Monday, July 21, 2008

The ER Experience

Needless to say the ER is an experience all it's own. Every one who works at a hospital seems to wear scrubs, but their colors signify different things. I noticed pink was for Maternity, green was for Surgeons, purple were for Physical Therapists just to name a few. So when you first check in and are not familiar with the color scheme, you wind up telling your whole history to the triage nurse who is not the triage nurse but a candy-striper.

So I pulled up to the ER doors and run inside to get a wheelchair. I was just there a few weeks earlier when we thought Alex broke his ankle playing catch with the football on Easter Sunday. So I knew exactly where they stored them. I somehow manage to get Amy out of the truck and into the wheelchair without too much drama, but she did spill her water down the front of my pants as if I couldn't hold it. Great! She was really mad because I wouldn't stop on the way to the ER to pick her up some strawberry milk. Damn that strawberry milk!

I never knew you could be seen so fast by a doctor in the ER. We had her checked into triage by the time I parked the truck and walked back to the ER. They immediately wheeled her back and was seen by the doctor right away. I was amazed! Hell, women giving birth to twins in the parking lot won't see a doctor that quick! But I digress. The doctor asks her what brought her to the ER and of course she answers, My Sister did. So I go into the full story about the spray paint, migraine, the visit Monday night and her actions that day. I explained how she didn't care that her front door was standing wide open or anything. They ordered a CAT Scan and she's back within a few minutes. The doctor comes back and said she can't tell exactly what is going on from the CAT Scan alone, so she'll need to do an MRI. She said it looks like either a stroke in a very odd place in the brain or a brain tumor. Amy is only 38, this can't be happening. They both were earth-shattering to me, so I wasn't sure which one was better to hope for. I felt like I was in a movie when they zoom in on the central character while panning out at the same time. It just couldn't be real. We lost our Mama 3 years earlier to cancer. Both of our fathers had passed away as well. (We are half-sisters, but grew up together and often forget we are not full-blooded sisters. We have the most wonderful man for a Step-father, Paul, who has been there with us since I was 3 and Amy was 6. I have often wished I was his blood daughter, but I know he couldn't love me any more than he already does. I am his daughter.)

When they came to take her for the MRI, and I asked the doctor to please knock her out for it. She had a migraine and I knew the pounding sound would just be torturous. After the MRI, she was resting and I was able to make a few phone calls. I called Paul and Olivia to tell them of the news we were waiting on, my husband Alex, and our only other family member in town, my cousin Kris. Plus her cellphone had been ringing off the hook all morning from her customers who were concerned. When Amy woke up, she thought she would be able to go home or at the least go outside and smoke a cigarette. Ha! I told her sorry, she would be in the hospital at least over the weekend and she has smoked her last cigarette, ever. The results came back , she had 2 full blown strokes, not a mini-stroke but full strokes. They started an IV with Coumadin and other meds and then we were just waiting for a room to open up for her to be admitted.

Paul, Olivia and Kris all showed up about 6 pm right as her room was ready. By that time she had lost a lot of strength on her left side and couldn't walk or lift her left arm. So Kris said he would stay the night with her and I was finally able to go home. By this time, my boobs had become engorged because I hadn't nursed the twins all day and forgot my pump at home. It was all just surreal. How could this be happening?

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