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:
Every single one of you are awesome and great people, and I feel honored to know you. Thank you again.
Happy Monday, folks.