Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My trip

It all started on Saturday the 9th when I had my gallbladder taken out. The procedure went well and they let me go home on Monday the 11th and I felt great. My first laparoscopic surgery! Just four little incisions and that was it.

The week went smoothly and the pain was quite minimal. Saturday night I was supposed to go photograph a musical group perform at a local coffee house. I had to cancel out because I was not feeling well. I had noticed a little blood coming out. By 9 or 10 that night, more blood was evident. A dark brownish red, but blood just the same.

I put in a call to one of the residents at the hospital and she called me back and said not to be too alarmed unless the blood turned to bright red. "Give us a call if the situation changes" she said.

I stayed up late, surfed the net, listened to music and then went to bed. Still seeing blood but it was still dark.

By the time I woke up on Sunday, I was only able to relieve myself at the toilet before having to lay down on the bathroom floor. Still dark red blood, so I figured it must be something else. I could not sit or get up with out extreme shortness of breath, so I just kept laying on the floor. That is all I could do. I tried getting up a couple of times but could only move a little before laying back down to rest for a bit longer.

Several hours later, it was obvious the situation was not improving. I assured my wife Tandy that all would be well soon. She brought me some soda pop, water and a delicious bowl of fresh cantaloupe. Surely that should do the trick?

I began to ponder the alternatives. Maybe it would not be that bad to have the fire department show up in front of my house. Sometimes they will come without the siren if you ask. Tandy called the resident at the hospital who assessed the situation and said to call the emergency number.

Four minutes after making the call I heard the sound of airbrakes and a big truck outside, and then about a half dozen firemen in our small bathroom. I helped as best I could to let them get this net thing with handles under me so they could haul me out to the ambulance.

Good thing the fire guys were there. There were two little girls driving the ambulance, and neither one weighed more than 100 pounds. The fire guys got me loaded up and off we went. In the US they charge extra if they run the lights and the siren, so I asked for the quiet ride. I told them it had better be a pretty good show if they decided to change their mind on the way to the hospital.

It was a relaxing ride to the hospital. No lights, no sirens, just a nice Sunday afternoon ambulance ride. They even propped me up on the way so I could look out the window. Once inside the hospital, things seemed to get more serious. No problem I thought, I ought to be out of here the next day.

It turned out that my hematocrit level had dropped to 14. I’m told that it is supposed to be more like 40. They immediately arranged emergency transfusions and sent me off to the ICU. Lots of computers, tubes, lights and things that go beep in the night. That was Sunday and today is almost Wednesday. Sounds like they plan on keeping me for another day or so before I get to come home. So now it looks like things are going to be ok. They are still not sure what caused the bleed. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

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