In my last post, I told the tale of the inadequate and inconsiderate medical care that Lauren received when she recently became ill. Unfortunately, that was not the end of it . It actually got worse.
Lauren seemed a bit better the day after my last post - no fever, and she ate dinner. Noon time the next day, the fever was back. Then the internist’s office called to report on the blood work that was done two days before. The secretary or nurse (she didn’t identify which she was) said, “Dr. M asked me to call and tell you that we have the results of Lauren’s blood work back and her platelets are low. He wants her to see Dr M M (his wife).”
I asked, “What kind of doctor is Dr. M M?”
“An oncologist. Her number is 973-xxx-xxxx. Have a nice weekend.”
Luckily for me – I was sitting down. Luckily for her – we weren’t in the same room. Have a nice weekend??? You’ve got to be kidding me! You’ve just told me that my child may have cancer…on a Friday afternoon….when I will be able to reach no one for three days. And, to make matters worse – you are a messenger for a doctor who should have called himself with such an important message.
OK, breathe, breathe. I call the neurologist’s office and ask for one of the staff who has been with us from the beginning. “D, help!” I explain what is going on.
She says, “I’ll call you back in ten minutes. In the meantime, can you get the results of that blood work faxed to me?"
I call the secretary/nurse back and ask for the results to be faxed to the neurologist. She says, “Oh, I don’t know when they’ll be scanned in. Can you call back Monday?”
“No, I can’t. The neurologist is waiting for them.”
“Oh, gee. I’m going off duty soon. I’ll leave a note for one of the nurses.”
I hang up. D calls back. She’s discussed everything with the covering neurologist, and he has called an infectious disease specialist who is waiting for us at a hospital ER forty five minutes away. “Go”, she says.
I take a thirty second to break down, give in to the moment…and then we run. Three hours later, Lauren is admitted to the hospital. Tests, tests, tests. Everyone we encounter is compassionate, kind, professional (except for the young male nurse who had no idea where to put a catheter for a urine sample – definitely foreign territory for him – I hope he’s not married) And, now we wait. Oh, we have learned one thing. Apparently, Depakote (one of Lauren’s seizure meds) can cause the platelet count to be low. Dr. M apparently never checked that.
We’ve been in the hospital now for two days. We still have no answers. Lauren is still spiking fevers. I think we’re going to be here for awhile. The late afternoon sun of a reportedly beautiful summer Sunday is streaking into the room as Lauren and I watch TV and wait. Tonight, I will be spending another restless night on a narrow, squeaky, lumpy cot. I wouldn’t care where I slept if I knew that Lauren was progressing instead of fearing she is declining. I hope we have an answer soon. I’ll let you know….when I know.