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Carol’s Wild Ride

The night before last, Carol woke up at 3 ayem from some of the worst abdominal pain she’s ever experienced. After a few groggy minutes of watching her thrashing around in agony, I did about all I could: called 911 and had an ambulance get her up to Memorial Central.

I had a kidney stone in 1997 and it reminded me a little of that: No position she took would ameliorate the pain even a little. The nexus of the pain seemed wrong for a kidney stone, but science knows far less about complex systems like human biology than it claims to, and such systems don’t always perform the ways that we demand they do. I have no experience with appendicitis and worried about that as well, so off she went.

Colorado Springs Memorial Health System is a superb hospital, and though I certainly don’t want to ride over there in an ambulance (or anything else) if I can avoid it, I’m glad it’s there if I ever need it, and certainly glad it was there when Carol needed it. They got her into a comfortable room, got an IV going, and gave her pain killers almost instantly. The people we dealt with were amiable and very competent, and by mid-morning they had decided to admit her, to continue testing and give her some time to recuperate under controlled conditions. I went back home breakfastish to feed QBit and pack the other three members of the Pack off to “grandma” Jimi Henton (their breeder) for a short vacation. By the time I got back we had a diagnosis of inflamed pancreas and a treatment plan. Carol was a little groggy from the painkillers and was dozing a lot, but she was no longer in pain and according to the medical staff was in no danger.

Memorial has a bogglingly good cafeteria downstairs, where I lunched on tender London broil with almond rice pilaf, chased by an excellent oatmeal-raisin cookie–all for about $6, which is generally what I part with on any odd trip to McDonald’s.

After lunch Carol had a visit from the rector of our Episcopal parish, Fr. David Koskela, who dropped everything when he learned that Carol was in the hospital and roared over there to give her a blessing and a kiss and encouragements. (If we were still Romans there would have been no such visit; even “last rites” are tough to come by these days, with so few priests left to confect them.)

I stayed with Carol most of the day, coming home again suppertime to feed QBit, then returning until 8 or so, when I started getting crosseyed for lack of sleep. Memorial is unusual in that they allow visitors at any time, 24/7, and don’t obsess about cell phones. We talked to family back in Chicago last night on Carol’s cell, and none of the high-tech machinery in the room died in showers of Trekkish sparks.

I brought Carol her toothbrush, some clean clothes to come home in, and a stuffed bichon to keep her company during the first night she’s spent in a hospital since 1966. QBit keeps searching the house for her, and I’m sure we’ll all rejoice when she gets home. More as it happens.

UPDATE: Carol was discharged from the hospital at about 2 PM today and I now have her tucked in bed with QBit at her feet. She’s on liquids and bed rest and “the boys” are going to stay at “grandma’s” for a couple more days. (Carol really doesn’t want even a single bichon on her lap right now, considering how close her lap is to her pancreas–much less the continuous rolling bar-brawl we call the Pack.)


  1. Tom R. says:

    Jeff, be sure that they check for gall stones. If they pass from the gall bladder they can block the duct from the pancreas. IF that was the cause (and I KNOW of one case where it was) then this can happen again if the gall bladder keeps throwing stones. Sometimes this is NOT caught the first time since the stone that caused the inflamed pancreas may pass before the images can catch it blocking the pancreas duct leading to the inflammation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Carol.

    1. They did–that was actually their #1 hypothesis–but an X-ray and CAT scan known to be reliable for that purpose turned up nothing. Which is good, as gallstones are a serious and painful business.

  2. Glad to hear she’s home and not in pain, at least. Hopefully they’ll nail down what’s actually wrong soon.


  3. bcl says:

    I hope she has a swift recovery!

  4. Erbo says:

    I know something about pancreatitis, because Pamela had it; seeing how it hit her was enough to know it’s Serious Business. Here’s hoping she has the speediest of speedy recoveries, and that the rest of the Pack can rejoin lone-wolf QBit soon!

  5. You must have been terrified. I’m relieved to hear that Carol is recovering and not in any danger.

  6. Jeff: Good grief. I am so glad that she’s on the mend and at home again, whether the bichon-wolf-pack is present or not.

    Cheers, Julian

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