“This too shall pass”

15th September 2021

Yesterday’s fierce storm gave way to an interesting sky today, alternately boiling clouds to clear blue.

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Another episode of Healthcare woes:

An experience I share as a story of our system.

Happily, it did “also pass”..

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16th September 2021

If what I have written so far about being admitted to a US hospital sounds confusing, that’s because it is.

At best, it’s not fun. In an emergency, without access to a friend or adviser, it’s a bit stressful.

Someone remarked afterwards, that it must have been frightening. It actually wasn’t which makes me feel I must have suspended common sense.

It was just a little overwhelming, that I had progressed from perfectly fine upon rising from my bed at 7 am, to calling for an ambulance at 8.30.

For the next 2 or more hours, I kept thinking “OMG I’m making a fuss about a bit of indigestion.”

Then as another spasm gripped me, I decided it was time to employ various pain management techniques I’ve been taught.

Breathe. Deep breath in through the nose. Expel it all through the mouth. Blow it all out. Breathe oxygen in to the pain.

Concentrate on the breath, not the pain.

Think of something else, not the pain. The pain isn’t happening to you. You are somewhere else. Fantasy land. Breathe, in, out.

It helped. A bit.

“This too shall pass”. My aunty Kay always said that.

Finally convinced that maybe it wasn’t indigestion, I considered what I might tell the doctor when he finally arrived, which he did after some 90 minutes.

“Right side, tender to touch.”

“Aow. Yes, that’s it.”

Suspected appendicitis, so now I was admitted. Remember, I said that was important, although I didn’t realize the extent at the time.

A scan would supply more information for the surgeon.

Grant was waiting in the parking lot, banned even from the main lobby. I should have told him to stay home, though somehow seeing my little blue car following along behind the speeding ambulance had been vaguely comforting.

But now I told him to go. No point in him staying.

Two more hours passed, then I was trundled down the hall for the scan and back to my little cubicle. It was private, but enclosed with glass doors which made it excessively warm.

“Don’t think about that!” I began taking mental notes:

Visits to emergency rooms and sitting about in airports or train stations requires patience, so you learn to occupy your mind with diverting things. I’ve had a lot of experience.

So, because the glass doors weren’t quite shut, I began to notice sounds in the corridor.

Two employees squabbling. Well that’s not very professional. It’s a sign of stressful times……

…a loud conversation about an old man…making arrangements for him. I hoped he was deaf and couldn’t hear….oh no, a baby wailing…

Just then a nurse came in and I said how pitiful it must be for parents to hear their infant scream. “Yes”, she agreed, “it’s a good job babies don’t remember.” I said I wasn’t so sure about that.

Another conversation, sounds like two doctors, talking about a patient…appendix, something, something, surgery…oh…it’s me. The nurse came back and told me the good news that a diagnosis had been made.

Knowing she couldn’t say more, so I just asked if it could be fixed. “Oh yes, and now you can get morphine!”

In my readily available records it says that I am allergic to morphine. I’m not, but it once sent me into orbit for three days. However I wasn’t going to mention that.

It helped pass the remaining time until the arrival of the surgeon who told me I had a twisted colon and would I consider giving him permission to deal with it?

“Thank you, that sounds good,” I said.

“Advance Directive?” yes, I’ve got one of those. Make up a new one? Fine, fine, whatever…you’ll agree to anything in a situation like that.

Seriously, what else are you going to do?

As I lay back to wait some more, I had the unsettling thought that I was a bit vulnerable and alone.

But on the other hand, it’s what I preferred, being alone. Having someone to sit with me would have made me more anxious. Having a witness to one’s pain does nothing to relieve it, so why make them suffer too?

In any case, Covid-19 dealt with that issue.

More voices drifted past, LOUD voices.

It’s a good job I didn’t wonder about after surgery…

6 thoughts on ““This too shall pass”

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