You're Never Too Old to Take Your Middle Aged Daughter to the ER in the Middle of the Night...
Long story short, it took 2 hours to get 4 ounces of liquid into, and then another hour to wait and see if she absorbed any of it... but it worked and everything ended up being fine a week or so later.
About the third hour into that five hour adventure BabySister stopped screaming (from sheer exhaustion methinks) and passed out in my arms (thereby making the bottle feeding go very slowly). It was an enormous relief to everyone in the ER because she had been RAGING against the machine for at least two hours straight. I'm pretty sure the ER staff thought there had been some sort of delayed post-partum (post-post-partum?) murder suicide thing going on because the noise stopped so suddenly, and people kept poking their heads in the room ..."just to make sure we were still there..."
Anyway... back to that delicious silence that we suddenly found ourselves in. In that coccoon of that tiny room in the ER, I listened -- for almost three hours -- to a man across the hallway with a migraine. A former migraine sufferer myself, I felt enormously sympathetic to this unseen, unknown man. His demeanor (his voice, anyhow) was professional and genteel. He seemed to be of above-average or quite intelligent on the brains front. Professorly even. Sounded like he was maybe in his fifties or so. I felt very guilty that BabySister had been screaming for so long -- even with both doors closed it must have exacerbated his migraine horribly.
So I listened -- as he told his pathetic and unenviable migraine history to the nurse and the doctor on duty. He told them of the full range of his migraine episodes in the past -- the different types of pain and the medications and treatments that had worked for him in the past. And the ER staff kept telling him to stay still, lay down, they would turn the light outs, give him some motrin, a cool compress... nobody was disputing this man's migraine complaint. But nobody was listening it seemed to what he was telling them about what works and what doesn't.
And he just kept telling them and telling them. Over the next several hours I listened to him repeat and repeat his migraine history to a bevy of nurses and doctors who were rotating through the department. And slowly I came to realize that as professional and academic and just as nice as this guy sounded from across the hall where I couldn't see him in his dark cool-compressed cave, he was suffering from some sort of addiction issue. His migraine history never changed when he told it... what sounded at the beginning of the evenng like a laundry list of drugs that worked for him began to sound more like a shopping list of the drugs he'd like to leave the ER with that night. He wasn't asking for one or two painkillers to get him through this episode. He was asking for one or two of each -- Vicodin, Oxy... the list was staggering actually.
And that's when I realized that the ER staff was listening to Mr. Migraine... and that they had spent an amazing amount of time with him given the nature of his calmly presented yet still desperate request. I surmised he was probably a repeat visitor to this ER. They seemed to know him. They gently explained to him over and over again what they could and couldn't do fo him. They could give him two Vicodin in the ER but not a prescription. They could write him a prescription for 1 dose of Oxy but no more than that. Something to do with his record, and some vague state of Maine law or something. I don't know...
We left the ER before Mr. Migraine did so I never found out if he got his fix. If he wore everyone down to the point where they just gave him a cocktail of everything he requested. But I did leave feeling like even though my own life had been so stinking horrible that day, his was definitely worse.
This week, Mr. M-Dub has been away for a whole week on business. And I have been sick all week. I have missed multiple days of work, and have caused or borne witness to at least half a dozen catastrophes during the week. That's for another post though. The point is that my health situation was getting increasingly worse and even though I almost made it through the week without reinforcements, I caved and called my mom and dad on Thursday night. Begged them to come down on Friday after they left their jobs to help me with the kids. Even though Mr. M-Dub was coming home on Saturday, I just needed a break.
So being the wonderful 'rents they are, they obliged. I tried all day to get an appt with my PCP to no avail, and by the time my parents arrived I was miserable. I went off to bed and woke up around 10PM with the worst pain of my life in my tonsils and felt like my throat was starting to close up. So my Daddy took me to the ER. Like I was still 10 years old and living in their house. Like it was his sacred duty to do so. He even dropped me off at the ER entrance while he parked the car. He waited in the waiting room (for 2.5 hrs) while I was seen. What a great Dad. I could write another post about that.
I had a rapid strep test which came back positive (lucky me!) and while I waited for the doctor on duty to write a scrip and send me on my way I was admitted into an ER room.
It was the same room I sat in with BabySister back in May.
And without a screaming dehydrated banshee in my arms, I sat in silence by myself for the whole time. And while I reflected on how annoying it was to be sick and just how sick I was of being sick, a door opened across the hallway.
NO, it wasn't Mr. Migraine. That would have just been WAY too weird.
It was three people -- a young man and woman, not married, but friendly, maybe in their late twenties? and and older woman who was obviously profoundly mentally retarded. I listened to them for a long while and couldn't figure out why they were in the ER at all -- they were all laughing happily. I couldn't figure out the connection between these two kids and this older disabled woman - but they were fawning over like best friends which was really lovely to witness (albeit through a door). They were making jokes and telling stories and really making this old woman laugh.
My best guess was that something had happened to the old woman and these two kids were either aides or caretakers of some sort who had brought her in and were keeping her company. They didn't talk as though they were relatives.
Then, as I was leaving my room I heard an ER doctor speaking with them about their "options" -- as it turned out, they had been evicted from their apartment and had no place to go. The doctor was laying out several potential scenarios, though it was clear that the motley trio was not interested in any of them. They seemed defiantly in denial of their homelessness. There was some talk of leaving the old woman at the hospital overnight, but they could not accommodate the younger pair (who were not really a pair methinks).
I happened to catch a glimpse of them as I left my room. I couldn't see the old woman, but the two young people were professional, neat, decently dressed, looked like any fine upstanding law abiding citizen you'd see any day on the street. They did not look to me like the "face" of homelessness. I never learned what happened to them last night either. Whether they were relatives. Friends. Neighbors. People just looking out for each other. But at the end of the night my little strep throat case didn't seem so bad.
And I walked out to the waiting room, with my super-phat insurance card in my vera bradley wallet in my LV handbag, toward my Daddy, feeling every bit like a child.