Monday, September 05, 2005

A Bad Afternoon, And I Close The Curtains

from HomeFront Radio via by neddie jingo:

If you read only one thing this week, this should be it. Read it. All of it. My god in heaven, it's so beautiful.

Spent yesterday afternoon in a emergency room bed hooked up to machines, my body trapped in an uncomfortable tangle of wiring, while an elderly lady in a frail, cracked voice whimpered in pain from her broken hip like a small child, and I cried silently from hearing her suffering so.

She was looking for her husband to hold her hand. I overheard the nurse say he'd been dead for 20 years. They asked her if she could tell them today's date and she cried it was September the 2nd... 1949. The nurse said her carers had told them she had been previously completely lucid.

In space of one fall she'd lost 56 years of her life.

She asked again when her husband would be there to comfort her. I weakly turn my head and see one of the male nurses sit down and hold her hand, and whisper 'I'm here darling'.

My heart breaks and I cry again. (more)

Personal Note added later:

(and PLEASE, read the main part of the post first. It's much more interesting.)

On a minor and much much less eloquent personal note, I read this suberb bit of writing moments after coming home from a medical adventure of my own. I found myself in the ER at 4AM this morning, laid low by a case of aviation air bronchitis that after 3 weeks of being wished away had simply refused to go away and was worsening by the hour. I was driven there in fear and desperation because the cough had made it completely impossible for me to sleep for the last 60 hours or so.

Starting to hallucinate with fast motion being seen from the corners of glaucoma damaged eyes that hadn't had corner vision for nearly 50 years and panic attacks happening with the regularity of the dizzy spells accompanying it all, I had decided enough was enough and hied myself off via taxi to the ER.

The ER is the common man's GP office these days. Even at 4AM, there were maybe 15 other patients and their family members in the waiting room. The ER at my local hospital has taken some lumps lately, but I've always been treated well and on the square there, especially on two previous occasions when I'd been brought in by ambulance in the midst of critical asthma attacks.

The admissions staff have gotten to know me. We joke as they draw the blood, check the BP, take my temp, put the clip on my fingure to get the critical oxygen reading. After the preliminary intake interview and the requisite record verification, they announce that I do indeed look like myself and I am taken to a private exam cubicle and asked to wait for the doctor.

A few minute later a
short, deliciously Reubenesgue, quite attractive, red head in her 30's comes in and introduces herself as Doctor "A". She proves to be one of the most vibrantly alive people that I've ever met.

First thing she does is ASK me if I would mind if she sat down while we went over the particulars. She'd been on duty for 38 hours and her feet were tired, she said. We do the records update sitting down. Me on the guerney, she on a side chair that puts her several feet lower, eye level wise. Not the usual power set up in a medical situation.
As we go over my medical history, we chat a bit about schedules, about the family she doesn't see near enough of, about the weather, about New Orleans. Most striking to experience. Humanizing in an amazing sort of way.

We do the hospital COA dance. Are you allergic to fava beans or chianti, are you now or have you ever been a communist, are you sure you're alive at this moment,
that sort of thing. She is funny, fast and very confident in her work. When I tell her I think I have bronchitis brought on by a long airplane flight, she says with a grin and a twinkle "I concur with your diagnosis, Doctor."

She orders an EKG and some additional tests and calls in the respiratory therapist who gives me a nebulizer treatment of albuterol.

Afterwards, Doctor A and I go over my EKG. In detail she explains what she means by calling it so normal it should be on a chart at the teaching hospital. She gives me some med scripts for oral steroids and codeine cough syrup, admonishes me about my weight, admonishes me even more strongly about my lack of exercise and is positively forceful while admonishiing most strongly about my need to pay better attention to what my body is telling me and to GET TO THE DOCTOR SOONER!

She grins a big grin and leaves as quickly as she had come in.

I think I'm in love.

There is just something about an intelligent beautiful redhead in a uniform.....


ae said...

handdrummer, now don't go not taking care of yourself so you can see your doctor crush! ;-)

Be well. Then you can ask her out later. =D

handdrummer said...

No worries. She's quite happily married and knows I'm a safe old guy...