Quarantine day 14-not going so well…Part 1

Day thirteen did not start out well. The old kitty Beezil got me up at 4 am for his “foursises” feeding as we call them and I noticed I was a bit dizzy, like a bottle of wine dizzy, hahahaha! Took an ibuprofen, thinking it was inner ear and went back to bed. Wasn’t any better the next day so I lay still and rested. Thursday morning, the end of our quarantine, well, not the day I had hoped for. Was looking forward to a trip to the grocery store finally. My list was a mile long and I had high hopes to restock. Instead, everything started to swim, lying down, standing up, sideways. After the first thing I’d eaten in 24 hours, a piece of toast came up the retching was constant with the spinning. Mike had a panicked look on his face as I dry retched into a bowl for half an hour with no breaks. He called the Doctors office, they could see me next week…I think I might have had my first anxiety attack about right then. He said we had to go-Hospital. I wasn’t sure how I could even move but was motivated by the fact I didn’t want to lie in bed dry retching and spinning either for the rest of my life;)

Mike started the truck. “Get the bucket out of the bunkie” I said between retches “health card, phone, blanket” it was cold out. I was in my pajamas, he put shoes on my feet and then I crawled backside down on my rear, like the scene out of the “exorcist” and my head did feel like it was spinning around like that;) the cats were freaking out “What is wrong with her!” Step by step I lay on my back and pushed myself down the steps as Mike Pulled me up and steadied me to the backseat of the truck where I lay, with my wonderful bucket, my glorious bucket and he drove…Slowly I kept telling him, I’m not dead yet;)…my theme this week…

It felt like an eternity the drive in. I recognized some turns, the stops, the lights, where were we now, yet a part of me just could care less at this point. I remember arriving, Mike pulled me by my feet until I could slither out of the back seat, his friend Dave sprayed the wheelchair arms with disinfectant, thanks Dave, appreciated that, and someone wheeled me towards the modified emergency entrance. People in masks, shields, as I retched into the bucket. I can’t really remember all the details except being wheeled into a somewhat familiar emergency room, I’ve been here before, usually standing up, or clutching cracked ribs;) not like this. The floor was laid out with lines and I was wheeled into a taped off spot on the floor, I passed one other chair in a taped off spot and continued to retch, as the nurse was leaving I asked her” Can I just lie on the floor?” I felt like I was pleading…”Geez! No you can’t” was her reply in a heavy Lanark County brogue, think Scottish with a bit of Irish thrown in;)..and I retched.

It may have only been ten or fifteen minutes but felt like an eternity. I was trying to concentrate on not dropping or losing the phone, no pockets, I tucked it under my leg on the wheelchair, my lifeline to Mike. By the time I was wheeled into Triage, I was hyperventilating, the nurse said” Breathe threw your nose and out your mouth slowly” my hands and fingers felt like little electrical shocks were zapping through them down to my toes. History, quarantine, 14th day back from coming across the US I remember mumbling, retching, my head was hanging in the bucket and I never took it out. Blood pressure, temperature taken, I was wheeled into the emergency room and with help got out of the chair and lay on a stretcher…heaven, the spinning slowed slightly, the retching eased but the room was still moving. An IV was inserted, fluids, graval, Dramamine I heard and then I was left to rest, shaking with cold and nerves at this point. “The cold fluids you’re getting” the nurse said “I’ll get you a warm blanket.”

When the very kind soft spoken Doctor came over I can’t recall much of the conversation. He kept looking at my eyes and tilted me backwards a few times before leaving me and I could hear the conversations happening in the background as my head swirled, contact the husband, possible stroke, sending her to Smiths Falls for a Catscan. Not a dog scan I can remember thinking;) The nurse couldn’t reach Mike but he’d called Graham and Pam about no signal out at the lake and they asked if I could give permission to Graham to speak to Mike, I mumbled of course. Then the ambulance drivers and medic arrived…my very first ambulance ride…

Through out, I can not stress enough how kind and considerate these people were. The nausea was slowly dissipating and the medics moved me to their stretcher and I felt like a piece of toast being popped into a horizontal toaster as I was clicked into place in the ambulance, hooked up, strapped in, and warned it would be a bumpy ride with a laugh, “Blame the driver, not me” the medic said from behind his mask. He asked where I was from, we talked about Baja and California, he’d done a road trip there from San Francisco South to San Diego but not Mexico, too scary, I told him he should have, it was a wonderful place, wonderful people, food and wine! He said his parents had panicked trying to get back from Palm Springs as all the flights had been booked but they made it home after 10 days and through quarantine as well, and then we arrived. The bright sunlight and cold temperature felt beautiful on my face as they unloaded me. I might mention, I didn’t have my glasses. I am REALLY short sighted! So as spinning as this was, add a dimension of blur to that as well! ha! I hadn’t had my contacts in for the days I was dizzy and now I was totally blind in my books. I usually only make it from the bed to the bathroom without them or my glasses;)

Then come the corridors, a constant theme in the next few days. I arrived at emergency, I know this one as well after a surgery more than a decade ago, unchanged. more wheeling and corridors, lights, and a stop finally, change of stretcher, more blankets, heated blankets are the best. I felt like I was in a corridor but it was emergency. I could hear a woman coughing in the other corner and her conversation with the doctor, she was a health worker, asthma, couldn’t breathe, sort of breath when she walked, coughed, they did a Covid test right there on her as I lay on my back staring at the ceiling trying to concentrate on the conversations around me, the other humanity present. A nurse pulled my shoes off, after trying to untie them, like Mike did, but they are fake ties;) “Just pull” I remember mumbling at this point and she put them in a bag with my sad pajama shirt, didn’t know I was going out today;)

More corridors, and into a small room, the cat scan room. Close your eyes, flashes of light even with my eyes closed, aligning the lasers I think she said, then more corridors and fluorescent lights flashing by, sometimes I just closed my eyes and felt the rock of the stretcher, the turns, the bumps into doors, the auto door openers being hit and then I was back in emergency.

Thursday 5:25pm I’m looking at the texts. “Hi, emergency wants you to call them.loveuou. In Smith’s Falls, cat scan done, no cats. still can type;) Of course I am totally freaked out!” then “they are taking me to brockville for an MRI.” I didn’t tell him what the doctor told me. He saw something on the cat scan but wanted to have it double checked. They were sending me to the Stroke unit in Brockville….calmate calmate I kept telling myself, secound ambulance drive in my life. The medic and driver put a huge smile on my face as they transferred me over to their stretcher I said” I’m not dead yet!” laughing., they came back with “Bring out your Dead! Bring out your dead!” Monty Python fans get extra special treatment they chimed in chuckling merrily. Humour makes the world go around:) they had an air of maturity to them the first medic didn’t he was young, cute medic I had texted later to Mike;)…more masks, more corridors and a blast of sun and fresh air again, that beautiful feel of nature. Back into the horizontal toaster and clicked in, strapped in, no bondage jokes I thought, warnings about the rough ride, not sure what road it was, he said, but I can’t remember which route they took. He accelerated on the straight stretches and slowed in the curves on the very bumpy road. I lay there being rocked back and forth, it was actually comforting in a way that rocking. I thought for a few moments, I should take a picture, but to be honest I didn’t have the strength or the mental ability to do so, let alone any focusing skills! ha!You could hear every bolt and screw clanking in the ambulance and the ride reminded me of my old 65 corvette, Brut Go. Mike hated it. I loved the harsh ride, you could feel every bump, every piece of gravel, every change in the road, I think I lay there smiling for the 45 minute or so ride in the quiet, they checked my blood pressure and temperature a few times but otherwise it was peaceful. As we left I told him the ride was the same as my old Vette, Tell anyone who is whining about the bumps it’s like a ride in a hot rod, “trade ya,” he chuckled as I was wheeled to another corridor.

This one was different, not just masks but face guards and suits. It was now beginning to feel like a science fiction movie. where’s Ellen Ripley when you need her? (Aliens) as I was wheeled into a private room. One nurse came in at a time and had to fully dress outside before entering. suit, gown, gloves, masks, face shields…gulp…wasn’t expecting to come here but maybe my symptoms were weird Covid ones I started thinking. Like a bit more stress was necessary;) I managed to text Mike””In Brockville, graval helping nausea. room 289 if you want to call” and I can’t remember if he did, but I have vague recollection of talking to him. Nurses explained why they were dressed the way they were, this was the isolation ward and the doctor would be by in the morning. I found the battery saver on the phone and put it on my table tray beside the bed. All I remember is the beeping all night. I think they had a heart monitor on me and the calls from other rooms echoed down the halls. This could be the last place I ever see I thought, and I may never feel Mike’s touch again. An overwhelming feeling of grief and desperation overcame me as I lay there, thinking about the many who had already experienced this separation and I kept telling myself. “I can get better, I will get better!” Those who know me know, I don’t give up on anything without a fight….

Just a note: I’m trying to write this as soon as I can so those little conversations and memories don’t slip away. I’m still very unsteady sitting here at the computer, trying to concentrate on the keyboard as best I can, the room is still moving now, but not spinning wildly;)

Part two later-stay tuned…spoiler…I’m not dead yet;) Have to go lie down!

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