Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dear, That's Not a Vampire, That's ...

When I hadn't heard from Steve by noon his time, I gave him a call. It was last Monday, and it took about that long to find a reasonable break in my day for a call. While we were chatting, I commented on hearing beeping in the background. He has been known to think he can multitask by being on his computer and still carry on a coherent conversation. But that wasn't the excuse this time. He just casually let it drop that he was in the hospital, and the beeping was one of the machines he was hooked up to.


It turns out he woke up with strong chest pains about 4 AM and called 911. He begged me not to be mad at him. He didn't want to call me before he knew something.

"Well, you knew you're in the hospital."

There were a few calls to make. They neighbors were asked to let Fred out into the back your and check his food and water levels, and put him back in the house come evening, repeating as needed. He'd been shut in the lanai since before Steve was taken away. I mentioned his situation to our friends down there, Joan and Bob, and they immediately asked what they could do. Nothing, I thought. It turned out I was wrong, and the following day they stopped by the house to pick up his cell phone charger and dropped it off for him. I called his daughter, filling her in and asking her to pass the info to the rest of his kids, since they mostly live very close and she has a better list of phone numbers than I do.

Of course there were more calls back to Steve. It was during one of these early calls that he suddenly announced he was going to have to hang up on me. His vampire was there to check his enzymes. I suggested he refer to her as a phlebotomist, and heard her chuckle as he repeated the correction in terminology to her before hanging up. Good thing she had a sense of humor. Nobody wants somebody on the other end of a needle with a bad attitude!

There were other tests. Steve didn't mention any difficulties with them, other than that each of two days he wasn't allowed to eat until a procedure was finished, and they managed to be scheduled for late in the day. He had an EKG, the kind where you're hooked up to a little "black box" in your pocket so you can be portable. There was an echocardiogram, showing an arrhythmia - or maybe just confirming one they already heard, since the first information he got was about a "fourth beat". There was a stress test and later an angiogram.

For the latter they had to adapt as he reacts badly to the dyes used. Instead of going through a leg vein, they used a wrist one. This actually caused the only complication while he was there. For some reason it would not stop bleeding, earning him another night's stay rather than a ride home. They put on a pressure bandage, which was clear plastic and inflatable. They could blow it up for more pressure, and see through it to check on the bleeding. The next morning it was still bleeding! (Maybe his vampire was still thirsty?) I'm not sure just how, but it finally got stopped mid morning, and he was discharged, along with a fistful of prescriptions. Just like me, he now needs to take a baby aspirin, a beta blocker, a statin, and a blood pressure medication. He is also blessed with a supply of nitroglycerine.

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