2001 Nov 11, Sun PM
Karan, the super lady who originally drove me to the hospital on the previous Wednesday, was there to pick me up and take me home. After the hour drive, I asked her to stop by the post office, so I could check my mail. When I returned to the car, and just about to get in, Karan screamed.
The back of my shirt and pants were saturated in blood, but when I had gotten out of the car, my back was dry. Apparently the pressure of leaning against the seat back was enough to contain the blood flow until I got up.
Karan immediately demanded to take me back up to the hospital, but I refused. The top surgeon said it was OK for me to go home, so I felt if we made the drive all the way back up, they’d just turn us around and send me home again. She reluctantly obliged and took me home.
I still had not seen my surgical wound up close, due to its location, so I decided to set up my digital camera, set the timer, and do a 180. I soon had a few good shots, one of which is at the end of part three. What I was unaware of, though, was the red around the staples were signs of bacteria, or more precisely, an infection. The surgeon had to blind to not see the red, as he still sent me home without a bandage, without antibiotics, but wearing a smile. I do believe he sent me off to my death, simply since I bled too much.
2001 Nov 12, Mon
Monday I took a mile walk to be begin the recovery process. I felt great.
2001 Nov 13, Tue
Tuesday I woke up feeling super fatigued. I felt exhausted and lethargic, and concluded that I had over done my walk on Monday. But that was not the real reason … the infection was quickly spreading, and beginning to take its toll.
2001 Nov 14, Wed
Wednesday morning, I woke to a feeling that I had been sweating during the night. I pulled my hand out from under the sheets, but it was blood that covered it. I was hemorrhaging. At about 06:45, I got the kids out the front door to meet their bus, and promptly returned to my room to check my temperature. I believe it was around 100.5° — since I usually run about a degree lower than normal, that was like 101°+ to others.
At about 07:00, I left a message with the surgeon’s answering service, and he did call me back within 10 minutes. I reported the pool of blood, my temperature, and overall exhaustion. He told me that he would inform his nurse that I would be coming in, since he had surgeries scheduled.
I found a friend to drive me up, arriving just before noon. The reception area was empty, so I was called back to a room as soon as I checked in. I invited Cathy, my driver, to join me, since at most, she’d would only see my butt. Having a witness was of more value.
Within a few minutes, the nurse entered, wiping her hands with a napkin. Not a good sign, as I was interrupting her lunch. I don’t recall seeing her washing her hands. She removed my maxiPad, and proceeded to humiliate me by making me feel as if I was simply complaining. When I pointed out how swollen it had gotten, she said, and I quote, “You know, you have to expect a little discomfort.”
By then, was I feeling foolish. She proceeded to dress the wound, and send us on our way. What hit us both, by the time we got to Cathy’s car, was that the nurse never checked any of my vitals, not even my temperature.
2001 Nov 15, Thu
Thursday I just stayed in bed all day, constantly questioning the accuracy of her remarks.
2001 Nov 16, Fri
I woke into a massive pool of blood. I cleaned off, got the kids ready for school, went downstairs and saw them off. I intended to return back up to my room, but at that moment, I realized I was in real trouble. I could not climb the stairs, not even to the first step. Both the pain, and my weakness made it a challenge to simply lift my foot to the first step, but then for that leg to lift my weight was virtually impossible.
By pulling myself along the rail, and having to catch my breath after each step, it probably took 7-8 minutes to make it to the top. And by the time I got there, my face was covered in tears. I knew my condition had become dire, and I also was very aware of the death rate from hospital infections, specifically MRSA.
My fever checked-out at over 101°. I could only stand with support. I called the surgeon’s service, and he returned my call a few minutes later. I gave him a quick overview of my condition, and to my surprise, he raised his voice and said, “Why didn’t you call me yesterday?!”
I was way too weak to respond more appropriately, as I could only say, “Yesterday? I saw your nurse on Wednesday … she told me I was fine, and sent me home.” The situation with them only got worse. He told me that he would have that same nurse call me with instructions as soon as she got in, maybe another 20-30 minutes.
She called sometime later and gave me directions to go straight to an Infectious Disease Specialist, and he would be expecting me. I expressed to her the dire condition I was in, and asked her if I should go to a closer hospital, which was a satellite hospital of theirs. She got all pissy, and went on about the fact that my doctors were up there — not very helpful if I die stuck in traffic. I told her I needed to find a ride, and I’d then head straight up.
First task was to make sure my kids were taken care of. I called my ex and asked her to pick them up. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her. She then asked me if I needed a ride. I so wanted to say “no”, as it would be the first time in a vehicle with her since we were married, six years earlier. But she had a van, and I knew it would be much easier on me to get in and out of a van. So I accepted her offer.
Due to where she worked, it took her about 35 minutes to get to me. Within 10-15 minutes after we left my house, I called that nurse. Her first question was, “Where are you headed?”
“I’m about 40 minutes from you.”
“You’re coming up here!? I didn’t hear back from you, so I canceled the appointment with the specialist, and it’s since been filled.”
“You did what?! Who said I was supposed to call you back?!”
She asked me to hold. When she picked back up, she instructed me to go straight to the hospital (their office was just next door), check in at the emergency desk, and tell them that Dr Dale was expecting me. She said they would then page him, and he would be right over.
It still gets worse.
I arrived in emergency at 11:45 on that Friday morning. I followed her instructions perfectly. I checked in, and I sat down. I was feeling very light-headed, so I slid down to the floor, to avoid an unplanned impact with it. A nurse realized my condition, brought out a special gurney for me, and rolled me away from the mass of people, and into a quiet area. I immediately began to slip in and out of consciousness. They eventually moved me into one of the emergency rooms.
Dr Dale certainly rushed right over — yep, as soon as he was done with all his patients for the day. He arrived almost six hours after I did, at 17:20. His first words were an obvious, blatant lie. “How long have you been here … they just paged me.” I couldn’t see it then, but it’s very clear to me now. He had all the characteristics of a sociopath.
When he lifted my hospital gown, and saw my back, he stated, “Well, I need to be straight with you — you are in very serious condition. I am going to arrange for an Infectious Disease Specialist to take over your care.” They had not done that yet? His comment, telling me I was in very serious condition, had the compassion of ordering a burger and fries.
continued in Part 4 . . .