My Name is Sarah

MY NAME IS SARAH. I am a quilt designer and the sewcial director of Sarah's Sewcial Lounge. I also have a business called Down Right Charming. I sell my quilts mostly on etsy and I make pillowcases to donate to patients in the hospital in memory of my friend Kristen Kirton. I am a young adult living with Down syndrome. I hope you enjoy reading about my life journey.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Late Breaking News ~ A Near Perfect ER Visit...

...If there is such a thing, Sarah and I just had an ER visit that is about as good as it gets. Sarah has been having her usual episode of fever, trouble breathing, lack of appetite leading to dehydration and low O2 sats. If you have been following our blog for a while, you know we have been through this a hundred times or more and keep her home until we know she just needs that extra boost of oxygen and IV fluids. So yesterday about 10:00, I knew we were heading in that direction. I try to fit in a quick shower, a good meal, and grab a book from the pile I keep of thoughtless hospital/airport reading material. We hit the doors of the ER at 11:30 a.m..

Over the years I have learned to take my humor where I can get it. One good place is in a packed ER. The fact is, most folks waiting, are not that sick. They think they are dying because their head feels like 1,000 lbs. or they have a stomach virus, but to a triage nurse they are barely on the radar screen. So here we come, not really looking all that bad. I casually put down on the prescreening form O2 sats = 85. Next name called: Sarah. You know all eyes are on us. We just got here and they call us back immediately. They verify my number, actually it is 83. They rush to get a wheelchair and wisk us thru the double doors. That's where the humor comes in, I want to turn and go nanannananana to the rest waiting. Of course I don't, but I could.

So we get into bed number 2 and immediately get hooked up to the oxygen. A few seconds later the ER doc comes in. "Well, if it isn't my favorite patient. Where have you been Miss Sarah? I haven't seen you in a long while" Oh yes, my favorite ER doc is here today. "So mom, tell me what you would like me to do today?" Really? No history, no repeating the same old story, I say to myself. "How about an IV line with some Solumedrol. I suspect pneumonia, so let's start Rocephin too." "Sounds good to me. Hey, did you get that house done. Weren't you living in a hotel the last time I saw you?" "What a great memory. Yes, we are finally back in." How impressed was I that he remembered that.

A little oxygen, a few breathing treatments, and the comfort of Buckeye bear...

And the O2 sat is already up to 95.

A few failed attempts to start the IV line, but finally the charge nurse came in and hit a gusher vein in the hand. Then it's off to x-ray where they confirm pneumonia in the right lower lobe. Hmmm, usually it is the left as that little lung is permanently damaged, but the film does not look awful.

And with that Sarah is sound asleep. Until they mention we are moving to the CDU (Clinical Decision Unit) "OH YES", Sarah pumps out, knowing there are TVs in the rooms over there.

One final set of vitals before heading over to bed 11. Total stay in ER, about two hours!!!

Not only a TV in the room, but snacks too. It is amazing what an improvement Sarah makes with just one bag of saline, a little oxygen and IV steroids. I know we will be spending one night, as that is the protocol of the CDU, so I call John to see if he can relieve me around dinner time to go eat and change my clothes. Once I get back, Sarah and I watch the Disney channel for a few hours and then she tells me to go home.
"Go home mom, I'm nineteen," Sarah says. Wow, this is HUGE. We have only left Sarah alone in the hospital one other time before when TJ had a concert we did not want to miss, but we knew one of us would be back before bed time. The nurse tonight seems very competent, and has come in a few times to just chat with Sarah. So I go out and ask her if this would be all right with her. I had already observed that there were only two other patients spending the night in the unit, so it did not seem like she would be overly stretched as they sometimes are. So at 1:15 a.m. I walked out of the hospital. It seemed quite strange to me. I was not totally comfortable with it, but I do not want to stand in the way of Sarah asserting her independence.
I arrived back at 5:45, and was soon after greeted by the Comfort Care Coordinator. When she asked if there was anything she could do for us, I simply replied, "Yes, start the ball rolling to get us out of here after the 10:00 infusion of Rocephin. We will need to have home therapy contacted for three more days of it and we will need to leave with supplies to flush the IV line." She didn't even ask a question. Breakfast arrives and the next thing I know the doctor is coming in to verify Sarah's weight to get the home therapy set up. Wow, I love it. That was as near perfect an ER visit as you can get. On the way out, Sarah is pumping her arm in the air. "I'm free, I'm free," she yells. I'm guessing we are the ER humor at that moment. I guess, what goes around, comes around.
Almost 24 hours to the minute, Sarah is back home sleeping peacefully on the couch. My greatest concern these days going to the hospital is picking up some nasty secondary virus, so hopefully we got out quick enough before catching anything. Sweet Addy was not so fortunate, as her mom reported yesterday that C-diff has been confirmed. So please say a little prayer for Addy, that the medicine she is now getting will take care of it.
I just had to post this photo. I don't know whether Sarah is using the remote to hold up her hand as a way of protecting the IV, or just making sure I don't take the controller. Either way, it makes me smile.
P.S. We have had a few questions about what Sarah's closed trach site looks like. If you click on the first picture in this post to enlarge it you can get a pretty good look. She also has a straight line scar an inch or so above the trach site. That is from an earlier surgery called a Cricoid Split that they tried before doing the trach. The split did not work for Sarah.


JRS said...

You are one cool and impressive Momologist.
Sarah, I hope you're feeling even better soon.

Lacey said...

Wow that is a fantastically short stay. Isn't it sad that now that I know Jax has RSV and that I will have to head up there soon, I'm waiting until he gets a little worse so that maybe they'll move a little faster. Even though they know him well, they sometimes need a reminder that he tanks fast.

RK said...

Now THAT is a quality healthcare situation... I love that they listen to you. Hope you're feeling better very soon, Sarah!

Beverly said...

Hope you are feeling better soon Sarah! That IV stick looks like it must hurt!

Junior said...

Sarah sure hope you are feeling better quick, you have one smart mom to get everything taken care of and get you out of the hospital that quick.

Anonymous said...

There is no better way to get quick service at the ER than to have a kid that can't breathe! What an independent little lady...I would have had a hard time leaving too...even though it was only for 4 hours! :) I hope she feels better soon...

Cammie Heflin said...

I am so glad that Sarah had a much better outcome than Addy! Thank you for mentioning her, we are still in the hospital, maybe home tomorrow, gotta get off this O2!

AZ Chapman said...

Wow she is growing up. I love when she said I am 19 mom go away. typical teen thing.

Ruby's Mom said...

You are an AWESOME Mom!Hurry and get well,Sarah!

Vivian said...

Sarah, I'm so happy to hear your o.k. Sorry for your hand and hope its not too painful. You get better. And tell your mom she's comical, but strong.
All of you have a wonderful weekend.
talk 2 u later
Vivian - I.T. UWGC

Michelle said...

Oh, I LOVE it when doctors listen to parents - and actually hear what they're saying. That makes such a difference (especially in the ER!)

I hope Sarah has a better day!

JennyH said...

That was a short stay. It drives me crazy when I hear about someone going to the ER for something minor (throwing up, cough, etc..)

I wish you guys were not there that often. However, it's nice the ER docs know you!

Stay healthy Sarah!!

Mary said...

You definitely deserve a quick ER visit, although I am totally surprised you got it!