Day Two: Dawn of July 18th
Before I dive into how to handle tough decisions like having major surgery and who do you call when no one is up at midnight, let me quickly give you the rundown of how the evening went once I arrived in the ER.
I am not usually a procrastinator, but when it comes to my health, I am convinced God will step in and take over. So I suffered in pain all day and waited until 7 pm to call a Lyft to carry me three blocks to Queen’s Emma Clinics.
As an avid television watcher and someone who has many hobbies and one of those is writing screenplays and scripts. I was sure I would walk into a scene straight from the television show ER. I did not.
The hospital: a view from within
After all, in the hospital, Covid is alive, and well and unfortunately, still taking lives. Masked when I arrived. After checking in, they issued me a hospital mask. I will say it felt like it worked a lot better than the half dozen I own.
Along with three others, I waited to be seen. It took only an hour. The doctors came into the lobby and addressed the issue after I had waited another two hours doubled over in pain. It had been hours since I had eaten, but I was not hungry. What I craved was companionship.
I could get my appendix removed or take medicine. I opted for the surgery, a decision I regret now and soon I will share with you why.
I shared a bed with three others in need of medical attention. It was after 11 pm and there was no one to call for advice.
What do you do when this happens?
How do you get a second opinion when you only have seconds to make a decision?
I should have taken the medication option until I could count out the need for a hysterectomy. For a long time, I knew I had fibroids. I did not know how large they had become and that they were pushing on my organs.
They wheeled me into pre-op just after midnight. The urgency of the situation should have told me I had no other choice, and that the surgery was the right decision. Still, I wonder.
By 1 am I was in surgery getting my appendix removed. Two hours later, the nurses woke me, called my name, checked my vitals, and informed me they would release me by 6 am.
Despite having Covid.
Simply put, there were no more Covid beds. However, because of my history with Blood clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis), I thought they would have thought otherwise. They did not.
They woke me again at 6:15 am. “Is anyone here to take you home?”
“No. I live alone and have no family here.” I said.
No Ubers or Lyfts allowed. They called for a medical taxi. I waited another two hours for the pharmacy to release my medications.
They were concerned about sending me home alone, but they never offered to find a bed. If they had, I wonder if I would still be healing from a DVT now, nearly three months after the appendectomy.
How can you make the right decisions?
Reach out to someone, anyone and yes, if you have to, get a second opinion. In my case, I had a matter of hours, maybe a day or two, but who knows what OBGYN would have said if I could see them or a specialist the next day.
When you move somewhere and you have no family or good friends to rely on. Seek options. Churches, organizations, school groups and staff, whatever you do, find a buddy system. Who can bring you food, underwear, your computer or anything else you urgently need if you are on bed rest?
Once home, I slept in two-hour intervals. I barely ate. But I drank everything in sight. Orange juice saved me. This would be my routine for the next three days until I felt a warm sensation on the back of my calf.
Not again, repeated in my head for the next three days before I returned to the ER.
The world for singles, old and young, can be a lonely road, but it does not have to be. Find the help you need and you will be happy you did.
Resources for the singles recovering alone at home:
This is a helpful article if you have plenty of time to prep for before and after surgery and your needs. https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Home-After-Medical-Procedures-As-a-Solo-Adult