Support on the Home Front

Dear loyal blog readers,

Recent days have involved two visits to the hospital for the Spouse. It has been a very trying time for him and for me. We are fortunate to have strong support from…

…my family and my greater “community family” during these emotionally and physically challenging times.

Spouse was treated for an emergency health issue on Friday, with a return to the hospital ER Department again on Sunday because of a related problem that we were warned to watch for and bring him back if it happened. It did.

All of these hospital visits were in the emergency department, which is a very busy place. Not as dramatic as on TV shows with lots of yelling, screaming, and crying… but more like a situation with few medical staff and a lot of patients to take care of. Staffing in this ED is spread thin.

On both Friday and Sunday, I saw only one physician on duty with over 20 patients requiring attention. Most of our time, then, was waiting. Watching and waiting. And waiting some more.

Throughout these visits to the ED, I saw medics from local fire departments bringing in people. I saw guys from my own local FD where I am a Life Member, as well. Each time they saw me, they would smile and wave. Transfer their patient, then stop by our room to visit for a short time before returning to duty. Their care and compassion was warmly welcome — even by the most reluctant Spouse.

Nursing care was more regular and attentive. When the nurses saw me speak with medics, I overheard one of my buddies tell them, “this guy is a Life Member of our house. Treat him and his husband well!”

Not that our treatment was any better than anyone else’s — that is, everyone was cared for equally and with compassion — it still is nice to be recognized as part of the family.

But that’s not where the caring of my community stopped.

Over the weekend, I received calls and visits from my fire department brothers who offered to help any way they could. They mowed my lawn. They took care of a senior pal who I had promised to take to a doctor’s appointment on Saturday, but I couldn’t. They even provided transportation for a few senior pals who can’t drive to bring us food (casseroles and soup).

The outpouring of support from the community of neighbors and life-long friends is very heartwarming. Almost makes me cry. My family called often, too. They love us and we love them.

But the biggest help of all happened on Monday. The ED doctor on Friday told us at discharge that the Spouse would have to see a medical specialist on Monday to have (something medical) applied at the hospital on Friday to be removed on Monday.

The offices of this medical specialty were closed on the weekend. I called the office of this specialty first thing Monday morning, only to be told, “none of our 10 physicians has availability until August 29. Will we see you then?”

Hell no. This thing has to come out now. We can’t wait until your specialists have a convenient time between beach visits and golf games (Sorry, but the unavailability of health care professionals is more than annoying, and I put up with it when it is not an emergency. But in times of need of more emergent care, being told, “sorry, nothing available,” just doesn’t cut it. These office call-takers and gatekeepers could care less.)

When I explained that to a very well-connected friend (I can’t say who; let’s just say that this friend has a lot of clout as a well-respected community leader), suddenly an appointment magically became available on Monday. “We got a call from Mr. X and …”. I took the Spouse to see the Specialist, and in five minutes the unmentionable thing was removed. Spouse was much, much, MUCH relieved and instantly feeling better.

I brought Spouse home and bathed him. He looked so much better! Unfortunately, he is still quite sick, but for the time being, the situation that required emergency department treatment at our local hospital has been resolved.

But what made me really smile (and cry this time!) was that as we were enjoying some soup brought to us by a senior pal, the door bell rang again. Spouse grimaced, “I just need some peace and quiet!”

I answered the door, and there was another senior pal bringing me snickerdoodles — my favorite cookie (and one that The Spouse can’t eat/doesn’t like.) She said, “in all this hub-bub with focus on your husband, this is a treat just for you. We love you too.”

I cried like a baby.

Life is short: show those you love how you love them.