Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just when I get comfortable...

...all hell breaks loose -- or a reasonable facsimile of hell.

Yesterday was difficult enough without my father having to go to the hospital, after dismissing two EMS vans, because he had a heart attack. It could have been worse. The last time this happened he was in the hospital for more than a week and had one of the valves replaced in his heart. The valve had exploded and he was drowning in his own blood. They don't seem to know what is wrong, except that he didn't have a myocardial infarction, which is medical speak for damage to the muscle of the heart. The problem is that he has a stent in one of the arteries and a prosthetic mechanical valve in his heart and blood tests won't show if there is damage to the valve or he has had a blockage of the stent. The fact that his color was bad, he had trouble staying conscious, and his heart was beating wildly irregularly should have clued them in that the valve or the stent were involved and the only way to tell what was going on was to do an echocardiogram, but what do I know? I'm not a cardiologist nor do I work for the VA hospital in Chillicothe. I guess more than two decades of typing up medical dictation and continually researching what I type up so I can be completely accurate hasn't helped me to understand anything, nor do the literally tens of thousands of abnormal and normal blood test results that have passed beneath my fast fingers and onto my screen.

To top all that off, the day shift nurses won't give me any information because I'm not my father's next-of-kin. Being a couple thousand miles away doesn't help when I threaten them either because they can't see my face or feel the anger and frustration rolling in waves off me. I had to call my father, who didn't know the name of the VA doctor and couldn't pronounce it if he did because the guy is Indian, to tell him to sign the forms so they can talk to me. I had much better luck with the male nurse on duty last night.

Here I am sending down roots and decorating my apartment, buying furniture, making plans for the future here and my family is falling apart back home, making me wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea for me to move back to Ohio if only to make sure things are done right and the rest of the family doesn't forget to give the right medical information to the people who need to know. The rest of the are pretty much hopeless and they forget the important stuff that I deal with every day.

Then again...maybe it's time they figured all this out for themselves. Meanwhile, back at Casa Victoriana, I'm having trouble focusing on work and resisting the urge to get on a plane and fly back to there kick butts and take names.

Every time I get comfortable something like this happens. Well, it could have been worse.

And I was looking forward to painting the woodwork and trim and finding just the right stencil to use as a border in the living room this weekend.

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