Car accident (not mine for a change)

My niece Jessica was in an accident on the weekend.

The van she was riding in rolled and flipped. She was thrown out the window, even though she was wearing her seatbelt. She was taken to Fort Frances Hospital, near Thunder Bay. She was released but both she and her partner were concerned that she was more seriously injured than the FF hospital and my sister drove them to Thunder Bay Health Services. Her step-father is a former nurse and has worked in the other hospital in town for years and felt that my niece was showing signs of brain trauma.

After expressing his concerns, she was sent for CAT scans and they found that she had three small bleeders in her brain, as well as a spine and knee injuries… her third in as many serious car accidents. They admitted her immediately. The bleeds are healing it seems and they want to ensure that she doesn’t have stroke or other side effects from the trauma.

As for how the accident happened…

The driver was driving 140km in a 100km zone…. while texting. My niece’s partner was also in the car and was okay.

“As we flipped something in my head told me to undo my seat belt and roll with the impact. A moment later when the roof hit the ground the ceiling went through where I was sitting to the floor. If I hadn’t of rolled with it, I would have fit in a small box. We then bounced 40 meters while flipping in the air and landed again on the roof and slid to a stop due to snow build up inside and along the sliding edge. Literally, my martial arts training saved my life.

 I wasn’t knocked out or anything and was conscious the whole tim,e. After it stopped I checked on Jessica, then T [the driver] and then ran for help.
If Jessica hand’t been outside the window and buckled up, she would have been crushed by the roof in the second impact. After stopping if the van had fallen she would have been decapitated. I was really scared for her.
Somehow, despite riding the interior of the van, I came out with only a few scrapes and a bruised collar bone. I was pretty lucky.”

The driver is in critical condition in the Fort Frances hospital.

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Biopsy

I had the testing today. The “something” I saw turned out to be not “nothing” but not anything of importance. However, what I couldn’t see was that there was some “calcification” in the same breast. Apparently, they can look at this and tell immediately if it is “nothing” or can see immediately that it is “something” (cancerous). In my case, they can’t tell so they have to do a needle biopsy in the next week or so. It is non-invasive so out-patient and won’t interfere with my work. I am not going to worry about it. It won’t change the results and will burn my bridge when I come to it, as is my usual way of doing things.

This is what I will be subjected to… They make a small incision and then use a needle to extract a sample of the tissue. I don’t know how they plan to get my arm AND my breast through that hole!

Like having had a Mac truck parked on your tits.

In case you are wondering… that is what having a mammogram feels like. Mine is scheduled for next week.

And, lest you be unaware of this fact, men DO have mammograms. And they are done in exactly the same manner as those that women have.

So.

Am I complaining about having one scheduled for next week?

No.

I am just really, really, really glad to be female.

P.S. I love how all the illustrations show a smiling nurse helping a smiling woman flop them out on a flat surface while, instead of what it REALLY looks like… a surly nurse squashing them as flat as they will squash in the machine…. and then squashing them even more…. while you are standing on tiptoes… twisted at the hips… while being told off by the nurse because you moved….

An evening out

Tonight my friends were playing at a local bistro. Since the show starts early and ends early and it is close to home, it is great for Mom — and Mom Loves the band!. Since her birthday is next week, it was a good time to have some cake. My friend Krys made her wonderful Guinness cake.

Mom had a wonderful time.

Just a few minutes after this photo was taken (with the cake-baking Krys), we were leaving and she passed out in the middle of the floor. We called paramedics because although she sort of rallied a bit, she wasn’t really “with it”. While the paramedics were there, she passed out again and was sick. Her heart rate was really slow and her blood pressure low. So she had to go in to emergency. They’ve decided to keep her in for observation over night. They said that everything seems fine but they just want to make sure.

In looking at the photo, I can tell that she’s not really looking as perky as usual. I put it down to her being tired. I should have gotten her home when she first said she was tired. Oh well. Hind sight is 20-20…

Feeling ooky….

I was in the first board meeting of the new year for the co-op and suddenly started feeling dizzy and nauseated. I hope this isn’t flu…

Problem, too, because Mom hasn’t had her flu shot this year.

A pain in the…

On Thursday, I took Mom in to FINALLY have the growth on her head removed. The doctor couldn’t specifically identify what it was. She did say that it resembled a particular thing the name of which escapes me. She is treating it as “precancerous”, however, and sent it for biopsy. She said that if it was what she thought it was, it was likely benign.  If it was what she thought it was, they often grow to quite monstrous sizes and then fall off all on their own. However, since it was painful and disgusting-looking waiting for it to get to where it “falls off all by itself” just wasn’t an option.

It was already the size of the end of my ring finger and the affected area was about an inch in diameter. It looked sort of like a flaky, crusty stalagmite….

So we are both relieved that it is now gone. She because it hurt and I because I don’t have to look at it!

Now she had a large hole in her scalp which will have to heal. She hasn’t had any pain at all!

My eye.

I had my second appointment at the Eye Institute, today.

I had to wait endlessly to be called and had a gigantic coughing fit in the waiting room. Every time I sat down I would start coughing (I have a sort of throat thing). I would get up, go and get some water and the coughing would stop. I’d go sit down and within about 30 seconds was coughing up a lung. I kept assuring the folks “Tickle in the throat, not the FLU!” Finally after about the 4th visit to the water fountain, I was called in to see the doctor. Thank GOD!

After examining my eye, she said that the “damaged area” was smaller than the last visit but still fairly significantly visible. This time, however, when she poked me  repeatedly in the eye, I felt it. The last time, the surface of the eye didn’t “feel” anything.

I still can’t read the chart. If anything, that was WORSE than last time. The only thing I could make out was the big white letters on blue which were the name of the program they use for testing eyes — letters about 6 inches high. The actual chart letters were either straight-ish  fuzzy blobs or rounded fuzzy blobs.

During the last visit, when she mentioned that there were blood vessels going into the damaged area which, to me, sounded like a “good” thing but this time, the way she said it, it sounded like a “bad” thing. Somewhat confusing…

I was able to drive with no problems on Saturday but Sunday was AWFUL, even wearing the new wrap-around sunglasses. Saturday was fairly overcast but still rather too bright. Sunday was a brilliant day.

She’s given me more drops, this time with a steroid to reduce the swelling and inflammation, on top of the other drops and an ointment, and said that I am to go in again on Thursday. Hopefully, there will be more improvement.

Really, it is rather depressing to feel so unsure about whether there is any change or not, particularly because I can’t see any change. With something on the surface, you can tell when something is healing. With an internal problem, generally, you can at least FEEL if there is some improvement. With this, I don’t FEEL much improvement and a don’t see any improvement in my vision, really. I have to depend on the doctor seeing changes within the eye which won’t make much difference to me for some time… if ever.

At least it gives me something to legitimately worry about instead of having panic attacks over nothing. Oddly enough, I haven’t been anxious beyond just being worried. For someone who becomes nearly incapacitated worrying about things that may never happen, having something to really worry about is less stressful.

Pap…

I finally found a family doctor (again…).

This one is part of a family medical centre. For a few years I have been forced to see whatever doctor is available in one of these huge medical centres where even if you have an appointment with  a certain doctor, you can wait hours. While I was seeing one particular doctor whenever I could, he wasn’t MY doctor and I was hesitant to sign on as his patient. Provincial health care rules mean that if you sign on with a particular doctor, that’s it. You are stuck for life unless they leave the practice and don’t take you with them.

My beloved family doctor retired back in 2000 and was unable to find me a doctor. I’ve been with a couple of others but they simply left the clinics they were in and the clinics didn’t seem to care what happened to their patients.

So this week, I had my first actual check-up since 2000.

I had a “check-up” a few years ago at one of the “megaloclinics”. My “appointment was for 9am and I arrived at 8:45. I didn’t get called until 2:15. My “check-up” consisted of height, weight, and an eye-test (which the “nurse” did, insisting that I tack off my glasses and look at the chart 15 feet away… Since I can barely see the palm of my hand front 3 inches away, this was pretty pointless… Since I had just had my eyes checked less than a week ago by an actual eye doctor, it was even more pointless). That was the sum total of my check-up.

THIS time, I got the full work-up, including a home colon-cancer test kit.

So, now for the Pap…

Women know the scoop. Butt at the end of the table and knees in your ears.

Doctor says “This may be a little uncomfortable, since it hasn’t been used in a while…”

I’m thinking to myself “Either she doesn’t do too many internal exams and is using a reusable speculum…”

“Ummm, you mean the speculum or my…”

“I meant your….”

I’d have doubled over if I didn’t think that might just hurt a lot….

YAY!

Today, we went to the clinic to have my Mom’s leg looked at (infection is less and the doctor said it is looking good!). She had fallen when getting down from a chair that she had climbed on to close the curtains and scraped the front of her leg so badly I had to take her to the hospital…

While AT the clinic, we were on our way out when she said that she was “feeling a bit dizzy”. She was very pale, so I sat her down and went back into the office and alerted Dr. J and nurse/receptionist. We whisked her back into the examining room and got her lying down and Dr. J (who I DO like this doctor!) was able to test her BP, blood sugar, and listen to her heart WHILE she was actually having one of her turns. This is the first time in 4 years (at least) of these events that a medical professional has been able to see exactly what is happening AT the time she is having one of her “turns”.

Her blood pressure was 84/45 (up very minimally from 80/45 on Wednesday) just before her “turn” and up a few points again, after.

His opinion is what I have felt for a long time, that it is her blood pressure being way too low. Earlier in the week, her family doctor and the cardiologist removed 2 of 4 blood pressure medications. This doctor has told her to stop ALL her bp meds for the next few days.

She sees Dr. S tomorrow for her flu shot, so we may have a bit if a chat about this, at the same time.

Hopefully, THIS will give us a better idea about what is going on.

On another note, a friend informed me this evening my cousin in Iowa has a recurrence of his Protstate cancer and that it has spread to the bone in his leg (I didn’t know he had had a first bout of it). He was on the way to the clinic for a treatment when his leg simply “broke”. He now has pins in it and is walking with a cane.

However, I am thinking of my neighbour who died a few weeks ago. She had bone cancer and she fell and broke her leg, and cancer cells were released into her body.

My cousin is a lovely person and one of the few cousins of his generation left.  My cousin, Ina and her brother, Allen, died a year apart from each other, both suddenly. She died of a congenital heart defect that runs in our family and he died of complications from diabetes.

This cousin has been so wonderful about sharing our family history with me. He is handsome (I call him a “gentleman cowboy”, of sorts). He’s handsome and charming and one of the nicest people I know. He is also yet another person with cancer that I know and/or is related to me.

He and I have been emailing back and forth recently about some family history and he said nothing.

Finally (maybe)…

After a couple of years, they THINK maybe they have gotten to the bottom of Mom’s fainting spells.

In the last while, she has had various monitoring devices attached to the which have annoyed and discombobulated her but which seemed not to have shown the “experts” anything unusual. In fact, the one I had the highest hopes for did not catch the one episode she had while wearing it and 5 minutes after handing it in, she had another one.

Last week, she was put on a blood pressure monitor which she was to wear for 24 hours (which OHIP doesn’t cover and for which we had to pay $100 out-of-pocket).

We were called in to the doctor’s office yesterday and it seems that aside from the first hour when Mom’s blood pressure was elevated slightly, it showed that her blood pressure was “way too low”.  After discussing it with her cardiologist, they removed two of her blood-pressure medications.

Hopefully, this will have an effect on her and she may feel better and have a bit more energy.

Poor thing has been lolling about with no desire or energy to do anything except drag herself to the kitchen or up the stairs to the bathroom. I have been afraid to take her anywhere because every time I do, she has a “turn”.

I certainly don’t like the idea of going to the theatre or anywhere when I’m not with her. If she had one at the theatre, getting her down to the floor and getting her water would be impossible and if she were out with anyone else, they wouldn’t know what to do and would likely call an ambulance, not to mention that unless you get her on the floor with her feet on a chair, she actually goes out and throws up which is awful for her.

With the exception of the time at the restaurant where I was so worried about upsetting the other diners and ended up upsetting them, anyway, when she passed out and was sick and the paramedics came, I have always managed to get her to come round without her actually going completely out or getting sick. It is so upsetting for her to have to go to the hospital and, really, completely pointless because she is completely normal by the time she gets there and they can’t figure out what happened, anyway. And then she comes home sick and disoriented and not quite herself for several days.

If I act quickly and get her feet elevated and some water into her, she comes round and is right as rain almost immediately and never suffers from the “wobblies” for days and weeks after the way she does if she actually gets sick and passes out. If she actually goes out and is sick, I do call an ambulance.

It is just too upsetting for her and I refuse to put her through it if there is no benefit.

On another note,

I will remember this whenever my mother asks me the same question for the 100th time…This a Greek short film made in 2007

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “What is that? 2007“, posted with vodpod

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