It’s Easter Sunday. I’m over at the neighbor’s house eating the salad potluck. Mark’s home with a cold; Kyle’s being Kyle (although, to give him credit where credit is due, he did show up and say hello when I asked him to); and Megan is home recovering from having her wisdom teeth being pulled on Thursday.
The egg hunt is fun. It’s always fun to see little kids scampering about, getting all excited when they find an egg or some other colorful thing hidden in the trees, or the grass, or in the tailpipe of a car.
We head back into to the house so the kids can dump their loot and start sorting when Mark comes through the door.
He’s not come to join the party, he’s only there to tell me that Megan’s kidneys are hurting again.
I mention this to my EMT friends who are sitting on the couch next to me and they say, “Head in now. It’s been less than six months since the last kidney infections. Don’t wait.”
I head home, change into more comfortable shoes (my outfit was cute, but I don’t care about cute at the ER). Megan, meanwhile, grabs her computer, a drawing pad, a change of clothes and a giant 2 liter bottle of peppermint tea with honey that she’s been drinking.
Off we go, on another adventure to ER. We’re becoming old hands at this, our third trip to the ER in less than six months.
We fill out the little form at 5:40 pm and settle down in the waiting room, tv blaring above our heads, but no visible way to change the channel or turn the sound down even though nobody is watching.
I get out my book. I’m reading “The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff. Megan just leans her head back and closes her eyes. She took a vicodin at 3:30, but she’s still feeling pain. Actually, that’s why we’re here, because she’s feeling “flank pain.” (Meaning pain in the flank, flank steak is never going to be the same for me again. . .)
The triage nurse takes her vitals and hands her the cup to pee in. Megan knew this was coming, so had been waiting, even though that peppermint tea was ready to leave.
An hour later, we get called into the next triage area.
This is new. They’ve changed the procedure and now, after seeing the triage nurse, who just gets things started, you see a triage doctor who can get tests started rather than making you wait for three hours. That’s the theory anyway. It didn’t get us out of there any faster than the other two trips. But maybe it was much busier and we just didn’t know that. I do know that I heard several nurses talk about how busy it was.
Anyway, the Doc comes in, asks the same series of questions that the triage nurse asked, we answer them in the same way, he orders pain and nausea meds and blood draws and tells us that we’ll be moving to the “more permanent” room and seeing a different doc. He does tell us that the preliminary results of the urine sample are: protein and blood and no white cells. From this it doesn’t look like a kidney infection. So there will need to be more tests, or at the very least, we’ll need to wait for the blood draw results to come back. And that should take about an hour.
Okay. In comes Nurse Greg. He’s the nurse who gave Meg the IV the last time we were here. She likes him. That’s good, because we all know how much she likes needles and getting IVs. Of course, we had talked about the probability of that on the way down, so she was emotionally prepped. That helped a lot.
Plus, this time she gets the IV put in her hand, rather than the inside of her elbow. She’d already figured out that she wanted the IV in her left arm, if possible, so that she could still draw. She was remembering having trouble drawing with the IV on the last trip.
Greg suggests that he put the IV in her hand since she’s got a good vein there as well, so that’s what he does.
I reach into my pocket (not sure why) and find a button that I’d picked up off the redwood cap in our house earlier in the day in a fit of cleaning. I pull it out and ask Meg if she’d like to hold on to it or my hand while he’s sticking her with the needle.
“Both!” she says. So I hand her the button and my hand and she squeezes. It’s over quickly and easily. Yes, it still hurts, but she’s not nearly as freaked out by it.
He then gives her the drugs. She was prescribed Zofran (not sure of the spelling, but that’s a phonetic spelling) for the nausea and phentanol (again, phonetic spelling – I’m too lazy go open another tab and see if I can figure out the correct spelling although I think that one’s close). Phentanol is what I was given when I was giving birth to Kyle. Put me right to sleep for an hour. Not what they wanted in a laboring mother, so they cut my dose back quite a bit.
Okay, I couldn’t stand not knowing the correct spelling. It’s Fentanyl. I wasn’t even remotely close. Now I have to go look up the other one, just because I do. I’ll be right back. You’ll never even know I was gone. Sit back, have a cup of tea, play some goofy game like Snoodslide for a minute. I will be back; I promise.
Hey! I got one right. It is Zophran. Oh wait, I spelled it with an F. Huh. When I headed over to “google” it, I spelled it correctly, but not here. Ah well.
Oh yeah, back to ER.
She gets the drugs and starts to get loopy. Not silly loopy, just really sleepy loopy.
Greg wheels her over to Room 17, where we’ll be for the next several hours. And we settle in to wait. Eventually a nurse shows up. One of the four that we saw, although technically, she was “our” nurse. Elizabeth had an English accent, which thrilled Megan. She asked the same set of questions that we’d been asked three times before.
We were in a room that was actually a double, with a curtain between us and the person in the next little bit of a room. Our side opened straight out onto the hallway.
We had two different neighbors over the course of our visit. The first was a guy who had a broken bone in his foot. He and his visitor were speaking Spanish for the most part. I don’t speak Spanish. It’s fun to listen to a language that I don’t understand. But only under circumstances where it doesn’t matter if I don’t understand what’s going on.
After he was discharge a woman was brought in by some sort of candy striper (not a nurse, just a woman with a badge and a wheelchair, whom I saw several other times wheeling people about and depositing them in rooms).
Shortly after that a nurse came in saying, “You’ve been here three hours and you haven’t even seen a nurse yet?”
Megan got another shot of Fentanyl at about 9:30 because the last one had worn off and she was still in pain. The triage doc had okayed two doses and we took him up on it.
And then our “real” doc came in. Dr. same-last-name-as-an-online-friend-of-Megan’s.
He had red hair and was funny. He said the same thing that the triage doc had said, that there was protein and blood, but no white blood cells in the urine and that we needed to wait for the rest of the blood draw tests to come back.
Okay, long story, not so long, because now I’m getting bored and I was there. Anyway, the upshot is that they sent her home with antibiotics for a kidney infection. The thinking was that she had been drinking enough fluids to have diluted the white blood cells. She had plenty of infection-fighting white blood cells in her blood. It could have been from the wisdom teeth or the kidney infection. White blood cells in the urine would have proven that earlier.
So, we’re home. And this time she’ll be taking CranActin regularly even after the symptoms have vanished. I’m thinking this might need to be something she takes regularly. Kidney Infections hurt, and ERs are boring when you are there for a kidney infection.
She’d brought her computer this time, thinking she could play World of Warcraft, but of course, she didn’t have access to an internet connection. So she was really bored.
She’s home now, soon to be back to her perky, cheerful self. She’s pretty cheerful even through all this pain. And she’s funny. Of course, she doesn’t like it when I make her laugh, because her cheeks still hurt from the surgery.
On to the next adventure. Maybe something boring this time?