I woke slowly and peacefully. I love the days when I don’t have to go anywhere. Nick had taken the day off and was going golfing with his brother and others up in the mountains that afternoon. I ate breakfast, watched a little news and some Kelly and Ryan then heading to my writing room to get my day started. I had just settled in with my coffee when Mollie called. She never calls during a school day so I worried immediately.
It seems she had gotten a call from her neighbor saying that Maggie, her older golden was outside the fence and running around near the road. Mollie couldn’t leave and asked if I could drive over and put Maggie in the house for the day. Well, of course I could. Since Nick wasn’t leaving for a few more hours he came too and we got the dogs in fine and headed home. Mollie’s house is about thirty-five minutes away so driving and visiting with the dogs a little took over an hour. But we’re good parents and we didn’t really mind. I thought I was back to my peaceful day once we got home – but no.
I was getting on the computer when Nick called on the phone, from the bedroom. He just said, “Could you come back here?” I found him pale, sweaty and in pain. He wanted his shirt off and then he was on the floor. He asked for a cold cloth and I’m trying to figure out what the hell is going on when he mumbles out, “Kidney stone.” He had never had one before but he was pretty sure.
I called his brother to tell him Nick would not be golfing and then we were off to the hospital. Not where I wanted to be exactly, but it’s not like we had a choice. Got him checked in and we saw that they had the large waiting room – all openings sealed well, with a door and a sign saying it was to be kept closed at all times. That was for the covid symptom patients. There were two smaller waiting room set up for others – kidney stones, broken bones, suspected heart attacks and those needing stitches. That and the hallway, which soon became full. We probably waited only twenty minutes before a nurse took his vitals, heard his symptoms and asked for a urine sample. This nurse said that of the ten bays they had in the ER, eight of them had covid patients on ventilators waiting for ICU beds.
We were sent back to our little waiting room to wait and wait and wait. Soon we’d been there for two hours, then four hours, then six hours, then eight, then ten… It wasn’t until around the ninth hour that anything was done. They took blood and took him for a CT scan. As we were nearing hour eleven the doctor spoke with us – with truly excellent news. There was blood in the urine, that combined with the symptoms caused them to believe that he had passed a kidney stone but the CT scan showed that there were no more to come! All lab results were spot on where they should be and there was no infection at all.
We stopped to pay the co-pay and walked out the door almost exactly eleven hours after we’d walked in. It was not the best of days – simply sitting for eleven hours was hell, being exposed to heaven only knows was very scary (I was double masked), and worrying about it all made for one of the longest days I can remember.
So how’s Nick feeling? I couldn’t ask him the next morning, despite sleeping about an hour late he was at work by 4 AM. As he told me the night before when I urged him to stay home and rest the next day, “I’d hate to stay home and break my forty-four record.”
It was forty-four years ago that Nick took his last sick day. He wouldn’t have then but his boss insisted. Nick had dislocated his shoulder while skiing the night before and his arm was not in use, it was snowing and sleeting that morning and Nick had a straight drive car. But if someone had offered to come get him, he would certainly have gone in.
I’m married to a tough old bird and in the ER or not, I’m glad we were there together.
*A huge shout out to the doctors and nurses at our hospital yesterday. Yes, our wait was long, but those doctors nurses were working their butts off. Not only the crowd waiting to be seen, but some were down right abusive. Some were shouting because they'd been waiting nearly an hour and they wanted attention NOW! One was even calling one of the nurses a bitch and coughing on others then claiming to have covid. How the nurses kept from putting a fist through her face I'll never know. I sure wanted to.