Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, the experiment with Donny turned out about how I expected. While I was at school Saturday he slept. He slept the day away yesterday. He only woke up to go to the bathroom, where he forgot to shut the door and then fell asleep sitting there. The door thing wouldn't be so bad if there weren't 3 other women living in this house.

This afternoon I woke Donny up to check on him. I probably should have done so sooner, but I couldn't deal with things emotionally, so I failed him. When I woke him up today he seemed okay at first. He held a reasonably coherent conversation with me. He was a little out of it, but it seemed to be the kind of confusion that many people have when waking from a deep sleep.

I kept him awake so i could get a better understanding of how he was doing. I laid in bed with him and we watched TV and talked a little bit. At one point he looked over at me and said, "I love you honey." I told him that I loved him too. A minute later, for some reason that I still don't know I asked him who I was. He couldn't answer me. After thinking about it for a little while he decided that my name must be honey. It makes sense since I answered to that.

I continued questioning him and found that he didn't know where he was, what day it was, or who he was. I became concerned. It seems to me that after 50 years he really ought to remember his own name. I finally convinced him to get in the car and we went to ER. If I had to be a little misleading about where we were going, I had the best of intentions at least.

We arrived at ER at 4:30. By 5:30 he'd been triaged. Sometime after that the lab people came and got him and got his blood work started. Around 7:30 he went to a bed. By the time he got a bed his labs were already back. By 8:00 he'd seen a doctor and been told that he'd be staying since his ammonia level was 117. The doctor said that he'd go call the resident that covers for our doctor to come admit Donny. He then sent Donny for a chest ex ray just to be safe, since he has COPD.

The resident got there and decided that Donny didn't need to stay after all. He told me to take Donny to see our regular doctor tomorrow and also to take him to get his ammonia level ran again. He then told me to take Donny's pain meds away since they were probably adding to the confusion. He walked out of there and I just started crying. Our doctor never gives same day appointments. And I couldn't figure out who was supposed to get the results from the lab for us. But the biggest problem was I didn't know how I was going to deal with Donny while he was doing without pain meds.

Donny in pain is not a pretty sight. And if he happens to know that he has pain meds on hand then he yells at me to give them to him. He doesn't care what the doctor says, he's hurting and he wants his medicine. Normally him yelling at me wouldn't really phase me, but right now it's killing me. We fought through what was probably our last Thanksgiving because I was trying to force him to follow the doctor's orders. I'll never get another Thanksgiving to make up for this one. It's not fair to expect this of me.

I pulled myself together after about 10 minutes of crying, and then the first doctor came in. He let us know that the ex ray had shown some bronchitis. He started Donny on zithromax and talked to me about how to care for Donny. He helped me so much. He told me to give him his medicine as prescribed, just to try to cut back as much as possible on the percocet. He also told me not to bother with the doctor tomorrow. He said that was pointless since there's no way that Donny will be better by tomorrow. He told me that if Donny's not better in a couple of days to just take him back to ER. He said that since his doctor would just send him there anyway we could skip the doctor and go straight to ER. He also said that Donny's regular appointment in 2 weeks was a good follow-up time for today's visit, unless of course he needed to go back to ER before then.

As I was writing this I realized that the biggest reason that I preferred the first doctor that we saw was because he didn't treat me like an idiot. I wanted so badly to tell the resident to call our regular doctor at home and ask him if I was somebody that could be believed. Dr. Cohen listens when I say that Donny's different. Most of the doctors that we deal with realize that I'm intelligent enough to know what Donny's usual behavior is and whether or not it's altered. But this resident acted as if I couldn't be trusted and treated me like an idiot. It was really nice to have the more experienced doctor come in and validate that I'm not wrong in trusting my instincts. I think he knew that I'd been crying, because right after he walked out after the last exam he did he came back in and told Donny that he's lucky to have me taking care of him. He really helped me calm down.

One thing that I've been thinking about lately is that I want to know what the ER is pumping through their air ducts. I've noticed that as soon as we walk in whoever is ill starts to feel better. It's happened with me, and I've noticed it with my mom and with Donny. Whatever they've got in the air I want to just pump through my house. It would save me and them a lot of time and hassle if we didn't have to go in for it. I've even considered taking sick people down just to sit in their waiting room. If you know what it is, please let me know.


mielikki said...

First of all, most residents suck out loud. They think they are the bomb because they are GOING to be doctors. Keep in mind, they may have MD after their name, but they are just rookies, and you can ALWAYS ask to see the MD in charge of them. Asshats. Almost every single one of them. . .
Secondly. It is murphy's law that people start to feel better when they come into an ED, and sometimes, even a doctors office. I wish I knew what was in the air, too.

CamiKaos said...

I'm so sorry for the crappy resident. It seems that at times they concentrate so hard on being a "doctor" at that phase of their career that they forget about the being human part of life.