Things are finally settling down now. I can’t express how appreciative I am for those who’ve emailed, called, visited, and posted thoughts, well wishes, and prayers. While we aren’t totally out of the woods yet, I am finally at a point where I can breathe a sigh of relief and have come home for the night — I’ve been running on adrenaline for several days, and am now completely exhausted.
However, I did promise to explain/write as much as I could, so here goes:
Around 1am Wednesday, Jim woke me up. He was trying to get out of the bed and went downstairs. I went after him and saw that his lips and fingers were blue. I asked what was wrong, he said he was in excruciating pain and couldn’t breathe. (that much I had figured out already)
He had gone downstairs to take a Tylenol. :shock:
At this point, I began mentally mapping out what all needed to be done before we could leave for the hospital. I asked him if he could make it to the emergency room. (I was prepared to call an ambulance if needed) He said he could make it, so I told him to get dressed — I headed upstairs to wake Jessie and get ready to go.
Poor Jessie, she was terrified, but she was a little trooper. I explained what was going on — Daddy needed to see a doctor right then so we were going to the hospital. She cried a little but did as I asked with no fussing or whining.
On the way to Brookwood I don’t think I did under 80 on the interstate… but rounding the curves coming off I-65 into Malfunction Junction was hurting Jim so I had to slow it down once we hit Hwy 31 off of Red Mtn Expressway. Jim was worried about me getting pulled over for speeding — somehow I think the officer would’ve understood! I was more worried about his breathing than my speed; Jim’s breathing was so shallow, but he groaned and winced in pain with every breath. In a way, I was thankful for this — every groan I heard meant that he was still breathing. (I was honestly afraid he would suffocate before I got him to the hospital!)
We pulled up to the emergency room exit and Jessie and I helped Jim inside. I signed in and filled out the preliminary paperwork while a nurse ushered us into an examination room. We were very lucky … there was only one other person waiting to be seen at that hour, so a nurse saw us within 20 minutes. I think it was around an hour before the doctor saw us. At this point, Jim had been given a breathing treatment and hooked up to an IV and some morphine — however, it was at least 30 minutes before the pain subsided enough for him to breathe more normally (despite the breathing treatment). I called Jim’s mother to ask about any allergies he might have (he had none), and gave her a quick fill-in on what happened. I also called Jessie’s mother to let her know what was going on and that Jessie was at the hospital with us. Jim’s mother was nice enough to come down and sit with Jessie while I paced the floor and prayed in the ER.
“Please, God, don’t take Jim from me.”
The nurses had a really hard time sticking Jim to get blood for the tests. He was so dehydrated, and inevitably they had to take blood from his jugular. Right now he has several bruises going up both arms and on both hands from where they kept trying to stick him. Several hours and tests later, the doctor comes back to tell us that he had what was known as a pulmonary embolism — a blood clot in the lung. But the scary part was that he had several of them, in BOTH LUNGS. Normally, these are non-fatal, but apparently Jim’s were mutant clots or something because I’m told that his blood oxygen saturation was below 85% on the pulse oximeter. I don’t remember at what percentage brain damage (and eventually death) occurs, but it wasn’t much lower than that. At the time of his “attack” he had increasingly greater difficulty breathing and had begun to turn blue even before we left for the hospital.
At that point he was admitted into the hospital and placed in the ICU. While he was being moved and placed into a room and onto so many machines and monitoring devices, Jessie’s mother met with me and Jim’s mother. I had been able to hold it together up to this point, but as soon as Jessie and her mother were gone I broke down in the ICU waiting room. At this point, we still didn’t know if Jim was going to recover.
After 8am I called into work and talked to our boss explaining the situation, letting them know what room Jim was in and gave them the numbers where they could reach me if anything went wrong. And wrong it went — it seemed that this was the day that our servers all decided to play digital hopscotch.
:mad: I thought to myself, “You’ve GOT to be fucking kidding me….”
Anyways, I get work straightened out and it’s back to the ICU waiting room for more waiting. Eventually we were allowed in to see him. I swear he looked like he had been scraped off the grill of a Mac truck. We waited for what seemed an eternity to talk to the doctor assigned to his case. After giving him a brief run-down of what happened the night before and some family history courtesy of his mom (apparently blood clots runs in her family), we learned that it’s highly possible that the pleurisy that he was diagnosed as having a while back could have really been an early clot and “attack” that went misdiagnosed. (Which funny enough was almost EXACTLY a year ago!!)
Thursday comes and Jim’s vitals have stabilized and he’s looking less blue and more like “the right shade of white.” The doctor was optimistically looking to move him out of ICU and onto a blood thinner, which would help dissolve some of the clots and prevent new ones. (Anything not dissolved would be absorbed by the body and turned into scar tissue) Several friends called and came to see him. Friday came and I had gone into work for a few hours to collect our paychecks and check on a few things around the office. Most everyone in the office were very kind, offering support if I/we needed it; though it ticked me off that one person made a snide comment about how they knew I’d be in Friday because it was Pay Day. Well DUH! Jim may be in the hospital, but the world still turns and we still have bills to pay.
The nerve! :mad:
So anyways, that’s pretty much it for now. He’s still in a LOT of pain and I’ve had to get on to a couple of the nurses/staff about getting him pain medication when he needed it. I know that there are a lot of unscrupulous individuals who will try to “work the system” in order to get the meds, but there seems to be a stigma placed upon those who genuinely need it.
Needless to say, at least one of the nurses avoids me altogether. :roll:
So far things are going well, and the doctor is cautiously optimistic. If all goes well, he’ll be out by week’s end.
And that can’t come soon enough for me.