October 20, 2017

Day 17 – In Hospital Trauma Center

I can't start by saying "when I awakened this morning", because I have not slept a wink in the past 24 hours.

I have been pondering whether to return to ship, or return to Florida. No definitive cause for the breathing difficulties has been found yet. The ship is close to good medical facilities for a week, but then will be pretty isolated in open waters far from the US.

The doctor arrives. He really has no additional information. I probably will be OK to go back to ship, but they just can't find what was causing the shortness of breath.

I tell him that I have made a decision, and will cut the trip short. He is aware of flights leaving Saint John headed to the states, there are several each day, and suggests it will be best then that I stay another day for observation to be sure, and that I will be discharged first thing the next morning in time to catch a plane that leaves late morning or noon. 8:30 or 9:00 AM discharge at the latest. He asks me to have him paged if there is any delay in my discharge.

We have a plan but I alter it a bit. I text Adrienne, ask her to find me a hotel for Tuesday night, and book flights for Wednesday instead of late Tuesday. I now have a buffer of time between discharge and catching a plane. Royal Caribbean customer care team would have made these arrangements for me, but I trust Adrienne much more than Royal. She is good at this type of stuff.

She finds a Holiday Inn close by, and books me on a flight to Montreal and then to Orlando on Wednesday leaving at 5:45 AM.

As she is looking to make travel arrangements, I become aware that I really don't even know where I am. I have to ask one of the nurses. There is both a Saint John and a Saint Johns, an easy confusion, and insignificant in casual conversation, but very important in booking flights. I am in Saint John, New Brunswick, not Saint Johns, Newfoundland.

Adrienne makes a reservation for me Wednesday at a Holiday Inn about a mile away, and for flights leaving at 5:45 AM on Thursday for my return to Florida.

I find the hospital staff very pleasant and the Canadian accent I can handle quite well. I learn that I am designated as an "international patient", but often referred to in private conversation as the "cruise ship passenger".

They have had cruise ship passengers here in the past, but it is not a frequent occurrence.

Throughout the day I am spotted by previous staff that are surprised to see me. A couple of guys from fire and rescue that moved me off the ship stop in and we chat for a bit. Much of the staff is working 12 hour shifts. I hear at least one say this was his 15th straight 12 hour day without a day off!

Monitoring is continued, and I am given a steady flow of various drugs and antibiotics. With all the monitors, bells and ringers it sounds like a carnival with so much commotion. My now having added the use of my phone only adds to the confusion. Yes, of course I can use my phone, rules and regulations for patients are basically non existent.

Whenever an ambulance is on the way, the initial call is often broadcast throughout the entire area. About 4 o'clock a particular call springs everyone into action. They need my room.

Within 60 seconds I am moved out, the room cleaned and sanitized and ready for the next patient. I am delegated to a space in the hallway in front of the nurses station counter. Within 30 minutes I am moved to the the acute ER next door. A similar arrangement except the rooms are smaller and there are 45 instead of 25. Most of the staff is new to me, but a couple I recognize from the day before. Each day staff is assigned to a location where they are needed, but also qualified.

Subsequently I learn that this is a 600 hundred bed hospital which also has a third ER which has 72 beds for patients needing routine ER care. Certainly there are hospitals that are larger, but this is the largest I have ever been a patient in.

I quickly settle in to my new environment. There is a chair, so I can get up and sit if I wish. There is a washroom down the hall, I just need to disconnect myself from all the monitors when ever I need. I actually get a dinner plate here, Ham, carrots, mashed potatoes and a fruit cup for desert. It tastes delicious, the first real food in a couple of days.

My breathing remains fine. I still have the lingering effects of the cold as expected, never have had a fever, and my oxygen level remains normal hours after removing supplemental oxygen. I'm feeling pretty much back to normal except for the cold.

Finally about 2:00 AM I fall asleep.

No comments: