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Grobblefruit Appreciation Society

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Torsion [Mar. 5th, 2011|01:24 pm]
Grobblefruit Appreciation Society

I spent last night in the hospital, recovering from emergency surgery to fix a testicular torsion. Feel free to google that if you want to know what it is. Short version: it's about as painful as it sounds.

One of my testicles hurt a bit when I woke up, but I figured it would go away so I went to work as usual. As the morning went on, it got worse to the point where I couldn't focus on work so I went home and called 811 (our non-emergency health information line.)  They advised me to go to the nearest emergency room, which was Hotel Dieu.

I walked there somewhat painfully (it's 10 minutes away) and waited about 30 minutes to see the triage nurse.  After seeing her, I waited for over an hour while my pain got worse and worse.  Eventually it got really bad so I went in to see her again and she had a doctor see me right away.  The doctor sent me for an ultrasound, which was even more painful, then eventually called a urologist at another hospital.

The urologist was pretty concerned and said that it could be a torsion and he wanted me in right away.  After that, things started moving more quickly, which was a good thing because the pain had progressed to the point of "worst pain I've ever had."  Hotel Dieu did an EKG and blood tests while waiting for a call back from the other hospital (Saint Luc.)  Then a nurse took me to a taxi and we went to Saint Luc, about a 10 minute drive away.  At Saint Luc I was shown to a bed and given a gown to put on, and once I had done this they took me upstairs to the surgery ward.

The doctor examined me, explained the procedure to me, I signed a consent form, and they took me in to the OR.  They gave me a spinal block and went to work... I couldn't see what they were doing but it took about 30 minutes, after which they took me back to my bed to spend the night.  Apparently my testicle will be OK - the doctor was concerned since it spent a long time in torsion but he said it was still getting some blood, just not enough (which explains the gradual pain buildup - usually it's a lot more sudden.)

Everything below my waist was numb for several more hours (which made urinating... strange).  As the feeling came back, so did some pain but nothing I couldn't manage with over the counter painkillers.  I didn't sleep very well and it was a pretty boring night.  Hospitals are a pretty depressing place overall - my roommate was an elderly man who was in a really bad state.  He probably won't live much longer :(

It was my first visit to a Montréal emergency room, so here's some stuff I wish I'd known:

  1. The CHUM (U de M) hospitals are very French.  All the doctors I saw spoke perfect English but the nurses had varying abilities.  It's a good thing my French is serviceable.  If yours isn't, it's probably best to head to a MUHC (McGill) hospital.
  2. 811 won't tell you this.
  3. If you have a specific problem that is likely to require a specialist (e.g. testicular pain requiring a urologist), try to go to a hospital that has that kind of specialist.  Hotel Dieu didn't, so they had to transfer me to Saint Luc.  If I'd gone there in the first place (or to a MUHC hospital with a urology department), I'd probably have been treated a lot more quickly.
  4. Again, 811 won't tell you this.
Other than that, the emergency room was professionally run but very understaffed with long wait times.  I wasn't surprised by the wait times, as apparently all Montréal hospitals have this problem.  Welcome to our underfunded medical system!

I'm doing fine now, but I'll be taking it easy for the next while (no exercise for the next 2 weeks, boo.)