Saturday, August 11, 2007


I had a terrible set back with my pneumonia on Monday. The day started off well enough. I felt better and therefore felt that I was up to taking care of Violet on my own. Gregg went to work and the day progressed nicely. It wasn't until Violet and I woke up from our nap that I began to feel terrible. My breathing was labored and it was as if I was gasping for air. I called Gregg and he headed home right away. The next call was to our neighbor, Ms. Judith, who immediately came over to help me with Violet and to keep an eye on me. We have some of the best neighbors around and we are very fortunate to live near them.

Gregg called our family doctor's physician on-call line (it was after hours by then) and left a message regarding what was happening to me. To our amazement the doctor NEVER returned our call!!! I'm still pretty pissed about that. Thankfully, my breathing had gotten somewhat better by that point. Still, we decided that I should go to the emergency room, just to make sure that I was okay. And here's where everything fell apart!

Gregg took me to one emergency room and I waited there for over an hour waiting to be seen. It was after an hour that I realized that they hadn't called one single person back. There were so many people in that ER that the lobby was lined with patients from one wall to the other. Gregg and I decided to leave and try a different emergency room. The next one wasn't any better and I didn't even attempt to go in. There's a lot of people that are sick right now.

Gregg and I remembered there is an Emergency Care Clinic in our area that opened recently and we decided that was our best option. And so, that's where I went. I was seen promptly and taken back to an examination room. The doctor came in and listened to my lungs and then told me that I really needed another chest x-ray. Unfortunately for me, the clinic wasn't set up with an x-ray machine yet and so I was sent to the ER down the road (one we hadn't been to / by yet). Here's the amazing part: I saw the doctor. He couldn't help me. He said he didn't feel right charging me for the visit since there wasn't anything he could do to help me!!! Incredible! I don't know of any other doctor who has done that ~ seen a patient and not charged them even though there was nothing they could do to help that person!!! That doctor definitely deserves a halo, or at least a gold star, for that.

And so I went from the clinic to the ER. It didn't take too terribly long for me to be seen at this one. This is the last good thing I can say from this point forward. The ER doctor that was assigned to me focused solely on my heart! A patient cannot breathe and the doctor ignores that and focuses on something that is totally unrelated. Makes sense, right? That's what I thought.

After being in the emergency room for over 9 hours (yes, you read that correctly) the doctor decided that he wanted to admit me for observation. I was taken to a room in the hospital sometime in the early morning and was told that I'd be seen by two doctors, a heart specialist and a respiratory specialist. I was hooked up to a machine that monitored my heart and put on oxygen, feeling about as old as one can feel. Frustration was growing deep inside me and I felt the need to break out of the hospital. The only thing that kept me there was the thought that I'd get better sooner and I could return to my normal routines. I should have listened to my instinct to flee.

Tuesday the doctors came and saw me. Different rounds of tests were ordered as well as medications. I was told that I'd most likely get to go home the following day. Meanwhile, the doctors wanted my lab tests from my family doctor and kept calling, requesting them. Again, the calls went unanswered, only this time it wasn't me calling but doctors. Finally, finally, my doctor's nurse called later that day and informed me that my lab results showed that I tested positive for strep. Remember, this test was done last week and I'm just now hearing about it!!! How's that for getting a test result?!! My doctors at the hospital received the news of the strep and things went downhill so quickly that I still have whiplash from it.

The nurses began to panic and told me that I had to stay in my room. I wasn't allowed to leave my room. I was transferred to another floor and room because I was considered contagious. Again, I was told not to leave that room and to stay put until I heard from my doctor the next day. When the doctor arrived, my treatment was changed and I was put on a different round of medications, one of which was a steroid... there goes my chances of ever playing pro-baseball. Darn!

Wednesday had it's own set of nightmares. I began to have some pretty intense back pain after being in bed for so long. The nurse called my doctor and asked if she could give me something to help with the pain. The doctor was nice and ordered something for me. Here's the kicker though, she ordered a medication that I'm allergic to!!! I had the wisdom to ask the nurse what I was getting as she was preparing my IV for the new medication. She told me the name of it but as I asked her if it was a non-steroidal medication she didn't answer me. I saw this syringe drawing closer to me and panic set in like I've never felt. I finally pulled away so that the nurse couldn't get any closer to my IV until she answered my question. With a look of puzzlement on her face she said, "Yes, it's in the non-steroidal family of meds." I was stunned. I told her that I couldn't take that because I'm terribly allergic and showed her my allergy alert armband ~ something she never even looked at!

The nurse said she'd call my doctor to see if there was something else she could give me and left my room. A short time afterwards the nurse returned with a new vial of medication. Again, I asked what it was and the nurse informed me it was something called "Dilauded". Another medication that I'm highly allergic to! I finally asked the nurse if my allergies were listed on my chart and she answered that two were. The dilauded was not on the list even though it was on my bracelet. I guess they think patients wear the allergy alert bracelets for the fashion sense because they definitely didn't pay any attention to mine!!! I'm flabbergasted by the lack of information that was going on in this hospital with my care. I was eventually given something that I could take, but not without alot of confusion and frustration on my part.

Wednesday night I was told that I'd likely be able to go home the next day. I was so ready to go home and to feel safe within its walls. Thursday morning came and went. Lunch came and went. My dinner arrived when the doctor finally decided to show up. She told me that she was releasing me. It was so thoughtful of her to do so After I'd been charged for another night in the hospital from hell!!!

I was given a small handful of prescriptions and was told to follow up with my family doctor in two weeks. I'm to return to the ER if my symptoms flare up again. Yeah, like that'll happen! At least I'm home. I'm with my husband and daughter again and enjoying the freedom of home. My in-laws are down for the weekend and I'm enjoying the company as well as the help they are offering with Violet. Life is much better. My breathing has gotten better even though I still have moments of difficulty. My inhalers are actually working now, something that wasn't happening before I went in to the hospital.

My daughter is much happier now that I'm home. My husband is much happier now that I'm home. And, I'm much happier now that I'm home. I'm not sure who this has been the hardest on but my best guess is that it was hardest on Violet. She didn't understand why her Mommy wasn't home or why she was being shuffled around from one place to another. Gregg had a difficult time trying to manage Violet, work and home. Thankfully, Gregg works in a great office where family comes first. His employer was very understanding and therefore that relieved some of the stress on us. Still, we didn't want to make them feel that we were trying to take advantage of their generosity. I had to get home soon and get things back to normal.

I kept Violet today. My first day home since my release from the hospital. I did pretty well. I hit a wall sometime in the late afternoon and a good friend came and got Violet for a few hours. Violet had a wonderful time with Mrs. Erin and her girls. The oldest is just a few months younger that Violet. Erin took some pictures of the girls playing and that made me relax even more. Violet is doing well with all of this chaos.

I have to say that I am thankful for so many things. I really cannot say all that I'm thankful for, as the list seems to be never ending, but here are just a few things...

I'm thankful for the wonderful husband I have who has been such a support and great help to me throughout all of this. I'm thankful that Violet is doing well and has been such a trooper when life has been so crazy. I'm thankful for my neighbors and friends who are willing to lend a hand whenever we need them. I'm thankful for the prayers that were prayed during this whole ordeal. I'm thankful for the doctor at the emergency care clinic that didn't charge me for the visit there. I'm thankful that I'm feeling better and will soon be whole and strong again.

Even in the midst of difficult times it is good to remind ourselves of our blessings.

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