Wednesday, January 5, 2011
When the twins looked out the front window about 6:30 am yesterday, they were understandably thrilled. I mean, who would have ever thought Mom and Dad could have gotten the fire department to send a truck, complete with lights flashing and sirens wailing, just for their birthday? And when a couple of minutes later the ambulance arrived, likewise flashing and screaming, well the boys were just beside themselves with joy. Their excitement was unfortunately dampened a bit later when Mom was rolled out to the ambulance on a stretcher and loaded in the back. Actually, Henry became hysterical and stood in a corner screaming over and over again, "I want my Mommy back. Now!" Neil mostly just stood in stunned silence, though he did manage a feeble wave and "Bye Mom," then stood nose pressed against the window as tears started to roll down his cheeks.
I woke up a little before 6:00 and was getting up to go to the litterbox when Irene stopped me saying Richard, there is something wrong with me, something really wrong. She said she felt very dizzy and could not open her eyes. She was nauseous and was definitely going to need a receptacle. She said she felt very hot, though to the touch there was no apparent fever.
About this time the birthday boys started to wake up and things got very busy very quickly. Irene decided to get up, thinking that might help, so I helped her to a chair and tried to distract the boys while at the same time trying to assess her condition, get her a glass of water and provide for other needs peculiar to this particular situation.
In the meantime, Henry got a bloody nose.
Realizing the boat was leaking faster than I could bail, I woke Parker to enlist his help. He made it to the den where he sat down with his Mom and brothers. I propped Irene up in a chair with a trash can for the nausea and gave Henry a paper towel for his nosebleed. Neil thank God was, as usual, entertaining himself. I could see it was going to be a day and I thought I saw an opportunity to take a quick shower, but as I was getting out Irene stumbled in to tell me that Parker did not feel well. I ran immediately - do not pass go and do not collect any clothing - to the den where Parker reported that he indeed wasn't feeling so great and in fact was starting to feel really bad and needed to get to the bathroom.
I walked with Parker toward the bathroom, but ten feet on he passed out cold - collapsed against the wall and dropped to the floor. Now we're really taking on water.
Parker said he couldn't see, and he certainly couldn't stand, but he still needed to go, so with a renewed effort I managed to get him up and situated in the bathroom. Once I felt he could sit there safely for a brief time anyway I ran back to the den to check on Irene and Henry, where I found his nosebleed improving but her nausea and dizziness not one whit better. Once Henry's nose had stopped enough that we could safely move to another room I steadied Irene long enough to relocate to the sofa in the living room. I had been asking all along if she felt the need to go to the hospital and if she wanted me to call an ambulance, though I was not getting an unequivocal response. At this point, with Parker reporting what sounded like similar symptoms and having passed completely out, I decided we must have a plague in the house and called 911.
The fire department guys took vitals and reported that everything in that sense looked normal. They did encourage Irene at least to take an ambulance ride to have someone check her out, but by this point Parker had recovered enough to say he really just wanted to get back to bed. So off they go with Irene on a stretcher, the twins crying inconsolably, and me on the phone with our neighbor who God love her was able to come over and stay with the boys so I could follow Irene to the bowels of hell - I mean the DCH emergency room.
Three hours and much frustration later Irene was discharged, having never seen a doctor but only a medical student who though a nice young fellow seemed to have only a little better understanding of medicine than I have. During Irene's stay there I fetched blankets and water and found a new nausea bag when needed. While the hospital did provide IV fluids, Reglan for nausea and Benadryl for dizziness, they offered no idea of what the problem might be and certainly nothing in the way of what one might think of as "care."
Arriving home, Irene was greeted with squeals of delight. Visiting royalty could not have had a more enthusiastic welcome. Henry's first question for his Mom was whether they had given her a Mic-key button. Mercifully, she did not require a gastric feeding tube, and in fact improved considerably over the next few hours. Henry's nose was fine and Parker felt much better. We were ultimately able to celebrate the boys fifth birthday in what for our family passes for a normal manner.
Thanks be to God and pass the ice cream.