The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Our 15 Hours To Hell And Back

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It all started around Wednesday afternoon when Nat complained of his right shoulder being really sore. Thinking he’d twisted a muscle or joint when moving the snowblower in the garage to make room for the new riding lawn mower we purchased from our neighbours (more about that later) he put a heating pad on it and the next morning it felt liked it had eased up. Not to be free and clear, he felt some of the pain moving over to his left shoulder only this time more intense.

Neither one of us are nonchalant about such things, we both had that look in our eyes, as he complained the pain was getting worse by Friday afternoon. Come Friday evening, while watching the hockey game the pain became very intense down his side. I soon began to Google such pains and realized this could be the signs of a thrombosis near the heart. As the hockey game was now over, and being 10:30 PM, I drove Nat to the Douglas Memorial Hospital where we were checked in and soon told again!!!! that we should have called an ambulance which would have taken us to the Welland Memorial Hospital ASAP. How are you suppose to know?? But lesson learned.

After a blood test and other things, Nat was advised by the attending Physician that it looked like he had elevated ??? levels indicating some blockage to his blood vessels. As we now had to wait for the Ontario Paramedic Transport to take Nat to the Welland Hsopital (about an hour and half wait), I had some time to slip home, grab whatever I could (snack, drink, iPad, etc.) and would meet him at the Emergency Department. This was the only way we could have worked keeping the car nerby in order to drive the two of us home once this whole ordeal was over.

Not knowing where Welland Hospital was, the nurse drew a map for me and while at home I grabbed Garmin and also double checked on Google Maps on where to go. I’m also not a lover of night driving and had to re-assure Nat over and over that I’d be okay. This was something that had to be done, no brainer. Plus the way there looked really easy with my 2 maps and Garmin, and at 1:30 AM the roads are vehicle free.

I arrived earlier than Nat and once he was checked into an emergency room, the wait began. Once seen by the night shift Doctor a chest x-ray was ordered. Waiting for results. Then an ECG was ordered. Waiting for results (I’m guessing around  3:30 AM by now). More inbetween blood tests and blood pressures. Then a Cat Scan was ordered. Waiting for results (had to wait for Radiologist who doesn’t check in until 7:00 AM – and it’s only 4:30 AM). Once the night shift had gone home and the day shift was getting their instructions for the day, there were more updated blood tests, etc. and then we were told we would have to wait for the Consulting Doctor who wouldn’t be in until 10:00 AM (Saturday) to give us the results of every test and then her final opinion. It had now been well over 10 hours of waiting and tid-bits of information along the way.

Finally as Dr. Sun came into the room she was giving us news we really did NOT want to here. That Nat may have to stay the night!!!! He had already had his very first ambulance ride, was now lying in his first hospital bed and he really wasn’t in the mood to be told he’d be having an overnight stay. Well, he wasn’t alone and between the two of us we managed to convince the Doc if there was any way he could evenutally be released we were hoping she’d find it.

With more repeated questions by the Doc, she ordered an Ultra-Sound and advised once those results were in she would see what could be done. Fingers, toe and even eyes crossed at this point in time – now around 1:00 PM Saturday. Finally the results were in. Nat was told he had several small blood clots in and around his chest, plus he also had Pneumonia. We were absolutely baffled as to where that came from. He had had an extremely bad cold back in December, but things soon cleared up and he was feeling great. Oh well, only Mother Nature knows the answer to that one.

Inbetween all of the waiting, worrying and intermittent pop-ins by nurses, Nat couldn’t get a wink of sleep, I was so bloody tired and physically wrangled by sitting in a small office chair for over 12 hours, I finally grabbed my coat and laid down on the floor beside Nat’s bed. When one of the nurses found me down there, she whispered to another nurse to grab a small bed and put it in Nat’s room. I love this woman, she saved me.

I’ver never been on the waiting end of things in a hospital. It’s absolutely exhausting and unbearable. Once I was given the bed, I fell asleep at least for an hour or two and was able to sit more comfortably to keep Nat company. He had insisted I go home at one point, but what was the use. I’d only worry, I’d go to sleep and miss anything important, and I really didn’t want to leave Nat at all. I was determined I would be driving him home sometime on Saturday.

Dr. Sun finally agreed that we could go home with a prescription and instructions on how to behave and take care of himself. He was given Blood thinners for the clots and she was going to prescribe pain killers but that may be even more detrimental to blood clots, as they clot the blood to stop the pain!!!

By 2:30 PM Saturday we arrived home. SOOOO tired, Sooooo hungary we didn’t know what to do first. We ended up making a couplel of grilled cheese sandwiches, sat in our recliners and soon fell asleep for a couple of hours. We were both very dopey when it was time for the 6:00 o’clock news. It was also Saturday Night Hockey and the Leafs were playing the Senators and it would take Nat’s mind off of things.

As the evening wore on, Nat’s pain was still relatively substantial, so after a little research we discovered that moist warm heat would help to reduce some clotting. We grabbed a hand towel, ran it under very hot water, stuck it into a cloth and Nat put it on his side where the pain was, along with the heating pad over it to keep it warm. Finally, the pain was beginning to subside enough for him to enjoy the game.

I ended up hitting the hay by 9:00 PM while Nat watched the game and came to bed by 10:00. We were both dead to the world, until Nat felt a bit more pain around 4:00 AM and had to get up to walk about and sit in his recliner where he felt some relief. Me, myself and I didn’t hear a thing and slept for a good 12 hours. What a treat.

Sunday morning neither one of us felt normal – somehow we had been on some sort of weird trip to hell and back. At least, however, we were now home and were staying put.

As for that riding lawn mower – our good new neighbours that moved from Thunder Bay, are moving again. The husband has brain tumours and they are downsizing to a condo in Kitchener, where he’s close to his family. He’s not yet  had his operation, so I may never hear the results, but I’ve told his wife that we’ll be thinking of him. They’ve been really good to us and we’ll miss them a lot. Therefore, because we kept good care of our lawn and house, the hubby felt we should have first dibs on the lawn mower and it was sold to  us at a price we couldn’t resist. God, I’m glad Nat’s finally got one. I hate watching him in the scorching heat mowing the lawn. Now, he has a little relief which is better than none!!!

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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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