Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A sense of foreboding

Don't you hate a sense of foreboding? I had one on Sunday, just didn't like the idea of Monday coming up. I assumed it was because of events on Friday were likely to bleed over into the working week. I was wrong. If only I could have gone into work on Monday morning and had Steve still angry with me over leaving on Friday, I would be a happy woman tonight. I was worried about putting Amanda on a flight back to Boston. She is so stressed about flying and after getting a little drunk at the wedding on Saturday, the Xanex could have affected her badly. But, no, that's not what happened.

Here's a rough timeline:

6:30 out of bed and getting dressed, while intermittently working on getting Amanda out of bed

7:00 wake up Anna and watch Little Einsteins

7:35 drop Anna off at school

7:45 phone rings, immediately have heart pounding, and then see it's Monica in Pete's office, something's not right, he's slurring words and she's called the safety team in.

7:47 she calls again asking how he was over the weekend, I ask if she's done the stroke test, she said the safety guys are in there with him.

7:55 she calls again to tell me they are transporting him to Memorial Hospital Southeast

7:55 get a call from the safety guy, confirming where he's going

8:15 drop Amanda at the office and head to Pasadena, arriving at 8:45 or thereabouts, Pete is in having a CT scan. He comes in soon after that and I ask him to smile and he does with one side of his face, although he is able to keep up a conversation with me. The doctor tells me he's having a stroke sometime in here and asks for consent to give him some clot busting drugs. They start asking all kinds of questions I can't answer so I start calling his doctors. One of the docs I call is the neurologist he saw on Friday, but really just to get the results of his tests from Friday faxed over. We spend a bunch of time sitting around doing NOTHING, which was the worst possible thing to do, but how do I know this?

9:15-they start the clot buster, and I ask the doctor what the options are if this does not work, he says there are no other options. I am incredulous, how can there be no other options?

10:00 they take him out for a CT scan-when they come back in, they ask me to go look at the scans with the neurologist on staff. He shows me a screen that shows the vascular structure of the brain and he tells me where the stroke is happening and why. There is a large blood clot in one quadrant of the brain. He tells me this is a major, life threatening stroke. He says that it is not likely that Pete will live through it and if he does, his quality of life is going to be seriously impaired. I have to agree it's not his job to just tell me they've got it covered and he'll be just fine, but dang, does the news have to be presented as that bad? Nope, it doesn't have to be. Pete's boss is there the whole time. He's a pretty good rock to lean on.

10:30, I go for a walk, and go to the chapel at the hospital. I mean to go pray, but I just start crying, huge, heaving, cleansing sobs. I'm angry, how can this happen? Why did Pete let this happen? Why didn't he take his medications? Why is God taking him from me after making me wait so long for him? Why is God taking Anna from him after making Pete wait so long to be a daddy? I feel some calm finally.

Somewhere in here, I start calling my online friends and Pete's sister. Nobody has their freaking phones with them. Finally, I get Kathy and Marsha. Kathy is beyond upset as is to be expected, and Marsha promises to post for me about it.

11:25 I get a call from the neurologist Pete saw on Friday of last week. He asks all kinds of questions that indicates he's questioning the care Pete is getting. What kind of CT did they do? Did it have an angio? Have they discussed moving him to a bigger hospital? He tells me there is some interventional treatment options that are new and that he's got a doctor at Methodist who will accept his case and will get things going. Best call I ever got. All I have to do is tell the doctor that that I want him transferred. You know how I feel about confrontation, but this time, I have no choice. If we just sit where we are, Pete is going to die. I just felt that in my bones. So I went and told the nurse I needed to talk to the doctor about transferring him.

noon-time--my sisters start arriving, one by one. Amanda comes with one of them with John Wood and we start waiting for the transfer to take place. And waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting.

2:15 FINALLY, I see some EMT's come through with an empty bed. Takes about 15 minutes to get him good to go and out the door and we hit Methodist at 3:30. The ER at Methodist is a pretty amazing place, and I don't mean that in a good way. Loud, busy, patients lined up and down the halls. The EMT's have to argue with the charge nurse and tell her that no, there IS a bed upstairs in Surgical ICU, they need to call again. Way to advocate!

3:35, we get upstairs. A pit crew descends on Pete. The neurologist is there, there is a nurse practitioner there, there is a doctor coming in with a ultrasound machine to check out his carotid artery. There are 2 other doctors and at least 2 nurses getting him into bed and such. I just suddenly felt like things were looking better. Meanwhile, Pete is sleeping and when he's not sleeping, he's laying there with his eyes closed listening and responding. Lots of half faced smiles.
4:30 or somewhere around there, they have the CT angio back.the doctor wants to have another doctor an angioplasty to try to clear the blockage in the carotid and see if he can get to the clot in the brain. I go in and sign or initial in 750 different places, give Pedro a kiss and tell him I'll see him in a little bit.

6:00 or so the doctor comes back in to tell me that they were not able to go in to the brain to clear the clot because the blockage in his neck is just too severe. The good news is that the portion of his brain primarily involved with this stroke is fairly limited. Several arteries have rerouted themselves to provide good blood flow to other parts of the brain. The portion controlling his left arm seems to be involved most seriously, but the left side of the brain, that which controls thinking, memory and communication are not involved. I can deal with that for now.

10:00 or so, they get him all arranged in his new room in the Neurological ICU. He's tired, but otherwise doing pretty well. I'm tired too. So I went home to sleep, which I remarkably did, although I think I may call Dr. VanBibber for something to help me drop off a little more easily.

1 comment:

Brown Family said...

Kristy, I just finished reading all of the events and between the tears, I can kind of post. You are an amazing woman and such a dear friend. I hope you know my prayers are with you and Pete. I know this week has been hell, but things will get better from here. I think it is such a good sign that he is holding steady. Love ya, girl! Give Anna lots of kisses for me.