So I am not always good at telling whether something is an emergency or not. Emergency always conjures up panic and imminent death. So if I am not panicking, and death is not immenent it must not be an emergency.
Perhaps I need to start thinking of these cases as urgent situations rather than emergencies. They don't involve panic and near-fatalities. They do, however, require some prompt attention and probably outside help.
Here are some historic examples of urgent situations/emergencies:
I fall on my head and suffer a concussion while biking but insist that I am fine and continue on the 20 mile bike/camping trip. One month later still suffering from terrible headaches I go see a doctor. She berates me and says that anyone who has a head injury and waits for a month to be seen deserves to have headaches. She rattles off the horrific list of things that could have (but did not) happened to me if I had a "slow leak."
While playing intramural soccer an opposing player kicks the ball squarely into my face, causing me to fall flat on my back and dislocate my jaw. I insist that I am fine and don't go to see the nurse until another player is injured and he drags me to the trainer's office. Then I spend three hours in the emergency room and three months in recovery. This was a poor start as a first year French horn student in conservatory.
Old Knitting Injury
I have a lovely set of rosewood knitting needles from a roommate in college. I make the mistake of leaving them on the floor of my room. While standing in my bare feet I inexplicably bring one foot toward the other and use this foot to solidly jamb the point of the knitting needle into the arch of the opposit foot. It sticks. Oh, I think, so this is what a puncture wound is like. Yanking the needle from my foot, I hop down the stairs to get help from my roommate, but I can see she is on the phone. As I stand on one foot and try not to drip on the floor and start feeling woozy, I wonder if I should bother her. She fetches me bandaids. The scar fades after ten years or so.
While living in the "garden level" apartment-- my first home with my spouse-- a water main bursts directly under our living room causing a catastrophic flood. Within minutes the wall-to-wall carpet is floating on a sea of water. Everywhere I step a geyser of cold water. I throw everything I can carry into the bathtub-- the only place that seems to be safe. I wonder what will happen when the water reaches the level of the electrical sockets. I stand on top of the piano bench as the water rises, clutching the phone in my hand. Before cell phones, you understand. The phone is giving me mild electric shocks as I debate whether or not this is an emergency that warrants a call to the apartment manager. It is the only weekend that our regular manager is out of town. He has left a number to call in case of emergency. Is this one?
Five weeks before my due date my water breaks while I am home alone-- a forty-five minute drive from the hospital. I have no car. My spouse is having a root canal. I have called in sick to work with a terrible headache. I call my midwife to see if she might want to see me. There is a pause on the other end of the phone before she says very slowly and clearly, "You are having a baby, so yes I would like to see you today." She does give me permission to wait until my spouse is done with oral surgery before I come in.
I wake up one morning about 3:00 am feeling terrible. I call the nurse care line and report that my blood pressure is Wicked High. In his best calm voice the nurse asks me to please wait and then says (after a long absence) that labor and delivery would like to see me. The only time he panics is when I ask if I can wait for my mother in law to come watch the kids or if I should drive myself. PLEASE DON'T DRIVE!
I am informed at the hospital that I need to be evaluated for pre-eclampsia. And they push IV fluids, collect blood and urine samples, take my blood pressure every twenty minutes (causing the alarms on the monitors to flash and buzz). I am told to lay on my left side. The lights are kept low. They tell me they need to induce labor because I have mild-to-moderate pre-eclampsia. More equipment is brought in. They say they have to put me on magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures, coma, and death... So does this mean I can't have a water birth? I am so glad I didn't watch Downton Abbey prior to this delivery.
Not sure what the point of this exercise was other than to make me realize in hindsight that all of these situations are glaringly, obviously, ridiculously urgent. But at the time I just wasn't sure. It didn't feel urgent. Things could have been worse, doncha know.
But with all of these physical situations there are external signs that anyone can see. If I am so bad at identifying urgent or emergency situations when things are so ridiculously clear how am I expected to self-identify urgent situations in my own head. I don't think I am having any sort of urgent or emergent situation now. Don't worry.
I wish that technology and medicine were just a little more advanced on the mental health front. I could use a little more straightforward data. A little less touchy-feely stuff. Because there is something physically happening. There is some chemical, measureable aspect to Depression. I just don't have access to the data.
Grateful Crap: No emergencies today, thank you.
took meds (150mg sertraline, 450 mg bupropion)
talked to a friend
went to meeting
did some crafty stuff
Quaker, teacher, parent,