A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 11, 2016

Cold Without End

“I have gotten much done with my knitting today,” Warrior Queen mused as she sat next to my gurney in an emergency room stall at Einstein Montgomery yesterday.

I noted her observation in between scenes of Family Guy broadcast on the flat screen tv in my room.   I then took stock of “my situation” this day.

Back story to my situation: the cold contracted during my February vacation, which later morphed into pneumonia is now just bronchitis.  The condition gives me uncontrollable spasms of dry coughing with an occasional phlegm discharge.  My ongoing physical complaint has led to at least four visits to the local clinic, three courses of antibiotics, a few courses of steroids for the inflammation of my bronchial tubes, and my using up the rest of my paid time off days for the year.  I’m grateful I had them in reserve (I’ll get a fresh batch of allotted time off next month on the anniversary of my hiring), but I wish I didn’t have to use them for illness.  In total, I have been home bound due to illness for the better part of three weeks.

So I consider this and the events of this day when I returned to the clinic for a follow up.  The doctor there listened to my lungs again, ordered the second chest x-ray, and did not like what he heard.  He had hoped that the steroids he’d given me two days before would have cleared up my lungs more than he was now hearing.  He mentioned that my congestion could be more related to my heart condition and he recommended I go to the nearest emergency room where, if they determined it was necessary, give me a CT scan for my chest.  He also mentioned the possibility that I might end up being admitted depending on the results of the scan.

Fine, and I thought (with tongue firmly planted in my cheek), “My day was getting better!”

The doctor called the emergency room ahead so they might expect me, and I guess there was an understanding that I would go there directly. Sorry, doc, but I had to make a detour home.  For one, I needed to call into work, as I had also hoped the steroids would do more than they had, and I would go to work directly from the clinic.  No such luck this day.

I also called Warrior Queen at work to let her know that (a) the clinic was advising I go to the emergency room so I could possibly get a CT scan, and (b) depending on the result of the CT scan I may be admitted for treatment. I gave her the option of driving me there because if they did admit me then I would have no way to notify her of their intentions. At least if she were there, she would know what was going on.  Warrior Queen responded with sighs, a few “oys” and said she would talk to her boss once he came in.   

Fine, and again, “My day was getting better!”

Hours later, I am sitting on my gurney waiting for the decision to do a CT scan, and I get to consider that not only has Warrior Queen gotten nearly a full day away from the office (with her boss’ blessing), but she is in fact doing her favorite quiet activity: knitting. The doctor came in, listened to my chest, agreed with the clinic doctor’s assessment that we should evaluate the heart, and ordered the scan.  He also mentions the possibility of a blood clot on my lung which the scan will confirm or rule out.

Once again, my day just keeps getting better.

I then considered my present activity: sitting quietly watching daytime tv, with the electrodes adhered to my upper torso leading to the device monitoring my cardiac activity, the blood pressure cuff that occasionally hugged my upper arm like a boa constrictor would squeeze the life out of a small mammal, a finger doohickey which monitored the oxygen level in my blood (how it does this, I’ll never know), and the fact that my lower back was getting sore from sitting in one position for hours on end.  And oh yes, I nearly forgot about the two IVs stuck in both of my upper extremities:  one needle in the back of my left hand to draw blood for lab work, and the other needle stuck in the crook of my right elbow to facilitate the contrast dye they would need for the CT scan.  I added up all these events, the devices, my illness, my situation into one big equation which I’ll admit stacked the irony heavily in my favor. 

Thus, I responded to Warrior Queen's knitting observation with a pithy, “Well, it certainly sucks to be you today!”

I don’t recall if Warrior Queen said anything beyond a grunt of disgust, although it would not have surprised me if she stuck her tongue out at me. Such is the level of our affection we display for each other after nearly 25 years of marriage.

I would not have seen this sign of endearment as her seat was situated behind me and to one side of the room.  I would have had to look over my shoulder to see this reaction, but even this small movement seemed a trifle over ambitious for me to attempt at that moment.

A few hours later, the CT scan was done and the doctor came back and confirmed that, while my bronchitis had not improved significantly, there was no more sign of pneumonia, and no sign of a blood clot, no sign of all this related to my heart condition, and barring any other reasons why I may want to stay,  he could see no reason to admit me and advised that we could go home to continue the treatment the clinic had prescribed.   

Suddenly, my day really did get better!

Another hour passes by and Warrior Queen sits through some action packed sequences from one of Bruce Willis’ Die Hard sequels, while we wait for needles to be pulled, electrodes to be ripped off, and paperwork to be reviewed and signed. From there, I was deposited at home to feed the cats while Warrior Queen went to her gym appointment. From there, I thanked her for sitting by me all those hours with a dinner out at Applebee’s.

So it was a good day after all.


I know this is a rough week, and probably the worst week of your life. Please accept our condolences on losing Marion. I know she was a wonderful mother to you and your siblings. Thank you for sharing her with us and we’ll get together soon.

(Thank you for reading!  Now if I could just get back to work...)


Blogger Raybeard said...

Oh dear! And I've just written a note on A.M.'s blog hoping that both your then problems were behind you. Well, let's hope they really are for now - even though I had to skim parts of your 'report' for fear of going into a faint, while there's no one here to administer the smelling salts! You've been through the toughest of times for which I withhold having any envy. Thanks for keeping us in the know - if it's any consolation, though it hardly compensates.

March 12, 2016 at 4:59 AM  
Anonymous Janey, Goddess of Springtime said...

Dear RTG and WQ,

What a day you had at the hospital! Aren't hospitals the closest thing to hell? So glad to hear that while you feel like shit, RTG, you are on the mend. Now we must all brace ourselves for allergy season.

Thank you for your condolences. As my Mom literally died in my arms at a hospital this week, that experience reaffirmed that hospitals are hell. When I came home from the hospital at 5:30am the morning Mom died, an hour later, the crews showed up for the scheduled roof and siding replacements. For three days, while trying to make and take calls, and simply regroup, I listened to hammering, banging, sawing, buzzing, more fucking HAMMMERING... What an episode of bad timing!

But the house looks fabulous, and I invite you kids over to see it as soon as you feel up to it. My calendar is wide open. Come see the view from my new greenhouse window. I deeply regret that Mom did not live to see the completion of all our plans for the house. I do not regret that her decade of constant pain is over.

WQ, please keep knitting, for I have another recipient in mind for the shawl. Thanks to both of you. Be well...

Janey xo

March 12, 2016 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

All docs is quacks.

March 12, 2016 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you, Raybeard for the well wishes...again. Rest assured my recovery continues.

Thank you for the invite, Janey. I am looking forward to getting together soon.

Thank you Spo for what I assume to be an expert medical opinion.

March 13, 2016 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Fearsome Beard said...

If my thoughts help any at all...feel better soon!

March 14, 2016 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you Fearsome Beard for the well wishes.

March 18, 2016 at 7:22 AM  

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