Sunday, November 8, 2015

Long Week!!!

I started feeling ill on Sunday morning. Which kinda pissed me off as I had things I either wanted or needed to do. I didn’t have a fever but, I felt nauseated. I don’t remember what I ate (probably that kielbasa and pierogies slow cooker stuff) but I do remember I threw it up…

So, I took Monday off, think that with diarrhea and throwing up, I wouldn't be much fun. By Wednesday, I was throwing up every time I tried to take my meds. So, I stopped taking them (made sense, sorta). But, since I hadn’t really eaten anything since Sunday, I made a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. I got about half of it down when it call came back up.

Thursday was the worst. I threw up every time I drank a sip of water. My boss had urged me to go to one of those Urgent Care places (she knows how far away my Primary Care physician is) and by Friday morning, I was ready.

The only one I personally know of is next to Sherman Williams on Schoolcraft (I saw it when I was at Sherman Williams for the shed paint). It was a Concentra one and I must say I was very, very impressed with the professionalism of the staff. They asked me a million questions, drew blood and asked for a urine sample. Finally, I met with the physician who had my test results.

I asked her if I had the flu (I got the damn senior flu shot a while ago) and she said no. She said I was extremely dehydrated (well, if you haven’t had any real water intake in several days, that made sense) and most of my readings were way off (probably from not taking my meds). For example, my Glucose level (which is normally in the 135-145 range) was at 209. She said the worst was my Ketones (whatever those are). She said if somebody had messed up ketones, they might register a 1 (bad). Mine was a 3+ (really bad!)

She said they weren’t equipped to help me in the clinic, but urged me to go straight to the ER and give them the cryptic prescription she wrote out.

Damn! I was hoping for a script for antibiotics and that would be that. But, in the end, she convinced me and I drove straight to St. Mary Mercy hospital’s ER.

They immediately started a saline drip.


They took more blood and another urine sample. I was in the ER less than two hours and already had another bag of saline up, when the doctor came in. He said he strongly advised me to let them admit me so they could continue treatment until I was stable.

I argued against it, citing the fact that I already was feeling a lot better (I was) and that I hadn’t made sure that Caley had enough food and water to survive (I thought I was going to Urgent Care for an hour or two, so I didn’t check that). He brought in another doctor and she said the same thing!

So, I ended up agreeing to stay, with the caveat that I be allowed to fetch my cell phone charger from the truck (it was already getting low). They said they couldn’t approve that, but I could ask the nurse (huh?), so I did. She asked if I was going to run out on her. I said, no, but there are people I would need to contact.

She said, I might get into trouble with the security guards, but just to tell them she said it was okay. So, I put on my coat and headed out on a long, strange trip.

To show you my state of mind, I did find the truck okay, but when I searched it, I only found the one that plugs into the car, not a wall socket (Dammit! I knew that, what was I thinking?) Then I couldn’t find my way back!!! I kept running into doors that were locked.

Sidebar: St. Mary Mercy is a 540 bed, sprawling hospital complex. Finally, my cell phone rang and it was the woman doctor I had talked to. She asked if I was still on the premises or if I went home. I said I was still there, but had no idea exactly where I was.

She offered to send out nurses to find me and kept asking me what I was looking at. Finally, I saw the ER entrance about a quarter mile away and headed for it. I didn’t get bothered by the security guards, except for them asking what I was looking for. I told them Room 29 and they told me how to get there.

After I apologized to the nurse, she called and two guys came and wheeled my up to my new room.

By the time I was in my gown and settled in, it was after 6:00 p.m. and I was hungry. I mentioned that to the nurse who was taking my vitals and she told me how to order dinner. But, I was afraid to order dinner. All I wanted was a turkey sandwich.

Sidebar: Back in the day, every ward had a fridge somewhere with juice, apples and these plain, white bread, dry turkey sandwich, in case you wanted a snack after hours. Apparently, this is no longer the case.

So, I called down and ordered a turkey sandwich on white bread with no mayo (I somehow thought that was mild enough and I was feeling good enough that I wouldn’t barf. They said, “We’re sorry, Mr. Goerlich. But your doctor has you on a clear liquid diet!”

So, my first meal in days consisted of apple juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth and Jell-O. Sigh…

Next, I was wheeled downstairs for a set of stomach x-rays. I was barely back in the room when they took me away for a stomach ultrasound to look for gall stones.

Back in the room, there were a lot more blood draws. My glucose level had risen to 259, so I begged them to get me either some Metformin or inject me with insulin. It took several conversations between the nurses and my yet unseen doctor(s), but I finally got a shot of insulin. By then it was late and I was tired of the whole damn thing, so I tried to sleep.

But, as I learned years ago, a sound sleep is virtually impossible in a hospital, so it was a long, rough night. I couldn’t fall back asleep after a nurse took my vitals at 4:00 p.m., so I turned on the TV low, so I didn’t disturb the other patients. I also had several interesting chats with the night nurses.

Finally, it was 6:30 a.m. so, I called in for another liquid breakfast. I got it and tried to enjoy it. But, I guess I bitched about it a little too much, because in about a half an hour, my consulting physician came in. He was a fascinating doctor, from India, whose specialty was Gastroenterology. The first thing he said was, “I understand you’re not happy with your food?” I was a little embarrassed, but he seemed charming, so I said, “Well, no. After not eating for almost a week, I’d like something a little more solid!”

He poked and prodded me a while and asked a bunch of questions (they all asked a lot of questions).

My two favorites (and even the nurses asked – I suppose they all have been instructed to do it) were, “Have you recently traveled to Africa?” and, “Do you know anybody personally or come into contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with Ebola?”

Um, no…

Finally, he was satisfied and said, “Well, I guess you can go on a regular diet!” I thanked him and he said, “Well, we’ll see how that works out in three or four days.” I said, “Pardon me, Doctor, but I only agreed to stay here overnight!” I explained about Caley and he said, “Surely you have neighbors or relatives who could feed your cat?” I said, “I have no nearby relatives and none of my neighbors have keys to my house.” He said his closest two neighbors both have keys to his house. I explained that was something my son would call “a security concern!”

I asked if he’d seen any of the test results (x-rays, ultrasound, blood work, etc.) and he said he had. I said, “So, how am I doing so far?” He said there had been nothing conclusive so far. I don’t seem to have gall stones, tumors or anything weird inside me.

He said I was doing good on the dehydration, but I could improve it by drinking at least a cup of water per hour. I told him I would do that and he said he’d talk to my other physicians (both specialists in Internal medicine) about letting me go home today.

I said, “Oh, I am going home today, one way or the other!” He laughed and said, “Well, you know we can’t make you stay if you don’t want to.  But, did you know if you leave against the doctor’s advice, your insurance company doesn’t have to pay?”


Anyway, he left, and I grabbed the phone. I called down to order that turkey sandwich and they said they were sorry, but I could only order that after 11:30 (for lunch or dinner). So, I ordered scrambled eggs, with a side of home fries and white toast.

When they brought the food, there was no seasoning on the eggs or the handful of cubes of home fries and the toast was dry. WTF? They used to bring you packets of salt and pepper and little things of butter.

Then I noticed the menu they gave me was “Low Sodium” (high blood pressure) and “Carbohydrate controlled” (blood sugar). Man, I gotta get out of here!!!

But, despite being bland as help, I ate every bit of it.

The morning passed slowly. My cell phone was dead. The last communication I was able to send out blind was to Vicky and Jake and Carla, to explain the cell phone was dying, I had no way to charge it and to give them my room number. But nobody called…

Until the nurse’s aid came in, holding her cell phone in her outstretched hand and said, “It’s for you!” Huh?

It was Jake. Apparently he’d been calling all morning to see how I was doing, but I never answered. So, he gave up and called the hospital. He explained my phone wasn’t working and after some debate, they transferred him to her phone. So, we chatted for a bit. We hung up and I tried to find her to give her back her phone (they are all issued them and now, when you push the button for a nurse, it goes to their cell phones, not some central place). Ah, technology!

My nurse came in to check my vitals and I told her my IV was leaking again. She checked and said this time she had to re-stick me. So she did. My arms looked like pincushions by now.

I gave her the aid’s phone and she said she’d return it.

Somebody came in from the hospital’s maintenance staff to check out the phone. Took him less than 30 seconds to find somebody (probably the last person in the room) had turned the ringer off! probably just wanted some sleep...

Lunchtime came and this time I studied the damn menu. I settled on the Country meatloaf with onion gravy (described as a hearty meatloaf, classically seasoned with a touch of thyme) a small side scoop of mashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day (which turned out to be green beans).

And, you know what? It was excellent (either that or I am getting used to bland food). The one piece of meatloaf was only about the size of a pack of cards, but the thyme really came through. I will have to rethink my meatloaf recipe!

I started bugging people around noon: How are current blood draws doing? Did the doctor(s) say I could go home? WTF is going on??? Finally my favorite nurse said she would page my “Attending Physician” who I had yet to meet.

Sidebar: I say my favorite, and I mean it, but I loved them all. I learned in my 20’s that doctors can be cool, but it’s the nurses who make your stay in a hospital bearable.

He finally showed up and we had a brief conversation, after he poked and prodded me. He said I was doing much better, but was I sure I wanted to leave? I said, “Oh, yes! Yes, I do!”

So, he said to give him an hour and he’d have my paperwork done. After he left, I bugged the poor nurse to pull the damn IV out of my arm, so I could get dressed. So, she did, so I did.

Then I sat on the bed and watched TV for another two hours.

At one point I had to call her back in as I had blood dripping down my arm I couldn’t stop by compression. Did I mention this was either the third or fourth IV site I’ve had in two days (not to mention the countless blood draw sites)?

Finally, the paperwork showed up. The multi-choice diagnoses read as following:

·         - Possible Acute kidney failure
·         - Noninfective gastroenteritis and colitis
·         - Nausea with vomiting
·         - Fatty (change of) liver, not elsewhere classified
·         - Other specified diabetes mellitus with ketoacidosis without coma
·         - Dehydration

I’m guessing Noninfective gastroenteritis and colitis; nausea with vomiting; other specified diabetes mellitus with ketoacidosis without coma; and dehydration.

They asked who was driving me home and I laughed. I explained I drove myself to the ER and just get me to the South parking lot and turned me loose.

Back at home, Caley was still alive. She would have needed more water by Sunday but had more food than I remembered.

I threw a load of weekend wash (including the clothes I was wearing) and then started sifting through the two days of mail I’d missed. I put the cell phone on the charger (it was at 1%). When it got to 33%, I answered the texts from my boss and Vicky.

Jake called a while later and we chatted.

When I got hungry, I warmed up a couple of the acorn squash I’d baked to fill. I didn’t fill them, thinking they would be better on my poor stomach without a filling.

I watched TV until the news was through, then I started paying bills online (Friday had been a payday). I watched a couple of taped TV shows and then went to bed at 10:30 p.m. I was anxious to see if sleep would be easier without constant interruptions and a needle buried in my arm.


  1. Sounds like an exciting week..Keep me informed,
    I'm worried. get better soon, and don't worry about the cat or your job, they will be fine.

  2. @ GPF: Don't worry, I'm fine. The only things that hurt are the multiple IV sites and the various spots they drew blood (over and over) from.
    @ Jyl: No, but thanks. Just need to get my strength back.

  3. Welcome home. Glad everything is OK.