So you may remember the first part of this series where I spoke about the entire week leading up to this. All of Mr. J’s signs and symptoms were there: the fever… the fatigue… the low blood pressure. If you haven’t read the first part, you can read it here. I suggest you do. 😉
On the way to the ER
I called his work to let them know that he wasn’t coming in to work and I also called his supervisor to explain the situation. When we arrived, I wanted to get a wheelchair for him. I didn’t want him walking around incase he felt lightheaded again and risk him falling. Maybe he didn’t want to seem weak, but he refused the wheelchair. So we went to check him in. While waiting to get assessed, I told him to not hold back – he should tell the doctors and nurses everything that he’s feeling so that they can properly treat him. When he couldn’t do so, I did for him.
When the tables turn and it’s not you feeling unwell: At the hospital
- We told the nurse everything.
- His blood pressure was extremely low at 96/48.
- They hooked him up to an ECG to check his heart function.
- He had blood work done.
The nurse and the ECG tech kept mentioning that he’s jaundiced and they were right. My Mr. was pale looking but I thought that it was just because he had been feeling unwell. You know… when someone gets queasy, nauseous, and generally feeling unwell… they are going to look pale, so I thought nothing more of it. After being assessed, the waiting began. We were transferred to the Care & Treatment Zone where a nurse checked his vitals every half hour or so. The nurses would come in and ask about pain, if his abdomen hurts, and if it hurt to breathe. About two hours or so later, the doctor comes in.
His heart and his other organs are fine. Thank God! But his blood count was SUPER low! It was less than half! His body was not producing enough hemoglobin to replenish the blood that he’s lost over the years and last week, his body finally felt the effects of it. But what happened next took my breath away momentarily.
My Mr. has to be admitted to the hospital and that he’s lost so much blood that he needed to get a blood transfusion right away!!!
Quick Physiology Lesson
- Tissues require oxygen to function
- Hemoglobin is the main protein in mature red blood cells
- Hemoglobin functions to transport oxygen from the lungs to your tissues (such as muscles) and carries carbon dioxide from those tissues back to your lungs for expulsion
I think my heart sunk. When someone you care about is sick, you never suspect the worst outcome. I would never have guessed that my Mr had LESS THAN HALF the hemoglobin that he’s supposed to have. No wonder he would fatigue and get out of breath so quickly!!! The doctor stated that he was actually surprised that we waited that long to come in to the hospital! I kind of beat myself up about that part. I *SHOULD* have brought him sooner! But like I mentioned, you never suspect the worst. The doctor also said that my Mr will be seeing a specialist in the morning.
So while waiting for the blood to arrive, I called his brother to let him know what’s going on. My Mr wants his family to know what’s going on like how he would like to be informed if they were in the same condition. He was also very adamant that NOONE comes to visit him in the hospital. He doesn’t want them to see him in the state that he was in. I tried to reassure his brother and promised him that I would text him about anything that happens. I would keep him in the loop.
It was around 9:30pm by the time the blood finally came and the nurse hooked everything up to my Mr. She said that he would be getting four bags worth of blood throughout the night – they change the bag every two hours. He told me I should go home. I told him that I was staying but he wasn’t having it. He told me that I should just go home and rest, he didn’t want me sleeping in the emergency room on a chair. He’ll just be playing his games all night (we brought his Nintendo DS and Playstation Vita). So I went home.
I was so hungry when I was at the hospital but with the turn of events, I had lost my appetite. I just went ahead and packed some things for my Mr to bring to the hospital the next morning just in case they wanted him on stay another night. It was past midnight by the time I got all settled in bed to I just couldn’t get comfortable. I had such a hard time sleeping knowing that he was in the emergency room… getting over a liter of blood transfused.
The next morning
I got up at 6:30, had my coffee while Riley had his breakfast. My mom gave me a lift to the hospital before dropping Riley off at school. During the ride, I got a text from my Mr saying that the nurses were prepping to move him! I got to the ER just in time! He was scheduled to see the specialist at 7:30 in the morning.
Post-op, he was so groggy from being consciously sedated that the specialist had to tell me his results. She gave me his prescription and told me that he needs to get blood work done once a month for 3 months. Another doctor came to the unit (a doctor from the emergency department) to finally assess my Mr.
The emergency doc looked over his entire chart and explained the definitive findings to me:
- As the doctor from the day before explained, my Mr. wasn’t producing enough hemoglobin to keep up with the amount he was losing. The blood transfusion helped by doubling his hemoglobin count but it was still pretty low so his diet needs to be adjusted to more iron-rich foods and an iron supplement.
- He should follow all the specialist’s instructions.
- He’s going to be fatigued for the next few days, so he should take it easy.
- Cut back drastically on alcohol.
I was advised to keep watch. If he feels any similar symptoms, to take him back to the hospital right away! Continual blood loss could lead to organ damage. But he got clearance and I am finally able to take him back home!!!!! He just needed to get final blood work done to make sure everything is okay.
His blood work needed to be done back in the ER so we had wait for a porter to bring him back. I couldn’t take him on my own as he was sedated for his procedure. Just so happens that there was a fire alarm in the hospital (elevators weren’t working) so the porters were backed up! It was a little over two hours before a porter was able to transport my Mr. While waiting, his brother had messaged me stating that his mom was on her way! She doesn’t have a phone so I couldn’t message her letting her know that we were stuck in another unit. By the time we got back to the ER, mom had been waiting an hour an a half.
Surrey Memorial is one of the busiest hospitals in the Lower Mainland but it’s my preferred hospital to go to. It doesn’t matter to me how long the wait times are because it is the only hospital that I’ve been to that actually gives me answers. I’ve been to hospitals with shorter wait times, but they have always just given me narcotics and then send me home with no answers.
It was a pretty busy Monday at the hospital, everything was backed up. We waited at least an hour for his blood work to be taken. While waiting for the results to come back, his mom and I went across the street to Tim Hortons to grab some lunch. My Mr was finally allowed to eat – he hadn’t been allowed to eat because of his procedure that morning. We brought him back large chicken noodle soup. I would’ve thought that he’d down it since he hasn’t eaten in over 24 hours, but that wasn’t the case – even he was surprised!
My Mr was feeling restless. I completely understand. I don’t think anyone can get fully comfortable in the emergency room. He kept wondering how I managed when I had to stay almost 72 hours in the hospital when he was so restless and it hadn’t been 24 hours yet. Three hours has passed and we hadn’t received his results yet, so I went to his RN for an update. She was super sweet and friendly (that helps a lot). She told me that his results weren’t in yet. I think I waited another hour before I became that person. Seeing my Mr be so uncomfortable and restless made me uneasy. I just wanted to take him home. His vitals were great whenever they checked on him. I kept thinking that it’s crazy that the one test that’s keeping us in the hospital has taken almost 5 hours! So, I checked with the nurse again. Keep in mind, I wasn’t being rude or anything when I went to ask her… I just wanted to know the results so that I can take him home! She told me she’d check on it right away and let me know.
and then the moment finally came… The nurse came by with the results.