Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Year Later.....But Now This!

Hard to believe it's been a year since the last post. Been pretty smooth sailing for the D-Don. Life's about the same.

He may be a little slower afoot. A lot less likely to complain about being driven. But all in all, Dad's had a pretty stable year.

Another year, another flower for Polly.

Until today.

He had a good weekend. Seemed in good health and good spirits Sunday at church and when he went out to lunch with Susan, Travis and myself. He had his usual Monday dinner with his female admirers at Sevy's.

And then about 2 am Tuesday morning he woke up with a violent, racking cough, but was able to get back to sleep. He woke up with another violent, racking cough around 5 am and this time he looked at the phlegm and saw that it was tinged with blood. And he did the prudent thing.

Since it was too early to call Dr. Wiggins or Dr. Musselman, he got up, got dressed and drove himself to the emergency room at Presby where he was promptly admitted and examined. They thought his racking cough had broken a small blood vessel which would account for the bloody phlegm, but they also heard a rattle when he breathed. An x-ray followed which showed a cloudy patch at the bottom of one of his lungs and he was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Surprising, since he had shown no symptoms. No cold. No bronchitis. No sore throat. No fever. But, there it was.

They started him on an IV infusion of zithromax in his room in the ER and followed it up with another drug of which I can't remember the name. They also told him he would be admitted, probably just overnight if everything went well.

At some point in all this he called Helen who called in sick, went to the hospital and texted me the news. I was at the Transplant Clinic getting my quarterly checkup (numbers were great, by the way!) When I was done I headed straight for the hospital.

When I got there, he was just finishing his first infusion. His main concern was getting his daily dose of Immodium. Dad was apparently feeling fine other than being surprised that he was sick and dismayed to find himself on an uncomfortable hospital bed hooked up with IVs, blood pressure cuffs and monitor leads. Three things he really doesn't like: hospital beds, hospital food, and hospital waiting.

And wait we did.

But truthfully, his Hospitalist was a very good listener who spoke slowly and directly so Dad could understand (he never had a problem with her accent.) His nurse was terrific. He did a great job explaining the situation and why we had to wait. He said it would be a while, so he snagged Dad a turkey sandwich and Helen and I took his car back to the Apt and got him some PJs and things he needed to spend a night.

When we got back, he had eaten and was dozing. At which point I left Helen and went in to work. That was about 2 pm.

Sometime around 5 or 6 I received a text from Helen that he had finally gotten a room. And then another text that they still had not seen a doctor. And that was the last I heard.

Helen spent the entire day with Dad and no doubt has more to say, maybe even corrections to my version of the story, but I felt it was important to set down my memories of the day. Mary sent a text a couple of hours ago sounding anxious and confused. I attempted to reply via text, but my phone could not get a good enough cellular connection to send it. So I revived the blog.

I plan to be at the hospital in about six hours, so I'll stop now and go to bed. Will try to post again later on Wednesday.

Just to recap, Dad seemed to be in relatively good health. Kudos to him for recognizing the symptoms and getting to the hospital quickly. I know I would never had done that, and I doubt any of the rest of would either. We would just plow through and tough it out until we really got seriously sick. If anyone had any doubts as to Dad's awareness of himself and his condition at his advanced age, I think they can lay them to rest for a while.

1 comment:

  1. The rest of the story:
    The help in the ER was non-existent in the afternoon.
    Dad never got his Imodium.
    At about 330, he was not able to control his bowels.
    It went everywhere.
    I pressed the nurse call button for help.
    No response.
    I went to the nurses station and asked for help.
    No one came.
    In between calls for help, I was cleaning as well as I could with limited resources: Baby wipes and paper towels.
    I went back to the nurses station and asked for bags for the dirty clothes.
    I asked for help again. This time in much stronger language.
    No one came.
    I went to get another gown for Dad (one more trip to the nurses station, no help)and got him back in bed. He was understandably embarrassed and upset.
    I finally took the two stinking bags of soiled clothing to the nurses station and demanded help.
    I was told that our nurse had been busy. A "not my table" attitude.
    I held up the bags and told them that anyone could have helped in this case.
    I don't get angry like this often. Way beyond Pepperpot. Shaking and almost in tears.
    Within 5 minutes, housekeeping was there. She took out the trash and the toilet bowl. But I had already wiped the floor with the baby wipes so she did not need to mop.
    Also, a nurse came in within minutes and gave Dad his Imodium. They would not have had it that quickly if it had not been ready for a while.
    Our nurse came and stood in the doorway and said, "I have good news! I have a room for you."
    He did not walk into the room.
    He did not apologize.
    We never saw that nurse again and within 30 minutes Dad was in a room.
    Not one person ever apologized.
    The ER at Presby does not have a good reputation. Now I know why.
    We need to remember this the next time and be loud, squeaky wheels.