The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

It Was Like Living A Horror Movie

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Monday began as a quiet day. We settled in for the evening and with not much on TV we decided to give the new Jay Leno show a try. Halfway through the show this old body decided to pull another fast one on me. I began to hemorrhage and bad!!! I called for Nat and trying to keep as calm as possible, the two of us packed up what we thought was going to be needed and headed down the highway. As it was after 10:00 PM, we knew the Prompt Care wing of the Hotel Dieu Hospital (my hospital of choice) would be closed and thus we drove into the St. Catharines General. The line-up of the walking wounded was horrendous, so I grabbed a waiting Paramedic and with the snap of a finger I was being admitted.

Laying on a gurney in a small corner of the emergency room, I was not seen until staff noticed that I had been back and forth to the bathroom on several occasions, had bled all over the hallway leading to the bathroom, in the bathroom itself, and was at the stage where my body was going into shock from losing so much blood. As I lay there, my husband slept upright in a chair by my bedside until 6:00 AM the next morning. Aside from being scared, cold and extremely tired, I found the communication and assistance lacking all around. My husband nor I were told anything of what was happening.

With all things in my medical history, this whole ordeal wasn’t easy and turned out to be long, frustrating and exhausting. I had lost so much blood the ER was considering a blood transfusion. Thankfully the hemorrhaging stopped by 2:00 AM. We knew, however, it would be a long wait before knowing the next step, and a long wait it was. It was concluded that the polyp that is due to be removed on October 2nd had decided to burst and apparently is not all that uncommon. The physician on duty would have to consult with the Doctor at St. Joseph’s in Hamilton that morning in order to be advised of the course of treatment. With neither one of us saying it out loud, we somehow knew that I was going to be admitted. For how long remained the big question.

Naturally neither Nat nor I could settle down and get any sleep, especially Nat. I’d look over at my dear husband now and again and could see the worry and extreme exhaustion in his face. It’s not easy sitting by a bedside, waiting, wondering and worrying and it’s even worse while sitting in, what looked to be, one of those steel-framed reception room chairs for over ten hours. Wrapped up in a bed sheet to keep his shoulders warm, he fought back sleep as best he could. As the sun finally began to rise and a few more hours passed, we finally heard those words that I’d be here for at least a another day. With that I sent Nat home to get some sleep and to let family members know what was going on.

After finally being admitted for observation for possibly three days I was able to settle down, except for the lack of my medications from the Hospital’s pharmacy. The first question asked on the admitting form had also taken me aback – “What are your expectations in this Hospital?” Seriously! If they had to ask such a question then there’s certainly a huge problem. Aside from fixing my medical problem, I expected quality medical treatment, knowledge of medical conditions and a well-stocked pharmaceutical, which was not the case. Certain of my anti-rejection medications had to be ordered in and I never did receive all of them until my husband brought in my own supply from home. I couldn’t help but wonder if I had been all alone, in a car accident or something similar and would have been unable to assist anyone in St. Catharines General, whether I would survived or not. I have a Medic-Alert bracelet but I’m not sure this would have helped any of the nursing staff and their lack of knowledge of transplant patients unless they called the Hotel Dieu and my nephrologist.

After getting settled in for that 24 hour watch, I phoned Nat to bring him up-to-date and told him to stay home, that I was going to try and get some sleep myself. With no success of sleep, only thoughts of what was next and what the hell happened, the day was long, drawn out and my emotions were running high. While talking to Nat he said Bonna might drop by that evening and when she did, I was ever so glad to see her. Keeping my mind distracted from the matters at hand was more than welcomed and, Bonna made me feel better.

Finally as Wednesday morning came around, I knew it would be a waiting game until the Doc came by to (hopefully) release me. My luck of the draw I get a doctor that does her rounds in the afternoon, but at least I was now able to eat a solid meal for lunch, and thus bided my time until 2:00 pm when the good news arrived. By this time it was only a matter of waiting for Nat to show up.

Upon arriving home, still exhausted from this whole ordeal, Nat and I settled in for the night, ordered Chinese food from a new restaurant in Fort Erie, curled up in our respective chairs and prayed for peace and relaxation.

As Thursday arrived and having only my regular appointment with Dr. Broski – another trip back into St. Catharines – we managed to get through the day despite the fact that we were both still trying to recover from the past events. We were both starting to feel as if we were in constant motion, having been on the road back and forth to St. Catharines for three days. I made it a point to hit the hay early to get a good night’s sleep. Friday I was going shopping with Bonnie at Limeridge Mall and I was looking forward to it, despite the fact my body was crying out to stay in bed.

Bonnie and I had a great time, as always. I found a couple items of new clothing, while Bonnie found some great jewellery. After a nice lunch and getting caught up on family  news, we wandered around the Mall again for another hour and then headed home. Despite the fact that my body struggled to take another step, I enjoyed the outing. I knew some ‘time off’ from thinking would do me a world of good, and it did. Thanks, Bonnie!! So now Nat and I will try and get back into a somewhat normal routine until October 2nd, when this whole thing of tripping back and forth (only this time) to Hamilton begins again!! Can’t wait until this exhausting nightmare is over!

With all of the past events I’m going to sing the praises of my husband. His patience, his ever-abiding love and attention, his worry and concern were evident at every moment. With my past medical history (the dialysis, the transplant, the ever-constant doctors’ appointments), this man has been through a lot and has steadfastly been there through thick and thin with support and unconditional love. Despite the fact that this past week was a nightmare, this man is definitely my dream come true.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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