Wednesday, September 09, 2009

wifercize wednesday: bedside manner

On Saturday of the long weekend, my three-and-a-half-day-stomach-cramp turned into a more sinister stabbing-and-pulsating-pain-that-wouldn't-go-away, so we drove to ER at St. Joe's while I rode in the passenger seat curled in the fetal position. From this position I was still able to see the Snowbirds practice their Labour Day routine in the skies over Toronto, which is why I included them in my post picture. The fetal position didn't really help, it just made me I was helping?

The real star of the show was Andrew. He didn't laugh at my bottled pee, he alerted nurses to my increasing pain while we sat in the waiting room, he held my hand and WATCHED them insert an IV into not one but two! veins (I later told him it felt like the newbie-nurse was inscribing her signature on the inside of my arm) before it worked properly, pretended that what I mumbled while on morphine was brilliant and response-worthy, went home to fetch my own pillow when we found out I would be staying overnight, amused me during the wait for an ultrasound the next morning, and brought Aventureland for us to watch on his laptop during the grueling, all-day wait for the doctor to read the ultrasound results.

Results: kidney infection.

Between the nurses, the doctors, and both moms I realize that this is a serious enough issue to be taken seriously. Seriously. But, for a moment, can I relay a few of the highlights?

Imagine the busy ER of an inner-city hospital, bustling at all hours to provide comfort and care for members of the community from every possible walk of life. Now imagine that you're behind a thin curtain on a gurney approximately 2.5 feet wide and impossibly short for even my 5'3" frame, with an IV injecting morphine, Gravol, antibiotics, and saline into your body via a needle that requires your arm to be not exactly straight but NOT BENT EITHER (lest the digital machine it is connected to alert the entire medical staff that you have BENT YOUR ARM), while a drunk homeless gentleman recently admitted to a bed across the hall is yelling to a team of nurses, "Y'know what? You and you should get MARRIED. Yeah, you two. Y'know why? 'Cause yer both a$$holes, thaz why. YER an a$$hole, and YER an a$$hole. You'd make a fabalous couple."

Oh, did I mention it's approximately 3:30 a.m.? Now try to sleep.

G'head. Sleep.

Instead of sleeping (or, rather, between hour-long snatches of sleep I collected throughout the night) I noticed the watermark on a ceiling tile gradually expand from half a tile to an entire tile over a 12 hour period (I brought this to a nurse's attention), became a pro at managing my own IV drip machine (including turning the incessant beeping off when the saline ran out), and kept my eye out for a "woman, age: 62, weight: approximately 150 pounds, shoulder-length grey hair, wearing blue blouse, blue jeans, and sneakers" that seemed to have a habit of wandering off from wherever she was expected to be and having a "code: yellow" announcement narrated (four times) over the hospital intercom system on her behalf.

When I heard Andrew shuffling in my curtained-off-room at 8:37 a.m. the next morning (did I mention what a star he was?) I woke up from my half-sleep and felt better despite the gurney, the IV, and the all-hour ER activity. We didn't do much over the next day, Sunday, other than travel from the ER to the ultrasound area and back to the ER, watch a movie, and kid around with a few visitors who came to see how I was (Andrew blew a surgical glove up like a fat hand for Amanda, our cousin, until it suddenly exploded and we shook in silent laughter while we overheard another visitor attempted to explain the sound to an elderly patient who was, apparently, half-deaf: "It's OK, it was just a balloon popping...A balloon popped...IT WAS A BALLOON...A BALLOOON!!!").

During one of the lulls we discussed how we couldn't remember exactly how we had included the "in sickness and in health" bit into our wedding vows, which we wrote ourselves, but we were sure we included something like it. It didn't matter at the time. I saw in his actions, heard in his words, and felt in his multiple little kisses that there was no where else he would have rather been than at the hospital with me, waiting all day for ultrasound results. And with him with me, it didn't seem like that long a wait.

So when he tells me to sit down and rest already, or remember to take my tea that helps heal my urinary tract, or tells me it's lights out while I'm checking my iPhone in bed, or forbids me to do even the slightest lifting because YOUR KIDNEY, WHAT ABOUT YOUR POOR KIDNEY? how could I not submit?


Andrew G said...

you're amazingly brave, my Love... you did well!

Mie said...

:) - to the last bit. Hope you get better SOON!

Angela said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I know him.