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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Stress -- A ticket to an ER Resort

Off and on over the past year, I’ve had intestinal issues. I would get sick for a day and then get better. Once I felt more “normal” I would simply forget about the brief encounter with an uncomfortable tummy and go about my caretaking duties.

A couple of Sundays ago, I woke up in such pain that I could hardly move around. I couldn’t possibly take care of Riley because I couldn’t even stand up. I called hospice to see about getting some help and they immediately found a bed for him in a nursing home. I thought I would just rest and go with the sickness to let it work itself out. After all, I thought, it is probably just a flu bug going around. I spent that Sunday on the sofa with a barf bag and the porta potty close by.

By Monday, I was worse. I was dizzy and kept trying to drink water, but it would not stay down. I called my doctor and he insisted I go to the emergency room. I said to myself, “Self, this could be a good thing. They’ll fill me up with fluids, give me some meds, and send me home. Easy peasy.” Off to the hospital I went.

Things weren’t as “easy peasy” as I thought they would be. I was admitted to the heart observation unit because, evidently, dehydration can cause complications to the heart and kidneys. I am also diabetic and that was another concern. So I figured to just go with whatever the medical staff felt was best for me. Riley would be in respite until Sunday evening. If I needed to be in the hospital, now would be the time to stay at Riverside Resort (Riverside Regional Medical Center).

I was given a milky white drink that was supposed to taste like mint – a Berry-yum Cocktail. I was disappointed there was no slice of fruit or paper umbrella. It didn’t taste too bad. Then I went to get my insides a tan using a CT Tanner (Scanner). The pictures showed nothing unusual – no blockage or twisting or anything else.

It doesn’t add to your discomfort to be able to watch the good looking doctors, especially Dr. Franklin, scurry around to treat other resort (ER) clients. There was a constant influx of firemen and other first responders. I fell in and out of sleep as chaos of multiple traumas surrounded me.

Once in the observation unit, I met my team who would be taking care of me. I was hooked up to monitors and more bags of fluid were hung high on a pole. The nurses and attendants were extremely attentive and answers to my call were as close to immediate as possible. I am grateful to them all, especially Megan. Thank you for taking such good care of me.

The doctor in charge of my case was Dr. C – just “C” because his name was too hard to pronounce. He was tall, dark and handsome. More importantly he spoke to me in a language that I could understand. He had in tow, three other “younger” doctors who listened to his words like they held the key to some magic formula that would cure me of awful bug.

The doctor in the group that was assigned to oversee my care was Dr. Sylvia Le. At first I thought she had to be no more than 17 years old, but I was wrong. Dr. Le knew her stuff and answered every one of my questions without hesitation. I was impressed that she wanted to know about ME – who I am, what I do and how I got admitted to the hospital. She let me tell my story while giving me bits and pieces about her life. I felt connected to this woman. I was confident that she could treat me in the best possible manner. I listened to her advice me and explain to me how things got so bad.

There were three things that led to me being in the hospital. I had chronic viral gastritis (stomach flu) that worsened over time due to stress (primarily), but further complicated by allergies and diabetes. I got it months back but never recovered from it fully so each time it popped up, the symptoms were worse.

Stress – how many times have I heard that? 100 billion, at least. The responsibilities of caretaking Riley create the inability to really take a break to rest and recharge my batteries. I go through each day with changing his underwear, cooking three meals, keeping his room and body clean, giving him his meds, and retrieving anything he has dropped on the floor. I know it’s not an easy job, but I’ve gotten so used to it that it is almost second nature to me and I don’t notice that I’m beat to the bone. On top of that is the emotional stress of having to put him first. It’s way too much.

Once my heart was determined to be A-OK, I was moved to D-Unit where Rebecca, Sarah and Rachel looked after me. They pampered, scolded, teased, and took care of all my needs.

I was finally given real food on Friday evening and it seemed to go and stay down as it should. On Saturday, I was sent home with instructions to get plenty of rest. It was clear that some changes must be made in order for me to stay healthy. Those changes are in the process.

A special shout out to all the medical staff who took such excellent care of me. Last, but most importantly, is my friend, Marlene. She was a life saver to my sanity with phone calls and visits. She joined me in the ER and attended to me like she was one of the staff. Marlene is a professional caregiver and is one of the best around the Newport News, Hampton area. Thank you, Marlene!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness Linda. You always tell everyone to take care of themselves and look after themselves. You need to heed your own advice. I hope you are on your way to improvements that will help YOU.
Take care of yourself! Let us know how you are doing!
Chauncey

ADDY said...

Stress can play such havoc with your stomach and Lord knows there is stress in abundance living with an alcoholic I sympathise having just gone through stomach surgery and feeling definitely not A-OK. Hope you are better soon.