>It started on a Saturday, of course. Adventures like this never happen on weekdays.
Chuck hurt himself getting the garage ready for winter. You may have heard the news; he dropped the rototiller on his right big toe. Tough guy that he is, he hobbled into the house to elevate it and ice it and decided he was fine and dandy. After supper, I gently set an ice pack on it and he jumped out of his skin (well, off the couch) at the pain, leading me to say, “Okay, dear, I’ll bring you the phone. You’re calling the doctor.” The nurse on call told him to hippity hop into the nearest ER in case of bleeding under the nail.
The nearest hospital is quite close: five minutes by car. The hard part was finding the entrance. The hospital had undergone some major construction projects, and the ER entrance had moved since we were last there in early July. We followed the signs and found the entrance, I dropped off my limping man, and we were in business.
We can dispense with the gory details. He was treated and released — after helping the triage nurse fix her computer’s loose mouse cord and becoming fascinated by the name of the “tool” used to fix his toe. Mr. Techie and Mr. Word Person all rolled into one, that’s my ever-loving husband.
The next night – yes, Sunday after a Packers loss (sob), I started feeling ill. Suddenly ill, in fact, in such a way that I couldn’t deny it; it was obviously my turn to head back to the ER. Chest pains, dizziness, sweating, and more… we climbed back in the minivan for the now familiar ride. This time we knew the quickest way to the entrance, so Chuck dropped me off and parked.
We reintroduced ourselves to the ER weekend team, Chuck saying “It’s her turn tonight!” The nurse remembered Chuck for his help with her computer cart, and the doctor asked him “How’s the toe?” as he checked my first round of tests. This may have been a rarity for the ER doctor – getting to follow-up with a patient.
After being hooked up to all kinds of machines, timing the number of minutes between blood pressure checks, getting medicines by mouth and through an IV, having early evening blood work compared with the late evening blood work, the pain finally eased and I was allowed to go home – with conditions. Follow-up appointments, further testing, I had to agree to all of that before going home to sleep in my own bed. Well, home to call a substitute and then go to school to leave lesson plans.
The whole experience was surreal. Getting hooked up to so many machines, so many wires. The sheer number of tests done (thank goodness for good insurance coverage). The pacing. It was a lengthy stay (four hours!), but there was almost always something going on. Turning the debate from cardiac to gastro-intestinal and back to cardiac again – my head was spinning figuratively with the for and against discussions, almost as much as it spun literally in the beginning.
I never planned to be a familiar face at the local Emergency Room. I’d say “Now what? What’s next?” but I’m a little afraid of the answer. Let’s just keep Chuck away from the rototiller until spring; that’ll help.