Lynn Gold (figmo) wrote,
Lynn Gold

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Warren's first hospital stay

It happened today, and he was terrified.

Yesterday he called me at work to let me know he needed to get to Kaiser by 7:15pm. I got him there, and en route I learned he was having chest pains. Oy. His face was almost as pink as my hot pink shirt. The nurses hooked him up to an EKG and a bunch of other monitors, gave him nitrogycerine, and after two nitro tablets, decided to shlep him to ER. With oxygen tank in tow, he was wheeled there with me following.

While we were there they drew blood and did lots more monitoring. There's an enzyme they check for heart attacks. They checked it, took over 1.5 hours to get the results, then after another hour checked it again, only taking 1.75 hours to come up with the second test results. The results were both "within normal range," but because the reading in the second one was higher than the first, they wanted to keep him for observation.

Yes, I've highly bottled this. The scariest part of this was what we overheard two rooms down. The resident doctor said to the patient, "You have a temperature, and I think the infection is in your head, so I want to give you a spinal tap. It's no big deal," he continued, as Warren's and my eyes popped out and our mouths dropped. "I just take a little needle and poke you a couple of times. There is a small possibility you could hurt for the rest of your life or wind up paralyzed, but I've done over a hundred of these and I've never had any problems."

Wait. I thought everyone knew a spinal tap was the most unpleasant medical procedure known to mankind. That's why Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, and crew gave that name to their spoof rock band. In a perverse way it reminded me of the time I told my mother George Carlin grew up near Columbia University and that the school was situated in an Irish Catholic neighborhood (well, it was in Carlin's youth, just not in mine!), and my brother was fighting back laughter in the backseat trying not to blurt out "White Harlem" so he'd be rid of me.

This extreme oversimplification of a spinal tap would have been hysterically funny had it not been happening to a real person. We could hear everything, including the resident making errors and having to call folks to help hold the patient in position. We kept hearing, "I'm going to inject lots of pain killer" amidst quiet cries of pain. As I walked down the corridor I could see looks of shock in all the other rooms (they could hear it, too!). The room where the spinal tap was taking place was totally blocked off, so I couldn't see what was going on other than the resident's shoes.

When Warren was asked by the main internal medicine doctor in ER whether he preferred male or female doctors, since "Dr. Spinal Tap" was male, he decided it was in his best interest to have female doctors.

Around 6am PST he finally got his hospital room. I stuck around as they did a blood sugar test (they were trying to blame it on diabetes he doesn't have), then went home to crash for a few hours. After about four hours of sleep I woke up, called my mother, then called his parents to tell them where their son was.

At 1pm Warren called to tell me they were "kicking [him] out" in an hour. I called his folks to inform them of the change in his status, rushed a shower, wolfed down a glass of Instant Breakfast partially reconstituted with liquid instant coffee, and went to the hospital. As I suspected, they didn't actually get him out till 3:15pm. Apparently the rest of the enzyme tests came out zero, so they decided the wildly fluctuating blood pressure, weirdly elevated resting heartbeat, and weird breathing wasn't due to his heart (I kept wanting to scream, "It's the cyst, you effing idiots!").

Tomorrow at 9am he sees his "regular" doctor. This will be "interesting."

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