Monday, August 01, 2011

I Need a Weekend

I need a weekend to get over my weekend! Friday night about 6:00 my aunt (Mom's older sister) took a particularly nasty fall in her living room, apparently hitting the bridge of her nose against the edge of a table. She's on a blood thinner, so the injury resulted in an immediate and horrific nosebleed of EPIC proportions!

The local rescue squad was summoned and they determined that she should be sent by med-flight from her home (about 2 hours' driving time away from where I live) to the hospital that's only about 3 miles from my home. When Mom called to give me the news I told her that I'd grab my things and meet her and Dad at the hospital.

We all arrived just minutes ahead of the helicopter and waited while the trauma team attempted to staunch the blood flow. They finally managed to slow it down enough to get a CT scan and some x-rays. I was dismayed to hear the doctor use the word "shattered" to describe the injury to her nose. They packed her nose to slow the bleeding, then told us that because they didn't have an ENT on call at our hospital that she would need to be transferred to another area hospital about 20 miles away.

We all went to the second hospital and waited for her to arrive by ambulance. There she received another x-ray and we got the good news that her broken nose was the only apparent broken bone. Unfortunately, we also learned that the doctor who needed to evaluate her nose wouldn't be available until the next morning (Saturday).

I said that I'd stay with her through the night since her immediate family wasn't able to make the trip to the hospital until the next day. Mom and Dad went home to get a couple of hours' sleep, and I stayed in the trauma room with my aunt until they were able to get a room for her at about 3:15 am. By the time they transported her upstairs and got her into bed, it was 3:45 am.

She'd been chatting away all night long, but when she got into a more comfortable bed, the pain medication kicked in and she fell asleep. As it always happens in a hospital, sleep is often interrupted by people drawing blood, getting vitals, etc. I didn't even try to sleep. I just sat in a chair in the room and knitted, waiting for the morning I knew would be coming all too soon. (See my knitting blog linked at the right for more about how I passed the time.)

Morning came, and Mom and Dad arrived with a delicious country ham biscuit and hot coffee from MickeyD's. I told them that the biscuit might not be the BEST thing I'd ever tasted, but it was pretty dang close! The day was spent waiting. And waiting. And waiting. My aunt (who by this time resembled a raccoon with her two black, swollen eyes) was in a great deal of pain that was relieved (or postponed) by doses of morphine. When the plastic surgeon (turns out he wasn't an ENT after all) arrived, she was so groggy from the morphine that he couldn't properly evaluate her. He said he'd have to wait until the next day to be able to check her properly.

Her grandson and husband arrived late that afternoon for a visit, so we went home to get some rest. We went back to the hospital bright and early the next morning and found that she was in a fair amount of pain because they'd weaned her off the pain meds. So the long wait began again for the plastic surgeon's return. The nurse told us that he was in surgery and that it would be at least noon before he'd be able to come perform the evaluation. Saturday afternoon it had dawned on us that part of her head pain might be a caffeine-withdrawal headache since she hadn't had any coffee or Diet Coke in 24 hours. (Like me, she enjoys her caffeine!!) As soon as they told us Sunday morning that she could have breakfast, we made sure that she got her coffee. She ate a good breakfast and it seemed to help.

When the call came to order her lunch, I made sure that she got Diet Coke. When her lunch arrived, she felt well enough to complain about the lack of salt in her food. *LOL* Around 1:00 we learned that the plastic surgeon was in a SECOND surgery and they didn't know how much longer it would be before he arrived.

It was a long afternoon; she was really tired of being in the hospital and wanted to go home. While we waited, the nurse removed her catheter (her IV was already gone by the time we'd arrived Sunday morning) and she received a bath and shampoo. This really helped her feel better, I think. I was amazed at how much her swelling and bruising had improved since just the day before.

When the surgeon finally arrived, he checked her nose, removed the packing from it and gave us instructions she should follow when she arrived home. Shortly after, we had her all packed up and ready to leave....finally!

We loaded her into Mom and Dad's Durango, and away we went to Dickenson County. Just under two hours later, we had her settled into her recliner at home, tired, still bruised, but safe and sound.

Mom had taken some OxyClean along to try to get the blood out of her living room rug, and she did a really great job with it. I did a few dishes that were in the sink and we washed some bloody towels that had been used to try to stop her bleeding before they called the rescue squad. Before long, we had her all squared away and we were ready to head back home.

We were all pretty tired by the time we got back; it was nearly 10:00 pm, and it had been a very long day. Mom checked on her today, and she said she was feeling pretty good, thank goodness.

It was a frightening experience all 'round, but thank goodness she wasn't injured more seriously! Just another reminder that we must never take good health for granted.

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