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Rush to ER

by on June 4, 2009

We got here less than an hour ago.  She’s sleeping so I’ll post this quick update.  Sorry about the format (or lack thereof) but I’m composing this thing with my Blackberry and, as I’ve said previously, I got big fat fingers.

Satomi had serious heartburn/stomache pain this morning-in the upper stomach area. She called me to come home just after I had just left for work.  I’d assumed it was due to the oral chemo drugs so I called our Oncologist.  The doctor said the pain is not typical for these drugs.  Satomi had taken Prilosac and Tums tablets already but it just made her barf.

The doctor recommended a liquid antiacid for immediate effect.  If that didn’t work, we would have to go to the ER to deal with the pain.  I rushed to the store.  I returned 10 minutes later.  The pain was worse and had spread to her entire abdomen.  She took a few gulps of Ultimate-Strength Maalox and waited for relief.  After a few minutes there was some limited improvement in the upper stomach area but the majority still throbbed in pain.

I got her dressed and called the Oncologist again.  I updated her and asked which ER would be best.  Saddleback already had her records and we’ve had lot’s of experience there so I got her in the car.  The drive went very quickly but she was in terrible pain-She moaned and squirmed in her seat.  I felt so helpless.  My stress level was overwhelming.

I stopped in the ER circle and ran inside.  I told the lady at the desk of Satomi’s pain and urgent need to get in.  She pointed at the wheelchair in the corner.  I got Satomi and rolled her in.  The desk lady gave us paperwork to fill out.  I got mad.

Me:  “She needs to see someone now, she’s in incredible pain!  What the hell?  Would we have to wait if she came in ambulance?” 

Desk Lady:  “Of course not, but you bringing her here in a car is your decision.”

Me:  “Alright, I’m calling one now.”  I start dialing 9-1-1.

Desk Lady:  “You can’t call one from the waiting room!”

Me:  “Why not?  My wife needs help now.  When she says she is in level 10 pain, she is not exaggerating.  She is in the medical field and knows what that means.”

Satomi:  “Calm down.  We’re here now and that’s what counts.”  She stands up out of the wheelchair and tries to walk off the pain.  Satomi barfs into the trash can near the front desk.

The triage nurse comes out to the waiting room and brings Satomi a plastic bin for any other barf episodes.  We present Satomi’s entire history in less than a minute.  She gave us the same “take a seat and we’ll call you ASAP”.  I got mad again.

Me:  “What?!  She’s in level 10 pain!  She’s in the medical field so she knows what that means.”

Nurse:  “What does her being in the medical field have to do with it?”

Me:  “…it means she’s not exaggerating.  She’s in serious pain.”  I wanted to kill that bitch.

Satomi barfed in the trash can again.  I told both of them:  “It’s going to get worse”.  The nurse walked us back to a treatment room. 

We changed her into a gown and got her on the table.  We waited another long 20 minutes as Satomi continued to moan in pain.  I started to get mad again.  I actually thought about who could bail me out of jail after I beat on somebody.  Mid-moan, I asked Satomi if she wanted me to cause a scene.  She stopped me and urged my patience-Amazing coming from someone in level 10 pain.

I still went out to the nurses station:  “How much longer until the Dr comes?”

Apparently he was working on someone with a heart-attack.  I continued to emphasize the severity of my wife’s pain.  Strangely, I don’t care about anyone else.

The doctor finally comes and give him the low-down on history and symptoms.  He has a lot of information to put into his portable computer station.  They draw blood to check vital organ function and give her medication for the pain.  After a restless hour or so, she falls asleep.  I am so relieved that she is no longer in pain.

The blood test results came back and all her vital organ functions are fine.  That is excellant news.  The doctor’s theory is that the pain was caused by severe acid reflux due to the vomiting associated with the initial heartburn.  The initial heartburn may be caused by the oral chemo drugs or the Decadron she is taking for brain swelling post-Cyberknife. 

Given the potential cascade of problems, it is important that we monitor the initial onset of heartburn especially while she remains on these drugs.  She will be taking a daily dose of over-the-counter Prilosac to reduce stomach acid and keep a bottle of liquid antiacid close by at all times.  If heartburn becomes more prevalent, the Oncologist will prescribe a maximum dose Prilosac.

The doctor ordered another bag of saline and an IV dose of Decadron.  If everything goes well, we’ll be out of here in the next few hours.

We’re still learning about the side effects of the chemo as well as the long-term effects of the Cyberknife so we have to remain vigilent.  This whole ordeal upsets me.  Besides the obvious issues I spoke of above, I am concerned of the future.  I need to better plan our contingencies if this or other problems occur.  As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s difficult to predict what could happen over these next months.

Satomi was discharged and we got home by lunchtime.  Our bedroom was a disgusting mess from this mornings ordeal so I put Satomi into Jillians bed to rest.  She was fed and, after a few hours, doing quite well.

Everything is back to normal.

From → Medical Update

3 Comments
  1. Missy permalink

    Hi Sean….still thinking about you all everyday. I know she was here at work yesterday morning. Wish I had made the time to go say hi…I didn’t…damn! hug her for me.

  2. Julie and John permalink

    Hey Sean….you know we got your bail….er I mean back!

  3. MARY ANN SCHERREY permalink

    MY DEAR SATOMI AND SEAN. ALL I CAN DO TODAY IS SEND GOD’S BLESSINGS AND TONS OF HUGS AND KISSES. LOVE YOU MUCH. SATOMI,YOU ARE MY LITTLE SISTER WHO I MISS KISSING ON TOP OF THE HEAD. SURE HOPE YOU ARE UP TO COMING TO POLLY’S FOR DINNER TUESDAY NIGHT. WE ALL WANT TO SEE YOU. YOU WERE MISSED AT BARBARA’S ART RECEPTION BUT I AGREE IT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN WAY TO MUCH FOR YOU. YOUR ENERGY IS FOR THOSE CUTE LITTLE ONE’S RIGHT NOW. SEAN INCLUDED. BARBARA’S PAINTINGS WERE WONDERFUL. SHE IS OH SO TALENTED. I’M A MOTOR MOUTH NOT A COMMENT PERSON. HAVE A RESTFUL SUNDAY.
    XOXO

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