Monday Memory

Life Interrupted

Well, I’m back. And what better way to get back into the swing of things than starting with my memories of the past month.

I had just returned from my trip up north (my posts on Day 5 and 6 are yet to come) on Jan. 31st. I had spoken to my husband (Bill) every day and he had mentioned that he wasn’t feeling well. I thought it was just a man-cold kind of thing, and figured a little TLC when I got home would make it all better. However, when I got home I could see he did not look well. By Sunday he looked worse. The best I could get him to agree to was to go see a doctor on Monday. But that night, I told him I was going to sit up and watch him through the night. I was worried because he hadn’t peed all day. (too much information?) Anyway he got mad and said if I sat there watching him he wouldn’t be able to sleep. I said then I guess neither of us was going to sleep. He gave in and said then we may as well go to the hospital. Thank God we did.

The biggest concern the doctors had at first was his kidney function. While in emergency, Bill sat up to cough and passed out. His blood pressure was quite low. But since he was in mid-cough, he was choking and started turning blue. I yelled for the docs and did my best to get him on his side. The docs came running and got him pinked up again. That’s when they decided to admit him.

I left at 4 a.m., since I knew they were going to admit him and I was beat. I came back the next afternoon and he looked a little better but they were still running tests to try and figure out what was going on. I stayed until the evening and then headed home again.

At midnight, the phone rang. It was the hospital. “Your husband flat-lined and is now in ICU. You need to come.”

Talk about waking up in a hurry. I took off in the van, followed by my son and Bill’s brother in the car. My other son was taking a cab from his place in Saskatoon and meeting us at the hospital.

When we arrived, Bill was in the Intensive Care Unit with a tube down his throat to help him breathe. He was fading in and out but each time he woke up he would panic about the tube in his throat, so they had to restrain him. I was frightened, but did my best to hold it together for my sons. I phoned my sister in Birch Hills – she works in a hospital and is my go-to medical expert – and her and her husband came as well. We took turns going in to sit with Bill. By about 4 a.m. they removed the tube and he was able to rest more comfortably.

So apparently, his heart did not actually stop, but was beating so weakly that they could not find a pulse. A nurse just happened to go into his room when it happened and started CPR immediately. After 8 minutes of chest compressions and 2 shots of epinephrine, they managed to get his heart beat back. That’s when they transferred him to ICU and called us.

Over the next couple of days they discovered that he had fluid around his heart and around his lungs. He was transferred to the Coronary Care Unit at RUH. They kept an eye on the fluid around his heart and were going to drain it, but then it resolved on its own. His heart kept racing though, and he still had a lot of fluid around his lungs. They added meds to get rid of the fluid (he managed to lose 10kg of fluid in the next week) and found the correct doses of other meds to keep his heart rate down.

So after 19 days in hospital, he was able to come home. He is recuperating slowly – he is still weak, and still has more fluid to get rid of – but he is recuperating.

He doesn’t remember the events of that Monday night at all. That’s good. I told him not to worry. I remember it well enough for both of us.

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