Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Strange Place for a Tampon and Not Very Much Cocaine

I had to take my husband to the ER today, twice.

I was supposed to take Nick and his friend to Rattlesnake Lake to go canoeing. The boys were planning to paddle on their own in the canoe. They were excited. I was nervous but excited. I woke up early, thinking about how the three of us would manage. These boys are beginning to grow. They were much stronger than me. They had experience in a canoe. They were going to be fine everyone told me.

Then, before they were awake, I got two texts from Mike:


Going to ER.

And my plans came crashing down. I never have phone reception at Rattlesnake Lake. I texted Mike back:

Do you need me?

No answer. Shit! I began to pace. My heart rate shot up. Why does Mike need to go to the ER for a nosebleed? I paced some more and texted him again:

 Should I meet you there?

He finally replied - I could tell that his hands were busy holding his nose:

Emits came and said I just need to keep pressure. Hanging here now.

Damned autocorrect. I knew what he was trying to type. I sent another, just to acknowledge him:

Okay. I love you.

My iPhone dinged. I had just turned off the mute I usually had on. Mike said:

It's slowing down.

My heart rate began to slow down too.  I began to imagine that I could take the boys to Pine Lake instead. It was closer and my iPhone had great reception there. Then, I texted Mike again, chattering away:

I do not want to be out of touch with you today. Are you feeling any better? Need clean clothes? Can you come home? Do you feel well enough to work? Tell your nurse that she's a sweetheart.

His nurse at work also sent him to the ER when he had his heart attack last October. Mike sent me back a longer text, but it was basically:

Can't drive yet. Still bleeding. Going to try to ride it out. You should go to Rattlesnake Lake. It's so nice there.

There was no way I was going out of range of any calls from him. No way. I wanted to yell at him, but texted instead:

I can come get you, but I'm not going to leave you alone anywhere.

Maybe you should pick me up.

And then, I was on my way. On our way home, Mike told me that maybe we should go to an Urgent Care. His nose had been bleeding for almost three hours. Swedish, he said. It was on our way. Why had I brought Teddy in the car? Would it get too hot for her? I refused to just drop my husband off at an urgent care. Thankfully, The Weather Channel said it wasn't getting up to seventy-three degrees until 1:00pm. That would do as long as I left my windows open.

As soon as we walked into the urgent care, I ran into some friends. We run into people we know everywhere. We barely had time for hugs all around before they brought us back. In five minutes, the doctor was in, told us Mike should be taken to the ER, and personally wheeled him there. On the way, we found out he was planning to raft the Deschutes next week, but forest fires had closed the river.

My heart leaped at the thought of getting out onto a river. I told the doc that I hoped he could rescue his vacation and that he should wear his life jacket. I hope he's as careful on the river as he was in his practice. I wanted good things for this good man.

Then we were instantly in the ER, nurses, a doctor, taking blood samples, checking blood pressure, asking a million questions about trauma. Eventually, the RN, a bold man said, "We need to know. Is there any chance you were picking your nose when it began?" We all laughed nervously. Everybody knows that everybody picks their noses.

Mike hadn't been picking his nose. He didn't get hit. Nothing in particular caused this. It wasn't stopping. Mike's blood thinners were making sure of that. It really wasn't stopping. 

Then, I heard the nurse ask the doctor if she wanted the cocaine. Had I heard him right? I stayed silent, knowing that my hearing wasn't the best. Then, he asked again.

"Did you really say 'cocaine?'" I asked. They told us it was to numb the nose inside, like novicaine and lidocaine, but intended for the sinuses and in a miniscule amount too small for any other effects. Whew! I didn't want Mike to get addicted.

Then, they told us they needed to put packing up his nose because it was an anterior bleed and that was good.  Anterior, posterior. I didn't really know what that meant, but if the packing could reach it, they wouldn't have to cauterize it. That sounded like a better option to me, but what do I know? I'm not a big fan of burning flesh, but packing material sounds good. The doctor looked at me and said it would work a little like a tampon only it had a bladder they could inflate once it was placed. That sounded good to me. I understood tampons and their proper placement.

Apparently, it's not that easy when it's up your nose. Mike clutched at my hand and his eyes watered as she worked. Thankfully she was quick and she stopped and let him gather himself before she inflated it. Then she gave us some time alone before she came back to see if it stopped the bleeding.

"Feels like she shot lemon juice up my nodes," Mike said. His eyes were still watering. I guess the cocaine didn't do all that much numbing. Bummer. Don't want anyone getting addicted though.

So, with an inflated tampon up his nose and not enough cocaine to numb the pain, I brought my poor husband home. Yes, Teddy was fine in a relatively cool car. After about an hour at home, we had to go back to let some air out of the tampon so his eyes would stop watering and he could carry on a minimal conversation.

Poor guy.

And no one went canoeing today. Not from our family, anyway.

Thank you for listening, jb

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