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Blood and why we need it

So. Penny was supposed to go into the hospital early this evening to get her anemia examined - overnight for observation they call it.

Since it was convenient, the nurse who works for her oncologist decided we should stop by for a quick exam there first, and we should be there by 4pm. He called their service, Radio Cab, and ordered a wheelchair-accessible van to pick us up, and the dispatcher confirmed the time.

Radio Cab, however, HAS NO Wheelchair vans. Hours passed. After being reassured, twice, that they would be there, at 3:40 I called the nurse back and left a message, "Where are they?"

And he got back, "Uh, they don't have any ... I yelled at them a lot and they got one from another cab company."

Well, somewhere in the message they lost part of the requirement: I needed someone who could help me move Penny into her wheelchair in case she was too weak to get in herself. The driver was a 75 year old cardiac bypass survivor... nice guy but NO WAY he was going to be able to help me move Penny, and she was just unable to stand. I'm not strong enough to lift her alone, especially without hurting her, and we ended up having to send the cab away and call the local non-emergency people for advice. A quick description of what was going on and in about 45 seconds a fire engine (same guys from before) and an ambulance were here. She was assessed (BP 91/51, rather bad) and was eventually transferred to a gurney, where they stuck an IV feed in her arm, oxygen in her nose, and headed off. I actually got to the hospital before they did, and found out where she was scheduled; they sent her on up to the room (hopefully without an E-room bill) and installed her there. They did more vital signs (BP 70/42, WAY too low) and some blood counts (Hematocrit of 30, marginally too low, but in a dehydrated person that actually means she's 'masked' anemic) and a bit of prolonged waiting, and she was, eventually, given a liter of saline on a pump designed to feed it into her within an hour. She was looking less dehydrated before I signed the consent form for her to get the unit of red cells, and was already going to sleep. I turned the lights off and got home around 9:30.

So, tomorrow they find out what's causing all this - she might have to have something immediately treated.

The current expectation is that we'll bring her home tomorrow AM, sometime, but that's entirely dependent on what we find.
So, tomorrow early in the morning, I am going to go over to Home Depot or Lowe's, and see what they have in the way of overhead winch arrangements and some 4x4s (or equivalents) so I can build an in-place lift unit.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2006 06:41 am (UTC)
Best of luck tomorrow. I hope the news will be encouraging.
Jan. 7th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
So do we. She's still terrified that it's cancer, because of the absolutely STUPID way the doctor talked about it.

He seemed to be of the opinion that she was too weak to get treatment (without actually seeing her in person) and that chemo would kill her. As this was just before Christmas, and as he told her on the phone rather than where I could hear him and say "Hold ON!" he's on my Scrooge list, but perhaps he can be redeemed. Still, she heard it as "You're going to die, so you might as well get on with it." This had a LOT to do with her emotional decline and consequent lack of energy to do things like eat and drink, and I'm going to have a discussion with him about this.
Jan. 7th, 2006 07:02 am (UTC)
I swear, some doctors need to study diplomacy and basic PR before they should be allowed to talk to patients >_
Jan. 7th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Yes. And it's unprofessional to diagnose severity in a person you haven't examined yet.
Jan. 8th, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)
extremely. :(

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Steve Hutchison

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