Tuesday, December 8, 2009

All Seized Up

During the night on Sunday, Skip was mentally confused and kept me awake from 2-4 with continuous requests to adjust her position and remove the packing from her wound because it was irritating her. This was totally out of character; honestly, she hardly ever wakes me up during the night for anything (which is lucky because I typically don't react well to such wake-ups). I got up to begin work around 6 or so and waited until about 9:30 to go in to start her day with her morning pills so she could catch up on the sleep she missed.

I went in with her pills. When she awoke she stated, "Mary full of grace." What!?! This from a lapsed Catholic girl who has never been to a Mass of any sort in the 28 years I've known her except for funeral or wedding masses. I asked her what she was talking about and she looked up at me with her eyes opened as wide as they could, pupils roving wildly around (imagine an old movie sterotypical representation of a crazy person). Her crazy look and out of control pupils scared the bejesus out of me.

Then, her body started to spasm uncontrollably. At first, I thought it was her leg spasticity being a bit extreme because she hadn't yet had her morning pills. Then, I realized the spasming was consuming her entire body. Even the muscles beside her eyes were spasming. She began to drool. I had never seen such a thing happen to Skip or anyone else.

In a minute or two, the spasming stopped. There she lay, eyes partially open, breathing deeply, emitting a snorty, snoring sound, drooling continuing. I called out to her to try and rouse her. No response. I tried not to panic, but really, really horrible thoughts cruised swiftly through my brain.

This was way beyond something I could handle. I called 911 and described what was happening. Five or six EMTs arrived. They hooked her up with an oxygen mask, took her blood sugar, which was low but not alarmingly so, and assessed the situation. They transferred her to a stretcher and took her off to the emergency room.

While waiting for the EMTs, I called the office of her surgeon who was scheduled to debride her wound the next day and spoke with his office admin. He called me back while the EMTs were here, so he got the lowdown.

I showered, sent an email out to colleagues letting them know what happened and that I wouldn't be working and called the ER to let them know I was on the way in case Skip woke up and was freaked out that I wasn't there.

When I showed up in the ER, they brought me right into her room. She was settled in on a gurney, with an IV running. She said hi and smiled, seeming very unconcerned. Not at all the Skip I expected to find. She was just barely with it but was only marginally aware that she wasn't hitting on all cylinders.

A bunch of tests were performed, including a CT scan, chest X-ray and an EKG. Many vials of blood were drawn. This hospital uses MDs called "hospitalists," and the hospitalist handling the admissions for Monday stopped by to get more info from me on the seizure and to update us on what the test showed. Fortunately, nothing showed up of concern on the CT scan. The blood work showed electrolytes out of whack. She clearly had an infection. So, the plan was to admit her and get everything stabilized so the surgery could occur.

Skip's surgeon did stop by for a quick visit including some wound cleanup and the wound nurse came in twice, first to pack and bandage the wound and then help out the surgeon and then rebandage after his work.  She also organized the special mattress for Skip's hospital room.

By mid-afternoon, I knew Skip was really coming back. How could I tell? Because she was becoming a fusspot! Her genial good spirits receded as her awareness returned. At times we joke about her being a bit of the "princess and the pea," because she can be very persnickety about her comfort. When a bit of the princess and the pea emerged, as she fussed about her situation, I knew my Skip was mentally on the mend.

Around 5pm, we got up to the hospital room. Over the next hour or so, the staff got Skip settled in and oriented.

I left around 6 and went home to relax and get the pups out of their pen. It was very different being home alone. The pups and I headed off to bed fairly early and I slept soundly without interruptions (yay!).

All in all, I'm impressed with the care Skip is getting. The surgeon, hospitalist and an infectious disease MD are all working in a coordinated way to bring Skip back to health. The nursing and support staff in the ER and the ward are very professional while still being warm and caring. It's very comforting knowing that she's in such competent hands.

I'm running out of steam. So, tomorrow, I'll provide more updates on what happened on Tuesday and what is likely to happen in the next few days.


zoomdoggies said...

I'm glad to hear that Skip is doing better, and that everyone on her health care team seems to be pulling in the same direction. Get some rest while you can, and take care of yourself. Thanks for the update. You know how we worry!

kmilyun said...

Gosh I am so behind on my blog reading!
Sorry sounds so well understated to say but . ... I am glad that Skip is getting such good care. Way scary stuff.
I hope you get some rest in somewhere and I will be thinking of yah both.

Cranky said...

Zoom and kmilyun - thanks for your notes. Very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Cranky...I'm of the "old school" and sent you an e-mail in response to your update. When you have a chance, please read.

On another note, did flowers arrive on Tuesday?

Our thoughts are with you both as Skip goes through this trying time.