Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Health News–and a Prelude to “People’s Reaction to Old Age and Seniors”


Well, it seems that the crisis is almost over. Yesterday I went to the General Hospital in San Juan del Rio, a brand new building open for only 3 days. Spanking new!

Before I go any further, let me state something with absolute certainty. I am blessed with very good health. I can’t recall the last time that I had a cold or the flu, and this without flu shots. Before I took to the road again, I passed a complete medical with flying colours. No high blood pressure, no sugar or diabetes, no cholesterol, no this, no that. And I must add that this surprised my physician as he kept scrolling down his form with increasing surprise. He’d collected 6 vials of blood for thoroughness.

So last Wednesday, when I went to see a doctor in Tequis, I had checked on the internet for symptoms of CO poisoning and I could have been a model case. This, plus the belated awareness that I had been delinquent in ensuring a sufficient admission of fresh air whenever I used the heater out of reluctance to let the cold in. In addition, the symptoms of nausea and vertigo were not exactly recent. I’d used the heater since the beginning of November and they had become progressively worse since shortly after. Yet clueless, I had remained ignorant of the connection with the gas heater. No longer.

Basically, I was hoping that the doctor would listen to my tale and direct me to where I could get a gasometrical blood test—it measures the percent of CO in the blood—and then point me to where I could be administered pure oxygen, the prescribed antidote. Nothing of the sort happened. After checking my blood pressure, which turned out to be 159/80, an acceptable reading given my age, he flatly stated that there was no way to get the test here, gave me a script for meds to relieve the nausea and another for the vertigo; not without adding a request for a test on lipids. My last cholesterol test had shown a level of 183, which is quite acceptable. Of dead animals, I eat only chicken and fish and am in the process of phasing them out. Reduced risk of cholesterol.

I got the meds, took them, with hardly any improvement. So I headed for the hospital. The triage nurse filled her computer form, had another one check my blood pressure—by then 159/100—and flatly stated that my problem was probably high blood pressure! By then it was about 2 pm. So on to the emergency bed where I was instructed to take EVERYTHING off. I was then hooked to an IV saline drip (one of 2) on the doctor’s order (whom by the way I NEVER got to meet), and supplied some blood for a gasometrical test… and… got my blood pressure checked. This time 159/83, which this new nurse qualified as ok.

Three hours passed. 

At that point, I’d gotten increasingly agitated. Darkness was soon coming, my dogs were outside without benefit of light or shelter, and it would be another 30 to 35 minutes for my ride to come from Tequis to pick me up. No results from the test. No visit by a doctor. The nurse came to check my blood pressure, this time 180/108!!!! My hospital stay had to come to an end or those numbers would go through the roof. I calmly got dressed and signalled to the nurse to PLEASE remove the second drip, which by now had been fully administered. The triage nurse came and asked me to sign a form stating that I had voluntarily (and gladly) decided to exit. Done.

For the sake of clarity, I’ll add that there were 3 nurses on duty and 4 patients in the emergency ward. A nurse said that she’d be by to remove the drip.

Another 50 minutes passed.

(I’d been a student nurse in my younger days but had opted out after a bit less than one year. It could be that I’m not the ideal patient, as the saying goes.)

I removed the needle from my hand aware that my ride was already way past halfway to San Juan, made a mess of it, apologized, got a bandage on my hand and walked out, everyone clucking disapproval. I never got the results of the gasometrical test.

I later learned that I had been referred to as “the lady with the respiratory problem by the intake worker!!!”

I knew with absolute certainty that I was suffering from CO poisoning. Logic and common sense dictated it. I’d now been blessed with high blood pressure, chest problems, not counting being too mentally challenged to know the difference between any of them, this in spite of claiming ownership and knowledge of a body in which I’d lived for over seven decades…

This post will be followed by another one with the second part of the title addressed.


Sondra said...

you probably need to go into a hyperbaric oxygen chamber that is the recommended treatment for CO2 poisoning....check to find out what facility in your area..has one and go there, plan to stay tho so prepare for the dogs ahead of time...best of luck.

RunNRose said...

Hi! I do hope you're feeling better. Am interested in what you're going to say about the other part of your title. Wonder if your experiences will match mine.

Would be nice if you could follow the other poster's suggestion.
Please let us know how you are.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Love your blog. I too have a motorhome, am also 72. Bit wary of the medical profession. A doctor walked in my home last year, grumpily diagnosed an ear infection (without examining me0 and left. I collapsed later and spent 6 days in hospital, had 4 pints of blood, internal bleeding! Good luck.

Stargazer said...

Thank you all for your good wishes and for sympathizing with me. Most of the symptoms have now disappeared, to my great relief.

To Grumpy Old Ken: Sorry to hear about your illness, misdiagnosed but happily repaired in time. Do we have to announce to a physician our own diagnosis??? ... I wonder!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy you are feeling better. I hope you have a good Christmas.

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