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:
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!
- 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.
- 811 won't tell you this.
- 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.
- Again, 811 won't tell you this.
I'm doing fine now, but I'll be taking it easy for the next while (no exercise for the next 2 weeks, boo.)