Monday, April 19, 2010

Flat on my back

Saturday, walking the dog around the lake, I made it about 3/4 around and then felt like my feet couldn't go anymore. I was going to sit on a step but instead toppled back and fell on my back, banging my head on the cement and also landing hard on my wrist.

Some of the usual walkers at Mt Holyoke offered help; I asked if they could help help pull me up to seated, which they did. I called Joe, who is home, and he got me and the dog in the car. By the way, the dog behaved perfectly, sitting down beside me.

So once at home Joe said to call the doctor. I resisted. "Then I'll just spend the whole night in the emergency room." "Well, you know you should call." So I did, and the doctor said to go to the emergency room. We might as well have driven to Dana Farber, but I thought our local ER, at Baystate Medical Center, would be quicker, and then they would send me home. I pretty quickly got a bed, and the testing began. A cat-scan of the neck and x-ray of the hand proved normal, for starters.

Basically, because of the continuing dehydration, my potassium was high, my sodium was low and my kidneys were struggling. This all played into my weakness, plus the higher prednisone. Also it probably fed into my murky mental state.

They immediately put me on fluids and my levels started to normalize. I ended up getting a bed and staying up until about 4 a.m. because of one thing or another. They couldn't register me or find my paperwork in the ER. They noticed there was another admit a few floors away: Ronnie Gordon, and they checked to see if my files and stuck to hers. Nope. So they had to start at the beginninng. ARGH! I was tired.

Next morning I had a slightly strained discussion with a doctor about him talking to Dana-Farber. He said he hadn't called, didn't need to, but would put in a call when the testing was complete. He walked out, re-entered just as quickly, and said he had talked to Dana-Farber and I was going there by ambulance. Quick change.

The kids were total mensches. I said I could go alone, but Katie and Joe said I'd be lonely. So Katie rode in the ambulance with me and Joe followed behind with the car. Ben and Jim had been on the phone sharing their conviction that I should not stay at Baystate. Joe organized everything so well that I felt perfectly taken-care of and didn't have to worry about a thing. He also noticed that for the past several years it seems that just after coming home from college, one of the first things he's done is take me to the hospital. Says I must be allergic to him.

The Dana-Farber doctors (I saw a lot of them) said that Baystate did everything they would have done here. Still, they repeated every test.

Once here, I amused myself by trying to get the correct menu. Last night someone erroneously gave me the kidney menu, which was for patients a little worse than I. It had low sodium and low protein, both of which I need. I finally got a doctor who said he's sign off on the regular menu, then he disappeared. My night nurse came and disappeared into a patient's room to do chemo, which is their first priority. Also my saline drip, which is supposed to go constantly, was not connected. So, getting a little angry, I walked about into the hall. The nurse was sitting there. She said she'd take a break from the chemo to get me a menu. By the time that she gave it to me, the dining services was closed. I walked back out and said I really needed food. She and another nurse found a bagged tuna lunch in the fridge. So, naturally, I took it. Then the other nurse came in and hooked me up.

No big deal, I know. Just an example of life in the hospital. At some point in my many stays, I've usually had trouble getting the right food.

In any case, I'll probably be here for a couple of days, when hopefully Joe will be able to pick me up. In the meantime, here I sit at Brigham and Women's, where everyone knows my name.


Meryl said...

Hi Ronni:

Oy vey! Hope you are back in the neighborhood soon. However, while you are in the hospital maybe you can just let them take care of you, pamper yourself as best as possible and make it a vacation from the little annoyances of taking care of daily business. Much love,

PJ said...

You better be out of there by next Tuesday or I'll come visit.

Trish said...

no Meryl, this qualifies for an oy FREEKIN vey!

take it easy & try to relax.

at least you have some experience with hospitals or you'd go hungry!

hang in there!

Anonymous said...

i cannot personally relate to your story, but i have been by my dad's side as much as possible as he fights leukemia (ALL). your story about the food is so true. he gets all kinds of things on his tray, some of which were ordered, most were not. sometimes he gets enough food for 3 people and sometimes barely enough for even his minuscule appetite. it is frustrating for me, so i can only imagine what it is like for you and for him.
he is on track for a bone marrow transplant in the very near future. anyway, i'm writing entirely too much. take care of yourself :)

Nelle said...

Hope it's a short stay. I came home Monday afternoon after about a ten day stint this time. I don't even remember the first few days except for a few tests. Hospital life. This time I went to the BIG hospital immediately and from now on I probably will bypass the little guy. They sent me home two days earlier with a bad pneumonia.