This afternoon I was in my classroom working on paperwork when my cellphone rang. Luckily it was a PD day so there were no kids, so I was free to answer my phone.
It was our family Doctor’s office. The receptionist asked me to hold for the Doctor. I’m thinking this is a little weird, but Mr I had a follow up appointment with the GP this morning, so I figured it was related.
The Doctor tells me that when Mr I was there this morning he was completely unable to focus on what the Doctor was saying and was having trouble answering questions. The Doctor did not want to have him driving and had offered to have someone from the office drive him to either Emerg or home. Mr I declined Emerg and was driven home. This was stunning to me because he had seemed perfectly normal when I left the house 3 hours before his appointment.
Then the Doctor said something about alcohol. I told him it was impossible that Mr I drank before the appointment and then drove, because he has an interlock on his ignition system.
The Doctor asked what else it could be. I told him Mr I hasn’t been sleeping well lately, but otherwise I didn’t know (Dude, you’re the Doctor shouldn’t you have some theories) but now that I think about it I might have misread him and he was implying drug use. Definitely not. He doesn’t even like to take aspirin. He’s scared of needles and has a horrible time swallowing pills. He gets the dry heaves daily taking his prescription meds. In any case GP wants to meet with us next week.
Anyways, I rush off to tell my VP I can’t finish my paperwork due to a family emergency and rush home. On my way to the car I try to call my MiL and Mr I’s sister to see if they can call him at home and check on him. I don’t want to do it, because if I call and something is really wrong, I don’t want to try and drive home really upset and get into an accident. Neither of them pick up.
My car is running on fumes, so I have to stop for gas, and while I am there my SiL calls back. I tell her the situation and she says she will phone him.
A little while later she calls back to say he isn’t answering (I have hands free calling). My this point I am on country roads near my house and decide to call him on his cell and the house line. No answer.
I get home, and the front door is unlocked but he isn’t home. He never leaves without locking up. Weirdly there is a a pile of cash on the couch. Mr I hates putting money in his wallet and just stuffs bills in his pockets. This looks like it spilled out of his pocket and he just left it there. On closer inspection, there is this little glass vial of pills sitting with the money. I am weirded out, but when I look at his prescription meds it is just the pill he has been prescribed to aid his digestion. He has to take it before he eats, and I guess he partitioned it so he has a portable dose. It’s other use is promoting lactation, so unless he was selling it to people who have a human milk fetish or something nothing untoward was going on.
I try to think where he might be and call the local pub. They tell me he just left. I start marching down the street ready to tell him off for going out after his Doctor sent him home. As I get farther, I see him in the distance walking with someone, who seems to steady him at one point. When I get closer, I recognize the guy as one of his bar buddies, though I don’t know his name. I hear the guy tell him he needs to go to the hospital.
I walk Mr I home, and on the way I call his sister. She talks to him, and from his confused replies agrees he needs to go to the hospital. I tell him when we get home I want him to get in the car. I will grab his prescriptions and a bottle of Glucerna (he’s prediabetic and I don’t know if he has eaten) and we will go to Emerg. He agrees, but when he gets in front of the house he turns and goes inside instead.
I hand him the Glucerna, tell him to drink it, and dial 911. Then send an ambulance followed up with a couple of cops. At first, he’s very cheery with the paramedic, but then it becomes clear he’s cheery, but confused. He can’t remember the name of our town. The paramedic asked me what has been happening. I describe things, and when I get to the bit about the money, Mr I chirps “Money, I have money!” And he pulls a bill from his pocket.
He keeps holding it up as the paramedics convince him to come to the ambulance to be checked out,and when he goes out the door, he tries to give it to one of the cops.
They do various tests, and then convince him to let them drive him to the hospital. At one point, I am telling him about how the GP got someone to drive him home, and the paramedic was “What? Why? Why didn’t he just call us?” A good question, and again, I can only think the GP thought it was a substance problem, and didn’t want to force him to go to the hospital if he wasn’t ODing or something. I don’t know.
They tell me to wait 1/2 an hour and then go to the hospital too. I call my SiL back, and let her know what happened with the paramedics. Her Mom is over at her house by now. I also call my parents and tell them what is happening.
I then decide to head up to the pub to see if anyone can tell me what happened there that a friend decided he needed to be walked home. Just as I am about to leave I see our next door neighbour come home. His office is a couple doors down from the pub and he has lunch there regularly. So I call out to him, hoping he might know.
Turns out he had seen Mr. I at the pub, and had been very concerned. Apparently he came in, ordered a pint, drank it, had normal conversations, but then suddenly started wandering aimlessly around the bar. Our neighbour said he was reminded of what his own father was like when he had a minor stroke, so he went over, looked Mr I carefully in the eye and asked him if he was ok. He says Mr I’s pupils were dilated, but he insisted he was fine. Our nieghbour went back to his table and asked friends what they should do when Mr. I suddenly headed out the door. Our neighbour wanted to go get his car and drive Mr I home but one of the younger men said he would just walk him home since we live so close. That was who I met on the street.
So I head to the hospital. He’s in Emerg. The nurse draws bloods. The doctor comes by and takes a history, and tells me he has a low grade fever. He’s still confused. They put him on an IV drip. We spend an hour on him complaining he has to pee, and me explaining that no, he can’t go to the bathroom, he needs to stay in the room, and use the portable urinial. Every time I think I have him convinced, and he tells me I can help him undo his pants (which I realize are, in actual fact my pants. To be fair he has a pair of cargo pants the same colour as these, but on the other hand, I do not think he has ever owned a bootcut :D ) he gets mad and does them back up. Then he tries to disconnect the monitors and take his IV out, so he can go to the bathroom. A nurse wraps his IV in gauze. He starts trying to undo the gauze. I divert his fingers by first getting him to peel off all the stickers from the EKG they did, and when those are done, I remember I have a fidget I got for a kid at school in my purse, so I give him that to play with a bit.
Finally, after an hour a nurse comes by and convinces him to use the bottle.
The Doctor comes in to say one of his liver enzymes is very high which can cause mental confusion. They are still doing tests to figure out the low grade fever. They give him lactolose. Apparently in this context, lactolose makes the intestines inhospitable to ammonia producing bacteria. Mr I was diagnosed with an H pylori infection back in the summer, after it turned up in a liver biopsy. H. Pylori produces ammonia. He had finished a course of antibiotics and was scheduled to do a test to see if the infection had cleared up later this month. I wonder if they didn’t get it all?
While we are waiting, I am texting with my SiL (phones are allowed in the Emerg). I accidentally hit the Facebook video chat button at one point. I cancel it, but before I can text to say it was an accident. She calls. Mr I is aggitated again, so I hand him the phone to talk to her. When he is done he can’t disengage from the conversation, and keeps saying bye, over and over. He says he is going to give the phone back to me, but doesn’t. When he finally does, she tells me that his responses sound like one of her dementia patients.
At one point Mr I’s sister texts me to say her Mom pressured her to call her other brother (known to regular groupthink readers as ABiL) and tell him Mr. I is in Emerg. She keeps the details to a minimum, just telling him Mr I was brought in for delirium and they are running tests. ABiL immediately engaged Pompous Ass mode, condescending saying to her “Of course I have a lot of questions about the bloodwork, and and what the Dr has to say, but we will probably never find out.”
She told him that she had called him as not as a nurse to ask him opinion but as a sibling who is concerned about their brother, and he should be responding with concern as a sibling, not as a nurse as this point, because it is none of their business as to reasons why. (Mr I generally tells his sister a lot more about his health than his brother, because his brother does things like demand a list of his meds, and then say he wants to meet with the family Doctor to discuss them. He did this as a first year RPN student taking his first pharmacology course. Oh, and for the record, he is OK if I post health things here, because it is anonymous. )
There are periods when he is quiet, and I read a bit from the teacher book I brought with me (first thing I saw when I was leaving the house) Holy hell, there is some really good stuff in this. I will post for GT teachers when things slow down, but seriously, do what you can to get your self a copy of “Calm, Alert and Learning” by Dr Stuart Shanker!
He is admitted, and when we get to the ward, I warn the nurses that he has a tendency to roll out of bed, and can sleepwalk when he is stressed. They stick a pad under his bottom sheet that sets off an alarm if he gets up, and give him a wristband that marks him as a sleepwalker. He says he has to pee and they tell him they need him to stay in bed and hand him a urinal. He’s more willing to use it now. He seems more lucid, but is still giving confused answers now and then. I suddenly realize there is a piece of paper in the pocket of his hoodie and pull it out. It’s a prescription from our GP. I show it to the nurse and she tell me to hold on to it. I find out later it’s a new blood pressure med. the paramedics had asked me something about a blood pressure med, but last I knew he had been taken off his blood pressure med, when his pressure had been dropping too low. Guess the GP had decided to start him on something new.
They ask me to bring in his CPAP machine, so once he is settled, I go home, get the CPAP, his glasses, some PJs, etc. Come back, convince him to change, and oh, my lord, you know that old thing about “always wear clean underwear, in case you go to the hospital?” He is wearing the most saggy, stained pair of whitey tighties that he owns. They’re yellowish, and have ink stains on them from a time when a pen got in the wash. The elastic in the legs seems to be finished, too. Get him to change into a fresh pair I brought and those are going in the garbage.
After all that it’s 11 PM, so I haven’t eaten since lunch. Go to the 24 hour MacDonalds drive through. While waiting to get to the pick up window, I look over and see a poster about the recall on MacDonalds fitness trackers for kids for skin irritation and burns and crap, crap crap! It dawns on me that I have seen at least two JKs with those things since school started! Can’t remember who it was. Make a mental note to email the Kindergarten team about it, when things settle down. Funny the directions the brain goes at a time like this. Drop into bed with MacDonalds and my iPad and start typing this, as I don’t feel ready to sleep. Fall asleep typing this.
Going to give it a few hours and head back over. Fortunately the hospital is close.