Annie and James Rushden were man and wife, until James revealed he was transsexual. Annie writes about the experience of falling in love all over again with her partner Claire. Same soul, different gift wrap.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Birthday

to my best friend, soul mate, pain in the a.... ;)
I love you

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Non-Surgery - followup

By request of the surgeon (who is extremely dismayed) I have sent him a 3 page letter detailing what happened, and CC'd the CEO of the hospital and the ethics board of the holding company (Tenet). I'll see what they do.

My biggest issue is that they had a patient in severe distress and never, ever checked on her. What if she had fled into an area of the hospital lost, passed out, and hit her head? What if she'd been hit by a car when she bolted across the street in a blind panic? This could have had catastrophic results.

But then again, if this was the level of care given to a patient that the surgeon had specifically requested extra care for, then what would have happened post-op? What if she woke and panicked because she had a chest tube in? Would they have ignored the situation then too?

In addition, since the day of the surgery, I have heard from 3 medical professionals that they avoid that hospital (AMC) like the plague.

One is a firefighter/paramedic that took a patient to the ER that had previously been seen at Grady. The ER at AMC told him they didn't want him because he had been seen at Grady, not AMC. This was a patient transported by ambulance to an ER. He told me that because of that incident and others, they avoid going to AMC at all costs.

The second was someone who took their father to the ER after he had a seizure - when he'd never experienced one before. They did no urine or blood tests, and performed no cat scan. They said he'd had a fainting spell and sent him home. The next day she took him to his regular doctor, who clearly saw he was very ill, diagnosing him with lung cancer, enlarged heart and liver.

Let's just say that I shall let everyone I know to never, ever go to this hospital.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The surgery

It didn't happen.

Claire has severe anxiety attacks about medical procedures, requiring a xanex and a couple of days of preparing herself mentally to just get blood drawn.

The surgeon and anesthesiologist both reassured us that she would be treated with consideration (trans) and treated for anxiety - by having a dose of versed waiting for her when she walked in the door. I warned them both that if they made her wait a few minutes sitting around the panic attack would happen.

So... we got there, and Claire has dry heaves and is terrified to leave the parking garage, when an orderly saw us and asked if we needed an assist. I said we did and he helped coax her in. She made it through the ER, to the 7th floor, and to admitting, where the orderly TOLD the nurse there that the patient was in distress and he had to help us in. I informed her that this was the panic attack patient, and we were supposed to have a pill ready for us for her to take immediately so she could calm down before going to pre-op, and one that would be enough to get IV and everything started.

Well, we got attitude. "I'm not HIS nurse". A call to the real nurse, and a summons to follow down the hall, where we passed people sleeping (pre-op prepped) and were put into a PRE-OP room with an IV stand and a bed, had a gown and slippers tossed onto the bed and were told "everything off, gown on".

I stormed out and demanded that someone get the damn pill. I was told that "they didn't have the chart" and "knew nothing about any pill". I warned them that they would blow the surgery if they didn't get the doc on the phone and medicate her asap.

I went back to claire, trying to get her to focus her breathing, but after 2 minutes went back out only to find neither nurse on the phone or getting a chart. I asked what the holdup was and was told to be patient because they were going to have to "walk across the street and get it".

Back and forth 3 more times. On the last time, I went back to the pre op room (room 13 by the way - big ass 13 printed on the wall) only to find Claire *gone*.

I went out and told the nurse that they were too damn late (15 minutes now had passed) and that she was gone. The nurse's response? "who's 'she'?"

I would have punched her had I not been terrified that Claire was lying in shock in some hallway somewhere. I said "Claire, the HIGH ANXIETY patient that I TOLD you we were running out of time on".

"So he's gone?"

Had it. Pissed off beyond belief. Went tearing out of the building, couldn't find her. Told security that a patient having a panic attack was wandering around somewhere. Finally found her outside the ER building, across the street, sitting on a low wall almost catatonic.

Called my mom, who got a cab and came over. A nurse finally came down (30 minutes after the fact) and said that they had the pill ready now, but she had to go back upstairs to take it. Claire was way past responding. We begged and pleaded, but nothing would get her back in there.

So, basically, Claire has been beating herself up all day and crying uncontrollably at her "failure". Our daughter, here on emergency leave from Iraq, is in trouble with her paperwork.

And me? I'm so fucking pissed off at a hospital that we were assured would be prepared for a patient diagnosed with panic disorder. And to add in the anti-trans stuff to boot, really, really pissed me off.

I'm exhausted, had 3 hours of sleep last night, so forgive the rant, please.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

it's here.

I just had the love of my life collapse crying in my arms. This is so incredibly scary even for someone without severe panic attacks, I just can't even imagine how my beloved feels right now.

I think she's incredibly brave, and stronger than she thinks. My mom and daughter are ready to help her recover, and we'll be taking good care of her.

My heart, however, is breaking at the moment.

Thank you everyone, for helping support her. I'll keep you posted tomorrow. Surgery starts at 8:30 (eastern).