Saturday, July 9, 2011


Presented (Wash's account) of my most recent hospital escapades;

Early in the morning, about 3:30 I awoke to hear Tashi laboring in her breathing, her lungs closing off. I held her, my concern growing as her breathing became more difficult, and so we both agreed quickly that a hospital trip was in order, since previous visits to the Doctor had taught us not to wait when severe asthma attacks like this one occur. After her inhalers had failed to help, and knowing that the particulates in the air was critically high, I called 911.

I just focused on what needed doing, gathering together her clothes while the EMTs were on their way, quickly getting dressed myself. I got her downstairs and upright as the 911 operator had told me to do and made sure I had her list of current medications, while getting ready to probably head out to the local hospital. While evaluating Tashi, one of the half-dozen Techs went over her medical history with me, Then we loaded up into the ambulance, rolling to the hospital a couple blocks away, me having to calmly chit-chat with the driver, asking him how well our local hospital does for respiratory emergencies such as my wife’s. He assured me that they can handle these acute cases of asthma and they were growing in frequency with the season. No note of panic entered my brain, but I was able to move through the morning almost in a kind of zen trance. Tashi had described something similar when I was on my whirlwind medial trip around the discovery of my cancer.

A couple forms later we were both ensconced in an ER room, the nurse having just given her a heavy dose of steroids to bring down the inflammation. Slowly she started feel better, her breathing easier. So there was a little time to muse over our reversal of situations. In an even greater bit of irony, Tashi was being treated by the first doctor to see me, a Dr. DXXXXX.

I was pleased that I was able to meet this person who was the first in a long line of clinicians I met during my cancer treatment. Amusingly, he’s the one I don’t remember. He only knew I had a mass in my head, not the severity of the GBM I had dubbed “Arnie.” Turns out I was only the second GBM this man had seen in his career, and the first since his med school. He was also impressed that I was still alive and kicking, most of me intact. Probably something few medical professionals see; Tashi tells me I’m special.

The zen focus left me, leaving me feeling exhausted, and regretting not bringing a book. With a prescription and a ride from my mother-in-law, we made it back home to collapse into bed.

This just reminds me of that fragility of human life that we all possess. I think no one quite realizes what the term “slender thread” means until they face situations like ours. At least I passed this test that life has thrown at me. I’m hoping I can pass all of the ones fate has in store for me in the future.


-I remember bits off and on, more so after I got to the hospital, the EMTs and such was mostly a blur. I recall them asking me the same questions again and again because I didn't have enough breath to actually speak to answer them.

I wanted to add we did get to laugh a little bit, there was a kind nurse who spent some time after getting me stable and warm under a blanket who flirted it UP with one of the EMT guys. Very cute. A while later we hear the theme song to ER going off- turns out the ring tone the ER dept had set up for the upstairs /intake calling was the opening theme! We are old enough to really be able to laugh at that. I also recall trying to joke with one of the paras that my toes were just painted blue, not that I was that deprived of oxygen.

So aside from some mild insurance fuckery going on with coverage on my PCP for treating me, I'm doing a bit better. The pain in my lungs is gone and I'm not normal, but able to take bigger breaths and even cough/sneeze on my own. Have to mask up when I go outside for the next little bit, but thankfully a few rounds of nebulizing bronchodilators and a heavy dose of 9 days of steroids to look forward to and I'm home at least.

So today I went out (mask) for the one errand I had to do (hello bank/rent run!) and am pretty much housebound now. I made muffins this morning and gathered some books around me. Wash is mostly resting today like he did yesterday; this whole episode has worn on him perhaps just as much physically as it was for me.

-Ultimately good that I got the help and nothing more serious happened. Frak, because I did NOT need to deal with the financial issues from another hospital trip and more doctor visits and prescription costs. I'm thankful that my husband could just call a number and help me to stay alive the other night, but I hate that I'm now having to think about what I can sell to make sure the bills get paid for the next few weeks. I will just keep shouting 'til my lungs give out

*All Humans deserve certain Rights given to them upon birth

*No human is "illegal"- only capable of doing illegal acts

*Access to clean water is a Human Right

*Access to Health care based on prevention and need, not wealth

There are more but that's for a different post.

People who are ill do die. That's is undeniable. But I do not believe a person should die because they are too poor to get treated for an illness or emergency.

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