Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Hospital emergency departments

are interesting places.
We were extraordinarily fortunate in that they took the Senior Cat straight in yesterday. "Ramping" has been a very serious issue at hospitals here. Patients have often been left in an ambulance to wait for hours.
I trailed in behind two efficient ambulance officers - the first two "rapid response" team having left. They handed over the extensive notes they had made. I confirmed various details.
And then we waited.
At times like that it is almost fortunate that the Senior Cat is getting very deaf and does not have a great deal of medical knowledge. The woman in the next cubicle was having a very serious panic attack and they were trying to calm her. The woman on the other side had just given birth to a very premature baby who had been rushed to neonatal intensive care. Her husband was distraught.  I could hear all this. 
Someone was wheeled past rapidly with a little too much blood showing - not all from a head wound.
We waited some more. A lovely young nurse came in and apologised for keeping the Senior Cat waiting. His only response was, 
    "You're busy this morning."
They asked more questions. The ambulance staff had given him some pain relief but it had done nothing to help.
Now I have to say here that the Senior Cat does not complain. He has been through quite a lot of major surgery without complaint. If he said "Ten" when asked on a scale of "one to ten" when asked about pain I knew it was really severe. He was losing colour every time the pain "grabbed" him again.
Trying to get him to answer questions was more complex yesterday. I don't want to try and answer questions for him but he was struggling to do it - and getting a little confused. 
    "I think he's going to be admitted,"the young intern who saw him next told me.
    "We came prepared," I told him.
We moved away from the panic attack patient and the woman who had just given birth. She was still trying to calm her husband but I think they both knew what "Team to paediatric resus" likely meant. People came in and out. The Senior Cat was given a small dose of one of the most powerful painkillers but it did nothing. An hour later they did it again. More people arrived. They repeated the neurological tests I had done earlier, that the ambulance staff had done and that the intern had done. None of us thought he had had a stroke. It was just the pain in his back.
    "What do you think the problem might be?" the young intern asked me, "You know him well."
    "Given what I think he did," I said, "I think he may have cracked a rib. Given his general physical condition that is likely to be extremely painful. He isn't one to complain."
     "No, he keeps apologising."
An x-ray of his back next. They whisked him away and I waited. Two members of staff I know from elsewhere stopped and spoke to me. One said,"We've got an interpreter here now or I would have suggested coming to get you."
I don't think my sign language is up to that sort of interpreting although I could probably have helped a bit.
Again I heard, "Team to paediatric resus please patient coming in now." 
That would have been a traumatic morning for them.
The Senior Cat came back to the bay I was waiting in. Another very young doctor said she couldn't see anything on the x-ray but they would wait for the radiographer to have a look.
Middle Cat, who had been over to see the Senior Cat into the ambulance, arrived. As a former physiotherapist her medical knowledge is far superior to mine. 
More discussion. The Senior Cat was offered a sandwich for lunch and they offered me one too. A sandwich for me and I wasn't one of the patients?
   "You've been here since nine this morning and it is almost two," the woman with the trolley said. I had not been aware of the time.
It was late afternoon before the radiographer sent a message to say, "Yes, a cracked rib."
The message arrived while the hospital's physiotherapist and Middle Cat were seeing whether the Senior Cat could sit and stand but going for a walk proved too much. He couldn't answer the pharmacist's questions about his medications.
"We are sending him to 3G," the next doctor said, "You two go home."
Today is going to be very hot, a forecast high of 42'C, I am hoping they will keep the Senior Cat there where it is cool and they can administer pain relief until the nerve block they talked of doing kicks in - if they can do it.
I just want to be a mother cat and lick him better!


Judy B said...

Hope the Senior Cat is comfortable by now, and that you are keeping cool today.

Jan said...

Ribs are very painful when broken or bruised and there is little that can be done. I hope they give him something that works and that recovery is as swift as possible given his age. And too that you get over this. A shock to you, even though you are not the patient.

Allison said...

My thoughts are with you all. Healing thoughts, cooling thoughts, and more as they occur.