I was alone during this ride. Colleen and Jim had driven the Jeep to CMC University the night before, so Jeff drove that one. I’d been in the ER from around 9 p.m. to around 8 a.m., and neither of us had gotten much sleep, but Jeff especially had it bad – he was attempting to sleep in a straight-back chair. I at least had a bed, but I was in so much pain and feeling so awful that I really couldn’t sleep either. I also was still so terrified, which certainly didn’t help me relax.
So, Jeff decided to go home for a few hours to try to get some real sleep. He called Kevin, who was at home recovering from his own recent stay in the hospital. The second he told Kevin what happened, Kevin was out the door and on the way to the hospital. Jeff didn’t even have to ask him to come. Kevin was so quick, in fact, that he beat me to CMC Mercy!
I cannot tell you how much that helped me to see him as I was wheeled into the room. I teared up immediately. He was so full of good advice, too – basically about how this, too, will pass. He played Allison Krauss while I slept and it was not lost on me that he was dealing with his own pain – he had to get up and walk around so his back didn’t get too stiff. In fact, it was while he was walking around that the first set of lab techs came in to take my blood. I fended them off until I could call Kevin to come back – there was no way I was doing this without him there!
A few hours later, Dad arrived and brought me this beautiful orchid. I’ve never been a patient in the hospital before, so I had no idea how much it would help me to see that orchid. But I looked at it the whole time I was there. In fact, when I came home I asked Jeff to please put it where I could look at it.
More tears when Dad came. I was still so scared and it was so nice to have Dad and Kevin there. Dad brought me goodies from home – my own pillow, my pajamas, my glasses.
I had spoken to Mom earlier that morning (the first and only phone call I made in the ER), and she was stuck at work but even talking to her on the phone just made me feel so much better. She told me she wished it was her instead of me, she wished she could take the pain from me. I’m crying right now even remembering that conversation!
In fact, Mom is no stranger to what I’m going through. She has had many fainting spells herself in her life. She has a scar near her eyebrow from when she was in 7th grade and they showed a color movie about the heart, and she saw the organs in full color and she was out – and she hit a desk on her way down. She’s fainted many other times too. In fact, my sister and brother have both had fainting spells. And my dad told me that my mom’s father – who was a dentist! – also had fainting spells when he would see his own blood (But could work in other people’s mouths, no problem.)
So, a little about CMC Mercy in general. As I said before, I’ve never been a patient at a hospital before. But I have stayed in the hospital – in fact, last year I spent a week with my grandmother while she was in the hospital and in rehab. I also spent time with her a few years ago when she got her pacemaker out. I’ve stayed with her at Piedmont Medical Center and at CMC Main. I’ve also visited several friends in hospitals as they had babies and other things going on with them. And I have never seen a hospital as great as CMC Mercy. I hope I never have to go back there again, but if I ever do, I will definitely request that hospital for sure.
For starters, my nurses actually spent time in the room. Getting to know me, what happened to me, how I was feeling. When I needed something they got it right away. My first nurse, Beth, wasted no time showing Kevin how he could help himself to free coffee (something I’ve seen at every hospital, but there was something just … nicer … about the way she helped him.)
They have something called “Caregiver partners” in which they give badges for. It allows my friends/family in the hospital after hours, and it allows them to get a discount in the food court. They can get free coffee and snacks on the floor.
And for me, they offered me massage and aromatherapy (yes, please!) Unfortunately, the massage didn’t work out – I was there on the wrong days (massage therapists only work 4 days a week.) I did get some lavender essential oils in the room, which is supposed to be relaxing.
And truly, everyone was so kind (except for one lab transport lady who took me down to get an xray, but hey, one out of 20+ people isn’t bad!)
And hospital food – not nearly as bad as I was expecting! Of course, because of my bashed-up mouth I couldn’t really “eat” anything. Kevin brought me some pudding and I tried to eat two bites unsuccessfully. I couldn’t even drink water because I could barely get a straw in my mouth and then the act of sucking the water in was hurting pretty badly. So, the food was less than exciting but that’s only because of my injuries. I managed to eat some Jello later in the day but it hurt to eat. The main course was something odd – a bowl of what looked like steaming hot water. Kevin said it was gross (he’d stayed here before), and I was scared to try it because I was scared to put anything hot in my mouth. But later as I started to heal, the lady bringing food came to talk to me because she realized I wasn’t eating, so she wanted to know what I wanted! And (this was a couple of days in), we decided together on mashed potatoes with cheese. I gotta tell you – the four bites I had before my mouth was hurting too bad to eat anymore were good! In fact, Jeff ate the rest of them.
So, the first day was mostly spent sleeping. I was pretty out of it. And I was so surprised and pleased when in walked my mom! I had thought she wasn’t going to come but she managed to get some time off of work. Having her there was priceless. And Colleen came and Amy and her family came and Amy’s daughter Lexi made me the cutest card. It sat right beside the orchid.
But, it wasn’t all sleep and visitors at the hospital. There were many, many tests to be run. They wanted to find out why I was fainting. I’ll go into it all in more detail tomorrow (getting sleepy again, sorry!) but I had at least the following tests done (and maybe more I don’t remember, I was pretty out of it):
= Countless number of xrays
= CT scan
= sonogram of my heart
= sonogram of my arteries
= EKG (3 times)
= tilt table test
More tomorrow! Thanks for listening!