Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye - Part 1

It's been a while since I've blogged. A lot has been going on that has kept me away from the the computer for the most part and from blogging in particular.

On August 30, 2011 my life changed. It was about 4:30pm, I was working when I received a phone call from my husband, I couldn't answer because I had a patient on the phone booking an appointment and another in front of me waiting to pay. I continued with my day not too worried since he had already told me he was on the way home on his motorbike and would be picking up our son soon. I thought he just wanted to talk about patio furniture some more and it would be fine if I called him back later. I checked his voice mail and it was all road noise so I sent him a quick text asking what was up and kept working. Not long after this I received a phone call from a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) saying that my boss's husband had been in an accident and she had to come to the phone. My boss to the call and then came out looking pale saying it was a motorbike accident, not her husband but mine. The nurse told me that my husband was in Emergency and I should come right away. I took about 10 minutes to calm down and say goodbye to my boss and then left. Son was at a friends house so I didn't have to worry about him, I knew he would be taken care of while I looked after Hubby.

I called Hubby's office on the way to VGH saying that he wouldn't be in to work the next day due to an accident. While I was on the phone with our friend, K, who works there he received another call from a co-worker, T, looking for my number. T's wife, A, is a Trauma Resident at VGH and was doing her first or second ER rotation when Hubby was brought in, she was the one to identify him as they didn't think to look in his front jeans pocket for his license. I arrived about 15 minutes before he was taken to the operating room for surgery. He was responsive and knew I was there but was in a lot of pain. He had broken ribs, collapsed lungs, and a damaged spine, at that time he had feeling below the point of injury but no movement. We had no idea what the outcome would be but he needed surgery right away. The surgeon seemed very confident and sure of his plan for Hubby and that helped a little. The social worker asked if I wanted Hubby's clothes, which had been cut off. I said no but made her check his pockets again and gathered his license, all the papers, lotto tickets, and a cheque that he had stored away in various pockets. I also asked her to remind the nursing staff to look in front pants pockets for ID as that is where Hubby's license had been stored.

A was fabulous about letting me know what was going on and reporting how the x-rays looked, she was amazed that Hubby could even talk with how little air was getting into his lungs. K was waiting at the hospital when I got there and stayed with me till 9pm. T & A stayed with me until they sent me home at 11pm the VGH staff had suggested I try to rest as Hubby would be at least 2 more hours in surgery and then he would be moved into a room that I wouldn't be able to visit.

The next morning, at 6:22am, I got a text from A telling me that Hubby was intubated and sedated and requiring BP support. She said that the surgery went well. The damage was not as extensive as they thought it would be, more on one side that the other. The spinal cord was very swollen so she was hopeful that he would recover function after the swelling went down and "spinal shock" was over. She suggested I wait until they reduced sedation before coming in to see him.

I went to see him after dinner. It was the hardest thing I have ever done standing next to that hospital bed and seeing him connected to all the tubes and wires. He was very sedated and wasn't responding to much for the first few hours that I was there. He only started to open his eyes at about 11pm. He would flinch whenever the nurse picked up his arm without warning him and his face would smooth out when I told him what was going on. I was so scared looking at him laying there, realizing how close I had come to loosing him and how different our lives would be going forward.

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