

Best answer: Your profile says you're in San Francisco and if that's where you are now, I'm sure you'll get good care but if you need help over the weekend, I, or one of the many SF Metafites, can probably figure something out.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:51 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh wait, you're in SF? I'm across the Bay and my car is already the shittiest in the world. If you aren't on your way already, drop me a line.
posted by salvia at 10:18 PM on June 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I live across the street from UCSF. If that's the ER you're going to, I can come and keep you company for awhile. Sadly, I am sans car, so I can't help you out there.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:23 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It sounds like you are in SF proper, and I sincerely hope that you're already at the emergency room, but if you're on the Peninsula and haven't gotten there yet, my car rivals salvia's for shittiest in the world. Mefi mail me if I can be of assistance.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 10:39 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Please post a follow up when you are feeling better.
posted by mecran01 at 10:46 PM on June 18, 2010 [14 favorites]

Response by poster: I am safely in a bed at St. Francis. They don't know what is causing this yet but I did overhear my doctor say something about a parasite (and that I may need to be admitted). I have gone through 3 bags of saline and am still pretty dehydrated. More exciting is that I finally got my iv hooked up to a stand with wheels -- ideal for bolting to the bathroom at a moment's notice.

Since few of my friends have cars I called a cab and a good friend of mine met me here. It was getting late, I was getting morphine, so I sent her home.

Thank you all so much for the kick in the pants and offering me a ride. Seeing that was really touching and beyond cool.
posted by ohyouknow at 2:18 AM on June 19, 2010 [15 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, forgot to mention that there were no accidents at all on the way over. Yay!

now I'm just anxious to figure out what this is so I can be normal again.
posted by ohyouknow at 2:21 AM on June 19, 2010

Glad that you got help, and hope you feel better soon.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:03 AM on June 19, 2010

Glad to hear you're okay.
posted by biochemist at 9:46 AM on June 19, 2010

Thanks for updating. Hope you're on the mend soon.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:03 AM on June 19, 2010

Thanks for the update. Please keep us (or me) posted. Enjoy the morphine!
posted by 6:1 at 4:56 PM on June 19, 2010

Oh man I got to this late. I'm so glad you got to the ER!
posted by radioamy at 10:17 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! It turns out it was a nasty bout of food poisoning due to some raw salmon I ate for lunch this past Wednesday. Until I got my prescriptions filled I was still a little walking horror show for a while (I would totally tell those stories, but only anonymously in case I ever get to meet you guys in the real world), but mostly this all happened at my house when no one but my cats could see.
posted by ohyouknow at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Glad you're on the mend. That's such a horrible situation to be in.
posted by jvilter at 3:12 PM on June 21, 2010

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