Wednesday, February 24, 2010

National Sales Meeting or Pneumonia?

I apparently chose pneumonia.

I thought it was the flu. When I could not get out of bed long enough to pack my bags for my trip to Orlando for Linvatec's National Sales Meeting, I had to cancel my flight.

Two days later, despite lots of Gatorade and Tylenol, I spent most of Saturday knotted in a fetal position on my couch, feverish and sweating. My sister, who is a nurse in the emergency department of Denver's level one trauma hospital, checked in on me throughout the day while she was working. I texted details of my symptoms to her and she consulted with her colleagues.

Finally, she called and said, "You've done everything you can for yourself. I don't think it's unreasonable for you to go to the emergency room." I didn't want to, but I had to admit I wasn't getting any better after 3 days. Probably worse.

When I arrived at the local hospital, the nurse in triage asked me a series of questions and took my pulse. It was the same hospital that Raquel and I had visited last summer, in fact. As I drooped in my chair, the nurse called back to the ER. I heard her tell someone I was tachycardic and she deemed me a "yellow".

Tacychardia was one of the new medical terms I picked up while at the hospital. It meant my heart was racing; in my case, at about 130 beats per minute.

In short order, she escorted me down the hall and coaxed me toward a wheelchair. "It's no trouble, really," she said. Pride was rather useless at that point, so I sank into the chair. She whisked me back to a room in the ER, where a doctor and nurse teamed up to evaluate my condition.

Some questions, tests and an x-ray or two later, they told me I had pneumonia. I was also told that my white blood count was through the roof.

The doctor showed me a cloudy mass in my right lung on the x-ray. "That should not be there," she said. "You are not exactly circling the drain, but my nurse tells me he thinks you are looking rather puny. I don't contradict my staff. I think we should at least keep you overnight for observation."

The staff doctor who came to visit me next was more stern. "You have raging pneumonia in your right lung. Expect to be here for several days."

I was just relieved to know the cause of my suffering.

After the doctors left, I laid there, quiet and exhausted, as the nurse began to rehydrate me through an IV and dose me with antibiotics. I was fortunate to have several great nurses looking over me that night.

By the next morning, I was not completely well, of course. However, I was amazed at how much better I felt than the night before. I had arrived at the hospital sick, miserable and rather frightened. Twelve hours later, I was relatively comfortable and on the mend. The turnaround was pretty miraculous.

I am truly grateful, for my return to health and for the great care I received while I was at the hospital. The staff throughout my stay was terrific in every way.

I sometimes interview people who are motivated to get into healthcare sales, because they or one of their loved ones have received great care through a trying illness or injury. My own appreciation for the great things that our healthcare providers do has grown immensely as a result of my own experience.

1 comment:

Sunny said...

This was a very interesting article and thank you for posting. My dad is currently in the hospital with the same exact situation. However, don't know your age but he is near 70, recovering from cancer removal in a kidney, a heart disease patient, and other issues.

Your story was very intesting becuase I found out about 30 minutes ago what my dad was diagnosed with. He is in one of the best hospitals in the area and under the best team of doctors. Seeing how your story was published in Feb 2010 and now that it is July 2010, I hope this hospital takes care of the virus quickly and correctly.

Thank you again for your post and I hope your health is better. Hope you have a long and healthy life.