That time I was really bleeding and no one cared
Okay well it’s already been a busy day, but I promised to tell this story today so here we go. To quickly sum up the story, I filled a bathroom trash can full of blood, went to the emergency room, was shoved into a storage closet, then discharged. Welcome to the VA and fuck you for your service.
For those of you not in the US, VA is veterans affairs, they are the people who take care of me (the VA hospital) and pay me disability since I served my country and was hurt during that service. Since we don’t have universal healthcare, I am forced to choose between the VA care or no care. Needless to say I’m thankful I have a choice, but also frustrated that there is no better alternative.
I don’t know how I have so many VA horror stories. Maybe because I was forced to use them so much. Like most Americans after I left the military I had no stable work and thus no health insurance. I was fighting the VA for my benefits so I just got used to not going to the doctor for anything. Even after I got my benefits it was some time before I actually realized I could use them to fix things that were wrong with me.
I was overly excited about my first surgery, that would be ~9 surgeries ago and almost half of those were to correct the problems from the original so spoiler on how it went. The promise of pain relief was exciting and the second I woke up from surgery I knew it was going to be rough, but I hoped it would be worth it in the end.
Back surgery is no fun, I was opened from ~ L3 to mid sacrum I would say, for those of you who don’t know where that ends let’s just say using the bathroom without hitting the stitches was very difficult. That’s about as graphic as I want to get about that. Anyway things were… going and about a week into it I was really feeling optimistic. Then one morning I woke up and knew I had made a mistake.
There was blood everywhere. I had been dealing with some drips from around the sutures, which was normal, but this was a flood that had soaked through the several towels I had laid down to prevent staining my sheets. So I did the only thing I could think to do, called the hospital. There was no active bleeding, so they reassured me that everything was fine, there was probably some build up post surgery, and because it wasn’t bright red, it was old blood so I was okay.
Well the next morning I woke up and it was worse. The bed wasn’t any worse, but when I got up blood started flowing out of my sutures. Not dripping, flowing like a river. So in a moment of clarity I threw my bathroom trash can under me and when it started to subside I went to the ER. You would think after two days of extreme amounts of blood loss someone would care.
Well they were unimpressed. They took me back into a room which was a storage closet (literally, it had been repurposed with a bed, but all the storage supplies were still there) and I was stuck waiting until the Doctor came to see me. He said unless I wanted a revision surgery I had to wait it out and that I had apparently developed a rather large hematoma that had resolved itself.
I mean, I’m alive and after about a week of waking up, bleeding a lot, and cleaning the mess, it finally stopped. So I guess he wasn’t wrong, but it was a really horrid time and I can’t help but think there had to have been a better way to handle all that. In hindsight I should’ve pushed for a revision surgery, maybe it would have prevented all the surgery nonsense I’ve had to endure since.
In any case, that’s the story of how I filled a small trash can full of blood and no one seemed alarmed. The point of today’s post? It’s stories like this that really reenforce the idea that I will be punished until the day I die by the government because I didn’t have the decency to die in combat.