June 22nd: Not for Wimps


Last night was so hot that we decided to get some AC at the ER… yeah right…

In the morning, when I took Caroline took the doctor, the doctor expressed a concern about Rhabdomyolisis, a breakdown of muscle tissue which can result in kidney failure. Caroline’s urine came back negative, so we decided to observe it for the day. At dinner though I saw that Caroline was not doing well, with bad pains in her stomach and back.

I made a judgment call, (and the doctor had told me, “when in doubt, take her to the ER”) and was momentarily thinking back of my ectopic pregnancy, years ago. Jon was out of town, I was a month pregnant and started having bad cramps. Since Will was in bed (he was barely 2 at the time) and I was very early in the pregnancy, I decided to toughen it out. Like a home miscarriage. Not as cool as home birthing but since it was close to midnight, I didn’t feel like jumping in the car, dragging along Will etc etc. What could be so bad? Maybe a little worse than a really bad period. Thank God I did have the wherewithal to call the nurse line. Listening to my symptoms, the nurse told me to get to the nearest hospital pronto. She essentially saved my life (aside from the doctor who did the surgery) because if I had stayed home, I would have died from internal bleeding.

So Caroline and I headed out and arrived at John Muir’s ER at 8 PM where it was rush hour. Side note: America’s ER’s tend to be more overcrowded than their European counterparts because people without or limited insurance postpone going to the doctor and then end up at the ER, and often when it is too late. It was a dramatic evening: like the guy who walked in, in shock, towel pressed to his face, his face looking like roadkill from falling off his bike. There was a little girl throwing up and curled up in the fetal position who wasn’t seen until 11PM. Or the heavily overweight guy with chest pains who almost started crying when he told the intake nurse that his father had died of a massive heart attack. Or that black woman, who walked in funny, then was put in a neck brace and started having seizures. Or the little kid with the infection on his arm: The entire family entourage was there, most of them without teeth (meth?)– the toothless mother who went braless with jugs that reached to her knees, was wearing a garbage bag on her head as she was dying her hair green. Or the elderly mother, wheeled in by her daughter: shaking like a leaf, disoriented and holding a coffee mug to throw up in. The mug clearly wouldn’t do.

In comparison, Caroline’s suspected affliction looked tame. But the doctor took her symptoms seriously and ordered blood tests. They all came back normal. Phew! Better safe than sorry. Walking out  near midnight, I did wonder about the little girl, the woman with the seizures, the guy with the chest pain and the old woman who was so out of it. Even with Obamacare we’re nowhere near to where Europe and Canada are, but without it, these ER scenes will become progressively worse.

Give me your hungry, your sick– well under TrumpCare we can all go to hell, and the poorest among us in particular. I don’t recognize this country anymore. It feels like a Dickensian reality and soooo 19th century…

First thing this morning was Frankie at the vet’s — the guy still has a UTI, and his skin has a yeast/fungal infection for which I got pills, shampoo and a mousse. Also more tests– all at the tune of $400. There goes that Mendocino weekend Jon and I were planning…

As for the pills, shampoo and mousse, I think I may try some of it myself because I have some dry patches, too, and can’t afford to see a dermatologist (facetious again– just adding this because many people tend to believe my poetic license. Like when I told my students one day that the Dutch dropped the case system (that German has, i.e. the changing of the article and ending of adjective and noun, depending on its function in the sentence) because, as I lied, they were still angry about the Germans having confiscated their bicycles during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. And you know, when you touch a Dutchman’s bicycle, you mess with his soul. So when the Nazis grabbed their bikes, the Dutch went like ditch those cases. It only inhibits foreigners from learning your language.

Anyway, to make a long story short, hopefully we’re all on the mend in Nursing Home Wiener, where, soon, residents may start dropping like flies from sun stroke and heat exhaustion. As I’m typing this, drops of perspiration are beginning to affect my RAM so it’s time for a cold shower. I’m eyeing that shampoo and mousse for real.

Have fun with your Friday and stay cool!

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