blood clots, emergency room, knees, pain, residents, surgery, x-rays
Harriet wanted to nix the idea of writing a Part II to last week’s blog. She would rather forget about that bloody blood clot sitting in her back room waiting for this body of mine to do something with it. But I thought a little synopsis of our adventures was worthy of a paragraph or two. It had all started out innocently enough. We were off to the doctor’s to get the staples taken out. Harriet felt a bit queasy but I assured her it would be a quick in-and-out and after all, look what she had been through already. Nothing could be worse than that. Margaret had come along since my doctor’s office is the most inaccessible building I have encountered yet with my cane and walker. We were there ridiculously early but better than late, eh? When I went in to see the doctor, I told her again about the excruciating pain in my foot and ankle and the general I-don’t-feel-so-hot. She started to examine me and said, well, I don’t like looks of this. She got on the phone and found a nearby ultra sound place who confirmed that I had a blood clot. Rats. That’s mildly how I felt. So, as much as she didn’t want to do it, she sent Harriet and I off to the emergency. I told Margaret to go home but she insisted on going down with us to get me some food to nourish me for my long night ahead.
Harriet was particularly unhappy. We were initially being looked after by a 10 year old (I do exaggerate) medical student who bounced into the cubicle all agog at the thought that here it was his first night of his Orthopaedic Rotation in ER and here I was with a serious orthopaedic problem. He was so excited. Harriet took an instant dislike to him after I introduced him to her and he smirked about a knee having a name. If she could have done it, I suspect Harriet would have given him something to make him respect her a bit more. But, I thought he was kind of cute with his clean cut looks and those big bone, Goth-like studs in his ear to give him an edgy look that didn’t quite work. He enthusiastically grabbed a pencil and asked if he could ask me questions. I told him to knock himself out. Then he thought he should check my heart but hadn’t brought a stethoscope with him because the residents in Orthopaedics laughed at him when he put one around his neck. They told him he wouldn’t need that for checking people’s bones. I had nothing better to do, so I let him try out his Stethoscope 101 skills. I did mention to him that operated knees need to have some kind of a pillow or blanket or something to make them comfortable on flat ER tables. Since he had never been in ER before, he had no idea where such things were kept so he rolled up some hospital gowns and handed them to me. I gave him a “6” for ingenuity. Harriet countered with a “1” for his bedside manner.
We had to wait a while for the Orthopaedic Resident to show up since, even though “On Call,” she was home having her supper or a glass of wine or making passionate love or all the above. I asked Monty (I took to thinking of him as a Monty) if she lived far away and he said absolutely not. It was the law that if you are a Resident On Call you must live within 30 minutes of the hospital. I appreciated his naïveté about people following rules. She eventually — three chapters of my book later — showed up. Monty grovelled ever so slightly when he came in with her. I wonder what he would have done if the Esteemed Surgeon, Dr. M., was there. She said the obvious, “You have a blood clot.” Of course, I had known that sitting in my doctor’s office three hours before this. Then she prescribed more syringes of blood thinners and asked, politely, if she could look at Harriet. Whoa, said Harriet, no way. But I didn’t see any reason to deny her a peek. She oohed and ahhed about what a great job the mighty surgeon had done. She probably didn’t get many chances to see the outcome of Dr. M’s work. Then she and Monty disappeared.
One of the many problems of being in any ER anywhere, is that you have to wait a long time in between spurts of action. I yelled after them, “Don’t be too long, eh? I’m hungry.” That left Harriet and I to listen to all the moans, complaints and screams outside our little curtained cubicle. Eventually, she came back with a prescription and an order for a porter to wheel me off to x-ray. I wondered why anyone would take an x-ray of a blood clot. I think she just wanted a closer look at the knee. As I was being wheeled out, two cops blocked the passage for a moment before they went in and handcuffed a patient to the bed. At that point, I could think of a lot of better places to spend a Wednesday night. The porter deposited me in an empty corridor and just left me. I kept calling out, “Hello, hello, HELLO?” Eventually they came and wheeled me into the x-ray room and tried to move Harriet into positions that she just was not ready to comply with. That done, they once again deposited me in the hallway. There was no one around. I know I have read stories where people have mysteriously disappeared within the corridors of busy urban hospitals. I started to call out in earnest until the side doors burst open and Monty and the Resident showed up to tell me the x-rays were hunky dory great. She told me she was referring me to the Thrombosis Clinic, “If they don’t call you, you call them.” They started to leave and I said, whoa, take me with you. No can do. Evidently there are Rules about who pushes a gurney through the halls of hospitals. The porter came eventually and I waited some more until the proper person to discharge me came by and Harriet and I were free to leave. Of course, now it’s past 11 so when we walked through the hospital to get to the taxi stand, there is not one person around and all lights are out. Very spooky. But at least I got home before midnight.
Two days later, after having the prescription for a month’s worth of syringes filled at the pharmacy, the Thrombosis Clinic folks called me and told me the Resident had given me the wrong medicine and I’d have to come and see them to get a prescription for the right one.
So here are Harriet and I still dealing with the blood clot. Margaret and Sue wanted to name it but Harriet was having none of that. She is a one-woman show and she doesn’t want that Bloody Blood Clot to get even a tad more attention than she gets. Now we just have to be patient — again — and wait it out.
We came home on Thursday — but that’s another story.