Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bad Times

It began prior to December 12, that date sticking out because it was my first in the hospital. I'd been having some medical problems I didn't think much of at first. Then they got a bit much to ignore. My left foot began dragging on the ground. I was forgetting things, falling down and dropping things. After a couple of rough falls, I went to my doctor. She diagnosed a stroke on the right side of my brain.

She also told the wife if I fall down again to call an ambulance and let the hospital figure out why. Not long after that I took another fall. She called an ambulance and I ended up at St. Joseph's Emergency Room. After some time there, the hospitalist gave a preliminary diagnosis of tumors in my brain and scheduled an MIR scan. The scan later showed not just a couple tumors, but two rather large ones.

I was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital and ended up hating it.To be fair, some of my recollection could be drug fueled. They gave me some drug before the MRI scan that was supposed to calm me down. The name started with an A. It seemed to me it just gave me bad dreams that carried over into my next time awake. The whole time seemed like a dream.

First annoyance of St. Joes is their seeming obsession with people falling down. They want everyone to stay laying in bed and weren't shy about telling patients to get back in bed over and over again. The beds have alarms that go off if you try and get up without permission. Get out of bed unnannounced and a bunch of nurses come running over and jump your case. That was annoying enough to set me off on the wrong start and I became argumentative.

As I recall the buildings we were in were concrete square buildings akin to something a jail would look like.With staff telling you to do this and that it did seem like a jail, too, especially when they'd insist you couldn't leave. That really pissed me off and they brought it up more than once.

I'd wake up in the morning feeling I wasn't far from home and decided I'd walk home so I'd ask for my shoes. I'd be told, almost verbatim each time, "You don't need shoes. You're not going anywhere. You're in a hospital under a doctor's care. We'll release you when we feel you're ready.". You can imagine that didn't set well with me and I got rather hostile over that.

They had some thing about "impulsive actions", too, they brought up more than once. I think it was the first night there I got up to go to the bathroom. Some guy grabs me in the dark and tells me to get back in bed. I tell him I need to go to the bathroom. He says that "impulsive behavior" isn't safe, so we get into an argument over that. Bunch of crap.

Anyway, St. Joe's was like that the whole time. A total nightmare for me with no end in sight.

They'd opened my brain and done  biopsy of the tumors earlier, some doctors deciding I should go out of the area for treatment- Stanford, most likely. They didn't seem to feel the situation was all that urgent but should be taken care of at first opportunity so I waited for a way to go to Stanford.

After a couple days I was moved to the main St. Joe's campus- what seemed like a more real hospital with real bathrooms- actual bathrooms not being found in the place I'd been staying. That was a pleasant break and after a day or so a Cal-Ore LIfe Flight was found to fly us to the Bay Area,

Nice guys in the flight crew. Smart and pleasant. They took us to Eureka's Murray Field and we took off from there. Connie got to fly in the co- pilot seat. I just lay in the back in the gurney with my legs kinda locked beneath it. I couldn't move or see much. Took a couple hours to get down there.

I guess we landed at San Francisco airport, although I couldn't tell from my view. An ambulance came and picked us up taking us to the Stanford area. Just looking out the back of the ambulance, I couldn't really telll where we were or were going.

Then I got the feeling we were there, except not what I'd expected. I got the impression we were on a dock with water all around us because it seemed so cool and damp. They wheeled me out of the ambulance and into a small room. Didn't seem like any 'official" hospital room. I'd describe it as maybe a hospital room with a whole bunch of people waiting in it- mostly asian types. I told the wife it reminded me of one of those Chinese meat markets where they sell both dog and monkeys both- mostly just because everyone seemed oriental.

Didn't seem to be much order there, either. Just a bunch of people sitting with one guy sitting up front apparently taking charge of the group. There we sat, except somehow I ended up in a hospital bed.

Eventually, some guy came in and started asking me questions. I don't know if he was a doctor, or what? He got done and there we sat again. No real complaints except I felt damp and cold. Then I tried to sleep and remember waking up to some asian doll over my bed saying something like "Mr. Fred.I'm sorry, but I need a blood sample". I'd just nod and assure her she could have whatever she wanted.

Next morning, somehow or another, we ended up in the actual hospital. Unlike my preliminary impression, now I became impressed.

 Stanford has a stellar impression among hospitals. If deserved, it must have a lot to do with their nursing staff. i was more than impressed with them from the start. "Is there something we can get you", seems to be the first thing you'll hear from them. Very helpful, pleasant an accommodating at all times and no doubt in my mind they have the technical aspects of their jobs down pat.

That part was good, but it was still a hospital and they were almost as obsessed with people gettting out of bed as the St. Joe's dweebs were. Stanford just seemed to be able to put the bed thing in perspective, as opposed to St. Joe's who got all carried away.

So Stanford was good for the couple of weeks there, but still a hospital when I wanted to go home.

Not much internet there, either. WiFi didn't work 9 times out of 10. My tablet broke so that didn't work either. i mostly just lay in bed and watched the same movies over and over again, but at least the nurses were fun

i really wanted to leave, but Connie wasn't helping. Seemed to me she was finding every excuse not to: It was either too early or too late to drive home for her.

I finally gangpressed her into calling Enterprise Rent A Car so we could leave. Much to my surprise they actually had a car available on such short notice- a Hyundai Elantra, same as Connie's new car.

We got lost leaving Stanford wasting a couple hours driving in circles. Once we found 101 North, though, we went fairly quickly to the Villa Inn at San Rafael where we often stay. Not a bad way to end the worst 3 or 4 weeks of my life.

This probably doesn't read too bad, but I really hated it, especially staying at St. Joseph's.


At 8:44 AM, Blogger freakadazoo said...

Oh Fred, I do hope your health will improve this month! So does this mean, I have to find a new libertarian to care for our lawn? I hope you at least had the opportunity to at least down a cheap beer on occasion? Be well my friend, JT.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I missed your cantankerous self but I see you continued on. I hope you recover from all of this quickly. Welcome home.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Rose said...


At 12:21 PM, Anonymous eyerollah said...

all the best Fred, I hope your recovery goes well..I certainly know recovery takes a long time and is subtle, have patience.
It will get better.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's to a full recovery Fred!!

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I saw you at Winco this morning, freakodazoo, but we were driving out snd you were headed to your car. No chance to talk.

At 4:25 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Get well Fred!

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've been through a lot, Fred, I hope your recovery will be full & complete, swift & easy.

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Dennis said...

Fred, what insurance program did you use to cover your medical costs to date?

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Obamacare/Covered California


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