it wasn’t her time

The Deistette gave me a pretty bad scare about a week ago… a really big scare.

She almost died.

She has high blood pressure and on occasion her heart gets extremely elevated. She has meds for both but doesn’t take them on a regular basis for one, because she doesn’t have health insurance anymore and to get refills would cost money we don’t have.  And two… her blood pressure stays relatively ok half the time. So she takes them when she thinks she really needs them to bring either her BP or heart rate down should it get pretty high that day because she monitors her blood pressure and heart rate at least twice, if not three times a day.

Well, we were in a rush, we were hungry and trying to remember stuff to bring with us for errands to run later.  So she forgot about having taken her blood pressure medicine three hours earlier and after checking her heart rate, took the heart med that lowers it.  Not a good thing to do.

About an hour later she started sweating buckets and the color drained from her face in a matter of about five minutes. She was cold… really cold and began going in and out of consciousness.  She was babbling a little about how she forgot about the BP medicine she took.  As I raced down the freeway sometimes in excess of 90 mph she was whispering, “i don’t want to die. I don’t want to leave you.”

When I ran into the ER receiving area I was carrying her and I could feel her get heavier as she began losing consciousness again.  She would come to and then fall heavy again in my arms.

The ER admittance personnel didn’t seem to understand the urgency of her situation until (while still carrying her) started banging on the button to try and open the automatic doors.  I didn’t know what to do.  They wouldn’t take her.

I thought I was going to lose her and that thought really brings things into perspective… for the both of us. We’ve taken a look at what we view as truly important but mostly what is not.

We feel extremely lucky. We’ve been given a second chance.  We’ve been given a reprieve.

When you’re that close to death’s door begging and pleading with death not to take your loved one away, dignity and pride are not a character trait one possesses at that moment.  It is painful.  It’s painful to feel so helpless.

But somewhere in my request for Emmie not to be taken away back home, grace laid on me softly and right now I am listening to her tap her computer mouse and tell me about the latest eco website that she is bookmarking.  Just to be here sitting with her is…

well, it’s one of those things that is truly important.

The Deistette begins shutting down her computer and says, “Hey honey, wanna watch that movie now that we’ve been sitting on for a few days.”

“Sounds good sweetie. Sounds really good.”

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8 responses to “it wasn’t her time

  1. How did you get them to treat her? Unbelievable that the ER didn’t think it was urgent…
    I’m glad you were able to see the gift in that experience. Good for you.
    Hang in there.

  2. Scary stuff. I’m glad it turned out and you’re still intact with joys to share.

  3. how scary. so sorry that happened to you guys, but so glad she is ok.

  4. What do you mean, “they wouldn’t take her”? Just that you were initially refused service?

    Egads–that’s awful. You should check out Jellyjules’s site, jellyjules.com — she just posted on health care and got a lot of feedback from others around the world. I have to say I’m with her 200%.

  5. Wow, very scary, and especially the part about having to bang the doors to get her in. I imagine they finally woke up to the fact that the situation was critical. VERY glad it all worked out.

  6. I’m sorry you had that scare. That’s awful. And doesn’t Texas have laws where ERs have to take anyone and everyone no matter their ability to pay? To try and lock out someone is a critical situation is unethical, and frankly, downright criminal.

    Has she looked into any of the programs offered by some of the pharmaceutical companies where they will offer reduced rates for those who can’t pay full price?

    Wishing the best for both you and your loved ones.

  7. Hey everyone… thanks for your kind words.
    As I re-read my post and looked at Erin’s confusion about how I got the ER to treat her, at Ombud’s question asking “what do you mean they wouldn’t take her?”, and LB’s question above as well, I see that I omitted a critical detail.

    It wasn’t that the hospital refused to treat her but that they told me to wait. I apologize for making it appear as thought the hospital flat out refused to give a patient medical care. Very sorry for making that omission.

    So it isn’t that they refused to give care but what astounded me was that I was carrying an unconscious person and I was obviously scared and in hysterics. I couldn’t believe that they told me to wait with about two dozen patients in front of me.

    Now I don’t think that Emmie and I deserve front-of-the-line privileges but the woman was unconscious! I told them of the cocktail of meds she accidentally took and they were more concerned with patient admittance procedure than making sure a patient didn’t die in their waiting room.

    As I scanned the room of those ahead of us I couldn’t see anyone who seemed more dire than this situation. From this experience and a few others the past year, that scenario is becoming more common. The scenario being that non emergency situations are filling the waiting rooms of the ER.

    To add to my experience, in researching for some patient advocacy info, I’ve found that people are now going to the ER for sprained ankles, broken bones, lacerations and burns is because they can’t afford medical insurance. They just can’t. It’s friggin expensive as hell so they fly without a net.

    It is an unfortunate byproduct of medical care being more and more a business instead of a human right and professional calling.

  8. The lack of a safety net for folks who cannot afford insurance means that more and more people use the ER for primary and urgent care rather than true emergencies. And I believe the problem is even worse in border states where there is a larger influx of undocumented folks who don’t have insurance and are also being forced out of community clinics (at least here in CA)and straight into our emergency rooms. It’s a big fat mess, that’s for sure. But, I’m glad you got seen eventually and that Emmie is going to be OK.

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