Sam Bauman: When doc says get a shot… get a shot
Most seniors are bombarded with injunctions to get some new medication, varying from diet pills to brain health aids.
It’s easy to ignore the cries from your TV, but not wise to do something when the doctor suggests it.
But I did so when the Reno VA doctor suggested I get a pneumonia shot while being injected with the flu protection.
But I was busy and passed. Last Wednesday I paid the price with a couple of days at the Carson Tahoe Health hospital in Carson City. Not that our hospital isn’t a fine place, but on a whole, there many others things I’d rather be doing.
I hope the following inspires seniors to stay current and avoid the hospital.
It all started last Wednesday when I went out and bought dinner supplies. I felt a little uneasy as I shopped, and when I got home, I sat in the car for several minutes feeling dizzy.
A neighbor lady came over and asked it I were ill; as I started to vow my health I began to vomit. She ran to get the handy man who suggested a call to 911.
Fifteen minutes later the EMTs arrived, checked me over and decided it was the hospital for me.
I was wheeled into the emergency room, where the EMTs were welcomed, and I was covered with blankets. Medical people came and went, drawing blood and measuring things.
Finally, a diagnosis: Pneumonia.
Centered in my left lung, it had reached a danger point and my small room became crowded. One doctor sat down with me and described the dangers,
“It’s a good thing you got 911 to get you. Pneumonia is a bad thing and the EMTs probably saved your life. Viral stomach (bug) going around now but people don’t know about it.”
I knew about it then, amid the vomiting and dizziness that made standing difficult. I rested on a single bed under warm blankets. Thus began a series of blood draws and chest-listening sessions which went on late into the night.
I was wakened at 4:45 a.m. for a blood draw. Then a warm breakfast and a lot of conferences with various experts. They were puzzled by my lack of coughing.
About noon I was wheeled to the third-floor patient area and put in room 462, a paradise after the night in the small, cramped emergency slot.
This was living, noon meal warm and tasty. TV worked well and I managed to get closed captions up (my poor hearing).
More blood draws and an AV stand inserted in my neck. A very friendly lady doctor — sorry, I don’t remember any of the names of the staff — sat down with me and explained that I might be suffering from a viral gastroenteritis, which I took to mean stomach problems.
Thursday continued with tests, nice nurses making me relax, and the same lady doctor asking me questions. Obviously, some question about what ailed me. She told me I had improved enough to be released Friday morning.
The world brightened. I was in a lovely room and was going to be pardoned for my sins. I would be going home.
I alerted my would-be driver and sent messages to all I thought might be concerned, and then began drafting this report.
Friday as usual, blood draw at 4:45. Then paperwork followed by therapy. I was weak but two therapists got me walking corridors free handed, then with a walker. We did stair steps and practiced rising out of a chair and more walker, which they insisted I use for the next week or so.
Finally, I was released and made it to the lobby; my driver appeared and whisked me to my beckoning apartment. I was under orders not to climb the stairs alone so she joined me.
Hospital stays are rarely a pleasure. If you gotta do hospital time this is the one.
I’m much weaker than before all this and my ski-fall damaged back isn’t happy. And the therapy that I scheduled a week ago is looming (back and left knee).
So why bore readers with this tale of woe when I’m still not sure of what was wrong?
To remind them to listen to their doctors, even if what they are told is daunting.
Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.