Monday, November 8, 2010

In Which I Get By With A Little Help

To say the least, this past weekend was a bit rough.

The Boss woke me up at 2:15 AM on Saturday saying that I needed to bring her to the hospital. She was having severe pain in her back near her kidneys, and knowing her long history with kidney stones, she assumed that it was a particularly bad episode of them. After waking me up she ran to the bathroom and vomited multiple times. I tell you, if your normal cup of Folger's doesn't wake you up, the sound of your loved one retching into the toilet sure will. We made a call to her OB/GYN's office to make sure that going to the ER would be the right thing to do. We weren't sure what they'd be able to give her for the pain, what with her being knocked up and all. The doctor said to go, and so we went. 

We checked in at 3:15 AM, and were triaged and in an exam room by 3:45. The Boss very clearly stated her pain level as a nine on the zero-to-ten scale, but 45 minutes would pass before the doctor came in, and another 15 minutes from there before any sort of medication arrived. No ibuprofen, no acetaminophen, nothing, for an entire hour. I went out to the nurses station after watching my wife writhe around in pain on the gurney for twenty minutes, and told them that she was feeling like she was going to pass out from the pain. Their response? "Oh, okay."

The doctor finally came in and said they'd get her something for the pain, and that they'd want to run some tests. Fine, okay, good. Then, the doctor asked if there was any chance she might be pregnant. 

You've got to be kidding me. The doctor, who we were told hadn't come yet because he "hadn't reviewed her chart", didn't even know that she was pregnant. You should have heard the surprise in his voice when The Boss said that yes, she was pregnant, about 17 weeks along. The doctor chuckled to himself and said, "Well, that changes things a little bit." I have to wonder how he would have started her treatment if he hadn't asked her if she was pregnant. As a patient, you shouldn't have to remind your physician of such a thing, even if he his just an ER doctor. What could have happened if he hadn't asked, and we didn't tell him, trusting that he had read the chart and that he was recommending the best treatment accordingly?

After the doctor left, a technician came in and scanned for the baby's heartbeat. Everything sounded good to them, and it eased our minds a little. Another tech came in and (very poorly) placed an IV line. They gave her some medication for nausea and then something for the pain. The nausea medication worked, but the pain medication did not. After some time had passed, they tried a different drug. That seemed to work alright, and The Boss was able to get some sleep. 

The doctor came back in after a little while and mumbled some things about her urine and blood tests checking out okay. He said that they wanted an ultrasound of her kidneys, but we'd have to wait until 8:30 until the ultrasound techs came in. At this point it was 5:00 or so. We agreed, and except for a few times when a nurse came in to make sure her IV was still in place, they left us alone in the room. The Boss slept for most of the time, and I tried to sleep, but didn't find the stool I was sitting on nor the sink I was leaning against very conducive to it. 

The ultrasound finally came and went, and we learned that her kidneys looked fine and not blocked at all. They wheeled The Boss back to the exam room, and a different doctor came in to give us our discharge instructions. He said that it didn't look like kidney stones at all, but colic. He gave her an RX for pain, and said to come back if it didn't get any better. After being there for six hours, they all but shoved us out the door. 

We were home for maybe six hours before we decided to go back to the Emergency Room, but not the one we had gone to in the morning. We drove a little bit further to a completely different hospital. Here's a quick run-down of why we didn't go back:
  • We were there for SIX HOURS.
  • The doctor didn't even know she was pregnant, despite her chart.
  • During our time there, The Boss only went through 1/2 of a liter of fluids via IV. ONE HALF. I don't have a medical degree, but it's common sense to me that if you're in the hospital for a condition that indicates you're dehydrated to begin with, PLUS you've been vomiting all morning, you need more than half an IV bag. I don't know if the drip was set too low or if the line wasn't placed right, but still. Unacceptable.
  • The doctor that discharged us refused to prescribe anything for nausea, stating that it was just the pain that was making her throw up. Well, yes, you're right. However, if you can't keep anything down because of the nausea, how can you expect to reduce pain if you are swallowing the pain medication?
Our experience at the other hospital was a world different. We were in an exam room within five minutes of checking in, and she had an IV bag hanging within ten. More blood was drawn for lab work, and she was given medicine for nausea and for pain, all within the first half-hour. All of the staff there were attentive, caring, and very concerned at how poorly she had been treated earlier in the morning. (And yes, before you ask, we are most definitely switching hospitals.)

To give you an idea of how badly dehydrated The Boss was, she only managed a trickle of urine after taking in three entire liters of saline via IV. Three liters over two hours, and she could only pee a little. Insane.

Since we got home around 9:30 Saturday night, she's been doing alright. Trying to stay on top of the pain, and the subsequent nausea, is the hardest thing. She's staying hydrated, and she's sleeping a lot. The official diagnosis was kidney stones, and until they pass she'd going to be in pain. I hope that happens soon.

Before I end this already massive post, I wanted to give a shout out to all the people on Twitter who offered up their well wishes, thoughts, and prayers during this ordeal on Saturday. Your support was very much needed and even more appreciated. The Boss was moved to tears when I told her how many people were rooting for her. So, thank you again to:

Happy Monday, folks.

25 Comments:

Pam said...

I've been an ER nurse for 12 years now. I am so glad you posted this. I can't scream loud enough how important it is to ask a zillion questions when you are a patient. You're right, your boss recieved substandard care at the first hospital. I hope she's feeling better.

Faye said...

I am so glad that you got to a better ER! I have had some very scary incidents with ER's but never when pregnant, I cannot imagine the level of fear and stress that adds! Give the boss a big hug for me, and my sincerest hopes that this all passes quickly and hopefully mostly-painlessly from here on out. Hang in there, daddy, you'll get through this!

Jeff said...

So the first hospital says nothing's wrong with the kidneys, and the second one diagnoses kidney stones?

The differing experiences you had at each place blows my mind, but I'm really glad to hear your lady and the baby badass are doing well now. Hope the associated pain she's experiencing fades sooner than later.

Jessica said...

I wish I could say that I am shocked by how you and your lady were treated, but sadly I'm not. Hospitals and doctors' offices often make you feel like nothing more than a number, like a bed hogger. I'm glad it looks like everything will end up well, but what a terrible experience! At least The Boss and Baby Badass are okay!

Lily Ruth's Mama said...

My advice is to find out what hospital your OB/GYN delivers in. From here on out, only go to the Women's Center for that hospital. They will first and foremost check out the Boss and Baby Badass. Also, they will know exactly what can and cannot medically be done during pregnancy.

As a related, but separate bit of advice, find out what the Women's Center you are slated to deliver in is like. If it's awful, find out if your doctor has privileges at another facility or find another doctor before the Boss is much farther along. I delivered in a hospital that is not fancy or high rent, but has an amazing labor and delivery unit. It makes all of the difference in the world to be surrounded by competent, caring people.

Shorty said...

Wow flashback. I've had kidney stones, bad pregnancies, and lousy treatment in hospitals. I feel your (and her) pain. Glad to hear you found a better place. Hope she feels better soon!

George Lee said...

Glad to hear she'll be better :)
I've never had anything as bad as this in England, but like I said, they weren't able to recognize glandular fever here. I wonder if in some hospitals they teach you to be incompetent?

Jocelyn said...

So, so glad she's doing better. I hope she's back to 100% very soon.

Maggie May said...

I am so sorry you guys went through that, your poor girl, pregnant and in that much pain :( I have SO much sympathy for her- in my sixth month of this pregnancy, I developed the worst cough of my life in which I ended up pulling a rib muscle, and ended up in the ER with Mr. Curry, getting the same kind of treatment. We waited so long we ended up just leaving. I hope she feels better soon.

BeautifulWreck said...

I am so glad your wife is doing better. I am also glad that you were able to find out about the hospital before getting to the birth process.

kristina said...

Sending good thoughts to you, Mrs.BA and Baby BA...

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear the Boss is in such pain and had to go through such an ordeal to boot! I am really glad though that you did find a better hospital. It shouldn't have to be that way, though. What a shame of a system.

Anyway, best wishes to you, the Boss and baby Badass. Really hope the pain passes quickly and the recovery is swift.

Melissa said...

I am glad she is doing better too. Also hope your ob/gyn uses the better hospital!

Melanie's Randomness said...

Some hospitals just suck plain & simple. So happy the boss is doing okay & that the baby is okay.

Writer Ninja said...

Gosh, what an awful ordeal. I am so sorry The Boss had to go through all of that pain and maltreatment and I also know that it is the hardest thing to watch a loved one suffer. I wish The Boss, Baby Badass and you the best.

In a strange way this might have been a blessing. If this hospital could not get the facts straight before beginning a procedure, I cannot even fathom them bringing a child into the world properly. My mom had a similar horrid experience with doctors years ago when she was pregnant and I cannot help but think that most doctors view other living human beings as a dollar sign. It is disgusting that doctors supposedly work to save lives and most of them work to save is their lavish lifestyles. If my mom did not take matters into her own hands and switch doctors I highly doubt I would be here. It is strange to even think about.

Best wishes and I know things will get a lot better for you guys with the new doctors!

Chuck said...

Re-enforcing my general dislike of hospitals, doctors, and the medical commuity in general. Glad The Boss is getting better and that little Badass is okay.

Scuba Nurse said...

As a nurse I am so ashamed by your treatment in the first hospital and am so glad you go tthe help you needed in the second.
WELL DONE FOR CHANGING PROVIDERS.
Doctors and nurses can be stupid / assholes just as much as busdrivers and lawyers can.
Congrats you guys, and best of luck on getting through this one.

Denny P 3 said...

I sure hope The Boss is feeling better. People don't realize that part of a hospital's job is customer service. It's too bad that you had to go through that with your wife. Here's to the rest of your pregnancy going smooth and safe.

Tony said...

That's just crazy. I'm glad you went to the second hospital because it could have gotten so much worse. I hope that this passes quickly and that she feels better soon.

Employee No. 3699 said...

Wow. Just wow.

I'm glad to hear she's okay and was...finally...properly diagnosed.

I hope she's feeling better soon. Sending hugs to both of you.

Daniel said...

I think you guys need to write a letter to the first hospital... because that's a load of bullshit right there.

I'm glad everything got on track, though. I have a lot of distrust for most doctors and nurses (unless they can prove otherwise), almost as much as I hate politicians.

mice_aliling said...

I'm sorry wifey had to go through a grueling experience. I assume everything's well now. I wish for a non-episodic pregnancy from today :)

Didactic Pirate said...

WOW, that first doctor sounds like an idiot. If there's one place that should have a "No Morons" policy, shouldn't it be the ER?

Late-night hospital visits are scary, even when you're not pregnant. I hope The Boss is doing better today.

Badass Geek said...

To All: Thank you again for the well wishes. The Boss is on the mend, and actually intends on returning to work on Wednesday. It definitely was an experience I hope never to go through again, but they whatever doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.

Nej said...

How frustrating...and scary! I'm glad you ended up somewhere with people who actually seemed competent. There's nothing worse than seeing a loved one in pain, not be able to do anything about it, and watching the people who COULD do something about it twiddle their thumbs.

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