Wednesday, February 20, 2013

As I said to Jeni, 'Here we go again.'

It’s been a long day – awoken at 2:30am on Tuesday 19th Feb with my darling Pam struggling to deal with the aftermath of an involuntary regurgitation of her PEG feed, and that it was just a short time thereafter that she asked me to disconnect the feed tube.  It's now 1:40am, Wednesday 20th and I'm yet to go to bed.

202ml of the intended 400ml were all that had been delivered, but Pam’s digestion was running slow and the stomach contents apparently had nowhere else to go but up.  It was a sudden change for both of us, from a peaceful sleep to Pam’s horrid noisy but ineffectual gurgling/coughing in a pathetic effort to dislodge that which had inadvertently been breathed into her trachea.
By 3:30am I decided to check Pam’s body temperature – I wasn’t sure how long it took aspiration into the lungs to thereby register itself as pneumonia, but all was well – temperature just 36.3oC, but Pam was getting so desperate to catch her breath during the incessant coughing fits that I finally got up, transferred her to the lounge and dialled 000 for an ambulance, without even requesting her permission.  Pam’s body-language said it all.
The ambulance officers were pleased that I’d set Pam up in the lounge as it was much easier to get her onto their trolley from there, compared to the awkward track from her bed.  Indeed, it was so decided to take Pam to Accident and Emergency Dept. at the Base Hospital for proper ventilation of her lungs, by now so sorely needed.
It was good to get Pam under the care of the wonderful staff at Mildura Base Hospital’s A and E dept.  It wasn’t overly delightful however, when after an X-ray analysis it was decided to keep Pam right there for the rest of the day as all the wards were ‘chockers’.  I was grateful for the care, but I lamented Pam’s impossibility of sleep in that noisy place, and I thought – ‘Here we go again’.
I sent a text message just after 5am to our two daughters and I was very surprised that at that hour of the day, I got a quick reply from No 2 daughter Jeni, who had been up dealing with little Ellie, crook with a virus.  Eventually, after some hours, I rang her and expressed my feelings about the frailness of my poor Pammy being thrust into the noisy A and E and left there, for there was nowhere else to take her.
I went back home to organise a few things, home-type things, bandroom things, a petrol for the car thing etc. and when I got back to the hospital I was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) to learn that Pam was no longer in Accident and Emergency, but instead, was now in Ward 3.  It wasn’t even lunch-time.  When I consider the angst of previous occasions – described in earlier posts below – it was flabbergasting to realise what had actually happened.  Ah, but I was to learn more!

When I got to Room 20, Ward 3, there was Pam rather 2nd hand and still with the hydrating ventialtion device up her nose.  I thought it was worth a picture, so here's a rather sick Pam still managing a smile...
It wasn't too long before I found out a likely reason for Pam's surprisingly fast relocation - having earlier thought of the phrase, it wasn't long after that in a phonecall to Jeni, I said "Here we go again" and then summarised to her the sorry experiences of the past.
Unbeknowns to me, Jeni had subsequently summarised my sentiments in a very pointed FaceBook commentary about the Mildura Base Hospital and that brought on a plethora of supporting comments from her friends; several of whom possibly having significant clout in relation to Pam's situation.  The essence of that situation is that Pam is very frail, very prone to infection, very prone to pressure sores and even more prone to lack of sleep and her needs should be obvious to the Triage staff that Pam's case should be high on the priority list for the next available ward bed.
I note that FaceBook hasn't helped many birthday parties, overrun and spoilt by gatechashers - but FaceBook may very well have influenced the good outcome regarding Pam's sorry potential.  What say you?

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