Monday, April 6, 2020

The Other ICE

We are associating ICE now with the horrific customs agents seizing and deporting unauthorized Immigrants or now how I ask myself if I am having my nightly presser bourbon with our without but the acronym also stands for In Case of Emergency.

Now of late unless prodded I leave blank but often I write my dead dog's name with my former last name and phone number from Seattle.  Good luck with that one.  But when I was in Nashville undergoing dental reconstruction the first surgery was with General Anesthesia.  So the requirement is that you are accompanied by someone and they remain on site while you under.  Of course this being Vanderbilt and their history of bullshit what was two hours became four but I had hired a Nurse Practioner who stayed to take me home.  She had another client within the hour of dropping me off versus I was to have her stay while I showered and got settled, I was fine and up enough off the drugs to move about and do so on my own.  I had her call me in four hour increments to check on me and by the second one at 11 pm I was fine and told her to come by in the morning to see if I was alive and so forth.  We went for a walk and talked about her observations and my recollections to comprise what was a hate letter regarding the treatment I had including keeping me under too long and in turn not providing me a Valium or some other narcotic that would have dropped my blood pressure prior to administering an anesthetic and putting me risk.  But hey they are HEROES, right?

But as a woman on her own age 60 and with the state of the universe right now I recall this very well with my last visit to Vanderbilt by the Intern/Doctor who performed my last dental implant surgery, the one done so badly it required emergency surgery to correct it.  I said during my pre-op visit I like two Valium before as it calms me down, I am going local as I prefer to be awake as it enables me to get up and around more.  He was "concerned" that I come always alone to the appointments, despite the fact they are dental exams I am not having a kidney replaced but that how did I get there.  I made the mistake of telling him the truth, by Lyft and going home in the same way.  I did not tell him if there was anyone at home or if I had people checking on me that was not his business and again I knew from before that once you walk out the door they don't care their liability extends only to that point so you can lie your ass off and pay someone to be your "friend" as that is all they care about.  But it was ugly and again led me to blow up and have to have the Surgeon intervene. Here is what happened, I was right.  I said, "I will worry about me and you worry about the implant surgery and making that a success."  And I was successful on my end, him not so much.  HEROES, right?

And I found the below article from another like myself and in turn reviewing the comments there were some much like this one:

I read this for the sole reason of posting this comment:  Fill-in that line with somebody, anybody.  I didn't because I didn't want to bother people and found my bank account frozen and cards not usable.  A doctor I hadn't met had certified my inability to care for myself and the court had appointed a lawyer from the hallway to oversee my official life.  I discovered this when I tried to use cards to send pizza to the nursing staff at the hospital after I left.  A lawyer was appointed to help me regain my official life, and the initial lawyer sent me a certified check from my account, but put a name in there, really.  No idea how often this happens; when I regained control I never looked back at the incident, but don't let the hospital think nobody out there knows or cares about you.  

And irony on top of irony one of my Lyft drivers had a similar experience at Vanderbilt with his baby daughter and she was brought in with a rash and inflammation that the Doctor on call thought was a sign of child abuse and they would not release her to the family.  DHS took the child, several thousand dollars later to an Attorney the little girl was remanded back to her family and the rash was an allergic reaction to a product in the home that they were using to clean.  Abuse not at all. HEROES, right?

There are many many stories of this type when a Doctor or Nurse assumes something from the case and in turn decides you are incapable of caring for yourself and others.  My former Attorney attempted suicide in the middle of the corvid virus outbreak in Seattle, his wife and the EMT took him to all places Evergreen Hospital the treating facility for the victims of the nursing home. He was "released" against medical advice as they could not treat or diagnose him given they were sort of kinda of super busy with a deadly virus.  So when they tried to get him to an appropriate treatment facility he was rejected as too high risk even though he was sent home, did not harm himself further and actually took the initiative to seek help.  HEROES, right?

So I am not "alone" in my experience as there were many comments from those like me who had no real meaningful connections and those they had had their own families to look after so what do you do

I live alone and am a once a week office volunteer for a charitable entity that gives needed rides to seniors over 60 (by volunteer drivers) to non emergency medical appointments and grocery stores in the county I live in. As I am over 60, so I could use this service also. But since its not an emergency service,  my younger brother 700 miles away is my ICE.  I can get to a hospital in an emergency since I have finances and insurance to do so.  But getting home is the problem, as no doctor or hospital will release an emergency patient to a paid service like Uber or a Cab. They are afraid that the paid driver will dump you at the curb and not see that you get into your home safely.  Perhaps I should ask one of paid staff at the charity if they would agree to be a local ICE, as I have been volunteering in the office over 4 years. I am not comfortable doing so, but I can't think of anything else.
Again they don't care once out the door, that is artifice as when I got home no one from Vanderbilt called or checked on me and when I called the next day to make a post op for the following week I was told they were booked.  Okay why wasn't that arranged PRIOR to surgery and really why was I told to come in? HEREOS, right?

Again I learned the hard way do it all in advance - medications, post op appointments and and all you need to get them to do their part. You only matter if the check clears and they don't kill you but if you have no family no worry about malpractice lawsuits. See a positive. So what have we learned here? Be proactive, lie if you have to about the ICE thing and hire people and cover your ass as they won't have you seen a hospital gown?

I’m single and live alone. And on many forms, I can’t fill in the line for ‘In case of emergency.’

By Elana Rabinowitz
The Washington Post
April 4, 2020

It’s on almost every form you fill out for work, schools, the doctor’s office, the dentist. ICE. Three little letters that could save your life. And every time I need to fill it out, I cringe, I’m single and live alone and especially right now I think of it a lot — do I really have an “in case of emergency”?

In my thirties, I had my first panic attack. It struck out of nowhere in the middle of teaching. One minute I was doing an animated read aloud — the next I couldn’t breathe. My face turned red; my elementary school students began to cry. I had no idea what was happening to me. I was brought to the school nurse’s office, where I hadn’t been since I got a nosebleed in the fourth grade. After several minutes of respiratory problems, I got my breathing regulated, inhaling and exhaling in a brown paper bag, like I was blowing up a paper balloon. The assistant principal with the short brown hair looked at me and asked, “Who can come pick you up?”

And that’s when I realized it — no one could

I have friends and neighbors and family nearby, but I could not imagine any of them taking off work, driving or taking a cab to come pick up a grown woman holding a paper bag in her hand. But she was sitting there in the nurse’s room with her eyebrow raised, demanding an answer.

“Don’t you have someone? Who is your in case of emergency?” she said, irritated. “Let me call a car service,” I said.

She walked me to the station wagon, and I went home to my two male roommates at the time. I never told them what happened. I never talked about it again, but the ICE began to gnaw at me. Who was the first person in my speed dial? Who could I call for help?

Years passed — I moved apartments, changed schools and once again had to fill out those little blue cards with the emergency number. I did what I always did — I put my parent’s names down and prayed nothing would ever go wrong. I was in my 40s now and single, my parents in their 80s. I should not be calling them for help. They should be calling me.

As the weather warmed and I started pulling my hair back more, I began to feel it, a small protrusion, which I ignored at first. But soon the pain became excruciating, a constant throbbing that made it difficult to sleep, move my head and even brush my hair. It went from a bump the size of a pea to a bulge quickly. I had an infection on my head. A big bulbous cyst that could not be ignored. I looked it up online where you could see the famous pimple popper perform the procedure. It seemed gross but harmless enough.

Then I went to my doctor who assured me it was a simple procedure — and wrote me a referral to a surgeon.

“You have a pilar cyst,” he said and then showed me numerous pictures on his screen.

A big sac on the back of my head, covered by my golden locks, went unnoticed for years. Now the pain was unbearable.

“It’s an easy procedure, you might not even need stitches, he might just use glue.”

Nothing to worry about, I thought, and went home and made an appointment for the following week.

I met with the doctor, who seemed friendly enough, a warm man with gray hair who got right to business. He had me lie on my stomach as he began to inject my head with needles to numb it. Then he did his business, one I had watched numerous times on YouTube, like an accident I was grotesquely attracted to. I knew he would cut an incision and then remove the entire cyst — the size of a marshmallow but calcified and stuck in my head. We talked about Europe and travel and still, he was in there — poking and prodding trying to get this sucker out.

“This is really infected.” He said. “It may take awhile.”

Soon he began stitching me up like an old dress — so much for super glue. Finally, he was finished. It was five o’clock in rush hour and I planned to take the subway home. I got up and he began to give instructions I was not prepared to hear.

“Go home and take a shower. You will see a lot of blood,” the doctor said.

Wait — what?

This was supposed to be a simple procedure, but because of the size of the infection and the difficulty in removing the cyst, there was more blood than usual. I would need to go home and wash it out for sanitary purposes and keep an eye on the stitches. If they didn’t hold, or some other unforeseen rupture incurred, I would have to go to the emergency room.

“Blood?” I said.

“Yes, if it does not stop you will need to go to the emergency room. Do you have someone to take you?”

And there it was — nearly a decade later, ICE. The three-letter word, that sounded like a four-letter word. Of course, I had people in my life, including a brother who lived nearby, but as for someone who I could call and would answer the phone, well, I wasn’t sure.

“The emergency room?” I asked again.

“Probably not, but just in case. Otherwise, I will see you in 10 days to take the stitches out.” He said and left.

There I was. Alone. Afraid that my little cyst might cause me projectile bleeding. That all of a sudden, I would be vulnerable and scared and without support. I was going to get an Uber but it was rush hour and I knew the subway would be faster. So I took the train home, hiding my head, turning away from the crowd so straphangers couldn’t see. At home, I pulled my hair back — my neck was covered in blood. Skeptically I took a shower, and as promised the clear water turned crimson. It stopped and I got dressed and sat on the couch.

Who would I call? I thought. What would I do if I had to go to the ER? I started panicking but eventually fell asleep. I made it through the night, feeling frightened and alone, and my head began to pang like someone had knocked me out. The next day, I began calling friends and family to tell them what happened. To my surprise, many told tales of needing to go to the ER alone, and that fortified me.

My father had gone a few days before for heart problems. My closest friend had been once when her kids were small, so her husband had to stay behind and watch them. Others had similar stories.

As this pandemic bears down on us, many people have and will face going to an ER, or even an intensive care unit, alone.

If this is the case, there is a certain comfort in knowing that there are others out there who care and are thinking of you — and in that way you are never truly isolated.

Steps to take when facing a medical emergency

Being single with cancer may mean less aggressive treatment than a married person

I’m 70, single and have a strong support system. But when I got sick, it wasn’t enough.

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