Sunday, November 09, 2008
Another Day, Another Hospital
Yesterday, Gary and I and four friends spent several hours moving unwanted furniture out of the apartment and wanted furniture into it. Then Gary and I spent several more hours unpacking. Then I went grocery shopping for Dad and Fran.
I got home around 7:00, ate dinner, and settled in with a pot of peppermint tea to grade papers. At 8:30 the phone rang: it was Fran, panicking because Dad had just had a strange shaking spell and she couldn't get him to bed.
I rushed over there; he was conscious and didn't want me to call anyone, but I called home health anyway. They advised me to call 911, and the ambulance crew actually got permission to take him to the VA hospital. Dad and I were joking, "Well, this is one way to get to the VA!"
At the VA, various tests revealed that he'd had a heart attack, and he was admitted to ICU. He was alert, joking and relatively cheerful through all of this. I spoke to him this morning, and he said he feels "chipper," although he had a central line put in last night, and that's been bleeding fairly steadily.
I didn't go to church this morning; I did something to my back moving furniture yesterday, and had a lot of trouble bending over to retrieve cat food bowls this morning, so I wanted to give my muscles some time to stretch out and rest. I'll pick Fran up around 11:00 and we'll go to the hospital to see Dad.
It was strange being in the VA ER. It's tiny -- smaller than the old one at my hospital -- and was staffed by one doctor, two nurses, and a few techs. I only saw one other patient there, who was also being admitted to ICU. Dad raved about the prompt service he got, and when I said, "Well, it seems quiet here tonight" (I didn't want to repeat my standard line about how you never want to be the center of attention in an ER), the tech drawing his blood shook her head and said, "This is medium busy."
Jeez. And they routinely turn away ambulances? I know that's a function of critical-care beds and not of ER gurneys, but still.
Also, my age is showing. The paramedics all looked like they were twelve, and the doctor looked fifteen, although he seemed as harried and overworked as any doc at my hospital. The nurse was my age, thank goodness.
Anyway, everyone was very nice, and Dad was pleased to have gotten an extra-large cubicle, although to me, it looked suspiciously like a code room (another thing I didn't want to tell him).
I am, as you might imagine, tired as well as sore, and I still have all that grading to do. We'll see how the day goes. I'll call in sick tomorrow if I have to, especially if my back isn't better, although I certainly don't want to.