Monday, June 22, 2009

And How Did You Spend Your Father's Day?

My philosophy on Father's Day is the same as my philosophy on Mother's Day: although it's a made up holiday, it's importance is in the heart of the recipient. So while I'm not keen on Mother's Day and I absolutely do not want any gifts from Hubs because I am not his mother, he is more into Father's Day.

I had a terrific idea. The Red Oak Victory, a Liberty ship turned into a floating museum, anchored near the Kaiser shipyard where it was built, was having a Father's Day pancake breakfast on board. Hubs loves the Red Oak Victory and has been to several Scouting events held there. I like history and ships. I could guilt the kids into going without too much trouble.

Instead, we ended up at the ER11:00 p.m. Saturday night. A cramp that started in my neck ended up causing me to not be able to breathe. At 2:00 a.m. on Father's Day, the doctor sent Hubs home because they were going to keep me until the morning.

Because I'm a chemo patient, I got my own room. And it was a fairly quiet Saturday night. But still there were the tests: EKG, blood work, X-ray, CT scan, more blood work, IV antibiotics "just in case," more blood work, and finally a stress test. Because of shift changes, I saw three different ER docs who each had a different idea of what might be wrong, mostly because the test results kept eliminating options. And then there was the cardiologist who did the stress test. She was impressed that I could walk for six minutes at a fairly decent clip, especially since I hadn't eaten (I did have water).

The conclusions were mostly positive in a negative sort of way: I didn't have a heart attack, I didn't have a pulmonary embolism (apparently common in cancer patients), I might have pneumonia, but I wasn't coughing. The final ER doctor came up with shingles, also common in cancer patients, which causes severe pain along the nerve endings. He sent me off with prescription to be filled "if and when" I get a rash or a recurrence.

Oh, and I'm anemic--probably more now than when I first arrived!

As for my breathing, it got better as the night wore on. I slept most of Sunday when we finally got home (sleeping is not compatible with hospitals, especially ERs). I decided to work from home today because it still was a bit painful to breathe. That is also resolving itself.

Go figure.

One thing that I love about our HMO is that all my medical records are on their internal computer system. All my prescriptions, appointments, test results, x-rays, scans--even those that have been done at other facilities in the system. The triage nurse still asked a lot off questions and I had to explain a couple of times that I hadn't taken one of my meds that I usually take at night because I was at the ER. But I didn't have to remember all of them.

Still, it's an experience I'm not ready to repeat.

One political comment: I hope I'm finished with my course of treatment before President Obama nationalizes health care.