Today’s hospital adventure has been brought to you by the word “misdiagnosis” and the the sentences “If you say ‘April Fools’ I’m going to thread your stethoscope through both your GI and urinary tracts” and “And then I’m going to yell in it.”
Okay, I’m not as angry as all that. I’m just emotionally drained.
The salient bits first: Gleek does not have appendicitis. Her appendix appeared slightly enlarged on the CT scan, but everything else was asymptomatic. Further poking (and a little bit of thinking on the part of a couple of women who are not paid to do diagnosis but who have “been there and done that”) revealed a urinary tract infection with a possible secondary infection in the kidneys. Gleek is on an antibiotic drip now, and will probably be bouncing around on an IV tether by tomorrow morning.
The surgeon who correctly decided NOT to operate is probably brilliant, but has the conversational skills of a Lorum Ipsum generator. He sounded impressive at first, and then I realized that he was repeating himself over and over and over… I’m pretty sure that what he was trying to do was make sure that I was convinced of his diagnosis. I wish I had the presence of mind to just say “Doctor, both Sandra and I are highly educated, extremely literate, and able to perform systematic logical analyses. Talk to us like we’re doctors. We’ll stop you if you go too fast.”
Alternatively, the next time someone asks if Sandra or I are nurses, I could just say “not licensed here” and let them talk to us like grown-ups.
The nurses who checked us in seemed preoccupied. Maybe it was because they’d hit the end of their shift. Whatever it was, I didn’t get comfortable until the shift change, and new nurses showed up. These ladies were aggressively competent. The younger one called down for food, and I could tell she was rattling the “chef” when she said “No, it’s simple. Her chart says ‘food as tolerated.’ Just prep a tray for a five-year-old, and I’ll be down to get it.”
The older one talked with Sandra for a bit about Gleek’s symptoms, and they both had an “ah-HAH” moment after Gleek peed, and then said “it feels like I still need to pee.” I was ready to plop her back on the toilet. Sandra and the nurse assured me that no, that wouldn’t be necessary. And very, very shortly after that we began the antibiotic drip. Sure, it was scheduled anyway, but now everybody knew what we were up against.
Gleek… she’s my little firebrand, and it tears me up to see her lethargic. I just about lost it when I saw her curled up in a ball, completely dwarfed by the bed. She should have been jumping on it, not huddled in the middle of it.
Probably the most frustrating part of this whole event — for me anyway — was when I failed my skill check for “man of action.” After Sandra told me we were probably going to have surgery (which didn’t end up being the case, but I wouldn’t know that until much later) I realized that I needed to take charge of the house. And suddenly I couldn’t. I glitched that roll hard.
Fortunately, I realized that there were others who COULD take charge. I got on the phone, and within 5 minutes I had chalain and chaliren volunteering to be at my house to help out. Very shortly thereafter I dragooned my sister Aly into holding a slumber party at her place. And then all I needed to do was not cry in front of my easily excitable 10-year-old, who would fly into a panic if she caught Dad being emotional.
Knowing that competent, trustworthy people were going to show up and help made all the difference in the world. By the time the Chalainovitchs arrived I had managed to pack hospital bags for Sandra and me, and I was ready to brief the kids. The briefing went fine — I was calm and reassuring, and Kiki, Link, and Patches all knew everything was going to be fine. AND they were getting a party out of it.
I’m rambling. Just so you and I both know that I know. I mean, I know you know, but I need you to know that I know.
Re: misdiagnosis — make no mistake, as frustrated as I may be, I’m not MAD. After all, they caught it. Nobody went unnecessarily under the knife, and everybody was careful to make sure that all bases were covered. Was the CT scan necessary? No, we probably could have figured it out with the “I still have to pee” thing. Except that we’d still want to be sure it wasn’t an appendix problem, and someone would have called for a CT scan anyway. I’m all for using the full suite of diagnostic tools, provided we save the invasive ones for last if possible. More data is a good thing.
Hopefully the insurance company feels the same way. I really don’t want to have to armwrestle over the bill for this one.
I’m tired. Sandra is staying at the hospital tonight. They’ve got a rollaway bed for her there. I’m sleeping here, and hopefully getting enough rest that I can manage the household tomorrow. Sandra’s job is to keep Gleek safe and happy. My job is to rest up, so that I can be on duty, whatever that duty may be, come dawn. Hopefully far enough from dawn’s crack that I don’t have to smell it. I know some folks like sunrise, but for me dawn is a 300lb plumber with his head under the sink. Wake me in time for MORNING, with the sun safely clear of the horizon, and the crack of dawn planted in the seat of his pickup where I don’t have to see it.