Monday, September 22, 2008

In Need of an Anti-Virus and Appreciating Health

The older I get the less I take my health for granted. To have a healthy body is something we should pause to appreciate and of course, give thanks for. Tammy knows all too well. We had a bit of a scare last night as she was taken by ambulance from Urgent Care in Apple Valley to United Hospital in St. Paul.

A few nights ago we had a friend from Tammy's work over to the house to grill steaks. Job is from Kenya and we don't get together often enough. Tammy was in the middle of a five day stretch of time off from work and totally enjoying herself. She had spent the day working on a homecoming dress for Rachel for this weekend's dance.

Friday came and we had plans to go out to dinner with Reid. Late in the afternoon she told me she wasn't feeling well but thought that she was okay enough to follow through with our dinner plans. We did get together and although Tammy wasn't feeling all that well she had a nice time.

Saturday found her in bed most of the day trying to cope with a headache and some serious body aches which kept her down. Sunday was a repeat.

I phoned her only once from work yesterday (Sunday) so as not to bother her. Rachel said she was resting and we both felt we should let her be. I'd see her in a few hours.

When I got home from work she was in tears from the pain she was feeling. I've never seen her like that and it worried me. I took one look at her and said we needed to get to Urgent Care. She agreed. She put on some comfortable athletic gear and a hat to cover her mattress hair and we were on our way. She's not one to cry very often but she couldn't keep back the tears as the pain she'd been dealing with was overwhelming and she was desperately in need of relief.

We got to Urgent Care and were relieved to see that nobody else was waiting ahead of us. I filled out the forms and we waited for them to be processed and for the nurse to call her name. I've never before followed her back for a consultation but she wanted me there.

The irony in all of this is that Tammy is a telephone triage registered nurse who gives advice to people who call in to help decide on the best way to handle their health concerns. Tammy has a 'tough it out' approach which differs from the logic she uses with others as they seek help. She should have sought help sooner. It's like the frog in the pot of ever increasing hot water. By the time she realized it was serious the pot of water was beginning to boil.

After getting all the vital information the doctor came in and I could tell that she seemed concerned. Tammy's blood pressure was 80 over 50 which is quite low and her heart was beating rapidly at 112 bpm. She also had a fever of 101 and was very dehydrated even though she had been making an effort to take in fluids throughout the day. The doctor stated that she needed to get to the emergency room at either Ridges or United. I asked the doctor which hospital she recommended and she said if it was up to her she would send her to United. United it would be.

All the while they were trying to get an I.V. started for her but she was so dehydrated and her blood pressure was so low that they weren't having much success. One of the nurses pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted to ride along. Up to that point I had figured that I would drive her myself but they said she needed to be taken by ambulance. They got no argument from me. I told them that I'd leave ahead of them and meet them there so we'd have transportation when this was all over.

I phoned Pat at work on my way out to tell them that I wouldn't be in tomorrow. It was going to be a late night.

Heading to the hospital on 35E I kept looking in my rear-view mirror expecting to see the flashing lights of the ambulance behind me but I never did. I parked my truck in the parking ramp at the hospital and waited outside for the ambulance to arrive. It was 11:20pm. One finally came and pulled into the garage and I walked around back to where it was and waited for them to offload their patient. It wasn't Tammy. It was a very large man strapped to a gurney with several police officers following close behind.

I waited for maybe ten minutes then went inside and asked the receptionist if she'd already been admitted thinking I may have missed them while I was parking my truck. She wasn't there and they had nobody arriving by her name that she was aware of. I was sure I was at the right place but some doubts were creeping in.

A few minutes later they finally arrived. I stood there as they opened the doors and wheeled her off the ambulance. It was nice to be by her side again. The paramedics told me to follow them. I asked if they had any idea what was wrong with her but they said they didn't. They were able to get the I.V. in her on the ride over and that her blood pressure was coming up.

I waited outside her room while several of the staff attended to her. Across the hall was the large man I saw being wheeled from the ambulance a half hour earlier. He didn't know it but he was the life of the ER that night. He'd been tazered by police for I would assume being disorderly and now he was screaming to be untied. "You're torturing me!" "This is my worst nightmare." "I promise I'll be good if you'll just untie me." "I don't want to be here; I want to go to jail!" I think he'd been drinking or whatever else. He was a very big man and I was glad they had him under control.

The doctor finally got to take a look at Tammy and after examining the blood work and going over her symptoms he said the likely cause was some sort of virus. He gave her some drugs and kept us there for a few hours for observation. They began to work nicely on her body aches but they did nothing for her excrutiating headache. But it wasn't long before I had her joking. I'm not sure if that was the meds or the fact that she was so glad to be feeling better.

I thought the doctor was going to send her home with some pills for pain but he didn't. He gave us two prescriptions to have filled. I should have done that at the hospital. I got Tammy home by 3:30 then set out in search of an open pharmacy as she would soon be in need of another fix. The first three I tried were closed. I went to Ridges Hospital figuring the pharmacy there would be open and it was but the pharmacist said she didn't have all that we needed. She clued me into Walgreens on Cedar ave and 42 which was also open 24 hours.

They had my order ready in five minutes. As I paid the pharmacist he thanked me and told me "good morning". Somehow that didn't sound right. 'Good night' would've been more appropriate.

I finally got to bed at 5:00. The same time I'd have been getting up had this night been more normal. I was glad that Tammy was getting some relief and that she would finally be able to sleep some of the virus away.

All the while Rachel was at home asleep and knew nothing of what her mom had been through. As I type this she's still unaware and that's best as I didn't want to worry her. She'll be home from school soon and I'll fill her in then.

Speaking of Rachel...I was going to blog about her first moving violation in what would have been this entry had I blogged about what I was intending to. Maybe I'll let her slide. Maybe I won't. There's always next blog.

I've been working on this entry off and on throughout the day. Tammy is still struggling with her headache but she was finally able to get some rest late this afternoon. Her temp is still fluctuating between 101 and 102. The pain meds help but they're not the cure.


John said...

I hope that Tammy is feeling better by now.

About two years ago I got a ticket for speeding. I showed it to both of the kids along with the fine schedule on the back. My little ticket totaled $108. I informed them that they would be paying for their own tickets if they got any.

It seems to have been a good lesson.

Kevin said...

Hi John, I wish I could say that Tammy is doing better but she's not. She keeps saying 'this is not right' and that bothers me because of her background. I'm taking tomorrow off to stay by her side. The ER doctor wanted us to do a follow up on Wednesday and I've got that scheduled but I'm going to try and get her in tomorrow as early as I can.

We've got a court date for late october for Rachel's ticket. It wasn't for speeding which surprised us. She was tagged for an improper lane change.