Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2

When last we left our heroes, one was inside the hospital on a stretcher and the other was having a total melt down in the parking lot.  Will Kevin be leaving the hospital today?  Will Sara pull it together and actually go in the hospital?  Let’s find out in The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2.

I asked my mom if she would come inside the hospital with me, just so I didn’t have to come back out and let them know that Kevin was indeed there and was not moved to another hospital or anything.  So, Paul stood by the van to keep an eye on the kids and mom and I went in.  The place was absolutely empty.  I got to the desk and the administration nurse asked me if I was here for the man brought in by ambulance.  I said yes I was and asked if he was there.  After she said that he was there, mom left to get the kids back to her house and I was taken back to where he was.  He had been there for about 30 or 40 minutes at that time.  They didn’t have the sirens going on the ambulance because there was no traffic at that time of night, but they did have the lights going so they got there fast.

I went back to sit with Kevin.  He looked OK and was no longer confused.  He knew he had a seizure and knew that the hospital was the place he needed to be so they could get to the bottom of it all.  The nurses there were absolutely incredible and kind.  We were asked all of the same questions that the paramedics asked – job, how many kids, any history of seizures, what were you doing when it happened etc.- and then came the questions that Kevin and I were to get very familiar with over the next few days.  “Do you know what day it is” (he got that one wrong but the nurse gave him a pass anyway as it was the wee hours of Friday morning and he said it was Thrusday), “What city are you in” “Do you know where you are” and the nurse left us alone for a while.  I can’t really remember what we talked about in that time, but I do remember we were laughing and joking around with each other. It is just our nature to make light and laugh when we want to cry.  The nurse assigned to Kevin came in after about 25 mintues and had some funny conversation with us for a bit… but she came with an IV for Kevin.  So with her pleasure came some pain.

Now, Kevin had never had an IV before.  Never.  He had to have one so they would be able to get some drugs in him if he started seizing again. Kevin did not like the IV experience.  Not. At. All.  They put it in his arm, not in his hand, and got it in on the first try, but it was not a pleasant experience for him.  The nurse told us that Kevin would be getting a CT soon and asked us if we needed any thing or had any questions.  I asked her how they would keep Kevin from having a seizure if he started to have one again.  She told me they would put anti-seizure medication in his IV and it just kind of shuts down the brain.  I remember us having a conversation with the nurse about seizure medications and seizures in general, but I can’t for the life of me remember what was said.  After we were done our conversation, she left us alone to do some nurse-y type stuff.

Kevin kept on pointing to his IV and saying “OW!” These were my exact words to him “Priorities, there Kev. You just had a seizure.  Let’s not focus on the IV. Mmm’kay?”  To which he would reply “Ow!” and point to the IV. (Kevin, if you’re reading this, you know I love ya! Mwah! But, um you’re a bit of a wimp.  Yeah… I think you know that, right?  You’ve had many IVs since then and it’s still always the same.)

Someone came and to get Kevin to bring him to CT after a bit.  I followed along and sat outside the waiting room while Kevin got his CT.  I was tired.  I was in bed at 1:00 and up at 4:00 with all of this. Sitting in the waiting room at CT was the first time I relaxed.  I was just leafing through a magazine and trying to keep awake.  The CT didn’t take long, however, so I didn’t get a chance to relax for long.  The orderly walked really, really fast.  She was such a nice lady and talked to us the whole way back to emerg, but she was one fast walker!  And I remember being freezing.  They kept piling Kevin up with blankets from the warmer but I was so, so cold.  And then when we were whizzing down the halls, I just started shivering.  Why are hospitals so cold?

We got back to emerg, and Kevin and I stated talking again. We were thinkging that the CT was going to come back normal and Kevin would be able to go home and would have to see a specialist or something.  We were our usual joking selves but by that time, the laughter was really hard to stop.  We were both so tired, physically and emotionally and we could not stop laughing.  We were right across from the nurses’ station and the two nurses were laughing at us.  We knew that, but didn’t care.  It was all in good fun.  Then, the resident in the emergency department came in to talk to us about the results of the CT.  She told us that there was a mass found in Kevin’s brain but could not say what it was.  We were told that University Hospital has a neurology unit and Kevin would be transfered there as soon as possible. She said that the mass could be anything from a virus to a tumour and they would be able to tell us more there.

We stopped laughing.  The nurse came over to check on us and we were both crying.  She brought us a box of tissue and I can remember her exact words she said to us and the compassion on her face.  “Not the news you wanted to hear.” A bit of an understatement, but I was so grateful for her for saying anything at all.  It made it all OK that we were falling apart.  She didn’t expect us to be cheerful through that news, and that was what I was really grateful for.

Kevin kept on saying “What if it’s cancer?” and I kept on telling him “Let’s wait to find out.”  Then he said “It’s coffee and muffin day today” very quietly.  At the company he worked for at that time, they buy a bunch of muffins and brew a huge pot of coffee when a new person starts working there.  They put all of this in the new guy’s office and people come in to get a muffin and cup of coffee and greet the new guy.  That day was to be Kevin’s coffee and muffin day.  He had bought a plastic table cloth and put an extra table in his office the day before in preparation.  The funniest things are important to you when your world is turned upside down.

The nurse came back in and told us Kevin would be transfered in about 20 minutes.  I asked her if I could use a phone to call my mom so she wouldn’t try calling there for an update or to get a hold of me. I got to the patient phone and dialled my mom’s number and got her machine. It was after 6:00 at this point and I figured that they were sleeping.  I was surprised that mom didn’t answer the phone to get an update but figured that she was just that tired (I sure was). So, I left a really tearful, incoherent message telling her that they found a mass in Kevin’s brain and he was being transfered to University and I would update her when I knew more.  I hung up and went back to Kevin’s bed.

When I got back to his bed, the nurses were arranging with some paramedics to get Kevin over to University hospital.  Because he had an IV, a nurse had to go with them.  While they were discussing all of this, Kevin said to me very quietly “It’s starting again”.  I ran over to the nurse and told her Kevin said he was starting to have another seizure.  If you want to see nurses move fast, telling them someone is having a seizure is the way to do it!  They grabbed the syringe, injected his IV and asked him what he felt now.  He said that he was still having his pre-seizure aura (a word the nurse taught us earlier) and so they put more in.  When he still felt it, they put in a really big dose. The nurse told me he would not be able to stay conscious with that much in him, but they could not risk him having a seizure during transfer.  His eyes started to get heavy, but he was fighting it.  I said to him “Don’t fight it, Kev. Just go to sleep.  It’s OK.”  He still continued to fight it and told me he didn’t want to sleep and leave me alone.  I told him not to worry about me, just stop fighting it and he would see me when he woke up.  He drifted off to sleep at that point and the nurse told me that they would be moving him really soon.  I asked her how I was to get to the hospital and she gave me a taxi voucher and told me there was a direct line phone to the cab company by the doors to emerg.  They pushed Kevin’s stretcher through some doors I was not allowed to go through and I went to the phones and called my cab.

I stood outside the doors waiting for the taxi to come pick me up.  The sun was up, the sky was beautifully blue with not a cloud and there was a wonderful breeze blowing.  People were driving past the hospital on their way to work.  I couldn’t believe just how normal the day was.  All of this normal activity was going on, all of these people were doing normal things and here I was, wondering if my husband was dying.  It was a very surreal experience.

While I was waiting for my cab, I saw the nurse and paramedics put Kevin’s stretcher in the back of an ambulance and drive off.  That was hard.  Once the ambulance was out of the parking lot, the lights and sirens were turned on and Kevin was on his way to University Hospital while I was left standing there waiting for my cab.

The cab came to pick me up and off we went, across the city to University Hospital.  Being that it was rush hour, the ride took a lot longer than I would have liked.  I wanted to scream at all of the people in the morning traffic. Didn’t they know that my life was changing! How could they act so normal!  I probably should have used the time to sleep.  I was dropped off at the emergency room entrance and made my way to the administration desk.  The nurse got an orderly to take me to Kevin and he was still unconscious. It was shortly after 7:00 by this time and he would remain mainly unconscious through blood being taken on two occasions and numerous pupil tests until 12:00.  (And here is a measure of my love for Kevin.  He had a huge zit on the bridge of his nose that was begging to be squeezed but I didn’t touch it.  Even though he wouldn’t have woken up.)

I decided to call my mom again to tell her that we got to University Hospital OK and that I don’t know any more than when I called before.  She answered the phone on the first ring and told me she had been waiting for me to call. I told her that they found something in Kevin’s brain and she just said “What!”  I filled her in on all I knew and  I told her I called earlier and left a message and she said she didn’t hear the phone ring and there was no message.  So, it was a bit of a mystery.  We thought maybe the phone just went screwy or something. I saw someone going into Kevin’s bed area in emerg and told my mom I had to go.  We hung up and I went to talk to the neuro resident for the first time.

Kevin was still sleeping and she wanted to do some tests but said it could wait until he woke up.  She told me that they gave him four times the regualar dose of medication and so he’ll be out of it for a while longer.  She asked me a lot of questions about what exactly happened when he had his seizure.  Was it his whole body? What part was affected first? How long before he lost consciousness? How long did the whole thing last? What is the family history? And on and on and on.  Boy was she thorough!  She did some reflex tests, had blood drawn then looked at Kevin’s pupils.  After all of the questions and poking and prodding, she told me that she looked at the results of the CT scans.  She said it looks like a cerebral arteriovenous malformation or something else I don’t remember but it is not a cancerous growth as far as they can tell.  She said to know for sure the will do and MRI but she was 98% positive that it was not a tumour.

I waited until 9:00 to call Kevin’s parents.  I told them Kevin had three seizures in a twelve hour period and was in University Hospital and they found something in his brain.  I told them that they were pretty sure it was not a tumour.  I told them to call whoever they thought would need to or like to know and I would continue to update them as I knew more.  Then I asked him (I was talking to Kevin’s dad) to not come to the hospital.  That may seem insensitive to some, after all, it was his son who we were talking about.  But, there was only one person who was allowed back in the emergency area and everyone else had to wait in the waiting room.  I didn’t want to worry about having to “entertain” someone in the waiting room and as it was, I could see Kevin from where I was calling.  If I had to go to the waiting room to update someone, I would have to leave Kevin and I didn’t want to do that.  I got off the phone with Kevin’s dad and called my mom and told her we knew that it was most likely not cancer and that’s all we knew for sure right now.  I then asked her to call Kevin’s work and let them know what was going on.  I felt badly about askng her to to that, but I didn’t have the number and Kevin was sill sleeping .  Plus it was long distance so I didn’t want to make that call from the hospital.  I then called my work and told them I wouldn’t be in that night and that I would be in to talk to HR on Monday about when I would be back.  I had started that job in mid-July and I was worried about being fired for missing a lot of days before my three month probation was up.

After all of the phone calls were done, I went and sat with Kevin.  And I sat.  And I sat.  And I sat.  Then I walked a bit.  Then I sat some more.  The nurses in emerg came over to me and told me to go get something to eat.  They were filled in on what went on and knew that I had been at this since 4:00am.  It was about 9:00 at that point.  So they pointed me in the direction of Tim Horton’s and I bought myself something to eat and a hot chocolate and brought it back to Kevin’s bed.  Then I ate and sat and sat and sat.

At 10:00, the neuro resident came back to examine Kevin.  Seeing that he was still asleep, she told me that she was had to wake him to do some tests.  She drew more blood before waking him up and then woke him up.  It took a very long time to wake him up.  She did reflex tests, picked him lightly with a pin and asked if he could feel it, asked him to push on her hands etc. etc. etc.  He stayed awake for all of that and after she left promptly fell back to sleep.

Part three in which Kevin finally wakes up – coming soon

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