Monday, March 12, 2012

Emergency Room Visit, Oh NO!

I recall my father suffered from insomnia and would be up all night reading. I remember thinking that I certainly hope that doesn't happen to me. So it did. It's been about 2 months now that about 5 nights a week, I cannot fall asleep and occasionally I do, but for only an hour or so and then I'm up for the rest of the night. I told my buddy Dr. Howard about the problem and he prescribed Ambien along with a strict warning about the possible side effects of sleep walking. I quickly learned that sleep walking was not going to be a problem with me, because the Ambien wouldn't put me to sleep.

I think it was Friday morning at about 5:30, was the last accurate reading of the time, when suddenly, out of nowhere, LJ was standing in my doorway saying, "I'm sick, you have to take me to the hospital"! At first I thought I was dreaming, I glanced over at the clock and it said, 6 AM. She repeated, "Hurry, I have to go now"! 

I leaped out of bed, explained that I had to pee and left her in the doorway. I took care of business, put on my pants and was just pulling my shirt over my head as I entered LJ's room, where she was just sitting on her bed announcing, "I called an ambulance".  She was in no condition to drill on why, that I could get her there quicker than waiting for an ambulance, so I helped her to the living room to await her chariot. This was my first time at calling 911 and didn't really know what to expect. I asked LJ what she told them, but she didn't remember. After about 7 or 8 minutes, I heard a diesel truck in front of the house and went outside to show them the way. What I found was a fire engine and a second vehicle, a car, and evidently the EMS folks inside had not seen each other for a while, because they were exchanging high 5's and greeting one another. After about 5 minutes of this, they came inside the house and immediately ordered the dog locked up. I complied, completely against little Macy's will. I locked her in my room, where Macy attempted to burrow under the door. 

I don't think I'd ever been less impressed with a group of lifesavers. They were disorganized and confused. The big guy, a man about 6' 6"was most notable. When one of them asked Julie what was wrong, she explained that she had severe pain in her lower right section of her belly, as well as other places. She indicated that she hopes it's not her Appendix. The big guy said not to worry, the Appendix is on the lower left side. Everyone including myself, looked at one another to see if they were going to correct him, but everyone decided it would be in our best interest to just let it go. Ten or twelve minutes more had passed and guess what. The ambulance arrived. I thought it was outside all along. More confusion and chaos. Eventually LJ was lifted up onto the gurney and wheeled out. As they were leaving, I asked which hospital they were taking her to. Someone answered, Arrowhead, it's at 67th Ave and Union Hills on the North side of the street. I found it on the South side of the street, but close enough.

Once the door closed, I rushed to get Macy out of confinement and she rushed out with that where is my Mommy look on her face, sniffing everywhere. I think she wanted to bite the big dumb guy!

Everything seemed pretty anticlimactic after they all left and in spite of the fact that I'd not had any sleep, I was too wound up to do anything but pace. I drove to the hospital. When I finally found the place, I parked and went in. It was a chilly 52 degrees and I hadn't brought a jacket. The sun was just coming up and it was going to be a beautiful day, as it turned out. I went in and started searching for LJ. I learned that she was inside the confines of the Emergency Room and I couldn't just walk in, I had to have permission. I'm not a relative so why was I there. I briefly explained though the intercom and finally got buzzed in. I was told to search for room 17 where she was being held hostage. When I finally found room 17, there was a woman the size of a linebacker just about screaming at Julie. She was the nurse in charge. Everything that came out of her mouth was in lecture form. If you asked me if she were a nurse or a prison guard, I'd have gotten that one wrong! LJ was trying her best to vomit into the pick plastic receptacle they had supplied her and Sargent Houser was yelling for her to keep her arm straight or the IV wouldn't feed. Frankly, when you're blowing chunks, do you care? I was ordered to a chair next to the sink and at about eye level with it. When Sargent Houser came over to wash her hands, she splashed the hell out onto me. I asked for a life guard and her assistant laughed really loud. Nurse Houser gave her a dirty look that cracked me up and I exited to the hall to not laugh in front of LJ, who was as miserable as I've ever seen her.

I could see that I was not going to be of any help and Macy was alone at home. I'd been there about 2 hours when I left. I called Arrowhead Hosp. a couple of times, one they hung up on me, because I wasn't family. The next time I was told they would not give me information over the phone and hung up on me, then they told me she was being admitted to a room but not the one they told me. The next time I called, I asked for her and told them she seems to be lost. That pissed off whoever I spoke with who insisted she was certainly NOT lost, just between departments. Either way, they just couldn't find her.

Julie had left her phone home, so I had brought it to her, but she was so sick, she had no interest in having it, so I took it home again. It started to ring and it showed Arrowhead's phone number, so after playing with it for a time, I finally figured out how to answer it and it was LJ. She gave me the info I wanted, like what was wrong with her and she explained that they found a raging colon infection (colitis) and were pumping her full of antibiotics. She called me later and asked me to bring her phone and change of clothes. I got there about 8 PM, but they were closed to visitors, so I had to wait for someone to leave, then sneak in. 

One of the problems was, that LJ wanted her purple purse. She asked me to put her things in it, it had all her necessities. Now there just isn't an easy way for a man to bring a woman a purple purse that's not contained in something, there isn't! So I found one those ecology bags the grocery store gives you instead of using plastic and put the purple purse inside it. Good thinking, huh? It was now sleepy time for all the sick people and the ones that aren't sleepy, they drug! That was the case with LJ. She was drifting off, relieved of pain and deprived of sleep, until just then. I gave her the bag with her goodies inside and I'm not even sure she knew who I was. When I got to the exit, there were two big guys waiting there, just the way that I had earlier. I opened the door and let them in and decided they needed a better plan for that door!

I went home and went to sleep, finally. I left my phone turned on right next to the bed, just in case, but it didn't ring until about 10 AM. Guess who! It was the Lovely Jules. She was feeling better and wanted the hell out of there. Somehow that made it to about 3 PM when they finally released her. I said, okay I'm leaving right now, should be about 7 or 8 minutes. She said, no rush, I still have the IV in my arm. I figured hell, I can pull that out. When I got there about 30 minutes later, giving her plenty of time to get discharged, she informed me that she STILL had the IV in her arm and was feeling just awful again. Keep in mind, I had just spent the entire previous morning watching her heave and didn't need a replay, but this wasn't about me. When I got up there, she had a roommate now and the docs and nurses were attending to her. It was a 20 something plump girl that couldn't poop! Ain't in great how you learn so much about everyone in a hospital?

Finally this short fat guy about 30 years old that was wearing navy blue scrubs, (I learned that meant he was an RN) came over and pulled out the needle and handed LJ a couple of prescription. Now all we had to do was check out and split, right? Wrong. The lady came up with a wheelchair that was so wide, I asked if I could ride along with LJ, but both LJ and the lady said no simultaneously. Humph. We had to stop at the cashier's office and there was a line. I asked if we could skip this part and were told, absolutely not! Our lady did get another worker to not go on break and help us though. Now keep in mind, that just about everything that I had anything to do with in this hospital went poorly. From the ride there to parting gestures. The lady wheeled Julie into this office where the worker smiled a really phony smile and started her closing approach. She announced that LJ's bill was $5500. and how does she want to settle it. Picture Julie with her head down, not answering or responding in any fashion. Long dead silence. She said, do you have any money for us today? More painful silence. LJ then lifts her head,and explains that shes feeling just awful and can she come back tomorrow to finish this? She's told a firm, NO! Then the bitch says, how about just $500 for now? No answer from LJ, just head down in misery. When she begged for $50 I lost all respect for the woman and her job, not to mention the hospital. Julie had come in within the belly of an ambulance. She had no checkbook, hell she didn't even have shoes! I almost offered the hospital her fresh set of clothes I'd brought yesterday, but instead we backed Julies wheelchair out of the room and we left! LJ told the lady pushing her that she hoped she didn't get in trouble for this, but we're leaving..... and we did.

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