to find Patti Singleton these days.

Souvenirs from My Heart; Postcards-Six



Hummer & Fireweed PHALL PHOTO 2013

Hummer & Fireweed, From front porch of former home, snapped 2 days ago. Rochester, WA

Great Blue Heron, Rochester, WA PHALL PHOTO 2013

Great Blue Heron, From back porch of my former home. Taken 2 days ago. Rochester, WA


Here is the 5th installment of the serialized version of a section of the memoir, Souvenirs from My heart; The Patient Patient Advocate. Paul’s disconnected and as yet to be diagnosed medical symptoms take a bizarre turn for the worse and he ends up in the emergency room. This is not sci-fi…

cont. medical history document…

In March 2007 Paul was hit hard again with the nighttime fevers and chills, and daytime fatigue. He eventually took time off work and stayed home to try and get better.

Paul was so hot and chilled for several nights in a row that we went to the after hours clinic where his PCP was on duty. As we sat in the waiting room, Paul quietly mentioned that he was feeling dizzy; I turned to him, touched his hand and asked if he was okay.

He was sitting up in a chair, but did not respond to my voice or touch and his hand that was under mine started to “float” up, even as I tried to hold it on his leg. When I let go of it, the hand and arm continued to float in the air. Then both arms were floating; his eyes were open, but looked foggy and vacant. He was completely unresponsive to my pleas for him to answer me. He was still loosely sitting up in the chair. I ran across the room to the receptionist and tried to get help.

Paul broke out in a body-soaking sweat. The staff, including his PCP, told me to get him to the ER (emergency room). A man we did not even know, a patient at the clinic, helped me get Paul into our vehicle and I drove him to the local ER. Although he was now responsive, but still very pale, the ER staff took him immediately to Triage and began asking questions and drawing blood.

Then Paul had another “episode” like the one at the clinic, less than 20 minutes before. He was bleeding from an attempt to draw his blood, and was again unresponsive…covered in sweat, then seemed to pass out completely…other staff rushed in to help and they got him on a gurney and into a treatment room and began treating him for possible heart attack.

Postcard 6:

I had been trying to get Paul to change doctors, as his was an older man (very) and was soon going to retire. He was far too casual about the issues Paul was having, especially since Paul had such a clean health history. So, please take time and consider whether or not your doctor is the best fit for you if you begin to have unusual symptoms and do not feel they are being addressed properly.  Another big point: call 911 if you have a medical emergency anywhere except a hospital. I did address this with Paul’s doctor and got a sincere apology. The doctor or his staff should have called 911. As it was, a complete stranger helped me get Paul into my truck, rather than the clinic staff. I was not in any condition to drive; this was the most bizarre and frightening medical emergency I had ever witnessed and I was so afraid for Paul.

Postcard 1 here.

Postcard 2 here.

Postcards 3 & 4 here.

Postcard 5 here.

Other notes:

Still not caught up on social aspect of my writing. Have not written or edited a thing:>( Bad writer!  Have worked outside on garden projects, which are nearing the length of my list of writing projects. Got new garden soil added to my friend’s back garden and added some of my extra irises and mystery bulbs. I’m helping him design a lower maintenance garden. Later, we took on the huge task of clearing the back area near Maggie (my home), where my pond and shade garden will go.  I feel much older and out of shape than I did a just a few days ago! The shiny side is that I am outside more and making something with lasting beauty. Oh, and I sleep a bit more.

Thanks for hanging in there, and your comments are especially appreciated.


Author: Patti Singleton

Pursuits of happiness include gardening, walking the desert, reading, writing, photography, traveling and genealogy.

18 thoughts on “Souvenirs from My Heart; Postcards-Six

  1. Getting a second opinion is a not only necessary for peace of mind, but also for proper treatment. So many new treatments come onto the market nearly everyday. Most docs are GLAD for you to get second opinions as it might just give them positive affirmation that they are doing the right thing. Some docs just don’t know what they are doing. My husband had severe neck pain. One doc said it was nothing but muscle strain. Another doc did a MRI and said he was a hairs breadth away from being a quadriplegic and did surgery immediately with a cadaver bone piece and a titanium plate. You just never know.

    • This went beyond needing a 2nd opinion. He needed a new doc. But I agree, once you have the dx, then get the 2nd.
      Wow, how scary for you guys, to find out just in time! Sounds like the surgery that 4 peeps in my family have had…

  2. Glad you’re enjoying being outside and settling your garden in, as well as helping out a friend. Hmmm. think I could do with some help in designing a garden that needs less attention too. Was just speaking to the neighbor and joking that I want to get some sheep so I don’t have to mow the lawn! That certainly sounds frightening. Crazy that they didn’t call an ambulance for you. Makes me realize that, though these are simple reminders, they might jog an instinctive action that we wouldn’t be able to think through in a moment of shock and fear. Thanks for sharing and take care:-)

    • When we lived in the country we had a big pet goat, Rosie, who kept the woods from taking over our area.
      Yes, simple, but I was too upset to think straight. I hope this postcard comes to mind when someone else is that upset…it is nice to hope…:>)

  3. I loved the pictures of the birds — had to smile at the tiny hummer and the huge heron enjoying the same habitat. Your postcards continue to be excellent advice that I can confirm with my own experience. I understand the “bad writer!” reprimand to you yourself, but here’s a commendation: Good Gardener!

  4. Would you like to borrow Chloe? She’s good at gardening. **hugs** This will help so many people.

  5. Ok let me try this again, You have got my full attention. I feel like Im watching a really good show and then …commercial… I cant wait for number eight. I love that you are sharing you and Paul’s story. What a gift you have for writing and …What a painful journey. I know your writing will lend to much healing for you and your readers and it will surly make us all better advocates for ourselves and our loved ones.

    • Thank you very much and I hope you enjoy the commercials too. I never set the serial on a schedule, because I am allergic to schedules. As you may know or guess, writing about Paul is bittersweet. Some days I’m just not up for it. Next one soon:>)
      Thanks for the wonderful comments & I will try to live up to them.

  6. Yes I…LOL ive been following you from the start and it took me this long to figure out how to post a comment. humm I should have asked a kid to help me. LOL

  7. It amazes me how your experience with Paul and his doctors resonate with my own personal issues or those of friends. Well, maybe I shouldn’t be amazed since we’re all human and frail and are/will be likely to have these kinds of experiences. What I’m feeling right now is frustration with friends of mine who have kept the same PCP for years, despite that the fact that she has not always been competent in her care. I agree with Susan that some doctors are glad when their patients take the initiative to get second opinions. When my cancer was diagnosed and we were discussing treatment, my doctor wasn’t opposed to us getting a 2nd opinion … except we had already done so much research on our own that she said we essentially provided our own 2nd opinion 🙂 But my friends seem to be a different story … not even bothering to question their doctor’s diagnoses and treatments even when a simple Google search would indicate the necessity for one. Doctors are not gods. We are dependent on them to a degree but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that they are human and can make mistakes … even the mistake of putting off retirement. Well, let me get off my soap box so I can read your other posts 😉

    By the way, you are doing a incredible service to patients and caregivers with these posts and your memoir.

    • Somehow I missed this one. I am so distracted and worried about Ionia…
      I give you permission to print some of these posts if you think it will help. Paul would have been the same way, actually he was. His doc was so old school and imposed his vegetarian and Christian beliefs on his patients so much that it was hard to keep my mouth closed. I am not anti-either belief, but not the right setting for his pushing them.
      Thank you so much, Marie, for being there/here.

      • Thanks, Patti. I had a similar PCP. She was always promoting the latest fad diet. A few other things about her approach irked me and I finally switched doctors. I’ll wait for your memoir. It will be worth it 🙂

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