October 20, 2017

Day 16 - Part Two

It seems like a 20 minute ride to the hospital. I learn it is a level 1 regional trauma center serving the province of New Brunswick. Vitals remain the same, no improvements, but no deterioration either. They begin a more methodical approach.

If you are having a heat attack, a dose of this should help, you will tell very quickly. Probably just hearing the phrase heart attack probably makes my pulse jump a little. Any better? No change I reply. Lets give you some more. This is repeated 4 times. Same result. Move on to medication two. This should open up your breathing passages. One dose should help, again repeated several times. I can tell no difference. We arrive at the hospital.

The medical team is waiting as I am wheeled into the trauma center. Immediately blood is drawn for blood work. Sure glad they use the IV already in my arm. They start at the beginning. As the questions begin I reach into my pocket and hand them the yellow card, even has insurance information. Everyone wants to know how they are going to be paid.

Their approach is a little more broadsided. Multiple drugs are administered nearly simultaneously, with the assumption that one of them will arrest the condition.

I must be medically stable. My oxygen level has obviously improved and I feel better. The frenzy subsides to a level of constant attention. More discussion about how this came about. The underlying cold, more detail of my medical history, allergic reactions, etc.

Many possible causes remain on the table. Time to find it. First up CT (I think) scan looking for any blood clots. I'm taken to radiology. They are waiting, my name is checked and verified. I am asked about allergies. "Contrast Dye" I respond. She freezes, makes a phone call and they have me on my way back to trauma center.

The staff is in constant radio communication. Shortly they stop and head back to radiology. Trauma was aware of my allergy, but feel they already have given me enough drugs to counter any reaction. Just to be safe they are sending someone, drugs in hand, just to be sure.

The contrast dye is given without reaction. Subsequently I learn that contrast dye has been reformulated in recent years with a resultant reduction in allergic reactions.

More blood work, X-Rays, breathing tests, constant monitoring, the work continues.

About the time the ship is leaving for its next port, absent one passenger, my luggage is delivered to my hospital room. I'm confident they have most of it. It is easy when everything needs to be packed, and the room empty when you are finished.

Though there is absolutely nothing they can do, it is time to let my family know what is happening. I get my phone and send Adrienne a text to let her know that I am off the ship and in the ER.

About 10:30 or 11:00 the Doctor returns. No definitive cause has been found, they want me to stay the night, and he will consult with the other doctors to determine if there is any reason not to return to the ship. I will be discharged sometime in the morning.

Royal has a special customer care team to assist passengers during times like these. They are the team that makes sure luggage gets to me, finds appropriate medical care anywhere in the world, and reaches out to help contacting relatives, finding transportation, or helping in any way they can. They have talked to the hospital several times to inquire on my status, I have overheard the conversations, and they have tried to reach me more than twice, but I can't usually get to my phone, or it has been off.

Sleep is impossible. Side effects of some of the drugs, high level of anxiety, and too much happening. This section of the the ER has about 25 beds around one central doctors station. I am just a few feet away and can overhear nearly every conversation amongst the staff. Conversations fall into several categories. Discussion about one of the patients, complaining about some silly management directive, or the exchange of the latest jokes or sports scores. Exactly what I would expect to hear in nearly every work environment, I think the formula is universal.

The hospital is over capacity, so I can't be moved to a regular room. I am kept in the trauma ER.

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