Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December 14 & 15, 2015

An Unexpected Trip
To the Hospital
December 14 & 15, 2015

This blog has been hard to write.  It is due to some frustrating experiences at the hospital and I can't decide how much to say.  So far I have written this blog twice and think I will just boil it down to a few basics and the situations with my Cochlear Implant.

When Jeff's family left Sunday evening we were sorry to see them go.  It had been a great day spent together.  We were tired.  I ended up falling asleep in the recliner (again) about 10:00 and woke at 3:00 having severe pains in my upper chest area, across my shoulders, and up into my neck.  The pains were very strong.  They did not follow typical heart attack pains as per what we are all taught over the years.  I have also heard that women's heart attacks are different and you should not go by the old standard warnings.  I looked up on line the common symptoms for women and again they did not match mine.  But...the pain was not going away.

I walked around a while, tried a hot bath, and nothing was helping.  I did not feel that it was a heart attack, but it was severe pain.  My neck was hurting badly so at 4:00 I woke Ron and asked him to massage my neck and shoulders.  Again, no relief.  I told him he needed to take me to the ER. 

Once there, a little before 5:00, we were quickly seen by doctors.  They did chest x-rays, an EKG, blood work, etc. and said they did not think it was heart related.  They said the EKG looked normal, but that the blood work would show if there had been any heart damage earlier.  That blood work was normal but they said they would run another one in 6 hours and see if there were any changes.  I was taken to another area of ER away from the trauma cases.

That is where we encountered a long list of problems as we waited for treatment and tests.  It was a very difficult 11 hours in that area before I was moved to a room where blood work every 6 hours continued as well as a halter heart monitor.  The care was excellent on that floor and particularly where my Cochlear Implant was concerned (except for one aide).  The first nurse was told and I saw her telling others about my implant and that they would need to be sure I had it on in order for me to hear them.

The first doctors in ER were also very good about the implant.  The nurse in the other area was not.  But on the floor all went well as far as the Cochlear implant was concerned.  I had explained that I take it off when I sleep and that they would have to shake me to wake me.  At 12:00 they came for blood.  At 11:00 they did Blood Pressure, temp, etc.  They made the rounds again at 3:00 for the BP, temp, etc.  Each time I would basically keep my eyes closed so I could quickly return to sleep.  But this aide shook me and tried to tell me or ask me something.  I had no idea what.  So I had to get out of bed.  Go to the closet, get out the sound processor, go to the bedside table and attach it to the battery that had been recharging, and put it on, all the while pulling the IV stand along with me. 

When I finally had it on, I asked her what she needed.  She wanted to know (this is a direct quote), "Did you go Poo Poo?"  I told her that I had not since the last time she had been there, and then put things back where they belonged and went to bed.  I hope that gives you a laugh.  I was not laughing at 3:00 a.m.

The heart doctor never came the first day.  He was expected the morning of the second day. He arrived at 1:30 in the afternoon, said my heart was healthy and that he agreed with the diagnosis I had come up with 24 hours earlier - pleurisy.  He thought that explained the pains which had gradually been diminishing.  He said to come see him after the holidays instead of in May as previously planned.  He signed dismissal papers and I was able to leave at 4:00. 

We found one particular employee to be a major problem for us, but all others were highly skilled and very kind.  They smiled as they worked, greeted me as they came in the room even when they were coming to see my roommate. 

We have friends who work at this hospital and they visited me.  I have had good results at the hospital and when I told Ron I needed to go to the ER, he asked which hospital.  I selected this one.  I would probably go back but I would hope to avoid one particular nurse.

We are very thankful the pains were not heart related.  Pleurisy is a painful irritation of the soft tissue outside of the lungs.  My guess is that this was brought on by that bad cold I had 6 - 8 weeks ago.  The pain intensifies when you try to breathe.  One article I read referred to it as a stabbing pain.  That is close.

As I mentioned, some nurse friends visited me.  Our son Jeff and one of his sons visited.  We appreciated all the encouragement we got from friends and family.  I was a long 36 hours at the hospital.  Sleeping at night is easy when I can just take off the sound processor.  It was a very quiet night for me.

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