I'm too tired to elaborate greatly, but the essence of this tale is that The Artistic One was unusually tired for a few days and complaining of shoulder pain. He has chronic arthritis pain in his right shoulder so that wasn't so unusual. He didn't eat much at my birthday lunch on Thursday and fell asleep in the car on the way home. TAO was withdrawn and obviously uncomfortable that evening and I kept waking up that night as his breathing was shallow and fast, as he tossed and turned. Around 5 am he mentioned that it was his left shoulder that was causing him trouble, which has the potential to be a much bigger problem, so I called in to our Health Management Organization for an appointment.
The advice nurse conferenced-in a French translator, so that she could speak directly to the patient, and came to the conclusion that we should drive to the Emergency Room. She advised that, if anything changed in TAO's condition on the way, we should stop and call 911 immediately to have them come to us.
We were met at the hospital by a team who quickly hooked up heart monitors, IV's and oxygen, and started a regimen of tests, with no chit-chat or messing around. TAO's heart was deemed probably not to be the source of the problem and Pneumonia was investigated.
Apparently the size of the main blood clot, discovered in TAO's lungs, was impressive to all at hand. He had smaller companion-clots that were completely outshone by "The Big One" and he had a clot in his thigh also, hence the leg cramp of the day before. The new goals were clot-busting; not letting any of them get the urge to travel anywhere else; pain management, and discovering the cause. In case we were unaware of the serious implications, a doctor asked for specific instructions as to TAO's wishes regarding resuscitation, relative to different scenarios.
Private rooms are great, if small, but not an encouraging sign. I noticed years ago that TAO was allocated a shared room when things were not life-threatening and quickly reassigned to a private reservation when things started unexpectedly going south.
The hospital provided a stylish armchair that pulled out into a bed for me, as chief patient-wrangler and translator. I was able to do my worrying right there, in surround sound and technicolor.
TAO made it through and is home this evening after four nights in the hospital. He has had ultra-sounds, CT scans, X-Rays and too many blood draws and tests to remember; that have shown no cancer, or other tumors, throwing random bits into the mix. He's like a well-used car with a partial warranty. We should get some more good miles out of him still.
I haven't unpacked everything we accumulated on this excursion but I did spend an hour carefully reading the after-care instructions and situating which medication was which. We have enough oxygen tanks to make a Cousteau expedition jealous and I have new skills to put into practice with this evening's injection into TAO's belly.
A nurse is scheduled to visit us on Thursday to see how we're doing and get a blood sample, to see if the anticoagulants have reached therapeutic levels. As crazy as it sounds, we may get back to relative normalcy in just a few weeks.
What? No, I’m Totally Not Killing Them
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