Emergency!

As I get older, I realize how selfish I’ve become. It’s not a nice thing to face up to but reality often isn’t.

Sunday afternoon, I set about getting ready for my company who would be coming in that evening. I cooked lentils, rice, onions and mushrooms (not all together) and was just starting on the salad stuff when the doorbell rang.

The Computer Owner was here and had gone back to her car to get her keyboard, recorder (the flute-type, not audio), and a couple of other things.

I’d set the table in the dining room since the other little table was laden with Computer Stuff. She didn’t think she was dressed for such formality but with me in my sweats, she was fine.

We ate supper (what we had is “majedra”–if you don’t know what it is, google it). I added Cholula chipotle hot sauce to mine. We cleared the table and I said I’d load the dishwasher later. She had laryngitis so our communication was partly talking and the rest was her writing on a pad.

She got her keyboard all set up and we started “making music”. She has a limited repertoire so I encouraged her to branch out and learn some more. She reads music well and there’s no reason she can’t translate it to her fingers.

Twinkle was fine as long as we were playing the piano and keyboard. She even got up on the bench with me and pawed at the keys a couple of times. When the CO started playing the recorder, Twinkle got very concerned.

Are you okay?

She didn’t understand the weird noises that lady was making.

Are you sure?

Now, I don’t enjoy someone else’s animals getting too up close and personal with me but the CO didn’t mind. I told her to put Twinkle in her place if she didn’t want her attention.

Reassurance

I told her I guess she knew her pictures would be on my blog.

"What?"

It was about 8:15 Tommie Time (no daylight saving time rant this year) when she left. I went to the kitchen to take care of the leftovers and dishes. I’d sent about half of the food with the CO and put the rest away. One dish found its way into the dishwasher when my stomach started burning terribly.

I grabbed some bread and toasted it, thinking it would soak up the excess acid. It didn’t do any good. I drank some water and took my NAC for the evening along with my generic Zantac. I felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck. I brushed my teeth but didn’t even attempt flossing.

My stomach was in an uproar. Next came voluminous amounts of gas. After that, it was diarrhea. Then the vomiting started. When I’d had four parts of that, I thought surely the worst was over so I went to bed. After several minutes of comparative quiet, I had to get up to go to the bathroom. As soon as I was upright, I knew I’d better get to the commode and quick. It was another round.

I keep activated charcoal powder so I mixed some with water and drank it. Within a few more minutes, it came back up. I mixed up some more and it did the same.

Taking turns, I had vomiting and diarrhea some more. At one point, I put a bucket in front of me while I sat down but I didn’t have to use it.

I’m not sure I ever ran a fever but I started chilling. I shivered until I shook the bed. I knew I couldn’t handle this on my own so, around 2 a.m. Tommie Time, I started considering my options. I could call for an ambulance but I’ve never ridden in one and, besides, I’m just selfish enough to want someone I know with me at a time like that.

There was no way I could look up phone numbers so I started calling ones I had in my head. First was my cousin. I got voice mail. Then my friend from church. Voice mail. The last person who was in the area as well as in my head was the pianist. I called and she answered. I managed to ask her to call the head elder aka the Cavalry (he lives the closest to me) and tell him I needed to go to the ER.

I’d worn my clothes to bed. That’s not something I ever do but I had a premonition I might need to go to the hospital. I put my car keys in my pocket along with the folder holding my insurance card.

Lying back down, I covered up and tried to get warm. By and by, I saw headlights shining on the wall opposite my bed. The doorbell rang.

The head elder stood there smiling. I got my coat and we went to the car. I requested to lie down in the back seat rather than trying to sit up.

He asked which hospital I wanted to go to and I told him the one where I’d had my surgery. As we went along, I tried to imagine where we were. I came to the conclusion I’d never be a good witness to help catch someone if I were taken captive.

The registration process at that hospital is about as streamlined as it can get. I was asked to fill out a little card with my name, date of birth, address and phone number. Being from the work background that I am, I was watching what they did like a hawk.

We were asked to sit down in a spacious waiting room. We were the only ones there.

A little while later, I was summoned to the emergency room. I was put in a little room with its own door. No curtains. It was completely private.

I think I had exhausted all the liquid in my body because I had neither vomited or diarrhea-ed for a couple of hours. I still felt rotten, though.

The doctor, a big handsome burly man, came in and interviewed me about my symptoms. I’d taken the bottle of hot sauce with me thinking it was the culprit. He told me nothing could live in that but I didn’t need to eat any more of it. It was chucked into the garbage—the infectious waste. I wondered what the Powers That Be might say about that. Since it’s charged by the lub, we were always told NEVER to put anything in it that couldn’t be classed as infectious.

A young curly-headed fellow came in to draw my blood. He was cute as he could be and we got into a conversation about cell phones and Internet access. He took care of his assignment and left.

I lay there thinking about the head elder in the waiting room. I knew he had to get up and face a workday. When the young fellow came back, I asked him to go tell him I didn’t know how long I would be there and he was free to leave. He offered to bring him back and said it would be okay. I gave him the man’s name and it wasn’t long before there he was.

I repeated what I’d told the young fellow but the elder crossed the little room and took a seat. He was prepared to wait until an assessment was made.

They’d asked for a urine specimen but I couldn’t provide one. I was too dehydrated. By and by, though, I felt more diarrhea coming on and was directed to a bathroom right next to the exam room. I eventually filled the request.

The big doctor came back and said my blood work indicated an infection. My white count (which should be around 10k) was 18k. He was ordering a CT of the abdomen. It would be 15-20 minutes before the machine would be ready. I learned long ago that 15-20 minutes can be much longer than that.

A very young man came in with a COW (computer on wheels) to complete my registration. EMTALA laws state that a patient can’t be asked for financial information until the treatment had been started. Compliance was perfect.

Passing the time with visiting, the x-ray tech came to take me to the CT room. That allergy panel came in handy again and I told him I couldn’t have contrast. I think he was relieved. It wouldn’t take nearly as long without it.

The CT over, I was back in the room. By then, the doctor had ordered an IV and the young fellow expertly started it. I felt much better and when the next shift doctor came in, he said I didn’t look toxic. However, the CT had shown a paralytic ileus and he wanted to keep me for 23 hours.

I asked to use the elder’s cell phone so I could call my cousin. Her sister had called him and told him Cuz was worried. I told her I’d call once I got to the room. She has DD’s phone number so I asked her to let her know where I was. Obviously, I couldn’t feed the critters. Could my CIL feed Twinkle? I told her where the food was and she said she’d pass it along.

I kept urging the elder to leave so he could get some sleep before work but he insisted on staying. Finally, when he heard it would be the next morning before I’d be ready to leave, he consented. That was almost 8 TT. He had prayer with me and went home.

The hospital is built on several different levels. The ER is on the lower level and the patient rooms are on a different one. It isn’t a big hospital but it has a big hospital feel.

Sleep hadn’t been coming for a full night. As promised, I called my cousin. She’d tried to call DD but hadn’t gotten an answer. Well, no! DD’s time is three hours earlier than hers. She wasn’t up yet.

Breakfast came. It was coffee, tea, some kind of broth, a couple of 4 ozzie containers of juice, Sprite and two little containers of Jello. I drank what I could.

The nurse came in and put a yellow band on me. That was to remind me (she said) that I was to ask for assistance to go to the bathroom. The IV pump would have to go with me.

With the ingestion of juices, activity started again. I had to push the button for an escort. When I got back, DD called. I asked her to email my sisters to let them know what was going on. I’d already notified them the night before that I wouldn’t be writing a blog post.

An older lady (probably around my age) came in and said she was a financial counselor. She was curious as to why I had chosen Humana Choice for my insurance. She has regular Medicare and she pays $230 a month for a supplement PLUS another $50-some for Part D. I told her i’d considered all my options and figured it was the best for me. Last year, my out of pocket was around $400 vs the $2760 she pays in premiums. When she left, she seemed a bit skeptical. Oh, well, to each her own.

The hospitalist (who was my doctor for the stay) came in and pretty much said what I’d already been told. I’d stay until the next morning and we’d go from there.

Cuz called, said Twinkle had been fed. She’d allowed herself to be petted, even.

My oldest sister called, then the middle one. I’d left voice mail for DS1 saying, “This is Nikoleta Covanchi from the Medical Center. For more information, call [whatever].” He eventually called me, then DS2 called. All this took place between trips to the bathroom. I dozed when I could but that night, I slept soundly when my innards would let me.

Once, when I had to call for assistance, a tall, thin man came in. I was wishing I could go by myself but he said, “That’s fine. A nurse without patients is a nurse who is unemployed.” He took me into the bathroom and discreetly stood off to the side while I did what I had to do.

All the nurses and aides were very nice. The names were written on the white board across the room. I never had to wait very long for someone to come.

Morning came and I looked out the window at “my” mountain. Would I get to go home?

2 Responses to Emergency!

  1. Terry in the keys March 12, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    I was wondering if something had happened! You must be better now or you wouldn’t be writing. I’m anxious to hear the rest of this story. Feel better soon. You’re in my prayers, terry

    • Tommie March 13, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      I hadn’t planned on doing a post that soon but going to bed didn’t work. Thanks for the prayers!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.