The first time was the day that Super Storm Sandy grazed by us on its devastating trek to the NorthEast. The second time, yesterday, was when weather forecasters said the massive snow storm would miss us and provide only rain. But actually, we got 5 inches of snow.
It seems like every time Ashley has a hospital procedure scheduled to attempt to figure out why her right leg and foot are swollen, a huge weather event happens.
We left home at 6:15 am, headed to the hospital for the long awaited cat scan of Ashley’s hip and leg. Insurance battles had delayed the scan for 4 months, but finally we were on the schedule. The rain was heavy and mixed with sleet, but we managed to find a close handicapped parking space and get into the hospital without getting too soaked.
The registration and set up for the scan took an especially long time. As one of the nurses told me – a lot of the hospital staff was having problems getting to work due to the weather, but all the patients made sure to get there because, like us, they had waited a while for their appointments. But even given all the waiting, every staff person with whom we had contact was absolutely wonderful with Ashley, and went out of their way to make sure she was comfortable and had everything she needed. Because of that special attention, I was able to keep Ashley’s anxiety at bay until we moved into the actual room with the cat scan machine.
Ashley, as I have mentioned in previous posts, freaks out in medical settings. I probably would also if I had been through the 100s of tests/procedures/surgeries that she had. She will not move from her wheelchair to a stretcher (or the cat scan machine), and there is absolutely no convincing her otherwise. So all her procedures need to be done under anesthesia, and even then, it can be a battle.
Fortunately all the staff, including the anesthesia staff, the radiologists, and all nurses, listened to me about how everything should play out. I told them we needed three strong men to move Ashley from her chair to the machine. And they would have to put the mask on her face first to get her under. I warned them she would fight that, but if we worked together, we could make it happen with as little trauma as possible. And that is exactly what happened.
The anesthesiology nurse told me to back Ashley’s chair into the room and close to the machine. That was brilliant because once all the players were in place, that nurse came from behind Ashley with the mask and smoothly maneuvered it onto her face. Ashley, being the smart cookie that she is, decided to just hold her breath and not breathe in the gas. That effort, though admirable on her part, could only last so long, and soon she relaxed back into her chair. The burly men took over and moved her to the machine, and only about 20 minutes later, the scan was done!
Ashley was moved to the recovery room, and the staff agreed that I needed to stay with her the whole time so she could see me when she opened her eyes. She did just that, realized everything was done, signed that she wanted her shoes on and her IV out, and was ready to go home. She had no negative effects from the anesthesia, and we were allowed to leave pretty quickly. I was told Ashley’s doctor would get the results in a few days, and would call me.
But the fun didn’t stop there. As we left the hospital, I soon saw that the rain that had started our day had turned to snow and dumped about 3 inches onto the parking lot. There was no way I was going to be able to push Ashley’s chair through the snow to get to our car.
In stepped another hero of the day! The hospital offers free valet parking, but it wasn’t available when we first arrived. It was in full operation when we left though, and one of the valets offered to get my car. And not only did he go and get it, he wiped all the snow off, let it warm up a bit, and then helped lift Ashley’s chair into the car once I got her into the front seat.
UPDATE: I heard from the doctor this morning. The cat scan revealed two masses in Ashley’s upper leg, but the radiologist couldn’t tell much more than that. He didn’t know if the masses were blood clots or tumors of some sort. He said he needed to do a special type of ultrasound to get a better look. The doctor’s office is working on getting the authorization and schedule for that. I just hope it doesn’t take another 3 months!
(When I know when it is scheduled, I will be sure to let you all know because surely there will be a tornado, a tsunami, or some other huge weather event!)
ATM: Holding Ashley's hand as she drifted to sleep from her anesthesia...