Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Journey of 2011................ Getting to the Hospital.................

Part 1

Before we left the house, Dave woke Lindsay to tell her where we were going and what had prompted my chance in plans. I didn't know if she'd awaken before Dave returned or not but there was a good chance that Delilah would decide to sound the alarm because things weren't going as usual so I wasn't taking any chances Lindsay'd be frightened finding herself alone with no explanation.

I knew Lindsay was already concerned about my illness so I suspected she'd jump to the worst possible conclusions if she'd didn't have any real facts about our departure. It was actually possible she might feel a little relief being kept in the loop and knowing I was finally going to get some help even if it did mean waking her up.

Before we ever got into the car, I worried about the ride to the hospital. The last time I'd had Dave take me to the emergency room the ride had been pretty darn miserable. Even though I knew we weren't making this trip in the truck, I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be any more comfortable than the previous ride had been.

I warned Dave as he assisted me into his car that his usual method of driving was going to cause me pain. Dave's car has reclining seats and he seemed to think that would alleviate an problems I might have riding in the car so he really didn't pay much attention to my request for him to accelerate and decelerate as slowly and smoothly as possible.

We weren't even out of our driveway yet and I was already clutching my belly, curled up in a ball. Poor Dave was horrified. He couldn't stand the fact that he might be responsible for causing me pain. He really did try his hardest to make all transitions as smooth as possible but the facts were by then I hurt so badly that every tiny little jiggle or bump made me want to scream in excrutiating pain.

Before this trip, I thought the ride to the ER with the broken arm and dislocated shoulder was the worst ride I'd ever taken but that trip didn't even come close to comparing to the issues of this trip. Instead of just my arm and shoulder being involved, my entire core seemed to be affected. The pain was so intense I just could not keep still. My legs and arms were going constantly as I kept shifting trying to find some position that was comfortable. Believe me, there was no such position.

The only thing I could compare the experience to was those first days of college when my appendix ruptured and I got peritonitis. That time I was in the hospital for 45 days and they did not expect me to survive because the disease had spread throughout my entire abdomen and I was not responding to the usual antibiotics. This time, the pressure I was feeling in my gut was the same as that experience but the pain was far more excruciating. There was no doubt in my mind I was in every bit as serious a situation as I had been all those years ago.

I was relieved when we finally arrived at the hospital even though I still didn't know for sure if they would treat me or turn me away. Dave didn't seem to be bothered by such things. He parked the car explaining he was going in to get me help and left. I tried to let his belief carry both of us as I sat there by myself. I couldn't even imagine what was going to happen to me if they turned me away.

In just moments Dave was back with a wheel chair. I looked at him in disbelief asking if he had been sure to tell them we had no insurance. Nodding his head in affirmation, he carefully tried to help me from the car and into the chair. Even then I just did not believe they were going to treat me.

I can say without any doubt that riding in a wheel chair across a asphalt parking lot isn't a good thing for anyone in pain. If I had been capable of walking on my own, I'd have discarded that darn chair because of the increase in pain it caused. Yet, every hospital I know seems to have the same surfaces that sick people much deal with, unless of course, you come by ambulance.

When we hit the smoother concrete finished walkway there were certainly less bumps but the truth is by this time my gut was so screwed up I could hardly tolerate sitting upright at all. Not that laying down would have been much better, there just seemed to be no way for me to find any relief.

I dreaded going into the emergency room waiting area. I knew how bad I looked and I really couldn't bare the stares and even worse, the waiting. There seemed to be people everywhere and I could only imagine how long it was going to take before I even got in to see a doctor.

Dave went and filled out paperwork before coming to sit with me. Then we waited for a little while for my name to be called. It actually wasn't too long when I heard my name and I thought I was going to get to see a doc. Instead I ended up talking with an admitting clerk.

It turned out they couldn't find my old records and they weren't going to proceed until they could. I don't know how long it took to fix that mess but when they finally did instead of getting to see a doctor, I was sent back to the waiting room with no idea how long it would be before I got anywhere near a doctor.

They did take my vital signs before the sent me off to wait again. They didn't bother to share them with me so I had no idea how my situation would triage compared to others waiting. I do remember clearly by this time my pain was escalating and so was the pressure I was feeling withing my abdomen. As I waited for my name to be called, I began to have flashbacks of those days I'd spent in intensive care all those years ago.

During that hospital stay, I was 18 and one of my room mates was in her sixties. I remember it was quite a tragic experience for that woman that was somehow complicated by her age. She lay for hours curled up in a fetal position crying for help and she was inconsolable. Unable to comprehend what was really happening to her, she thought she been abducted and was going to die because she could not get medical aid.

As I now half laid, half sat in the waiting room, I could hear the terror in her voice those many years ago and I wondered if that terror should really be mine. Part of me thought it was just my fear, another part thought maybe it was prophetic. There were some very real commonalities in my symptoms both times and I no longer had youth on my side. I once again began thinking about the horses and what would happen to them, if something happened to me.

To be continued..........

Getting to See the Doc.............

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  1. Your trip to the hospital sounds awful. So glad you're back to writing again though.

  2. It almost seems like Deja Vu of the worst kind...

  3. I just can't imagine what you have/are going through with all this. It makes me sad to think of you going through so much pain. I have feeling that things aren't going to get better for a while in this story. I just can't imagine what it is like in America with the insurance thing, In Australia EVERYONE is elegible for free health care in an emergency, and it is only when you are going in for optional procedures that you either have to pay or it is covered under your private health insurance if you have it. We also don't have a time limit on our unemployment benefits!

    As always you are in my thoughts and Prayers, and I really wish you were here in Australia so things would have been so much less stressful for you.


  4. I'm so glad you're back to writing, I have missed your blog so much!

    I hate that this is what you have to write about, but I'm sure it's a bit cathartic to get it out. At least until you have the energy to get back to the horses.


  5. Nothing about this trip sounds good. I hate ER's and how they make you wait. You'd think they would take the sickest first. In any case I'm glad you got there when you did for some help.

  6. I'm waiting to hear what's up this time...

  7. Wow that sounds like a horrible trip.

    I always think about what would happen to my horses if something were to happen to me too, it worries me a little.

  8. Being without medical coverage is not a good thing. In Canada, it's mandatory.Our basic coverage for two people is less than $100 a month, so it is reasonably affordable for most people, and low income families can apply for a lower subsidized rate.