It Was Supposed To Be Just Another Day...
Here's what's been happening around here for the last few months (well more like for the last year).
You see, part of the reason (well a very big reason actually) why I haven't been posting a lot in the last year is because I developed some health issues. Nothing life-threatening, mind you, but life altering. Keeping a long story short, as of May I had to leave my job at the county of Santa Cruz and take Disability Retirement.
Now this whole process has been ongoing since September of last year and now it's officially a year later, come to think of it. But throughout that time, I had a lot of doctor appointments, as well as dealing with a lot of stressful paperwork, which included short-term disability (which will be coming to an end this month). During my last meeting with my doctor, she noted my condition that led to this 'retirement' has been going on for a few years, so now I'll be looking into Long Term Disability thru Social Security, which will be a brand-new struggle, although I'll be getting legal help right from the start, so I stand a better chance of getting it done right and quicker (I hope).
This meant of course, we were relying on Helen's (thankfully, better paying job at the county) to keep our health insurance coverage. However, things at her job started going downhill right after my 'retirement'. So, then we began looking into moving, possibly up to Washington state since rent is excruciatingly high here in Santa Cruz, California.
So, we lined up our plane tickets, rental car, and a nice house to rent for a week. And we were going to go on our excursion early next month.
Then, this last Sunday night, Helen began having stomach issues, plus a bad fever. Now abdominal discomfort is not unusual for her, especially with how much stress had been going on at her job recently. However, as the evening wore on and I'd already gone to bed, her discomfort increased. It got bad enough she almost woke me to ask me to take her to the emergency room around in the middle of the night. But then her fever came down and she decided to wait till morning, and we agreed I would take her to the local Urgent Care.
Monday morning came and I got up before she did. As I did so, something that had been nagging the back of my brain finally came to the surface, and I started to remember that bad abdominal pain, plus a fever, could be signs of appendicitis. But not being a doctor, I couldn't say for sure if that was the case. Plus, I wanted to see how Helen was doing, when she awoke. After all things might have improved after some sleep.
The short answer to this was a resounding 'NO' of course. And as soon as the Urgent Care was open, I took her. And the doctor there gave her a good going over, and long story short, he too suspected we might be dealing with appendicitis. He instructed us to head to the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Jose (since we were practically halfway there already), and that he would call ahead so they would be ready for her.
Once there, I had to drop Helen off at the Emergency Room and then go to park the car. When I returned, due to the new rise of Covid happening, I could not go into the waiting room with her. However, the Security Guard, took me over to the receptionist there I could give her contact information, and they would call me as soon as they had a room available for Helen.
Well, after a bite at the hospital cafeteria, I got the call and quickly headed to the room where Helen was lying on a gurney, looking relieved and in a lot less pain. The initial ultrasound had not revealed anything amiss with her appendix, but this was not definitive. They wanted to do a CT Scan, and we were waiting for that. Everyone there were absolutely fantastic to us. Helen really felt like the staff were seeing her not as just a patient but a person, which was very reassuring.
Now we had been there for 3 hours by this time and that's when the CT Scan was ready for her, so they whisked her off and I was able to stay in the room to await her return. Once she was back, the doctor arrived with some news.
Well, it was actually a mix of good news, and some not so good news. The good news was that they had found the problem. The bad news was that she was going to be with them a bit longer, while they took out her appendix.
Now, while he was in the middle of explaining all this, the surgeon who would be taking care of Helen came into the room and introduced himself. And within 20 minutes, we were headed down to Pre-Op. I was allowed to come and stay with her up until they took her into the operating room, which was very reassuring for both of us. What was even more reassuring was while we were there, I spotted another patient who was being discharged who looked familiar to me. As this woman was wheeled closer to me I was positive who it was... Helen and my regular doctor. She had just had some surgery taken care of, and she asked the orderly to stop as she spoke with me to ask what was going on. After I told her, Helen was about to have her appendix removed, our doctor smiled and assured us we were in great hands. After that, Helen and I both felt a bit better, but of course, still a bit nervous. Neither of us had ever had surgery before.
Well, after Helen was taken in, I wandered off to find food, and received a call about 1/2 an hour later saying she was out of surgery but was still asleep. I would not be allowed to come back until after she woke up which would be in 1-2 hours (closer to 2 they assured me). Still, hearing this was a relief. Then another 1/2 hour later, I got a second call saying, "She's awake, you can some back and stay with her while we finish things up and you can take her home tonight."
Now I had already known there was a good chance I would be taking her home that same night, but until at moment I hadn't been counting on it. And for the record, neither had Helen. You always have to take unforeseen circumstances into consideration. But all went well.
We had arrived at the Emergency Room at around 12:15 that afternoon and were home by a little after 10 PM. And again, everyone at that hospital had been absolutely fantastic! We're so grateful to all of them.
Now, Helen will be off from work for at least 2 weeks, and I'm keeping a close eye on her. Of course, this will exhaust her vacation time, so all our plans for Washington had to be postponed. I spent most of yesterday afternoon getting that taken care of. But we both know Washington will still be there so we will try and schedule our trip at a later date.
We're both just very glad that 'most' of her is still in one piece (her joke, not mine).
Still I'm feeling kind of...