A new beginning?
My Sunday rant

A significant event


ImageThis time last week I was flat on my back in a hospital bed, wired and tubed, not a well person at all. 

But first some background. What with COVID restrictions and a new smaller apartment in a highrise, I'd been getting less exercise and drinking less fluids. Two weeks ago I'd felt maybe the beginning of a UTI - never had one so not sure. If anything, the pain meant I tended to drink less fluid. Yes, a bad idea, in hindsight. On a Tuesday night, I had uncontrollable shivering after supper so figured I was just chilled and huddled under lots of blankets until it went away. This likely was a seizure from low electrolytes. The next day was so-so, but I assumed that had been a one-time thing. That night, more shakes after supper, so back under the covers.

I woke up at 10 pm, on the floor next to my bed, with muscles so weak I couldn't even crawl to find my cell phone. That was my significant event.

From the 'evidence', it appeared I'd got up to go the bathroom and collapsed like a puppet with cut strings. I was concerned, not panicked, feeling helpless and very annoyed. The only thing to do was lie on my back and wait. Two hours later I was able to get up and get to the bathroom, clean up, and get to bed. Probably could have used Google to call my kids from the floor, or find my phone, or even used my phone after I was up and call 911 - lots of things I could have done but I was somewhat dazed and confused to explore options. Thursday morning I called Ontario Telehealth, who called paramedics. My vitals seemed ok, so, without a ready explanation for my symptoms, they decided to bring me in. After a 5 hour wait, I finally got in to see an Emerg doctor - well, several as well as nurses. They started immediate IV's, ECG, blood tests, antibiotics, etc. Yes, a UTI, and dehydration, but with complications. Turns out when you lie on a hard floor you develop Rhabdomyolysis - tissue is damaged and breakdown, releasing proteins into the bloodstream and stressing the kidneys - as in risk of renal failure. There's a CK marker for it, normally under 200 U/L, my test Thursday night showed over 26,000. Likely higher while I sat in the waiting room.  Pretty serious I understand, although the staff didn't indicate so at the time. Preferring I stay calm? I had many bags of IV that night, some pushed to a litre/hour, to flush this protein out. BTW -I'd set up an SMS chat group with my sister, son, and daughter - a great way to keep us all in the loop.

Friday I was transferred to the OMTU, the new Offload Medicine Transfer Unit. A big white shed, with 40+ cubicles, 20 ambulance bays, and a row of admission windows. Just completed in January. It's designed to deal with the rows of ambulances they used to have waiting to be admitted, especially when COVID pushes patient numbers up. It was just used as an overflow when I was there. Rows of open-ceilinged cubicles,  all new and shiny, looking like those field hospitals they set up in a sci-fi movie. Very echoing, and bright - one of the 24-hr lights was right above my cell. And I was restricted to it - since I'd had diarrhea before being admitted they feared I'd brought something in so I had to wait 2-3 days for lab results. So not a lot of exercise. My daughter dropped over some stuff that helped, like wet wipes and fruit and earplugs and an eye mask. I was on continuous IV drips, potassium in pills and a jolt, several more ECG's, a CT scan, some ultrasounds, blood tests, searches for veins on my dehydrated arms, and jabs of rat poison in the gut. It was as a blood thinner to guard against blood clots while I lay there. My gut cleared up, in spite of all the antibiotics and hospital food, but then another test locked me in. Saturday night they suddenly remembered I'd mentioned vomiting before I came in. Not a lot - spit on the flow as opposed to hanging over the toilet and not surprising giving how toxic my system was - but they decided at midnight I needed a COVID test. Results came in by Sunday at 5 pm, pretty fast. I gather the nursing staff was not pleased with the delay in testing me, luckily for them (potentially) my gut had kept me in quarantine. I'm glad I didn't endanger anyone.

Monday that CK number continued to slant down to 1900, so I was discharged, with more antibiotics and orders to drink 'lots'. (I'm chugging 2 litres a day.) Once the several doctors signed off I was free to go. It's a teaching hospital, so there is always a mix of nurses and doctors. The care I got was outstanding for the most part. Some delays and some gaps in processes but the nurses were good at catching things. Doctors seemed to change all the time, and Sunday completely missed me. 

My son brought me home and settled me in, and my daughter dropped off a food basket full of healthy things. My left arm started to swell up, after taking all that IV, but is almost back to normal now. I checked with www.mdconnected.ca, they are very helpful.  

So, I'm ok now. I had a chance to refocus on things and will be making some lifestyle adjustments. I might change doctors if I can too. I've had a good one for years but he's way out in Orleans, and access even on the phone is difficult. The Civic Hospital has a Family Health unit attached to it, I'll see if they are taking patients. They would use the same MyChart app as the Civic does - an awesome product that shows all tests made and results in lists and charts,

PS - I appreciate your concerns, but please don't ask me for all sorts of details, or tell me all the things I should have done if I hadn't been too sick at the time. ;-)     

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Comments

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Patty Archer

Wow. I’m so glad you called that Telehealth nurse and got treated. That sounds like a horrible scary experience, and I hope you keep feeling better.
Sending you a friendly hug.

Linda Bruce

I am so sorry you went through this, Mike. That must have been very scarey.

Take care. Please.

Ravens

Yes, was scary, mostly when I was lying on the floor, but I quickly resigned to just having to wait and hope I could move later. All hugz accepted.

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