Saturday, June 8, 2013

6/8/13 Surprise Saturday

Bob woke me up this morning at 4:45, which isn't really a big deal since I'm an early riser and was going to bootcamp this morning before we headed down to the Springs to take Lacey around Garden of the Gods and pick up camping gear for next weekend.

But two seconds later I'm wide awake and aware that boot camp will be out of the question for the day.

He'd been up all night doubled over in pain, throwing up, diarrhea, the works. "Chicken Bacon Ranch Subway Sandwich" were the words that leapt to my mind. He was asking if I could possibly get him some Pepto Bismol. I'm thinking he can't find it. He means, please drive to the store and get some because we're out. I managed to find some Mylanta and suggest he see if he can keep that down first. That's be a big fat negatory.  His pain was becoming increasingly unbearable and he couldn't take much more. I threw on some clothes and we headed for the ER. I'm thinking he's gotten too dehydrated, which is exacerbating the food poisoning cramps. 

By the time we got to the ER (5:15) he was begging for help, balled up, writhing, repeating "make it stop, please make it stop" over and over, which was, on the whole, seriously alarming. 

Of course, you have to do the paperwork first, and the intake questioning, and the doctor questioning before getting medication signed off, and out of the cabinet and back to your room. It was a half an hour of absolute torture. Finally, at 5:45, relief came in the form of multiple narcotics pushed into the bag of fluids they'd set him up via IV. 

The nurse told him it would be about ten minutes to full effect and after that, if he needed more, he could ask. He waited twelve minutes and asked for more. It took another 15 minutes before I could visibly see the drop off from agony into relaxation. I took this photo after he'd finally drifted off, but was still half grasping the bed rail. 

The doctor said, based on that amount of pain (Bob had said a 9 and the worst pain he'd ever felt in his life) just to be safe they'd better run a CAT scan to rule out diverticulitis. They had called up and the CAT people who would be coming down for him "soon."

"Soon" is a very relative term in the hospital. It can mean "a long time" or "when hell freezes over" but it never actually means in the foreseeable-soon future. 

I sit. And stare at the walls. And try to wait to text Nick, who is still at home, obliviously asleep, that plans have changed for the day. I'm still thinking, we'll get this unneeded CAT scan out of the way, they'll send us home, Bob can sleep, and we'll still get down to the Springs. I call Bob's parents and leave a message. I text Mom. No answer. I call -- voicemail. I call Dad's phone -- voicemail. Sammi calls. She's on the ferry from Dover to Calais in the middle of the afternoon and saw the picture above that I'd posted on Facebook (blaming bad Subway chicken ala Seinfeld's Kenny Roger's Roasters "Mess you Up!") Deana texts. Amber texts. Carol calls. And I wait. 

I wander down to the free coffee only to discover that the hospital wants to keep themselves in business and therefore only puts out gross chemicals (Coffeemate) to put in their industrially black sludge of a coffee. I grab two tea bags and have the machine just give me a hot cup of water.

And I sat. And I stared at the walls. I watched my phone battery slip into red range (hadn't charged the night before).  I went ahead and texted Nick in case it died.

I realized Bob looked exactly like Grumpy Cat when he sleeps. So I took a picture and posted that, too.

At 7:55, the CAT scan ladies arrive and wheel him out and say they'll be back soon. I think, oh, "soon" okay. But they meant real-world soon -- he was back in under ten minutes. In that interim I finally called Nick and woke him up. We were definitely going to be late so I wanted him to know what was going on. He woke right up when I said, "I'm with Dad in the ER" and went on about how it was food poisoning and they were running tests, but certainly we'd be done soon and hopefully not put too late into the morning to keep to our schedule of meeting Mom and Dad for lunch. 

They wheel Bob back in and tell us it should be half an hour and the results will be to the doctor. So we wait. Or, I wait. Bob sleeps. He's been up all night writhing in agony, not wanting to wake me up. I get ahold of Mom and tell her about the food poisoning, and possibly  being late, and waiting on a CAT scan to clear before they'll talk about discharging him. 

Then the doctor comes in. 

And Surprise Saturday really gets going. 

It's not food poisoning. (Sorry, Subway.) It's not diverticulitis, either.

He's got an appendix ready to burst and he needs it out five minutes ago. 

The phone calls after that get increasingly quick (10% battery beeps): to Nick, first, no we aren't going to Colorado Springs today and yes, I need you to get up here with my phone charger. 

Bob, meanwhile, is quite blissed out on very good narcotics...

Nick comes right up with the phone charger and then goes back out to get me good coffee and breakfast. He's a damn fine son. 

We sit together, waiting, as we've been told, for the surgeon to come in.  And wait. And wait.

Then at 10:45 the Surgery nurses appear to wheel him away, even without meeting with the surgeon. (He got called into another surgery before Bob's.) For the bazillionth time he answers the same question: Are you allergic to any medications with NO.

The get him into slip proof socks and blue air booties that will help the circulation in his legs.

The anesthesiologist comes in. Then Dr. Conner, the surgeon. It'll be all laprascopic and there's a chance Bob doesn't even have to stay overnight, depending on his O2 levels, which have been very low, and his blood pressure, which has been very high. They strap a sleep apnea alert band on his wrist because of his O2 levels and the snoring when he's been dozing. 

At 11:30 Nick and I are shown to the waiting room and Bob is wheeled back. We're told an hour for the surgery, an hour for recovery, then someone will come get me.

Nick decides to go home and let the dogs out and wait to hear from me.  I make a few calls and find I have the waiting room to myself, so I curl into one of the two leatherette recliners by all the magazines, plug in my phone to charge, and make the best of it. 

I'm thinking, "I'd kill for a shower."

The one hour until the surgery was done and the surgeon would come talk to me turned into one and a half. I'd made it through the National Geographics and the Time Magazines available by then, but in "soon" terms, not terrible. Things went fine, although his appendix was almost rupturing by the time they got to it. Someone would be out in another hour to take me to his room up on the fourth floor. I call Nick and he brings lunch and comes to sit and wait to see his Dad. He flips on the TV and is reduced to watching college baseball. He'd parked in the two hour spot and had to go move his car. And still we waited. I flipped through every crap magazine they had in the place and ran out. We waited four freaking hours before I'd had enough. There was no one to ask. Everyone on the floor was behind locked surgery doors, so I had to knock on those. 

Oh, he's in 457. (And had, in fact, been in 457 asking where his family was and being assured they were getting us.) This was the one ugly spot. But we found him And he was awake and sitting up, alert and eating clear liquids. 

And working his lung bong. Party in 457!

They have some inventory system here. Down to the sugar packets.

The view from his room is not bad, either. 

By now, it's 4:00 and Nick heads back home and Bob and I both snooze, at least between the blood draws and the nurses and the beeping machines. 

At 5:30 the nurse comes in and says he can switch to real food, gives him the menu, and says we can get home tonight, although discharge will likely be around 7 or 8 since they've just had three traumas come in to the ER at once and Dr. Conner is a bit tied up. I tell Nick 10:00, trying to gauge the "soon."

Bob calls down and orders waffles. We pull up a movie on the television, open up the blinds, and start playing around with the Care Board. Other than nurse Carol and her number, Bob's name and his surgeon, his pain meds, and the CNA (Nick!), everything else was me.

There are no bandages, no stitches, just a little super glue on three tiny incisions (one in his belly button) and the man is an organ lighter than he was a few hours ago. He just takes ibuprofen for the pain. 

The meal shows up and it's still a tray of clear liquids. They get that straightened out and promise to bring up his order "soon." We don't see it for another two hours. 

Nurse Carol's shift ends at 7:00, but she says he's the best appendectomy patient she's ever had and takes a picture before she goes. 

Finally, at almost 8:00, the waffles arrive. 

the pretty little orchid on top of his tray.

Finally, at 8:45 we are set free. He doesn't even have to get wheeled out, so we snake out way back through the hospital and out the front to the ER, where the car has sat parked for the past 16 hours. 

Surprise Saturday, indeed.


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