Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thank-full for health insurance

Having spent 4 hours in the emergency room last night with Dick, I am grateful that we have health insurance.

It all started with a phone call from Dick saying he had fallen off his bicycle on his way home from work, and would I come and collect him as he was a 'bit banged up'? I rushed there and the first thing I saw was that I could hardly see his eyes- he was having a severe allergic reaction to something that was manifesting itself in his sinuses. All he could remember was having a huge sneezing fit after he 'woke up' having fell off his bike. 'Woke up'?? He couldn't remember hitting his head, although the scrape on the right side of his forehead showed he'd definitely banged his head. His first concern, naturally, was that the bike and his laptop were ok. However, we did not hang around to check them over, we just loaded them into the car- after he taken an anti-histamine that I always keep in my bag. For Dick to say he is hurting is unusual enough, but to ask to go to the ER, was another thing. That was my lesson for the day - find out where the local ER is when you move to a new town before you need it. Luckily, I had my trusty GPS with me, although it needs a fast way of telling me which of the nearest hospitals has an ER unit. Luckily I remembered approximately where I thought the hospital was and we found it- Saint Louise Regional Hospital

I had forgotten how having an allergic reaction would help us get in to see someone very quickly- despite the anti-histamine, Dick could barely see. I won't go into the whole process, except that the nurses and doctor were great. Dick had numerous x-rays with high-tech machines and was treated really nicely. The scrapes and bruises were seen to, and they gave us detailed discharge instructions, along with all the prescriptions needed to get him back into shape. The eyes were a little less puffy, and his arm was in a sling. The x-rays had shown cracked ribs, and a separated shoulder- both of which threatened to be very painful for a little while. We'd been there some time but he was thoroughly checked over.

This morning Dick is sore and a little stiff but not too worse for wear. He won't be going into work until next week as he is not allowed to drive whilst on the meds- we were warned that he could be arrested for DUI if he did. Someone in the cubicle next to us in the ER last night had also fallen off his bike, however he was arrested for DUI whilst riding his bicycle having admitted to nurses that he had fallen off after having a few beers!

Dick needs to rest, and is doing better already although he is very tired (as am I!). He just looks like he has been in a boxing match. We still don't know what caused the allergic reaction- there doesn't seem to be any marks to indicate insect bites, but that was the docs final theory; something that happened while he was knocked out? What caused the accident? A little over-enthusiasm- Dick's lesson for the day.. slow down when there are obstacles ahead. The other good news is that the bike is ok, and so is the laptop. Dick will be getting a new bicycle helmet.. maybe the scooter was a good idea after all!

And, in case you are interested, this is Dick's version of the same tale


Dianne Marsh said...

Good for you for always keeping an antihistamine in your bag! WOW!

How terrifying, with an allergic reaction to boot!

Glad you had your GPS (I liked your evaluation of it on the podcast).

Dianne (Java Posse listener)

Jackie said...

Thanks Dianne.

I always carry antihistamine because once I had a bad allergic reaction to a bee sting and it looked worryingly like the same kind of reaction. Luckily Dick was still able to breathe normally- it just affected his eyes rather than his breathing too. I, however, was having trouble breathing when I was stung. The 10 mile drive to the only ER I knew vaguely of would not have been fun. His eyes are still not back to normal but he is a little more comfortable today.

As for my Telenav GPS, I think I should send them some feedback about a quick way of finding the nearest the ER unit- it only lists hospitals and there is not an easy way to work out what facilities they have, but I was very grateful just to have that option.

Dianne Marsh said...

GREAT idea on being able to separate hospitals from ERs on the Telenav GPS. I know that, near us, there are urgent cares that have facilities that you could have used that are closer than a hospital that wouldn't have any facilities at all.

Bees, ugh! We have a boatload of them around here right now. I get really itchy and swollen from bee stings, but haven't had difficulty breathing. That would be terrifying.

I just read about a little boy who had an allergic reaction to peanuts and his mom gave him a dose of Benadryl on the way to the ER (he hadn't been previously diagnosed as allergic) that may have saved his life. Sounds like we should all carry benadryl around with us, all of the time!

Hope you aren't impacted by the traffic problems in the SF area of late.


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