Monday, August 04, 2014

the worst week: sitting, wishing, waiting

This is the second part in my account of the worst week we've had in a long time.  You can read about Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday here...

But to recap, we were up on Sunday night until after 4 am with our toddler who was ill and couldn't sleep... there was vomit... and a few days later, things seemed to have settled somewhat... until...

Not sure what I was dreaming as I slept that night, but whatever it was about, I didn't finish it as I felt someone poking me square in the bottom. I woke up kinda quickly, looking at the clock, thinking I had overslept for work, but saw that it was... 415am? Wha....? Campbell lay dead to the world next to me.

I sat up, asked The Lovely Steph Leann what was wrong, and she grimaced and said that her stomach was hurting, bad. Really bad. I got up, we both went into the bathroom and she explained that last night, she didn't feel good, she thought it might have been gas or indigestion, and that she barely slept all night long. I asked if it could be her appendix or something, she said she wasn't sure, but it wasn't out of the question. "I think I might need to go to the ER... please come with me..." Which, of course I was going with her. Duh.

I got out bed, got dressed in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed some socks and went downstairs to pack Campbell's bag.  The Lovely Steph Leann got on the phone to call her parents to make sure it was okay to drop Campbell off an hour earlier at their home (it was), and we quickly gathered what we needed.  I grabbed my iPod, my phone charger and a few other things to keep me occupied, as I knew I might have some downtime.

I plucked Campbell from the bed, as he barely stirred, moving his head from the soft mattress to my soft shoulder as I carried him to the car and strapped him in his car seat.  He awoke, but didn't make a sound.  We unloaded him to her dad, handed over the diaper bag, and then sped down to the nearest hospital that we liked, Brookwood Medical. 

The last time we were here together for something that affected us was in late November 2011, when our unborn child decided he was ready to see the world a few weeks early, putting The Lovely Steph Leann in the hospital for a week, and spending his own time in the NICU.  I just linked to all those stories, so you can read if you want.

Anyway, not a ton has changed, except for the finishing of the halls and entryways leading to the Women's Medical Center.  FYI, in case it ever comes up on Birmingham Jeopardy, our kid was the first newborn to spend time in the intensive care floor of the Women's Medical Center.  Not a trophy moment, but it's something I guess.

We got to Brookwood, and I pulled up so The Lovely Steph Leann could get out and go on in to the ER... she could walk, but slower and it kinda hurt, so I walked her inside to make sure she was okay, then hopped back in and went to park the car in the huge parking garage.  Because it was 510 in the morning, I had my choice of spaces, so was able to park pretty close to the entrance... not that that matters, because like many parking garages, I can stand by Red Robin (the Kia Soul) and spit on the gate where you insert your ticket for exiting, yet I have to go up about four floors before I can finally come back down again to leave--but that was all later.

The Lovely Steph Leann is in there filling out paperwork when I come through the double doors, and they put us both in a room just down the hall.  And anyone who's been in the ER knows the word I'm about to say...




Someone came in, asked her some questions, took her vitals, and left.




A doctor came in, asked her some questions, some of the same questions as the chick earlier, took some vitals, and left




Another chick came in to do blood work.  In a bit, they came in to tell her they were going to do a CT Scan.  To prepare for it, the nurse gave her something to drink who's taste was described by her to be an "Oily Sensation"...

"Oily Sensation" sounds like the worlds worst INXS song.

Then, after waiting... waiting... waiting... they came and got her to take her for the CT Scan...

So then, I with a phone and a TV showing an old episode of Charmed with Alyssa Milano and Shannon Doherty being my only source of entertainment, tried to watch The Godfather on HBOGo on my phone.  Got about 10 minutes in, when they wheeled The Lovely Steph Leann back in.

She dozed.  I dozed.  She woke up and dozed again. I dozed.  We waited.




Finally... a little after 9am, almost four hours after arriving, a different doctor came in to finally say, "Well... looks like you've got acute appendicitis.  Let's get that thing out before it bursts, okay?"  We kind of expect this, and both said, "Well, okay..."

Then he left.

Then we waited.

And we waited.

The anesthesiologist came in, told The Lovely Steph Leann what he would do, and how she would be put to sleep.  He asked some questions, many of them being the same as the ones that the earlier doctor and first and second nurse asked.  I wondered if they put anything on those charts, or if everyone figured it would be just as easier to ask.

After he talked about the upcoming events, he ended with, "And, unfortunately, I'm required by law to tell you that there are complications in 1 in about 250,000... which sometimes can lead to death.  See you soon!" and he left.

Thanks for that, Gas Man.

And we waited.



The doctor, a different doctor, came in, introduced himself as the surgeon who would be doing the procedure, and sat down.  He asked a few questions, a couple of which were now going on their 83rd time of being answered.  He explained about the incisions that would be made, the tool that would be used to remove the offending infected, useless organ, and about the recovery.

By this time, it was around 1130, we had been at the hospital for around 6 hours in the same room, save for a couple of bathroom trips, and had probably had less than 15 minutes, 20 tops, of interaction with anyone who works here. 

All a waiting game. 

I'm pretty positive this was the scene when they were performing
surgery on The Lovely Steph Leann.  Had to be, right?  Aren't all
hospitals this way?
Neither one of us had had shower.  Channeling Grey's Anatomy, I felt like McStinky.  Neither one of us had really eaten anything... she couldn't at this point, mostly for fear of throwing up in surgery and choking on her own vomit.  Not good times, bad times.  Bad times indeed.

At some point before noon, they came in to wheel her down to pre-op... the doctor led me to the waiting room and told me, "I'll come get you", which had me thinking that I now had a few hours to kill, maybe even run downstairs to the cafeteria and eat, but less than three minutes later, he came and retrieved me.  He brought me back to where a few nurses were asking The Lovely Steph Leann some of the same questions again, we found out that we were in fact not pregnant (not that we were worried about that, but that would be the holy crap icing on an already crappy cake of a week), then they prepped her up for surgery.  The nurses left, she and I prayed together for a minute or two, and then she was off.

I was told it would be about 90 minutes.  I went downstairs to the basement of the hospital where they have the cafeteria, I walked out to my car to drop a few things off and grab a portable charger for the phone, then walked my way back to the waiting room.

Hospitals are like mazes, and Brookwood Medical Center is no different.  Every time I came to an intersecting hallway, I stopped, looked at the signs, studied the surroundings, then moved on.

Because we do watch Grey's Anatomy, my only assumption was that a doctor and a nurse were getting their freak on behind every fourth or fifth closed door I passed. 

Made it to the car, made it back to the waiting room, made it downstairs to have lunch, then made it back to the waiting room again where I sat down, took a breath, realized how exhausted I was, remembered how smelly I had to have been, and was still for about five minutes. I took out my iPhone, fired up HBOGo, and continued watching The Godfather.

Of course, 90 minutes came and went.  About an hour and 45 into it, my mind began to race.  I'm 99% sure that she's just fine, meaning I'm 104% sure she's bleeding out on a table at that very moment.  Where's Shepard?  Where's Meredith Grey?  Darn it, I'll take Alex Karev if I have to.  Not Addison Sloan, though, she's too pretty.  Can't get distracted, my wife is dying in there. 

The two hour mark came.  I decided that I'd give it another 20 minutes, then I'd just have to go find someone.  Thankfully... the doctor came out, right about the two hour and five minute mark.

"Surgery went find.  We were able to go in, get everything we needed out, close her up and she's fine.  She's asleep right now, and she's going to be very sore when she wakes up." 

But, do I wait until she wakes up?  Nope... I'm instructed to go down the hall to the front of the hospital, tell the nurse who I, tell the nurse who my wife is, and wait there.  I do so, and am given a pager to go wait in another lobby... "When the pager goes off, come here and we'll take you down there."

Anytime a pager like the one I was holding goes off, I'm suspecting I'm about to find a table and order an appetizer... so, waiting again.




After watching more of The Godfather on my phone, then giving up because the signal was so spotty, Michael Corleone would keep talking even though the picture was stuck on a picture of Sonny eating an orange.   Hungry again and thirsty, I decided to head back down to the cafeteria to get something to drink... bought a bottle of water and a piece of cheesecake...

...and my pager goes off as I'm standing in front of the elevator.

Take it a flight up, get to the desk, and am taken back to recovery, where I a still Lovely Steph Leann, groggy, barely moving, exhausted, weary, thirsty and recovering.  She tries to smile a little, gets a upward turn of the mouth and then dozes a bit more.

When she awakes, she tells me how thirsty and hungry she is.  Like a good husband, I open the pack of crackers and refill the water she's been working on, and then ask if it's cool that I eat my cheesecake. Because I care.  And it was excellent.

The final few hours at the hospital really consisted of she dozing off and on, me watching more Godfather and relaxing, running up to get her perscription from the pharmacy upstairs, and waiting until she was awake enough to move a little.

About 5pm-ish, I helped her get dressed, walked out to the garage, retrieved the car, pulled up to the big double doors and then... took her home. 

Thirteen hours in the hospital.  I helped her inside the house, and up the stairs, helped her prop up several pillows and she crashed hard to sleep.



Now that was a week.

1 comment:

  1. Well, that really was a craptastic week! So glad that you have family that can take care of your sweet boy because otherwise, The Lovely Steph Leann would have spent all those hours without you. Thirteen hours! My goodness, I cannot even imagine. Hopefully you all are now recovered and rested and ready to take on the next adventure life brings you.


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