Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life, Near-Death and Death...All In One Week.

My pet sitting/house sitting/commute had all been going okay until last Tuesday. The previous weekend had been great. Saturday A came to visit me, we hung out by the pool and then went into the city to meet fellow blogger, Crystal for drinks. (Once again Crystal, it was great to finally meet you and Rachel.) Sunday I spent the day at home with A and my own crew before returning to the city to start another week. I had a busy one planned; rescue home visits, a Wednesday night concert date with A to see Stevie Nicks, a lunch date on Friday. Just busy, busy, busy...

Tuesday night around 7pm I was driving back to the house from a home visit for a potential dog adopter and A called. Her voice was strained and when I asked her what was wrong she said she was having abdominal pain. So much pain she was actually out of breath. I asked if she thought it was her appendix and she said she was sure it was just menstrual cramps. At 9pm I talked to her again and she had went to bed and said she felt much better. At 10:30 pm I was just getting ready to lay down myself and my phone rang. I answered "What happened?!" She said she was on her way (driving herself) to the emergency room. She insisted I stay put until they found out something. After blood work and a CAT scan, they transferred her to another hospital for an emergency appendectomy.

I had no choice but to call Betty's daughter to come deal with the dogs here. My crew at home had already been alone for hours and they were going to need taken care of through this situation.

By the time I made it to see A, she was out of recovery and looked like hell! I had been up all night and as we already know, when I reach that point I just can't deal with anything anymore. The surgeon came into talk to us. She was very concerned about A's condition. Her appendix had burst and by the time they opened her, the infection had spread through her abdominal cavity. She estimated her appendix had been leaking for 1-2 days and pools of infection were everywhere as well as fecal matter. Her blood pressure was dangerously low. They couldn't get it to come up and were considering moving her to ICU. Her blood work was a wreck. They were running fluids and loads of antibiotics and well as a morphine pump to keep her comfortable.

Thursday I needed to go to work (one girl on maternity leave, another on vacation out of state) and when I went to visit A that evening she seemed better. They had stabilized her BP and her color was much better but she was having trouble breathing. The next morning they diagnosed her with pneumonia. Even with these set-backs, Friday afternoon she was up walking the halls with me when I came to visit.

See that's induced by the morphine pump on the right. :)

They discharged A from the hospital Sunday afternoon. The physician's assistant came to go over discharge instructions and told us A had been the talk of the office all week. He had been there for her surgery and said when her lab work came in, the question everyone asked was "How is this person even alive?" They even had the crash team on standby in the operating room because they were sure A was going to code during surgery.

Surgery is always scary but it was shocking to realize just how close to death she was. As A would say, "I was circling the drain." Damnit, sometimes the joking is too much! But I realize that's the way she coping right now and she's trying to help me not worry. It's going to be awhile before she's 100% but so far she's listening to me and resting. Her body has been through so much in the last week. I took the entire week off and I'm splitting my time between my home and the pet sitting/house sitting gig.

We did have "the talk" about this situation when we got home. I wasn't rude or angry; just told her that she's a great nurse and does a fabulous job assessing the needs of her patients. It's time that she starts using those fine assessment skills on herself too. This is the second time I've had to pull out the "If this was your patient having these symptoms, you would send then to the ER, right?" I'm hoping she has learned because this mistake could have ended her life.

During the midst of all this drama, Betty's daughter arrived at the house Wednesday evening to find the tiny 5 month old pup Petie "The Flea" crashed in the floor. He was rushed to the vet and perked up a bit but by Friday he crashed again. Thankfully this time he was in the care of my own Tim and  Orv's foster parents. Barb, Dave and their vet did everything they could for him but unfortunately his frail little 1.5 pound body just couldn't beat the odds anymore. He surprised us all by hanging on until Sunday afternoon and then passed peacefully in his sleep. When I left the house Wednesday morning he was jumping up my leg begging for attention, giving me kisses and wrestling with his siblings. Another sitaution where it all happens so fast. I know he had been sickly since birth but he was just such a sweet cuddly little doll. It just makes my heart sad. This is the last picture I took of him.
Bless his sweet little heart.


Mark Himes said...

What a crazy mess! I'm so glad that A made it though. Is she just that tough that she pushes the pain aside and only deals with it when she no longer has a choice?
And yes, I do love that smile. I need me some morphine to through some of my days.
Take care.

sunshine said...

Well, you probably know the saying: "When it rains, it pours".

Despite the whole ordeal you and A went through I am happy in she is doing much better and hopefully they'll be better days ahead.

Keep up the good spirit!

crystal said...

I don't think I took a single breath while reading this! Im so glad A is ok, but what a terrible thing to go through for both of you! Try to have a relaxing week now though :)

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Petie's passing gives me the MAJOR SADS. Poor little fella.

I am so thankful that A is home and survived her ordeal. Please send my love to her. That shit is SCARY.

Ms. Moon said...

My god, darling! You have been through so much! Please tell A that I am SO glad she is better and that I, as a nurse, second your advice to take better care of herself.
In some far-away way, I love both of you.
And as to that precious pup- well, he had a fine life and was loved.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Have a good holiday weekend. I hope Nons is on the mend. I love you both!


Mel's Way or No Way said...

Oh Mark, we could all use a little more morphine in this life. As far a A...well she's just a stubborn goat who always thinks "this isn't happening to me".

Thank you Sunshine and Crystal. Things are defintely on the mend.

Ms. Moon and SB-love to you ladies too.