Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Part II

Then the long night continued. The doctor was helpful and competent. He and the nurses were fairly conscientious, as was the pathologist. Nobody used gloves when they used needles (except the doctor—who I now know works almost exclusively with western patients). (By the next day I made sure gloves and/or hand sanitizer was/were used).

The doctor had bypassed the admitting procedure so they could get Trina on her IV immediately. Then they took her blood and gave her a series of shots. For the first time in my life, this made me nauseous (it's never come close). I had to put my head between my knees for a second to keep from passing out. I don't know if this was because I was sick, or the adrenaline, or what...

I then had to fill out a lot of paperwork and then go down and turn it in (and make a deposit). I was grateful that we hadn’t had to wait for Trina’s admittance; the paperwork took some time.

Anyway, the doctor said we’d need to keep her temperature under control, and then headed out for the night. The night was very, very scary and frustrating. At this point, I knew the doctor was friendly, and reasonably competent, but I didn’t really have a clue as to whether he was keyed in to her symptoms. And our nursing staff was almost all of the intern variety. As it turns out, the nurses here are excellent, but we didn’t believe that the first night, and our belief wasn’t all that unreasonable (we just didn’t know they were interns).

At this point, they laid Trina down for sleep and said goodnight. Her temperature at this point was 105. This concerned me greatly (remember she’s on the maximum Tylenol dose); I was even more concerned about the four heavy wool blankets they gave her to stop the shivering. They said it was important to keep her temperature from getting to high, and then they gave her these blankets. I asked if this was okay.

I got really ambiguous answers, mostly brush-offs. The doctor later said that was because of local rules—most people here are uneducated, and so giving answers without a doctor for further explanation causes more stress usually. So they just don’t tell you. That didn’t go over well.

At one point they got all concerned and took the blankets off and gave her a cold sponge bath. They seemed very worried about her temperature. Then they covered her with the million blankets again. And they left. I said; isn’t her temperature too high? “Yes.” “But the blankets are okay?” Then I got that ambiguous Indian head-shake that is more of a diagonal. I asked for further clarification. More head shakes and brush offs.

So, I didn’t sleep. I had a digital thermometer, and I took Trina’s temperature about a hundred times. Seriously, I at least gave her a touch every 5-8 minutes the entire night. When she would get below 104 I’d let her stay really well blanketed. When she went over it by much, I’d start peeling them off. I also kept cool, wet gauze on her forehead and neck all night. It was heated after about 2 minutes anyway; the nurses seemed to think it would help. So I stayed on it.

Since then I’ve asked many questions, and I’m not yet sure of exactly what should be done in this situation (more importantly, why).

Anyway, so up I sat, worrying about Trina’s brain damage all night. She couldn’t sleep, and she was really, really scared. So I sang to her (she likes that, for some really strange reason) for two hours. At about 3 or 4 we asked for a sleeping pill for her, since she couldn’t sleep with her chills. That mellowed her out and she finally slept. It took until morning for her temperature to drop below 103, and it lingered in the upper 102’s all morning. That felt like a relief to me (but temperatures are higher at night usually, so I did worry about the next night).

But mercy had come with the morning. The doctor returned, competent nurses were all about…I was so relieved. I spent the night on my knees, begging God to keep my sweet wife safe. I’ve not been that scared in years.

Granted, I’m sure that was because of the adrenaline of deciding to go the hospital (and wondering about its safety) and the confusion over temperature and brain damage. Everything seemed out of control.

1 comment:

Mystery Robin said...

Trina was so blessed to have you by her bedside all night! I'm glad you guys are home safe (this is Robin - a friend of your parents...)