Monday, July 16, 2007

setback

When I opened my eyes to see why Ginger was so agitated this morning (not barking agitated, just tense and pacing and whimpering agitated), I saw Stanley cleaning something up off the bathroom floor. I told him to stop; that I would clean it up—I didn’t want him moving around so much. He said, “I need help.” He was mopping up big splotches of blood.

He said his incision split open about three inches from the end and started gushing blood—he said it filled up his sock. So I said, “Let me call Dr. Gagne,” and followed the blood trail downstairs to get the number. This was about 8:15 or so. I got his service and they said they’d page him right away—but, I later found out, he was in surgery and couldn’t call back. Nor could any of the other surgeons in the practice, apparently. I generally like the staff at his office, but they need to call back when they say they’re going to call back, particularly during an emergency. They never did. (Dr. Gagne did call around noon, but too late, we were long gone.)

After trying to get some kind of an answer for more than an hour, I ended up calling the on-call nurse at Oxford to find out what to do. I’m really glad they have that service, though I would’ve called all of my numbers until I got some answers. The nurse established that Stanley wasn’t in danger of going into shock from blood loss (or panic), and after asking a bunch of questions, she said, “Take him to the ER.” Ack. I hate the Norwalk Hospital ER—we never get any answers from them. (Today was no exception.)

So, since the blood gush had abated considerably, I had time to cancel his appointment with the infectious disease doc and oh, yeah, brush my teeth and suck down some coffee so I could drive without getting into an accident. Trouble with late nights is that early morning (for me, anyway) emergencies are really rough. Stanley said he’d drive. “Yeah, right, like you can guarantee you won’t pass out from blood loss if the gusher starts up again.” He agreed that maybe he was less than rational at the moment. I drove.

What’s the point of valet parking for ER if you have to walk half a block back to the ER door? There’s not even a place for anyone to sit ... stupid. Anyway, I got him in there and we were stashed in one of the old rooms way back in the corner. Which was fine with me—there was a tv in there and a bathroom attached to the room. Except that the floor was filthy:  dirt and clumps of hair (not strands, clumps—looked like the aftermath of a hair-pulling fight) and monitor tabs, really cruddy. Eventually, a nurse came in to find out what was up. She used that doppler stethoscope to check the pulses in Stanley’s foot and, wondrous day, the pulse was good and strong. So the bypass didn’t rip out or anything. I was so, so, so relieved—I could feel my blood pressure dropping.

Eventually, Dr. McGovern showed up. Asked some questions, eventually looked at the incision after Stanley asked him if he wanted to. The bad part was the swelling—we could see it get puffier. The more it swelled, the worse the pain. Dr. M says, “well, we’ll watch it” or something like that—he seemed so hyperactive he was almost twitching. Maybe it was too much caffeine. He never completed a sentence and he never really answered our questions, so we still don’t know why the incision split. “Well, that just happens so ... do you want something for the pain? I’ll call your surg ... well we’ll just watch it, we don’t want to cut it open, more scarring, more scarring that way and we don’t need to ... just pools low, see the bruising, just pools ...  ”

So we watched the noon news on Channel 8 and most of Judge Lopez and eventually Dr. M came back and said, “he said he’ll see you at his office Wednesday, we’re gonna let you go, just stay off it ... I’ll have the nurse put a dressing on it ... ” and left. And forgot to ask the nurse to dress it.

But she did anyway, at my request. Pressure bandage, which Stanley took off and re-did as soon as we got home because he can’t stand the smell of those sticky Ace bandages. Stanley finished the infusion he had to stop and we cleaned up puddles of blood. (The floors are almost 200 years old—what’s another stain or two?) I remade his infectious disease doc appointment for tomorrow (I don’t like the people at that office so far—the receptionist and the scheduler were both abrupt to the point of being rude. And I didn’t know we’re seeing someone other than Dr. Saul because he’s on vacation—not that I mind since I don’t care for him much.) And made the appointment with Dr. Gagne for Wednesday afternoon.

That blew away my day. I’d almost gotten that quiet spot back (an uneventful weekend helped a lot) but that’s been shot to shit again. And I got no work done, or almost nothing done. But he’s okay. And maybe we’ll find out the why on Wednesday.

My next project is getting copies of all Stanley’s medical records so I can have them all together—I am so sick of having them spread all over Fairfield County with different pieces here and there. I need them consolidated so nothing is missed—it’s so damned hard to remember everything each time we have to recount his medical history for the latest specialist. I figure it might cost me a couple of hundred in copying fees and an entire file drawer, but I’ll feel much better. I wish the hospitals and docs would digitize their record keeping—would love to be able to put it all on a memory stick so I could have it when we travel.

Ah well. Off to Stratford tomorrow—maybe we can even stop at the Habitat for Humanity Re-store on the way home, see what they have there.

posted by lee on 07/16/07 at 08:59 PM

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