Susan woke up and got the husband ready to go to the hospital. He was ridiculously lethargic and unable to follow simple commands such as lift up your foot so she could help put his pants on. She woke her snoring son to ask if he wanted to assist taking his dad to the hospital.
He said no.
Are you really telling me that you don't want to help me take your sick father to the hospital?
The son said with a cheeky smile that if she was going to guilt him into it then yes, he'll go.

Susan called Sloan in NYC to hip the covering doctor that she'd be taking the husband to a well known hospital a few towns from where she lived.

It took a great effort to finish getting the husband dressed because he was still a strong guy and kept trying to fling himself backward on to the bed to go to sleep. With the son's help Susan got him out the front door and into the car where he was uncomfortable, fidgeting with the seat belt and trying to get out. His discontent grew worse and worse. Susan opted to get off the main road and travel the back way which brought them past two smaller hospitals, the second of which he had spent three hairy months back in 2001. As they passed his alma matter he started yelling Stop here! Stop here! So, she did.

Susan's not sure if he recognized the hospital, or if his agitation just hit critical mass, but she and the son got him in to a wheelchair and brought him inside where he repeatedly said Let's go as he tried in vain to get out of his seat.

Susan felt sad while explaining his medical history to the intake nurse. The husband continued to say C'mon, let's go as if someone was going to wheel him out of there. Susan explained that the hospital would help him feel better but was not sure if he understood.

Susan's husband said very softly Help.

He was given bed 109 in the Emergency Room. The nurses were all over him. After a scan the doctor explained that the husband was in liver failure and suffering from hepatic encephalopathy, which is a loss of brain function because the liver was not able to remove toxins from his blood. He also had water in his lung which was seeping up from his liver through his diaphragm. He was immediately put on antibiotics & bags of sodium chloride to hydrate him. He looked at Susan and smiled crookedly. In a sedated stupor he said Erin Go Bragh to his Irish nurse.

Susan tried unsuccessfully to remove his wedding band with the help of some goo nurse Christine gave her. She wondered what would happen if the ring would not come off and didn't like any of the answers she came up with. She turned her attention instead to the ER doctor answering the phone, 'This is St. Charles Emergency Department, how may I save your life today?'

All day long medical personnel sought out Susan to explain the husband's symptoms and what they could do to alleviate them. She spoke to more doctors in the 8 hours they spent in the little hospital than in 3 weeks at Sloan. Sloan told Susan he had water in his lung but then offered no suggestion for relief, they just sent her home. She decided that she would not be taking the husband back to NYC and would find a new doctor closer to home. As far as she was concerned The Cancer Center at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital could go s*ck her d*ck.

Throughout the day Susan's family arrived and went in waves. Wild Bill and his daughter arrived separately from North Carolina. By the end of the day the husband was moved to room 90 in the ICU. He looked better, made sense when he spoke, was eating soup but was also constantly fidgeting with his pillow & covers as well as trying to climb out of bed still saying 'Let's go'.

Susan saw the husband's wedding band sitting on the windowsill. She took it and threaded it through the wrap bracelet she was wearing.

She was tremendously relieved to have the husband in the capable hands of her little hospital. She and her little sister went home to eat a reheated Thanksgiving dinner.

Susan slept soundly that night.

1 comment:

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Dearest Susan, I love how your husband joked with a nurse in his lowest moment. On the last night my Dad was alive, the nurse asked him if he wanted communion the next morning. He replied "if it doesn't cost me anything". I suspect Susan's husband had a very similar and endearing sense of humor. My thoughts are with you and your sweet family.