I immediately grabbed my coat and we left for the hospital. The poor woman had suddenly been onset with severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. She brought a plastic bag with her, because she couldn't even complete the car ride without having to vomit. She looked awful. Of course, this had to happen during lunchtime rush hour, so it took us awhile to get to the hospital.
Once there, I found my way to the emergency entrance. I'd never taken anybody to the emergency room before (a good thing probably), so I didn't know precisely what to do. I knew there would be signs though, so I just followed them and found my way to the right place. I pulled up, and somebody with a wheelchair came directly to the car. I let them take her away, and I parked the car. I then hurried inside and caught up with her at the admissions desk.
They were pretty good about taking her in right away to see a nurse, checking her vitals, and giving her a little bowl to vomit in. It took a long time for a doctor to come though. When he saw her, talked to her, and felt her abdoman, he decided he was certain it was a small bowel obstruction. He said the best way to treat this would be to not introduce any medications, give her fluids, and let her rest for awhile. He also ordered some bloodwork and x-rays to be done.
She was still in major pain though, so it's a shame they wouldn't give her anything for it. We waited awhile, then she went off for tests, then we waited longer. She rested while I played solitaire and read a book on my Palm. I started getting quite a headache. I felt embarrased to take anything for it, since she wasn't allowed to take anything and was in much more pain than I. But darn it, my head hurt! So I surreptitiously took a couple tylonals I had in my pack, when she wasn't looking at me. I also had a diet coke and a snack....I felt a little embarrased about that too, but I had missed lunch, and my stomach wasn't ill!
I'm afraid I got terribly bored and antsy, just hanging out next to her bed for hours. Sitting still is not my specialty. Still, I stayed and tried to help out. I'm glad I was able to be there for her.
Finally, after more vomiting, they decided to give her medication for the nausea and the pain. About time! Unfortunately, the drugs didn't really ease her pain at all, they just made her groggy and sleepy. The sleeping was probably good for her...the grogginess was clearly frustrating her, since the doctor then came back and was trying to talk to her.
I guess the bloodwork showed that she was suffering from Acute Pancreatitis, so the doc decided they needed to admit her. He didn't really know what had caused it, or if she still had an obstructed bowel or not. His job was just to get her out of the bed, as he put it -- either cure her and send her home, or diagnose her and admit her to the hospital.
He found her a room and a local doctor to take care of her. Once they moved her into the room, I wished her well and left her there alone. Of course I called her sister for her first, and talked to the nurse about what she'd need...there was really nothing more I could do, and she wanted to sleep anyway.
That took up my whole afternoon; it was 6pm when I left the hospital. I called my boss and told him everything I knew, and that she wouldn't be in the office for at least a couple days. I hope she gets better quickly. A sign of how sick she was: she's the main organizer of our Halloween decorations, and she didn't even once mention it, nor the fact that she would be missing the judging tomorrow!
Then I went to the grocery store. When I got home and was putting groceries away, a box threatened to fall on me from the top shelf. In attempting to catch it, I managed to swing the cupboard door into my face, hitting my nose really hard. Ow!! Now I have another headache, plus a noseache. At least I can take some more Tylenol without feeling badly about it this time....