Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a week!

This has been a week of total stress. Our oldest son, Jason who lives in Chicago became very ill with intense abdominal pain early Tuesday morning. I was on the phone with him many times, keeping tabs. The poor guy finally staggered in pain for two and a half city blocks to the UIC Medical center to the ER there. And while there he vomited all over, and was quite sick and in intense pain and what do they do? They gave him two kinds of LAXATIVES and pumped him full of morphine and discharged him, telling him to come back if it got worse. Diagnosis? Constipation.

Now who the hell gets that kind of pain and vomiting from constipation? I have had pretty bad constipation in my life and never a level of pain to make me want to pass out like it did him. He had to walk back home that way (he should have called us), and then was in horrible pain all night long.

The next morning, Wednesday, he phoned me and I then phoned hubby to go and get him (I had no car since Jason has our car still in the city). Jon took him there and got him settled in and then drove home to get me. We stopped by Jason's apartment for my husband to pick up the car and I took the van and drove to the hospital's ER. When I went in I was told that I couldn't park in the ER lot if I wasn't dropping someone off. I told them my son was in the ER and I needed to see him. They said I had one hour to move my van! In the suburbs we can stay parked in the ER lot with no permit as long as the patient is in the ER. Not in the city! The parking situation is awful.

So, I went in to make sure he was being taken care of, and to find out what was going on and then went off to find a damn parking spot. I couldn't park in the hospital garage with the van. The van was too tall. So, the only places to park were by meters and you could only put in enough money for two hours at a time! So, had to keep going back to the van every two hours to feed the meter.
While I was sitting there by his bed, he looked sicker and sicker to me and when I touched him he was burning up. I pointed this out to a nurse who said they better check his temperature. (Ya think????) I asked what his temp had been earlier and they said they never took it! Then they took him away for a CAT scan eventually, then later came back and said it looked like it may be appendicitis. I started getting nervous because they were taking so long. When I pointed out the fever though and they finally took it, it was 102. Then they started paying attention.

A surgeon was called in to read the scan results, and then they were scurrying around, but still seemed not to be moving fast enough. They finally took him to surgery around 4:45pm (he got there at 7 a.m.) and the surgery seemed to take forever, too. A doctor was supposed to come out after the operation and tell us how it went and what they did. We sat there and sat there. Two other families were also waiting for a loved one to come out of surgery. Each one called on the phone to see what was up and were told their relatives were either in recovery or in their room already. So, I finally called and they said Jason was still in surgery. Then another hour went by and I called again. They said that he was in recovery and doing well. I asked "isn't someone going to come back and talk to us?" and the person said "no one came back to talk to you?" I said "No..." So she said someone would. And someone didn't. So the nurse called us back to the recovery room and paged a doctor who was involved in his case. The surgeon had left already, never speaking to us. An assistant came to talk to us and tell us what went on, that Jason's appendix was badly infected and nearly ready to burst. Lucky they caught it, yadda yadda. They act like heroes sometimes when they could have saved the patient a lot of suffering by being on the ball better. Jon expressed his displeasure and said he was going to complain to the higher ups. He expected more out of a top university medical center. The assistant apologized.

Jason was taken to his room and after he was settled we went home. We drove both vehicles back to our house, which was not fun to fight Chicago expressway traffic after a hectic and stressful day. The next morning I went to work with Jon at 4 a.m. to eliminate the need to find a place to park that didn't cost $17 a day. He brought me over to the hospital around 11 and had to drive back to work. I stayed with Jason all day and no one ever came in to help him get a bath, no one changed his bedding. His food came late. No one knew anything about when he was going home. Finally after dinner Jason started telling them he was ready to go home, find the doctor. They had to hunt one of them down. He got his discharge papers about 6 but we didn't get out of there till nearly 9 because they didn't leave any discharge instructions for wound care. They never changed his dressing on his puncture opening in his navel where they took his appendix through. A doctor came in and changed his dressing and then we were on our way. We were all pretty crabby. Jon was the crabbiest. He doesn't cope well with medical situation. He hates incompetency especially when it concerns him or his family.

Jason came back to our house for a few days to recover and hopefully will be well enough to start his new job on Monday (These things always happen at the most inopportune times.) But he is now on the road to recovery and glad this little event is nearly over with.

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