Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sitting in the ER...on New Year's Day...500 miles from home

Need I say more? Well, of course I should. It started with severe pain in Camille's left leg on Monday, December 30th. I ran her in to my pediatrician's partner, the very capable and professional Dr. Martinez. He saw nothing but a tiny bug bite and a small red rash, but prescribed Bactrum just in case because that will treat a staph infection. The next day we're about to set sail on our 500-mile drive to Grass Valley (1 hour east of Sacramento) to spend New Year's with Tim's mom. Camille's leg has this angry red rash right up to her knee and she feels feverish. I take a "wait-and-see" approach and by the time we arrive at Joan's I tell Tim that we'll call first thing in the morning to Dr. Martinez if the rash hasn't subsided. The next morning the rash, obviously, hadn't subsided. So off to the ER every day for four days to see four different doctors and get two different kinds of IV antibiotics mixed in with concern and confusion on the looks of the doctors' faces. Her ankle had swelled considerably after the first round of antibiotics and there was talk of admitting her if the swelling didn't come down. It did come down, thank God.

I must say that getting care at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley was a very good experience. Every nurse, doctor, and administrator was wonderful, professional, and very kind. I was amazed that with how busy it was most days I always felt like they made Camille a priority and were very sympathetic to her and responsive to all of my questions. Camille was very patient with the whole ordeal and didn't complain at all. She was pleasant and calm throughout every situation she was in. There were some interesting occurrences, however....

So, I'm getting old and jaded. On day 2 we got "Newbie Doc" whose last name rhymes with "goon." This was literally his first day in the ER having just finished his residency like, last week. I could swear I saw his lunchbox that his Mommy packed him in his "DOCTOR LOCKER." (This is the jaded part.) Now, when all was said and done and after many conversations and consults with my sister and dad (medical people), it turned out that Newbie Doc's antibiotic was the preferred choice for Camille's symptoms. It was his zealous confidence, though, that made me question him more than the seasoned ER docs who looked more puzzled and pensive. I did note some serious misinformation he gave me that I felt was from his inexperience. He was nice, though, and every doctor has to have that first day with patients to "cut their teeth" on. The bite marks don't hurt too badly, though because I went to my Dad the following day and had him re-examine Camille's ankle, refute Newbie Doc's assessment, and talk to Dr.Martinez about his recommendation for an MRI. Hopefully, Camille won't have an infection in her ankle joint which could give her arthritis in her ankle for the rest of her life. Ouch! I'm praying this isn't so. Tomorrow we'll find out.

And then there were the barfers....While waiting in the ER in the far corner near the door as far away from all the sick people as we could be, I saw barfing people. It sounded and looked horrible, but I did have compassion on them. On both days I brought each barfer a box of Kleenex. On the last day we were there every bed was full so Camille got her IV out in the hall in front of the nurses station and right next to the doors that opened to 37 degree weather bringing in ambulance patients. Our nurse, Patrick, who kind of pranced around, commented that the barfer in one of the exam rooms "made his (twinkle) toes curl" at the sound of wretching. We laughed and agreed. What is it about that sound of barfing, I mean, full-on puking, that is so "unsettling?" I'm just glad it wasn't me or Camille. Anyway, Patrick was also a traveling nurse who was very competent at his job and well-respected at the hospital. I was glad to hear that there are some traveling nurses who give that kind of nursing job a good name.
So, off to the MRI place we go. I'll keep you posted on her results. I must comment, though, that Anthem Blue Cross and Facey Medical Foundation have been amazingly competent and extremely helpful so far. I'm grateful for incredible insurance that is due to the fact that Tim works for LAUSD. There is a lot of grief associated with working for LAUSD to be sure, but their medical benefits aren't part of it. Thank you Lord!

1 comment:

dietcokegrrl said...

Oh Laura--that's terrible!!! I am glad that everything worked out okay (keep me posted on the MRI results)!

Nothing worse than dealing with a newbie doctor. I hate dealing with the residents at Children's when we go for Sammy legs and they come in reviewing the chart and asking me in their most authoritative voice they can muster up "so what seems to be the problem." UGH!!!! I so want to just tell them to just go away and let me wait for his REAL doctor to come in. I usually just look at them for a long moment and then say "he has rickets due to not being able to metabolize Vit D and we are here as a follow up to his surgery last July." There, what more do they need to know? We aren't there for a diagnosis...

Anyway, sorry to hear about Camille...poor thing. Hope you guys are all doing better! It's so nice that you have your dad to call for things too!