Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This is Our Vermont

I left Texas on June 9th - the first day of my last vacation earned as an employee of Ketchum. I had two weeks to drive the Penske truck to Greensburg, see Suzie inn route, visit Chris and get ready to work on June 24th. The plan was for Ed to join me in Pennsylvania and for us to make our way to Vermont. Summer in Vermont, how lovely!

But summer in Vermont did not happen. The entire time that I was making my way to Pennsylvania, I felt ill with abdominal pains and symptoms of a bladder infection. My nurse practitioner detected the blood in my urine during a routine gynecological appointment in May and provided the first dose of antibiotics. Then when symptoms persisted, my family physician provided another 10 day regime beginning on June 7th. I found no relief, so 8 days later l I visited the urgent care center in Greensburg. An x-ray detected a kidney stone and a CAT scan confirmed the diagnosis. Now, I had medication to stimulate the passage of the stone, more antibiotics, and orders to drink large quantities of water. The stone did not pass! Again I was at the urgent care center on June 21st, that’s when the doctor helped me to find a specialist for the removal of the stone.

The urologist with the German accent became my new best friend. I would meet him in the Westmoreland Regional Hospital emergency room on the morning of June 22nd. Morphine, X-rays, the failed attempt to “fish out” the stone, meant I was sent to Mom’s house to recover with the hope that the stone would pass through the stent Doc inserted.

I officially went on medical leave from work June 24th. Everyday I waited and watched hoping the stone would pass. I managed the discomfort with the intermittent 4-hour or 8-hours dose of meds. There were more antibiotics. Surely, this stone would pass, all would be well. I’d catch my scheduled flights and make client calls next week. Wrong. No stone. No Vermont. I make another date with the urologist.

July 2nd I am admitted to the hospital's short stay surgery unit. This time the stone gets blasted and extracted. Doc hands me the charcoal gray stone fragments in a clear plastic lab canister. It originally measured 5 millimeters. How could something so little hurt so much? I cope with more meds, more recovery under Mom’s roof, more time off, and cancelled client services while a new stent works to flush any remaining fragments of the kidney stone. No Vermont.

Ten days later, I returned to the short stay unit to have the stent removed. By now, I know the routine and greet the nurses with their first name. This time I hallucinate and see M&M’s when going into sedation. “I must have M&M’s,” I tell my son Jason when we stop at the pharmacy not bothering to explain why. My three-year-old granddaughter Brianna thought the M&M’s were a great idea but she didn’t like seeing me escorted to her Daddy’s car in a wheelchair. She scolded, “Grandma Patty, don’t eat anymore stones!” I went through another round of bed rest, no lifting, medications, and postponed meetings with clients until July 22nd.

Ed joined me in Pennsylvania with his own medical issue which he kept secret so as not to upset me. On July 19th he was an outpatient at Westmoreland Regional Hospital for a colonoscopy. The exam revealed that the problem was hemorrhoids. What a relief! But, he is weak and needs to rest. Now, we knew for certain there would be no Vermont.

Ed had parked the coach at Keystone State Park in site number #64 and that’s where we remained. We hiked park trails, biked around the lake, canoed on a ranger guided lake tour, and enjoyed an occasional campfire. One evening Ed hugged me close under his arm and said, “This is our Vermont.”

No comments: