Two months ago we were at the university where our youngest daughter was finishing her second term of her Freshman year. She had invited us up to see her final presentation for her first term of studio in her Architecture major. She had over slept but looked very well put together. She seemed hurried and busy, but nothing off kilter. She did a fantastic job, we watched her "present" her ideas and her work to the mentors and instructors with ease and professionalism. We had to head back home before she was finished as I needed to work the afternoon.
I had mentioned I was concerned for her, I thought she looked thin....
My husband quickly said to me with assurance, "she's good".
We returned to town uneventfully and I went to work. I was finishing up with my final patient of the afternoon and I was interrupted by one of the "front office" people (this one happens to be my adopted daughter). I was told my husband really needs to speak with me. I kindly excused the interruption and said I would call him later. Only, to be interrupted moments later saying that.... "it's kind of an emergency".
Well, now what do I do? My patient was gracious and forgiving. She beckons me to call my husband to see what the matter is, she was fine to wait a few minutes. He reports to me that he received a phone call from our daughter saying she was in excruciating pain in her abdomen and that she had the uncontrollable shakes. My daughter is one who broke her finger during softball practice and never said a word about it til after practice. She is the one who played through numerous sprains, strains and bruises throughout her soccer career as she was one to never complain. I attempted to calm him down and asked my "adopted daughter" (the front office worker) to call her little sister.
I was trying to quickly finish my time with my patient only to be interrupted again saying, "she's bad, she needs to talk to you".
Again, with my patient encouraging me to call my girl, I call.....
She is crying and shaking and hurting and ..... she's an hour away mind you. Honey, if you need help go to the clinic on campus, I prodded. Momma, I cannot walk that far.....
I was handed over to her RA whom I quickly informed needed to call the ambulance if she was too weak to walk two blocks to the university clinic. I was now getting the attention of other nurses in my facility who wanted to see what the fuss was about. One of them, my dear friend, Dee, took over with my patient.
I called my husband and said, we need to go. Come and pick me up.
My husband picked me up and we left town about 20 minutes after 4. While on the way, we received word that she was at the clinic, she refused to allow her RA to call the ambulance, he helped her hobble there. Then we received a call from the ambulance driver saying they were taking our baby to the Emergency Dept University Campus.
We arrived in the parking garage of the hospital at 5 pm. I think I need to mention that we live 67 miles south of the University. (I think he was driving a little above the speed limit)
We were able to see her right away. She looked completely different than she had that morning. Her face was as pale as the sheets, her lips were ashen and her eyes couldn't stay open. She had been vomiting and they told us she complained of chest pain.
We waited for over 2 hours to be seen by a nurse, her Vital Signs weren't even taken. She had arrived by ambulance, they did a set of vital signs and blood draw and then didn't come back for 2 hours!! I was getting angrier by the second. I had her sister in Hawaii, her grandparents in Roseburg, all wanting information. I didn't have any. I had nothing. Not even a nurse visit.
Finally, she came back after the 2 hours and checked her blood pressure. I asked why they weren't giving her IV fluids if she had been vomiting, and a fever. The nurse says, we need an order from a provider and she had chest pain, you can't give her fluids for chest pain.
Do you know when the provider will be in? She has been in here for a couple of hours.... I asked.
She said, we only have one physician and one physician's assistant here. They will be in when they can.
Another 40 minutes and the provider comes in, with the physician's assistant (they weren't seeing patients separately?). He tried to interview her and do a minor assessment only to have been called out 2 times during his 5 minutes in the room. He felt her tummy and ordered some tests. It's now after 8 o'clock. Blood cultures, EKG, some IV fluids now. Oh, and drink this gallon of stuff so we can do a CT scan of your belly. It's now 9 o'clock.
Momma, I don't think I can drink this.....
Just try, baby. Just try.
She finishes, It's now 9:40 pm. we wait for the CT scan.
Some of our friends had been sent home from the ED, they were too loud. Nana came up with the adopted daughter. We wait.
10:35 back in the room. Provider comes in. I don't think it's meningitis or appendicitis. You can take her home. Just keep an eye on her.
11pm she's getting dressed and the nurse is sending her out faster than she took the first set of vital signs. We are taking her home, not the dorm. We take her out of the hospital around 1130, we need to get gas. We arrive home just after 1 am.
This will be continued.