Friday, April 25, 2014

MS plus One - Jackie at Saratoga Hospital

Dealing with MS can be tough enough, but when your partner, your sole support, comes to you in the early morning when you are still trying to remember what day it is, and says "I think I need to go to the emergency room," then you move up to another level of tough, and you don't go back.

She'd been feeling a little off for a few days and then on last Saturday I was still in my fogged, not yet drugged up brain moment, stirring toward less grunting and paying attention to the rather upset person looking down at me.

"I got up a five-thirty and went to the couch," she said. "could not believe the pain here."

She touched the area above her hip on the left.

"I think I need to go to urgent care."

Twenty minutes later we walked into the new facility here in Malta, NY.


We were sent right to the emergency treatment area and Jackie was called in within minutes.  I sat and did that thing that everyone does when they area waiting in a hospital - call someone using a cellphone (if its allowed) (no one to call) - looked at the magazine covers of buff healthy people (two strikes there)- or tried to find the coffee machine, which I did, but the milk (there was none) and sugar (none of those little plastic stirrers) were both in another part of the building.  i was called into the medical cubicle where Jackie was now laying on a stretcher, and being given antibiotics, and a choice of where did she want to go next.

"Home?" she asked.

The nurse just said nope.

"I meant which hospital?" the nurse said. "Albany Medical, Ellis, Saratoga, St. Peter's, Samaritan?"

I immediately dismissed Samaritan as the place where my family is admitted in, but go out only in a hearse.  Saratoga was close enough, so the ambulance came and took her there and I followed, realizing that I had not taken any pills that morning, so I was going solo, but doing an okay job.  And helping the cause was the fact that they did not turn the sirens, and that one of the EM people was a patient in Jackie's office in her previous life, now 4 weeks in the past.



And so to Saratoga Hospital.And now the morphine.  Yep the same stuff to help soldiers in wartime was shoved into Jackie's veins (assuming they could find the veins) and I watched my wife fade into that odd world that I so vividly recall to this minute as I watched my father fall into - in-coherency, and moving her limbs so slowly and awkward manner that they never seem to get where she wanted them to go.  The important thing was that my father was at Samaritan Hospital, if you got the gist of the previous paragraph, and Jackie wasn't.  No, her pain was so bad in her head and in her digestive system that the medical staff put her on morphine to give her some relief.  Jackie was admitted and went up to the third floor.

It seems that every time I go to any hospital, it is in the middle of a construction project, to "serve us better".I know the brain lesions has messed around with my sense of direction and something I had prided myself with, the ability to get from heah to thar, was no longer the case.  Right, left, 2nd left, watch out for newly plastered walls, now a right and here you are.  Whoops, wrong room.  Ever do that? Walk into the wrong room in the hospital, and interrupt a visit between people? And they all stare at you? And all you can do is smile, say sorry, wrong room and skulk out like Snoopy after Schroeder stopped playing the piano in a Charlie Brown Christmas....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUQX2B67KL4

And the looks you get from the group is something like the Schroeder and Lucy response.  So then comes the the other awkward time when you don't know when to leave, especially your significant other.  The patient tells you to go, but you see duty still there.

"No. I'm fine," you'll hear, as they make a shooing  motion with their arm, and setting off the alarm to bring the nurse in because said arm is attached to the bags of clear liquid, sending calming agents through the patient's body. "Please, I'm fine. Go."

So you leave and try to remember how to actually get out of the building, find your car, and go home to...silence.  The refrigerator is the only active companion that makes noise, but its a slow hum that falls into the constant background of a tinnitus world.  Turn the light and listen to the nothing, and watch the pills laced hallucinations dance in the dark.  Sleep is long in coming.  Alone here.

She came home Monday, with a lot of instructions. We will adjust. Because we have to. Because I have to. Because she is all I have.





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