Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ER Visit - Bummer

Today, my incision looked wider, deeper, more red, and had much more fluid coming from it than previously. We decided that it was time to go to the ER. I have had mixed experiences with the Hilton Head Emergency Room in the past, so I was not thrilled to be going there. We have been there at least once a year in the last 5 years for Morgan, but I was a new patient to them.

Morgan drove me because she is the one who has been packing and dressing the open incision since Friday and could best tell the doctor how it has changed. My dad and Mike have been helping her, but they haven't been consistently looking at it each day. I was also having more pain than I was, so I mainly wanted to be sure that there wasn't something more serious than originally believed by my surgeon. Since we were visiting my parents for my recovery out of state, I didn't think it was efficient to keep calling the surgeon who couldn't see it live or do any testing.

We arrived at the ER and had to fill out a form. Nobody was seeming to pay attention, but eventually the security guard who quickly had Morgan sign in as a visitor got someone's attention. She told me to sit in the waiting room. There was a family there who was waiting for a family member who was already in the back, a man waiting to be seen, and us. Meanwhile, a man came in with a neck brace, and ankle wrap, in a wheelchair, and with crutches on his lap. He was taking all of the ER staff's attention as they couldn't figure out why he was in the ER when he was seen in the Savannah ER a few days before. They were all trying to speak Spanish to figure out why he wasn't at a spine doctor instead of the ER and then the man kept saying that he had a lawyer and the lawyer said he didn't need to pay. The one ER staff member said, "We aren't worried about your paying. We are just trying to figure out what you are doing here. " Classic.

A lady came to give me my license back and asked about my insurance card. I had forgotten it was still in my hospital bag, so I asked if I could fax it from my phone to her. She stood there amazed - literally jaw open and said, well yes if you can fax it that is great.

After about 10 minutes, I was called to triage. The triage room is really just a desk in the middle of the registration area. It certainly isn't private as everyone in the registration area (4 people when I was there) could hear every word. I am giggling because the insurance card lady is telling everyone that I can fax my card and that it is coming through. Only in healthcare can people be that exited about a fax, but Caresync came through for me in a big way.

The triage nurse is trying to remember questions and is writing them all on a paper towel. Seriously. She gets the general idea - surgery, leaking, opened, packing twice a day, started antibiotic, not getting better, and she had my history from CareSync that I had also faxed. Then, after about 8 -10 mins of this, another triage nurse who was not nearly as friendly comes to take over. She starts entering the paper towel info into the computer. She is clearly not happy that i had surgery at one hospital and that I am now seeking care at a different hospital. I keep telling her that my surgeon said it was fine to come here to recover at my parents where I would have more help than at the busy home I live in.  Finally, they take me back and I get changed into a gown.

Before anyone else comes in, the ER doc comes in and he is super on top of it. Very friendly and concerned. He tells me that he is worried that I have an abscess and that he is even more worried that one of his surgeons may not be willing to work on me since my surgery was done by a different surgeon in Tampa. He says he is ordering a CT scan so we can see what is going on but he is super worried about the quantity of fluid and how deep the wound is.

I get the CT and they say it won't be more than an hour. This was at 4:30. Around 7 when I still hadn't gotten the CT results, I asked if I could take a pain pill. They said I could either do that or get something that would work faster through the IV. I choose IV since it was in and fast. Unfortunately, it then took 405 minutes for the nurse to get it, so I am not sure it was really faster.  The US was playing soccer and I think the game may have slowed down care a little.  He gave me Dilaudid and Zofran which helped a lot. It still took a long time to get the results which was apparently due to the outsourced radiologist company that they use. FINALLY we got it, and he said he was surprised that there wasn't an abscess and that he thinks we can continue packing and dressing 2 - 3 times a day until the fluid reduced. He also said to be sure to take the antibiotic (it was only day 2 of it at this point). He cleaned the wound very well and repacked it. He said to be a little less aggressive when packing if we could.

I was very pleased with the doctor and felt he was very caring. He even asked if my pain medicine was working for me and asked if I needed something else. Thoughtful. I told him it was working well, but that I am trying to get by taking less of it. He said to take it as i need it and that he was glad it was helping.

Morgan was picked up by my mom at some point and my dad was with me for the rest of the time. He drove me home, and I was thankful to my whole family for wanting to help.  I am not sure how people manage health issues without family as awesome as mine. I am also not sure how I would hav managed some of these issues without CareSync. I have tracked all my meds, including pain meds, antibiotics, advil, stool softeners, and nausea meds. It makes it so easy to see how much pain I am having and when I can take something else.

Hopefully, I will get better from here on out. I am relieved to know that it isn't an abscess.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amy! My name is Cameron Von St. James and I had a quick question for you! I was wondering if you could email me at your earliest convenience at cvonstjames AT gmail DOT com :-) I greatly appreciate your time!!