Crash Team to Oncology Stat: The latest iron overload episode

by Stephen Cobb on February 27, 2009

speakerThe medium may not be the message but it sure shapes it. I need to let a lot of people know what happened on Chey’s long-awaited visit to the hematologist (that’s haematologist for British readers).

Should I email everyone? Maybe use a bcc with a friends and family list? But then people would feel obliged to respond. Should I blog it and hope people will see it here? Maybe I should Facebook it? How about Twitter? Too late for that. But what the heck, here’s how it would have appeared on Twitter if I had tweeted it, starting after lunch on Thursday:

zcobb: Heading over to Cooperstown to the clinic for Chey’s hematology consult. Hoping this doctor will OK phlebotomy for her hemochromatosis. 01:50PM

zcobb: Just checked Chey into Oncology. She doesn’t have cancer but apparently that’s where hematologists hang out. Now headed to 2nd floor for my appt. 02:16PM

zcobb: Waiting for my quarterly checkup. No problems (apart from usual high BP/low depression). We synched up our visits to reduce carbon footprint. 02:23PM

zcobb: Sitting in Room D. Weight not bad (200lbs) BP not so hot. Wonder how Chey is doing. She seemed a bit woozy when I left her in waiting area. 02:28PM

zcobb: OMG, the PA just announced “Crash team to Oncology STAT” and I had this weird flash it could be Chey. But then I’m like “No way.” 02:33PM

zcobb: Way. How to tell your day’s gone off the rails: A nurse interrupts your meeting with your doctor to say “Your wife’s been rushed to the ER.” 02:46PM

zcobb: OK here’s the scoop: Chey collapsed on her way from the waiting area to the doc’s room. Pulse high, BP low. Oncology staff very flustered. 02:49PM

zcobb: Benefits of a small town: ER is across road from doctor offices. Found Chey. She’s stable. Wired up to a bunch of monitors but OK. 02:58PM

zcobb: Apparently she passed out briefly, came around as they tried to get her onto a stretcher. Emergency response not common in Oncology? 03:01PM

Needless to say, I did not have time to tweet. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and about like that. Some missing details. For example, the nurse took my BP before the crash team announcement. The doctor took my BP after I knew Chey was headed to the ER, and it was lower than when the nurse took it. What’s up with that?

But enough about me. Here’s what has happened with Chey after she got to the ER. She has been seen by several doctors and was held in the hospital overnight for observation. In fact, she has become something of a celebrity, as in: “The lady that collapsed in Oncology.” Or perhaps a cause célèbre, as in “Don’t go collapsing in our building and expect to get away undiagnosed.”

A fresh doctor on the scene has gone over all of Chey’s tests. He has prescribed some steroids because he thinks Chey’s adrenal glands are damaged. This might explain the extreme fatigue, sweats, stomach pains, body pain, and irregular heartbeat she has been experiencing for the past two weeks. This evening Chey said she is starting to feel some positive effects from this treatment. Latest word is she will be held over until Saturday afternoon.

The same doctor came out with this statement: “I think all of your problems can be traced back to hemochromatosis.” Hallelujah! Is this not what we have been saying since the original diagnosis last November? Do you really have to crash inside a clinic to get people to take you seriously?

Furthermore, the same fresh doctor said: “We will get your phlebotomies started as soon as you are stabilized.” Hallelujah!

So, overall not a bad outcome. Feels like we’re making progress. I would write more but I think the dog is missing Chey; she’s curled up so close to me my left hand can’t reach the keyboard. Can just reach the Publish button. There should be more this weekend.

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