Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Notes From The Emergency Room And An Update



As my husband turned more and more yellow and insisted on waiting for his Monday morning appointment with the liver specialist, I turned to Google and, as it turns out, correctly diagnosed him with a bile duct obstruction. Monday morning, Dr. Tong, the liver specialist took one look at hubby, made some phone calls to UCLA, and told us to get over to their emergency room where the liver team would meet up with us and get him admitted. 


Hubby, who knows how I feel about driving in LA traffic, drove us from Pasadena to UCLA past so many familiar landmarks: Dodger Stadium, where we would watch the games, drinking beer and eating dodger dogs; Mount Washington, where my friend Tony, who died of AIDS, used to live and where Elton John would always sing on vinyl records; downtown, where my friend Jane and I would meet for lunch, and one day stood on the street, talking, mourning the totally unnecessary death of Marvin Gaye. On to the Santa Monica freeway, past La Brea, the exit for our LA house, and my many West Los Angeles memory landmarks. But on to reality......


The waiting room at the ER was not as crowded as it would be when I left there eight hours later. They check your vitals and triage you so that the most severe cases are admitted into the actual ER first, a badly designed place that is way too small and does not meet the needs of the community. Hubby's vitals were good so we waited for about three hours before being admitted. 


Just like last summer, he was placed on a gurney in the hallway. I got a chair at his feet. A guy named Matt, suffering from a congenital liver condition and in as much pain as my husband, was on a gurney to the left of me. So there I sat, prepared for a long wait, glad that this time I brought food, hubby's feet to my right, Matt's to my left; big feet, big guy, had played line backer for the Raiders when young. 


So two guys with liver issues and a love of football meet up in the ER, the day after that disastrous last minute of the Superbowl, if you are, as we are, or were (I'm a fickle fan) Sea Hawks fans. So as soon as the morphine they both got was administered, a friendship was formed. It was a delight to watch and made me forget my fears and reduced my stress. 



A very nice nurse appeared immediately, took hubby's medical history, administered morphine, took blood, did an EKG, and so on. A resident soon appeared and asked pertinent questions. The emergency room was incredibly busy, but we felt we got a very different level of attention compared to last summer when I just took him there and no one seemed to know what to do with him. So my husband was right to wait to see Dr. Tong. To have your doctor call ahead make all the difference. 


After my hubby was taken away for an ultrasound, which confirmed the bile duct obstruction, two doctors from the liver team showed up. The head doc was a lovely man, who gave me his card, said I could call anytime, and even put his arm around my shoulder as I sat in the chair. A gesture so lovely, so meaningful, so unexpected. It would be great if more doctors understood how much even the briefest moment of kindness matters. Then they took off to see my husband and look at the ultrasound. 


After that they returned to let me know that my husband would be admitted. While hubby was gone, a women, who looked like an ageing actress with psychiatric problems, arrived on a gurney behind my hubby's space. And the conversations she had with nurses and doctors who tried to figure out what was going on with her (she arrived by ambulance, but evidently her issues were not physical) and what to do with her, became so hilarious that Matt, his wife, and I started to giggle, uncontrollably. I think we all knew this was not a nice thing to do, but it helped relieve our boredom and, for a brief moment in time, forget our worries and fears.


Sorry about this long story, I just feel a need to write down my emotions. I am here at home now, and my beloved husband is over 100 miles away, his voice so weak on the phone. I left the ER at 6:30 and, after a restroom/gas station stop arrived home that night at nine. My husband called right then and said he finally got into a hospital room. The dogs had been very good, considering they were left alone for almost 14 hours. Samson had pooped, they both peed, and Faith chewed up a cover for the couch I had left for her. I knew she would do it, and better that than the actual couch, I figured.


Right now I know about the obstruction, not what caused it. No one mentioned cancer so far, I can't get his test results online, so I don't know what the tumor markers said. Dr. Tong told me I better wait until all the results come in, but it sounds like cancer was not seen on the MRI. Hubby will have stent implanted in his bile duct to make it function properly. He will also have a device with a scope attached inserted into his throat and esophagus. This so they can get a different look at his liver. Sounds ghastly to me, but if it will help to find out why he in so much pain, it is a good thing. 

Again, thank you for your comments. Debra, Breathligher, mentioned how wonderful our blogging community is and how our friends who don't blog can't understand the friendships we form here. Thanks for stopping by, thanks for your support. Hope you all will have a good rest of the week. Will let you know what happens.





32 comments:

  1. so sorry to hear he is in the hospital, but this sounds like the right place to be and I pray they get him back to normal soon.. it is so hard when we have pets at home and need to be other places... poor pups.. glad they did ok. your story is entertaining and that is what i do when in the ER and waiting, chat up the other waiters if i have access.. glad there was someone there to talk to and watch and giggle with and also a kind and caring doctor. that is rare these days. hope he is better soon

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  2. Dear Inger, I am so sorry to hear that your husband is in hospital.
    I agree with you, the briefest moment of kindness of a doctor matters and is very important!
    I am glad that the lovely Samson and Faith are ok.
    Hope your husband is better and be well very soon!
    Many hugs and much love!

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  3. Sounds like he is good hands. Sending healing thoughts.

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  4. you are so right, that small gesture can give you the strength to carry on, and back at home, I'm sure Samson and Faith will give you TLC and much needed company. A long drive, but the best place to be right now, Yes, hospital waiting rooms, ED, and even the corridors can bring unexpected companions, with a common share of pain, fear, and more. We have been there so many times over the last 18 months or more, and have another visit today, so as Hugh and I go to Wanganui Hospital, Inger, I will have many loving and caring thoughts for you and your dearest man, way across the ocean. Hugs and love, from Jean.

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  5. Oh, my dear Inger, I am so sorry to hear this has happened. It is the best place for your husband to be right now and it is good to hear that his wait was not too long and that you were in very good company. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

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  6. i'm glad he's in good hands and that the ER visit had some lighter moments for all of you. :) bless you, inger. hug the pups, too.

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  7. Oh my gosh, Im so sorry. I so admire your ability to find insight and even humor during such stressful times. Sending you much support across the miles

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  8. My sister and both my parents had a bile duct blockage and after a medical procedure, we're all fine. I am hoping that is the case with your hubby.

    I love to overhear stories in the ER. It keeps my mind off my own problems.

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  9. It sounds like he is in great hands and that stent should help him immensely. What a blessing that you had pleasant company to help with the waiting. Nothing worse then having no distraction and being left to your own thoughts in the ER. Hoping he is home soon and am keeping you both in my prayers. .

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  10. Dear Inger, I'm reconnecting through Blogger with some dear "old" friends, and so I came over here. I'm so sorry your husband is having such a rough time...as well as you, too, having to see him in so much pain. Last April I went through a similar scenario with my disabled daughter, Jen, who will be fifty this year. Excrutiating pain. The first ER doctor didn't figure it out, and sent us home...at 2 a.m.! I got a few hours sleep, Jen got none, and it was call another ambulance. The second doctor got it right...incredibly infected gall bladder. Surgery followed. So I do know somewhat what you're going through. Am sending prayers and good wishes your way. You're on my new blogspot's blog roll, so I can get updates! Love from your Utah/now Virginia friend, Ann

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  11. You had me smiling a few times reading your visit at the ER. Someone should write a book about ER waiting rooms. : )
    Thanks for the update. I will continue with the prayers.

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  12. Your blogger friends, Inger, are not only here to admire your beautiful photos (loved these ones), but also to support you from afar.
    You are very lucky/fortunate to have the liver specialist. I remember how you both liked him from the start and he is there for you.
    What a wonderful feeling that must have been to have a doctor give you a moment of encouragement when you most needed it. they are hard to find in such a setting I'm afraid.
    Please take care of yourself Inger and those lovely dogs of yours. We are thinking about you and sending you and husband positive thoughts and healing prayers.
    Oh, I LOVE your new header!!

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  13. Oh Inger my dear Inger you are one of the strongest women I know. I know you are frightened and the unknown is always the worst part. You had to have driven home and you did it even though you did not want to and you made it back to poop and pee (my attempt to try to make you laugh for a minute) I have no doubt you can get through anything. All my thoughts are with you and your Own "Hero" and you know I do consider you my family. Sending hugs lots of them. Hug B

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  14. Forgot to say how much I love the beauty you captured. HUG B

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  15. I am so sorry this is going on for you right now. I know how frightened you must be. I wish I was close to hold your hand while you wait for news. I am sending prayers and hugs

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  16. So very sorry to hear of these trials. Inger, you sound like such a strong person! Please know that you have so many people out here who are praying for you, and your husband.

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  17. I am so sorry to hear of this going on at the moment, and that your husband is so far from you right now. All I can say is that I am thinking of you both, and hoping for the best. Sending so many hugs

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  18. To be so far from your husband at this time must be maddening. You were so fortunate that your husband's doctor called ahead -- that makes all the difference in the world. And that your husband has a fellow football fan with the same ailment as he -- that probably made it easier for both him and your husband -- something to focus the mind on besides worry and pain.

    Work has been crazier than usual and has kept me from your blog, so I did not know of this. I will be praying harder each morning and night for you and your husband than I already do. You know my email address should you need a shoulder to lean on. Hang in there!

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  19. There are some things that went very right in all of this and it sounds like you are blessed with very good doctors. Please keep us updated and stay strong and positive.

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  20. I'm glad you got him there and admitted. I will keep you both in my prayers sweet friend and hope he improves quickly. Sending you lots of sweet hugs tonight. Try to take care of yourself and not worry. Hugs, Diane

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  21. I am so sorry to hear he is in the hospital again. It seems a bit better experience this time in ER and it sounds like the right place to be right now. I pray that he gets back to feeling better soon.

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  22. What a stressful time for you and your hubby. It sounds like he is getting excellent care, and how kind of the doctor to give you his card and a moment of warmth. The photos of sunrise/sunset are spectacular.

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  23. I'm so sorry to read all of this. But I am glad you found a friend and some humor to help get you through the emergency room visit, I know how difficult those are. I will be thinking of you and your husband and hoping this can all be resolved without too much difficulty. Take care.

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  24. Thanks for sharing your feelings and emotions with us your blogging friends. I can understand the support that is felt when our hearts are breaking in sorrow and someone though far away that we never even met give us their time online to raise up our hopes and show that they care. It makes all the difference in the world. Love knows no border, race or color or age.

    When my daughter called me crying about her first baby would be born without a hand , the news cut like a knife in my heart. So many came with soothing comments that gave me hope. There were many testimonies of kids with missing limbs who were perfectly adjusted and happy and that really made me realize the value of blogging.
    It was like support on angel wings. I cherish everyone of those comments.

    You're indeed a brave and courageous woman. Samson and faith are coping in their own ways.
    ( sorry I'm so late in commenting, I had no internet yesterday until a new fibre optic modem was installed by our mobility phone provider.We couldn't even watch the news on TV. So much for Fibre Optic technology)

    Love and prayers for your husband full recovery.
    JB

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  25. Oh my heart goes out to you Inger ... but your husband is in the right place at the minute. Stay strong. Sending lots of love to you both.
    Fil

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  26. Your hubby and you are tightly bound together. The interspersal of the struggles through the episode and the nature's beauty reminded me that we are all connected.

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  27. Inger, I'm so sorry for your husband to have to endure these health struggles and you to endure the worry and stress. I'm sure the distance between you is difficult. You are in my prayers. I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing! ~Jeff

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  28. You and your husband are in my prayers, Inger! I read your heartfelt post a couple of times -- the fact that cancer hasn't shown up (the big worry) gave strong hope the stent will work. My former brother-in-law ended up in the emergency room with what was first diagnosed as a panic attack. So he had to wait until being discharged (to condense a lot). However, the blood test taken when he was first admitted needed time to do its thing, so to speak. When the results came in, he was admitted to the hospital with heart problems that led to three stents. He's doing fine now. So I have good feelings that your hubby's stent will work. Inger, I your description of memories through the years brought tears to my eyes -- you and your husband are real soul mates and how beautiful that is. Much love, Kittie!

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  29. oh i hadn't seen this post - ....what an ordeal - painful - ...scary....glad to read your most recent post which sounds better.

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  30. Dearest Inger - sorry this is way late .. but I'm catching up before I set off to heal the hip - i.e. a walk. Your days sound traumatic ... and hospital waiting is not easy and I'm so glad to read that you made friends and were able to have a giggle. I'm sure you're worried beyond the pale ... and as I'm reading this two weeks later - I know life hasn't been easy for either of you.

    As you say ... care and concern for the carer with a comforting touch is so important and helpful .... My thoughts, big hugs and love for you right now - Hilary

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Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger

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