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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1, #41) - Another Hospital Stay (Boo!), But More Drugs (Yay!)

Hey gang, remember last week when I looked forward to going back to work after being out for six weeks recovering from surgery?  Well, the fates threw me a curveball.  I ended up spending most of the week in the hospital.  To be fair I blame my optimism on youth; after all I was seven days younger than now.  Ah, to the naivety of youth.

I did make it back for one day, slept badly that night, and called in sick on Tuesday because I was too exhausted to answer phone calls and listen to complaints about health insurance.  It would not take much — I estimate it would take no more than a response of "Bite Me" to one caller — to sharply curtail whatever is left of my career ambitions.

I was only going to be at work for a half day since I had a previous follow up appointment with my opthel…opoth…(why can’t I spell ophthalmologist) for my glaucoma treatment.   I have a visual field exam performed at least once a year for the glaucoma.  This time the exam showed more vision loss in one quadrant of both eyes.  The doctor on duty at this office showed me the results and urged me to go the emergency room.

I’ll admit that I have been overly glib in my narrative so far, but the doctor’s point was very serious.  She explained that my peripheral vision loss may have been caused by a silent stroke.  Oh, eff!  She wrote an order for a brain MRI which I was to give to the emergency room personnel.

Truth be told I did not go directly to the emergency room from the doctor’s office.  Warrior Queen’s office was on the way to the hospital.  I stopped in long enough to give her my latest health news.  She did not take it well, as she is still feeling the stress of lifeus interruptus due to my hip surgery. WQ recovered quickly and, with profuse apologies for what was about to happen, I left for a quick stop at home.  I had a physical therapy appointment for later that day and I needed to call from home (where I could find their phone number) to cancel my appointment.  Then I was off to the emergency room.

I have had a complicated history with this emergency room.  Sometimes I wait for hours to see a doctor and watch others, who came in after me, get called in to the treatment rooms ahead of me.  Then there was the time I walked in the middle of the night and explained I was having chest pains.  That time my butt was in wheel chair within seconds and I was wheeled immediately into triage and a treatment room.

I half expected to be kept waiting this time.  I presented my order to one volunteer and explained that I am here for an MRI.  She pointed me to the outpatient department where testing is performed.  I was grateful that she instructed me to go there as I did not relish (without mustard or ketchup) the idea of waiting in the emergency room for the customary two to five hours for service. 

My gratitude and elation was short-lived.  The receptionist at outpatient testing looked at my order, said something about emergency room may want to do the ordered service, and walked me back to the emergency room.  All this walking was more than I’ve done at once in recent memory, but I could at least count it towards my exercise for the day.

The outpatient person gave my order to the emergency room personnel who read it and wondered out loud why the physician didn’t order me transported to an emergency room via ambulance.  Another employee in the emergency room had my butt in a wheelchair within seconds.  I made a mental note to myself for future reference:  heart attacks and cardiac vascular accidents get prompt service in the emergency room.

Back in the treatment room, my vitals were taken and noted, I was hooked up to a heart monitor, and a CT scan of my brain was performed.  One physician who came in explained that the CT scan was the “black and white television version” of the brain, and he would prefer an actual MRI because that would pinpoint whether the stroke was acute or chronic.  Unfortunately, the presence of my pacemaker precluded the use of an MRI.

Another physician came in later and gave me the news I was really dreading: they would have to admit me for more tests.  I was told that night that they would move me to a room or the newly opened observation area as soon as space permitted.   

Apparently, there was no room to be had that night or most of the following day.  I was not moved from the emergency room for a full 23 hours. *

The CT scan confirmed that there was a blockage in my brain which was most likely caused by a mini stroke and said blockage was the cause of my vision loss.  Blood work hinted that a certain enzyme was present which indicated that my heart had been damaged by a heart attack.  Subsequent blood exams discounted this diagnosis.  The scan also found a blockage in my carotid artery, which begged for more testing for a possible surgical procedure.   I waited around in my hospital room for two more days until they could do the ultra sound, and have cardiology, neurological and vascular surgery physicians review all tests to determine the course of treatment.

In the end, it was determined that surgery for my carotid artery blockage was not needed at this time, but I needed to follow up with all of these physicians.  More good news:  they prescribed two more medications to my drug regimen which would anti-coagulate my blood further and, hopefully, prevent future blockages.

I was released Friday night and drove myself home.  WQ was not able to visit me in the hospital due to her ongoing medical condition which is just was well. I suspect that she needed a break from me for a few days.  Our cats missed me and we had a grand reunion when I came in the door.

“…and that, friends, is how we fly across the ocean!”

*Believe it or not this is not my record with them.  I once waited a full 24 hours in the emergency room (same hospital when it was in a different location) before I was moved to the ICU cardiac unit.  That time I was left alone in a window less room no bigger than a Kardashian walk-in closet, with all lights turned off save for the lights coming from the monitors to which I was hooked up.

(Thank you for reading.  And how was your week?)


Blogger Bob said...

You wanted more time before returning to work, but I don't think this was what you intended,
Glad it all went as well as expected, and we're sending all kinds of positive vibes up North!

November 24, 2019 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Holy moly, what a week you've had! I'm glad it all turned out relatively okay, since it could have been a lot worse. Good thing you had that ophthamologist appointment or you might never have been tipped off about these complications.

I hope you're resting at home for awhile until you're strong enough to attempt a slow and graduated return to work.

November 24, 2019 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Mistress Maddie said...

Well, whether it helps or not I'm sending you my good vibes and best wishes. I sure hope one day comes soon you won't have a home away from home...the hospital. When it rains, it pours apparently.

My mother and I often joke we'd rather suffer than go to the ER. There's more chance for comfort at home. Our health system has got to be the 8th wonder?

Hang in there.

November 24, 2019 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Dave R said...

"I was released Friday night and drove myself home!" You forgot the exclamation point so I put one in for you. Remember, health care borders on being a racket.

November 24, 2019 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

my week was better than yours if you must ask
Patience above!
I am glad to see in the comments you are surrounded by love here.

November 24, 2019 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Raybeard said...

Not an easy read, but what I gathered is that it's been a mixture of the utter pits with just one or two shafts of sunlight thrown in? Whatever, my own and all our thoughts are with you.

November 25, 2019 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you for the good vibes, Bob!

Hi, Debra. Unfortunately I had to go back to work yesterday. The bills won't pay themselves.

Thank you for the vibes, Maddie!

I overlooked the irony of driving myself home, Dave.

Thank you Spo. Glad to hear that you had a good week.

Thank you Raybeard. Yes utter pits with shafts of sunshine sums it all up nicely.

November 26, 2019 at 5:52 AM  

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