Here is a completely unrelated photo and the 9th installment of the serialized version of a section of my memoir, Souvenirs from My heart; The Patient Patient Advocate. Paul has a 10 hour ordeal; the clinic, the ambulance and the first hospital.
Postcard 1 here.
Postcard 2 here.
Postcards 3 & 4 here.
Postcard 5 here.
Postcard 6 here.
Postcard 7 here.
Postcards 8 & 9 here.
Postcard 10 here.
cont. medical history document…
July 21, 2008 continued
In the last post, Paul just had another “episode.”
The nurse and I got Paul to the exam table and gently laid him down. I asked her to find some blankets for his body-vibrating chills. Both doctors and two nurses soon filled the tiny room. One nurse tried to get an I.V. line going in Paul’s arm.
The ambulance attendants showed up quickly and tried to get into the room; one grabbed the IV bag from a nurse and asked her step out of the room. The other nurse passed the I.V. things to an EMT and squeezed out of the doorway, while the second EMT directed the action from the threshold. The doctors and a nurse hovered in the background.
I held Paul’s hand and lightly caressed his face from my discreet position between the exam table and the wall. I answered rapid-fire questions from nurses, doctors and EMT’s. No one had been able to get a line in for an IV. Everyone in the tiny room was behaving confused and just on the brink of panic, and all of them (except one doctor) had already unsuccessfully attempted to get an IV placed. They couldn’t get his blood pressure reading either. They tossed ideas and suggestions back and forth around the room.
One of the EMT’s made the decision to try and get Paul to the ambulance. It was another uncoordinated scramble to get Paul from the exam table, onto the ambulance gurney, through the doorway, down the hall, through the waiting room, and out of the clinic doorway. There was little room to maneuver anything.
Stay quiet and out of the way if you want to be there for your loved one. Answer questions as succinctly as you can, then slink back into the woodwork; otherwise, you are out of there! There was one EMT and one nurse who wanted me out of the room. I could see it when their eyes fell on me as they assessed the situation. Then their eyes fell on the doctors, who had obviously allowed me to stay. I was allowed to stay.
Once inside the ambulance, but still in the clinic parking lot, it took the EMT’s almost 15 minutes to get an IV going. Everyone was visibly shaken. The foreheads of the EMT’s were shiny with sweat. There were fine lines of blood splattered in several directions. I just wanted them to get Paul to the hospital! Paul was still dazed, but he was responsive enough to humbly try to cooperate. (Paul was captain of our rural fire department at the time; a 29 year veteran, but these city EMT’s didn’t know him. They didn’t know that this was the love of my life either.)
At one point an EMT was so frustrated trying to get the needle placed, that he gruffly told Paul that he “just needed to hold still!” Paul weakly replied that he would try. I was shocked and told the EMT that Paul obviously wasn’t in control of the wracking chills that were making his body shake so hard. The EMT’s glare sent me to family-of-patient hell. I glared back through my teary eyes.
The second attendant made a final and successful attempt to get the I.V. going and they prepared Paul for transport. I went across the lot and brought my truck next to the ambulance, so I could stay close behind when they were ready to go.
When they eventually got Paul stabilized in the hospital ER, I went outside to sneak a cigarette and to call my family and Paul’s daughters. In between, I was reassuring Paul, making sure he was comfortable, and trying to get answers from the few medical personnel on duty. His middle daughter showed up just as we were taking Paul upstairs to his room.
Paul was finally admitted and in his room at the small hospital by midnight; we had left home for the clinic 10 hours earlier. This was the first time Paul had ever been a patient in a hospital. He’d just been through a harrowing experience. He had the hell scared out of him when he was told that he had an un-diagnosed, but life-threatening illness. He was exhausted.
I truly value the nursing profession, but the nurse on duty that night seemed heartless and cruel. Paul’s daughter and I tried to convince her to allow us to stay with him. We understood that visiting hours were over, but would she please consider that Paul had never been a patient in a hospital before, and had just been told he may die soon? Would she want to be left alone under those circumstances, we pleaded?
All medical personnel have a fatal flaw that you might as well hear about from me: they are human, damn it. That means that they get to have bad days. It’s just that their bad days are usually hidden by practiced professionalism. Sometimes the death, dying, sick, bleeding, messy, whiny, long hours, supervisor’s an a**hole and family life frustrations crack the facade. Sometimes their career path is so worn, that they forget to get off it when they realize that they are on the wrong path. Take a deep breath, use humor and kindness, and if that doesn’t work call in someone from the next rung up.
***The LAST POSTCARD is next, and then I hope to have some good news to tell you about them. I apologize for the length of this one; blame my sis—she’s so impatient! I am posting the last postcard tomorrow, the day four years ago, that I lost my Paul.
***An article I wrote about the beginning love affair with my blue-eyed man has been selected to be in a PAYING contest later this month! Get your voting fingers ready again.
***My youngest sis (the impatient one) suggested we make the reading photos, like the ones (here), a regular feature on this site. THE READING PLACE will be ready Monday! We have a selection of pictures and quotes from some unusual, cozy and crazy reading places, along with the reading habits of THE WRITE PLACE community members. That’s you, peeps:>) Send your photo and quote to my email below.
Email photos and quotes to me at: 1writeplacewordpress at gmail dot com
Thanks for hanging in there, and your comments are especially appreciated.