There's nothing like the feeling of rejection. Once the emergency room figured out I wasn't responding to treatment, they got their specialist down there. He had a calming presence and decided I needed to be moved to more comfortable quarters. I don't remember what my heart was doing at this point. I think it has slowed somewhat by virtue of my being still and focusing inward as a natural inclination. That heart rate was slightly less scary to them. Promising. I was whisked up the the baby center and made as comfortable as possible. The OB on rotation came to check the baby and everything was fine. A constant fetal monitor was an absolute must. I felt like things were settling and started to relax.
Before long, a small group of staff came in and explained to me that no one on that floor was comfortable monitoring a heart patient. They were afraid of liability and wanted to wash their hands of me as quickly as possible. I was taken away from that lovely room and stuffed into a large, windowed cubicle they called a "room" in the ICU. I learned to make the best of it, over time, commenting on what a fancy bathroom I had complete with bed and television.
Everyone did their best to make me comfortable but a hospital is a hospital. Tasteless food. Bedpans. Incessant, loud beeping. Bright lights. Insane or infirm shrieking, groaning, or calling out for an absent loved one. Night nurses griping distantly. Tests, labs. An ultrasound. ('Twas a boy! Which I knew in my soul already.)
An optimistic, genuinely caring cardiologist took on our case. It still took 8 days to find a compatible, "safe" medication and proper dosage. Eight miserable days. They sneaked the kids in to see me once, even though it wasn't allowed. Kaitlin was cheerful and trusting. (She takes after her daddy.) Kevin stayed aloof and emotionally disconnected. I got as much snuggling in as I could in that brief hour.
Josh was with me night and day until a short illness kept him home. (And the worst things happened while he was gone. Relapse. More adenosene. Cries and pleas and complete hysterical breakdown. Thank God for tender-hearted nurses!)
After that showdown of acceptance, for I had come to the place denial was no longer possible, I was able to be strong and patient. I thrived when Josh was by my side, visibly on the heart monitor. When he was near, I knew I was going to be alright.
We listened to a lot of Celtic music. A calming rhythm. I couldn't listen to anything with a beat; it threw off my own beat.
I slept little and ate poorly. Milk, yogurts, smoothies, were all I could stomach. I lost a lot of weight. But I held fast to the hope that I and my baby would get through this. I was determined to get better!
I do wish hospital environments were conducive to healing, but they really, really aren't. I knew this by instinct, that I just needed to get home. And I made it my goal.
I even asked one of the ICU staff what would happen?
What if I just got out of this bed and left?
The comforts of home were calling me, holding a promise of healing and rest, and I needed to get back there. My children were there. My mother was there.
She told me, without mincing words, that if I left without "permission," insurance would not cover anything.
I was officially a prisoner.
(It may seem a bit like I'm rushing through the story at this point but really, it's just that a lot of the memories are not as vivid. And chronology is really fuzzy. Besides, we want to get to the happy ending, right?)
My baby had his own nursing shift, monitoring him at all times. I loved them all but I soon had a favorite on the night shift and requested her every time. She never grew tired of me. She would talk to me about any and everything. She brought me yarn and crochet projects. She fixed me snacks, brought me ice water and helped me each time I had to get up, which was no small feat. (I was attached to enough wires and gizmos that it took a good 10 minutes.) And it wasn't even part of her job! She was a godsend.
As the time marched on, the peace continued to rain gently down on me and I only had to accept it. The strength not my own upheld me through the many hours. Songs came to mind, verses to heart. I Skyped with my children every day and with Josh late into the nights. (We had decided I was well enough at night that the children needed the security of him being home in the evenings.) Family and friends communicated via social media. And finally, that blessed day came when the birth center announced that I could return to their floor. With a portable heart monitor.
A real room with privacy and comfort and a lot of light!
Things were looking up. The drugs were mostly managing my symptoms. My gumption was growing.
I knew my release would be soon.
(Story will be continued and hopefully finished in tomorrow's post.)
|The baby blanket I made from the night nurse's gift.|