Tag Archives: Royal University Hospital

Well that was a crappy Christmas

So back on December 24th I came home, ate some supper and then barfed it back up.  I use the term barf there because my mother disapproved of the term, especially in the context of talking about food.

I had been sick since December 16th when I ran an insanely high fever and had been running one ever since then.  On December 25th, I spent the day on the sofa all day sleeping.  On the 26th, I went into work for an hour and then headed home to take some pain killers for his horrific pain in my kidney.  The painkillers worked and I went back to sleep where I was woken up by more pain.  The cycle continued until 9:00 p.m. when the painkillers stopped working.

There were other things going on that I don’t want to talk about as well.  So I drove to Royal University Hospital where triage put me in a room and the nurses poked and prodded and asked a doctor for permission to start an IV and they gave me a pain killer for kidney pain.  It worked.

The weird thing was that I was feeling so bad for so long in other areas, the kidney hurting just seemed incidental.  Apparently it was the big problem, the rest were symptoms of it really struggling.

Then it was a night of X-rays, blood work, other samples, a CAT Scan, and  other tests.  Related to this, the Saskatchewan deficit will be higher than anticipated this year.  Someone spent a lot of money at the hospital today.

So this morning I got the bad news about my kidney as well as some new prescription medication that stresses out my pharmacist quite a bit.  The doctor also told me the scans both showed what looked like what happens when you pass a kidney stone.

Now I have never passed a kidney stone but I have been told and read about how awful they are.  I experienced nothing like that at all.  He gave another option of a severe infection but he was pretty sure I passed one as well.  I am pretty sure I had not which we both found kind of funny.  So either the other option is accurate or the rest of you are wimps.  I think probably the other option is what happened.

I feel like crap and this sounds like a repeat post but hopefully next week I feel better.  I slept for much of the day and have tomorrow off.  We will see how I feel Thursday.

Wendy took the boys out to Optimist Hill at Diefenbaker Park today to try out their snowboards.  Mark learned the hard way that a higher centre of gravity works against you on a snowboard while Oliver had far less of a problem.  The good news is that Mark’s face absorbed most of the impact.

Random Thursday Thoughts

I have hated this time of year for the last two years.  This weekend I am going to write and file two columns for The StarPhoenix.  Not a big deal but it wraps up my 2016.  Since I know what I am writing for my first column for 2017, I’ll probably write that as well.   I just wrote on Saskatchewan drunk driving problem and I am probably going to shoot a video talking about some of the issues that didn’t make it into the paper.  I’ll post the video and column here on Monday.

To go back two years ago, I told my editor that I would fire off some columns for him in the same way.  Then I got sick.  I didn’t know it at the time but it was the start of the infection in my leg spreading rapidly and my body was trying to fight it.  I was so sick that I couldn’t function at all or write the columns which was the first time it had ever happened.  I couldn’t get warm.  I’d be buried under ten blankets while wearing a toque and gloves to stop the pain in my hands.  I kept thinking I would go to bed and I would be fine but it never happened.  Finally on the 22nd, I went to the hospital and was loaded up with antibiotics.  As we know it didn’t work that well.  I was on all sorts of antibiotics.  I had picc lines going into my hands (You write a column for several weeks where every single key stroke in your left hand caused you to experience great pain).  I was injecting myself at the dinner table.  I was taking so many antibiotics at one point where the new pharmacist refused to fill the prescription.

Last year after being on antibiotics for months, I was declared cured and good to go about this time in December.  Within 72 hours I was as sick as I was the first time.  I can’t remember why but in the middle of the night I got up to get something and I passed out at the top of the stairs.  I remember laying at the bottom of the stairs and thinking that I have broken something when Wendy gasped and said, “Look at your leg”.  It was bright red enough I could see it brightly without the lights on and it was giving off an incredible amount of heat.  The infection was bad and had spread.  The next morning I was back at RUH being pumped full of antibiotics.  I remember the doctor saying, “Another couple of days you may not have made it.”

So again back to my column.  I had written my editor saying I wouldn’t file that week that I was too sick and needed some time off.  Anyways there was a miscommunication over whether it was that week or the next week and to make a long story short (I never did look back at my email but I assume the miscommunication was mine) I wrote my column in the bowels of RUH hooked up an IV drip in like 30 minutes.   I took some time off of work but came back just before Christmas but I was still wiped out from the infection and the treatment.  I slept through pizza on Christmas Eve and was too tired to hand out gifts that night so I had Mark do it.

Luckily by Christmas morning I felt better, the antibiotics had started to beat back the infection and for that time, the worst was over.

It is hard to believe that two years later the infection is still there.  It is shrinking though and seems to be getting better.  It’s been two years of antibiotics, side effects, IV’s, tests, and doctors appointments.  There has  been a lot of pain and more fevers than I care to think of.  I still am exhausted at the end of most days and the plan is for another year and a half of antibiotics but it is nothing like it was the last two Christmases.  That’s a good thing.

So as weird as it is, when I sit down with a cup of coffee and write 1200 or so words over an hour or so, it will feel like a huge step forward.  None of you will enjoy reading those columns as much as I will have had writing them.


The weekend that was: It was a quiet weekend.  I worked Saturday and then on Sunday, Wendy, Oliver and I drove to Moose Jaw to say goodbye to the last weekend of the summer at Deja Vu Cafe, one of our favorite diners.  Mark had to work and we ordered way too many delicious wings, especially after Oliver got full on his milkshake and ate a total of two wings.  This morning Mark and I were up early because he had a photo project to shoot the entire alphabet.  We went downtown early and photographed much of the downtown.

On my to-do list this week: On Tuesday I start the morning talking municipal politics with Phil Tank on CBC and end the day talking politics with Hilary Nelson and Lenore Swystun on CFCR.  In  between there I get to spend some quality time at RUH where I get to find out why my ankle hurts so much (it’s the infection) and I can’t walk in a straight line (that in concerning).

Procrastinating about: I am writing 15 gift guides for work this Christmas.  They start going live every three days in October.  I am done one of them.  It’s going to be about 30,000 words when it is all said and done.

Book I’m in the midst of: I saw a great tweet by Rosie Barton saying, “Elections are my Olympics” which made me laugh but I am not a big fan of the process.  With some friends that are working on opposite campaigns, I kind of find discomfort in the entire process and can’t wait until it is done.  To get my mind off this, I am reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse again.  It sounds bleak but I love the sections on society that avoided collapse by working together for solutions.

Music that seemed to catch my attention this past week:  A shocking amount of Bjork on Spotify.

How I’m feeling about this week: I’ve got some cool projects coming up that I can’t share yet so I am counting down the days until they happen.


Today I went back to the future… well I went to the ambulatory care unit of RUH which is still awesomely decorated in a 80s color scheme.

It’s the same old, same old.  My ankle is still infected and after 10 months, they still can’t get rid of it.  They can fight it to a stalemate but can’t actually beat it.

My appointment was at 10:30.  I had hoped to be out by 11:30 as I had some things I wanted to do.  Since I never saw the doctor until 11:45, that wasn’t going to happen.

What did happen is that when they took my pulse when I was admitted, it was 226 bpm.  They kind of freaked out.  I then started a bad fever and started to get the chills, all while casually waiting for my doctor.  This is what happens when my antibiotics are done.  I am fine while on them and then within a day or two of being off them, I get violently ill.  Horrible chills, mind numbing fevers until I get delirious, double vision (from the high heart rate).  Then when I am on the antibiotics, life is good and people say that I am fine.  Then the antibiotics run out and I get extremely sick.

Since this happened while he was seeing me, he ordered a bunch of immediate tests and seemed happy it was happening as it was the ideal time to do these tests.  I am glad the specialist was happy but I would have been even happier if he said, “you are cured”.

So I go down the mall at RUH to “Tests” and I am kind of excited about this.  I have crappy, hard to find veins.  The kind that Gamma Dynacare can’t get blood from.  They try three times and say, “never come back”.  At the hospital they keep digging and digging.  It may be painful but the blood comes out.  I sit down in the waiting area and they have some sort of The View clone on the TV.  If I was on life support, I would unplugged myself to avoid watching it.

I get called into the lab and the lab tech engages in a mighty struggle with my veins but finally I start to bleed.  I explain to her mid struggle that this always happens and I can handle the pain.  I’d rather watch her needle dig around for a vein that watch whatever was on the television waiting room.   As I get up to leave, she says, “That was a struggle.  My next step was to take you to the lab and cut you with a knife down there.”  I am pretty sure she was joking but after the struggles that I have had in the past with giving blood, I’d have gone along with it.

The next fun part is always getting my prescriptions filled.  The last time I went, there was a new pharmacist there.  She looked at the prescription and freaked out and didn’t want to fill the prescription.  Her assistants (who I have dealt with for years) look over and go, “No that’s accurate, he’s kind of messed up.”  They also recognized the specialists name and were fine with it.   This time the was more concern than freaking out.  As one said, “You’ve been on a lot of different kinds of antibiotics”.

I am not sure if the latest antibiotic is going to work or not.  It has beaten back the infection a bit so we are going with it for three months to see if they can break the stalemate.   When I started this, they gave me a prescription for three weeks and that was a big deal and it was 5th the dosage.  Now it’s like five times the amount and three months.

So when Premier Brad Wall mentions escalating healthcare costs for the reason why taxes need to increase in the province, I’m the reason.

The latest

Last week found me in the ambulatory care area of Royal University Hospital.  The part hasn’t been updated since the early 80s.  I felt like the dress code should include feathered hair and mullets for all of the staff and doctors to keep the vibe going.  Not only is the area still decorated in early 80s decor, it looks new.  Not sure how RUH maintenance staff pull that off.

I was off the antibiotics that keep me functioning when I went and saw him.  The night before the infection came racing back and covered my lower leg and ankle.  I had fevers and chills all day at work and I could barely make it up our stairs to get to bed.  Wendy came home and freaked out and wanted to take me to emergency but I just wanted some sleep and I wouldn’t get any in ER.  I was pretty confident that I wasn’t going to die and I found it unlikely that a night ER doc would know how to cure me.   So the next morning I rolled out bed, went to RUH, realized they made the parking garage too small once the new Children’s Hospital opens up, and admitted myself.

The specialist grilled me a while and affirmed part of my treatment but also brought up that no one has done even the right tests yet.  He also told me that the antibiotic I was on was the wrong kind, not strong enough and in the long term has made things worse.

So I am on a new one.  The advantage of the old one is that it kept me out of pain.  Not being on one means that it is incredibly painful and while the new anti-biotic is more potent, it takes time work.  When I am off the anti-biotic, the infection spreads like wildfire in a day.  Yet when I am on the anti-biotic it takes a week to beat it back.  The big change is that the pain in the leg is just overwhelming now.  It was bad but nothing like this.  It’s getting better as the redness goes down but there isn’t a part of my right leg that doesn’t scream in pain with every step.

The specialist did have a very technical discussion about my leg which I was fine with.   I asked questions and he explained them.  I felt better at the end of the appointment.  He did throughout it keep saying, “those little bugs in your leg” which made me smirk each time.   I would have also accepted, “that gross thing that is eating your leg” as another description.  I felt better when I left which was an improvement over the other specialist appointment where I was told to quit my job and that I wasn’t serious about getting better because I wouldn’t quit my job.

So there you go.  Leg is still messed up and for this week at least, got a lot worse.  Of course the good news is that it looks like it could start to get better.

Five Years

Oliver turning five

Oliver turned 5 today which his a fairly remarkable achievement considering his life so far.  Five years and a day ago, Wendy had been hospitalized a couple of weeks after struggling with pre-eclampsia for most of the pregnancy.  The hospital trip was a roller coaster as every day her condition was changing.  She went from being in the hospital to being in intensive care to being on the verge of being let out and sent home.  I had every expectation of bringing her home the next day.

Instead at 5:00 a.m., I got a tearful phone call from her saying that they were going to do an emergency c-section and I needed to get to the hospital right away. The nurse told me that I had a little time so I grabbed a quick shower and raced through the city to Royal University Hospital where the parking lot was closed.  I parked at metered parking with this kind of funny realization that I bet Oliver was going to be born at the time I needed to plug the meter again.

As I went up to the room, there was chaos in Wendy’s room with doctors and nurses in an out taking her vital signs.  A doctor grabbed me and said that Wendy was in better shape than another mother and child and they didn’t think they would survive if Wendy went first.  It wasn’t as if I had any say in it but I kind of said, “yeah, no problem”.  Sadly their child didn’t make it.

I sat with Wendy, called Lee, and just waited.  Wendy was unconscious for most of it and had no idea how serious her condition was.  A doctor came in and told me how bad it was for Wendy and said, “there is a good chance she is going to have a heart attack or stroke during the caesarean”.  There wasn’t much for me to say.  He asked what I did for a living and I told him.  He looked relieved and said, “I don’t think you will freak out in there but if you do, I am going to toss you out of the delivery room.”  I replied, “I seem to the only one who isn’t losing it this morning.  I’ll be fine”.  At this time it was 6:00 a.m. and I offered to do a coffee run for the nurses that had spent the night with Wendy.

The Starbucks was packed and my heart kind of stopped when a nurse came running up to me but she just had some money and was going to help me with the coffees.

We sat for hours as I just kind of sat there and held Wendy’s hand.  Her vital signs were getting worse and her blood pressure was getting higher.  Finally another doctor came in and was yelling at someone else that “this baby should have been taken days ago and the mother is going to die.”  I remember thinking, “Really? This is what medicare cuts have gotten us.  Doctor’s who don’t even realize they are in the room with the father.”  As they left, the nurse came over and said, “Fucking idiots”, told me to ignore them and then realized that it was going to be impossible.  She was mad at them for having that conversation in front of me and offered me another coffee.  I took her up on her offer.

Finally Wendy and I were taken into the delivery room.  A resuscitation team was there as was a team to take Oliver to the NICU. Everyone was just looking at me like, “What the heck is the father doing here” and the doctor would just say, “He works at the Salvation Army, he’s cool” and that seemed to satisfy people.

The caesarean section was over quick and more than Oliver, everyone was looking at Wendy’s vital signs.  The radio was playing the song that was on when Oliver came out was YMCA by the Village People.  There was a massive screen up between Wendy and I and the baby.  As Oliver came out, a nurse and doctor raced over the other side of the screen and kind of yelled, “The baby is fine!” while everyone was looking at Wendy’s blood pressure.  As the tensions left the room, one of the doctors came up to me and said, “I’d be okay with my kid being born to the YMCA.  If it was a Bette Middler tune, his life may have been meaningless”.

Wendy was taken to the recovery room while I wandered out.  I don’t know how but Lee and Mark were in the waiting room and they poked their head into the recovery room and said hi to Wendy who was too tired to know what was going on.  Wendy’s blood pressure hit dangerous levels off and on for the next week.

As I left with Mark to go to Alexander’s for lunch, of course I got a parking ticket.  I wanted to fight it on the basis that I had no other options but I just paid it.

I was able to go up and see Oliver the next day in NICU.  Mark was too young to see him but they made several exceptions for him and Lee.  Because Wendy was too weak to walk, she wasn’t able to see him for the first week which went over poorly.  A combination of fatigue and the medication had her believing that this was a conspiracy but we got over that.

Oliver Scott CooperOliver Scott Cooper

Oliver spent 23 days at RUH and we finally took him home on July 2, 2008.  Before we got home, we actually took him to the Salvation Army Community Services and then to Reimers so it was a late day before he experienced his new home.

Despite the stress of his entry into this world, there was one more obstacle and that was Maggi.  Maggi is like a bull in the China shop and I was nervous that a dog that physically assertive would not do well with a child who was two months premature.  We took him home, set him down in his car chair and a very gentle Maggi slowly approached Oliver and gave him a gentle lick.  It wasn’t until he walking and the height of a wagging tail that her protectiveness and gentleness diminished.

So now he is five.  Time flies when you repress some of those memories.

Today he woke up and excitedly opened his presents:

  • Spiderman water bottle
  • Kick scooter
  • Green Army men
  • An NFL football (from Mark of course)
  • Ninjago book (his two favourite things, Ninjas and Lego)
  • Some new shirts
  • An Angry Bird hat

He is off at A.H. Browne Park with Mark on his new kick scooter wearing a brand new shirt.  He is off to take over the world.

Video: Reduce the lead time for Mental Health and Addictions patients in RUH Emergency


The Saskatoon Health Region is being driven by Lean Management.  Like any management theory it has a website, newsletters and even some videos.  While the video production quality is horrible, here is a video on how the Saskatoon Health Region is trying to improve intake and evaluation for Mental Health & Addiction Services at RUH.

This is my life now

It’s been a bad week, a really bad week but this was weirdest thing I have had to deal with.  At work yesterday my right arm really started to hurt.  I hadn’t done anything but it started to hurt a lot.  I took off early yesterday to meet Darren Friesen for coffee.  I couldn’t put my arm in my pocket, it hurt that bad.  I had to lift it up with my left arm and put it there.

While at The Collective Coffee, I ran into Saskatoon’s Fire Chief, Brian Bentley who introduced me to one of the other firemen there.  I shook his hand because you don’t want to look like a total wimp in front of the fire chief.  I thought I was going to die.  At that point I was starting to wonder a) that there might be something wrong b) how I could I do this wrapping up projects at work. 

I came home, took a couple of Advil, put some A535 (I am getting to the age where smelling like ointment is normal I guess) and tried to sleep it off.  That didn’t work either.  Wendy looks at it and it has this large bump on it.  She points out that it may be dislocated.  Now my left shoulder was dislocated hundreds of times and has been surgically repaired twice.  I know that there has be some sort of incident for a shoulder to pop out.  There was no incident but my shoulder is all screwed up and I can’t move my arm outward at all.

We finally headed over to RUH where I tell the triage nurse, “I think I may have dislocated my shoulder”.  The triage nurse starts asking about any other injuries because normally people don’t come in with a messed up shoulder and no other injuries.  The intake nurse said the same thing.  Now the weirdest thing happened.  Instead of sending me to a doctor, she ordered the X-Rays herself.  I walked up, got x-rays, walked downstairs and the doctor saw me.  No wait at all.  There are signs up at RUH with stopwatches saying they are timing patient wait times and evaluating how to get things done in fewer steps and it seems to have worked.  I was really, really impressed.

The doctor saw me and says, “Your shoulder isn’t separated but you have torn your rotator cuff”  Since I was pretty sure I hadn’t pitched any baseball games (and even if I had, I am left handed), I was somewhat shocked and surprised at that diagnosis.  The good news is that rest will help it heal.  The bad news is that I appear to have entered the stage of life described by Louis CK below.

Looking back at it, I am just glad I got out of RUH without them putting me down.  Today the shoulder is fine unless I move it the wrong which is pretty much in any direction.

My week in review

On Sunday I decided to take the family to Waskesiu for the day.  We drove up through Prince Albert, past the Prince Albert Penitentiary and Riverbend Institution (Wendy was curious over where the Salvation Army has our prison barbecue) and then to Waskesiu (Mark thought we were headed to the cabin via Regina but in his defense, I had purchased him an issue of Transworld Skateboarding and he may not have noticed the forest through the many trees).

After eating at The Angry Taco, we wandered around the beach, did some shopping, and some exploring.  During most of the day, I had chest pains which I have had for months but had been telling myself, they were stress.  I have stress at work and for those of you who read Wendy’s blog, I have a lot of stress at home, depending on the state of her depression.  For the last month, I would walk the fifteen blocks home and be totally exhausted.  I have walked  back and forth from home to the Salvation Army hundreds of times and while I am walking up Caswell Hill, it isn’t as if I need to use climbing ropes for safety.  It’s a pretty tame climb.

On Monday morning I woke up with pain and I decided to go to Royal University Hospital’s Emergency Room to get it checked out.  I was hoping they would tell me it was stress but after my chest X-Ray, they told me it something more serious and I was being admitted.  So off to the 6000 ward I was sent with all of the other cardiology patients where I awaited my angiogram.  The first night was just annoying.  Wendy brought my noise cancelling headphones which makes sense but I sleep on my side so I knocked them off my head where I was greeted with snoring, snoring, and more snoring.  As soon I would fall asleep, I would knock off one of the heart monitor points which would sent a nurse scrambling in to see if I was dead and/or fix the points.  If I wasn’t doing that, I was rolling over and jamming my intravenous.  I was also woken up blood work techs and of course they needed to wake me for my blood pressure and temperature.  On top of that the blood thinner they gave me made me cold which all adds up to under two hours of sleep.  I don’t know why but in the silence of Monday night, I felt scared for the first time since Wendy was giving labour to Oliver.  Death has never bothered me that much but the idea of giving up on life prematurely because of stupid diet decisions and choices really bothered me.  My mom declined to have chemotherapy when she was dying of cancer because she didn’t want to go through it and I have always questioned that decision.  I don’t want Mark and Oliver to think, “Why didn’t Dad cut the McDonalds out of his diet and choose to be with us for some more years?”  I felt quite disappointed in myself.

Tuesday was spent waiting.  I saw my cardiologist and other doctors who lectured me on my diet and weight.  Fair enough.  The other thing that hit me was they were on me because of how high my cholesterol and blood pressure was which was news to me.  They put me on Lipitor for probably the rest of my life and also Ramipril to help me deal with high blood pressure.   Wendy had to work Tuesday night so I was chilling out reading Fareed Zakaria’s The Post American World Release 2.0 when Cam Broten came by and chatted politics and life for a bit.  The best part of the visit was he brought up The Economist and a fantasy football magazine.  The next day this doctor comes in and looks at my reading material and says, “No wonder you are in here, you can’t relax reading The Economist”  He picks it up and sees the football magazine and then without batting an eye goes, “Should I pick Manning as my QB with the neck problems or Brady with Ochocinco?”  Apparently global economic stress is bad while NFL fantasy league stress is good.  That’s why I am not a doctor.

Wednesday morning I was in for my angiogram.  They found a lesion on my heart as well as two partially blocked arteries and some blockage in another one.  The most concerning were the two arteries that are partially blocked as they aren’t bad enough to deal with.  Those mean that I need a drastic change to deal with or schedule myself a series of heart attacks, by-passes, and strokes in the coming years.

After having a 40 minute heart ultrasound and nurses tearing away connection point after connection point off my body, I was allowed to return home where I hung out with the boys before I fell asleep.  My right arm was useless as that is the artery they chose to get to my heart which resulted in some spilled milk but we survived as a family.  Mark fired up Netflix and showed Wendy the Arrested Development where GOB is CEO and going on and on about how much his suit cost.  At the hospital he goes to Wendy, “C’mon, I’m the guy in a $3700 t-shirt and you want me to get you a pop?!”.  It’s even funnier now that Wendy gets what he was talking about.  Even Oliver is going, “C’mon, look at my pants”.

Today I went to Indigo and bought a couple of cookbooks.  One is on eating Heart Smart, the other one was The Vegetarian Bible.  We have the Mayo Clinic cookbook and some other heart healthy eating books so I have some choices.  Low cholesterol diets can be summed up with one word, bland.  I had a chicken fajita tonight and they weren’t bad which is kind of pathetic but that is how food will be defined now.   After that I stopped by work to chat and after 30 minutes of that, I was too tired to wander over to the other side of the building.  Wendy drove me home (I can’t drive for a couple of days) and I have just been exhausted all day.  My proudest accomplishment has been writing this post and doing some dishes.  Other than that I have been sleeping and resting.  Oh yeah, thinking.  I have been thinking a lot as well.


Just a quick update on Oliver

  • The medication he is on is working and he hasn’t had any seizures in a while.
  • EEG test He had his EEG on Thursday which is no small deal for Oliver as he hates hats.  At the lake this summer our biggest challenge was to put a hat on the kid.  It went something like this.  Hat goes on, hat comes off.  Hat goes on, hat goes off.  Hat goes on, hat gets tossed to the dog.  Soggy hat goes on, hat comes off.  Hat goes on, hat gets tossed out of the wagon.  You get the idea.  So the idea of a big hat with electrodes sticking out and then wrapped with gauze that Ollie could not take off was just about more than he could take.  That being said, the tech did a good job of keeping Oliver pre-occupied with a Dora the Explorer DVD until Oliver was  ready for a nap.
  • The medication has no side affects for Oliver except he goes to bed around 7:00 p.m. instead of 8:00 p.m.  It makes me wonder why they don’t sell this stuff to all parents 🙂
  • Oliver meets with a specialist on Monday morning at Royal University Hospital.  The appointment is at 10:00 a.m. and with the current parking situation over there, Wendy will need to be there at 7:00 a.m.  For those of you who have not been there, the already inadequate parking lot is being totally redone and most of it has been unavailable all summer which means that parking is almost impossible to find.  Because the hospital is located in the middle of the University of Saskatchewan, it isn’t as if there is a lot of parking available nearby.  It has taken on average half an hour to find a spot.  Of course the latest plan is to build a children’s hospital attached to RUH which is only going to make the problem worse.

This is somewhat related…

  • While the food used to be quite tasty in the RUH mall, it has gotten just horrible.  When I was pastor of Lakeland Church, I used to spend time with the congregation in the hospital.  I used to stop by early in the morning (and drop off a copy of the Star Phoenix) and then over supper time and give the family a bit of a break.  I would eat supper with whoever was up there and it wasn’t bad.  Since then it has gotten both expensive and horrible.  Mark and I had a cold hot dog the other day while the doctors were looking at Oliver.  I brought Wendy back a wrap that she could not eat.  Does no one from the heath region eat that food?  I know it’s salt reduced but all of the salt in the world isn’t helping this food.


Well Oliver is feeling a lot better today.  Well I don’t know how bad he felt yesterday but there hasn’t been any seizures.  He is currently hitting Mark with a plastic golf club.   I guess that means that a) the medication is working fine or b) I heard some stories of young children that staff knew of that had seizures that were never explained and never happened again so let’s hope that is what happened.  Of course we won’t know until we see the specialist.

This is a really fun coincidence but the pediatrician that saw Oliver last night is friends with Nashville’s Jim Palmer who among other things is famous for writing some really good books, getting attacked by sea lice with me in Bahamas, and for not stopping me from buying the ugliest shirt in the western world (which I need to take a photo of).  That’s only two degrees of separation.  I wonder how many degrees until we meet Kevin Bacon.


Oliver and Wendy at Last Mountain Lake

Today’s events started innocently enough yesterday.  I was planning to stock up some office supplies at the Front Desk at the Centre and was going through the Staples/Corporate Express catalog.  I made my notes and realized that instead of making our Exec Assistant’s life miserable, I would just run to Office Depot and get them with the Centre’s card.  As I was leaving the house this morning, Wendy called and wanted to know if I needed our vehicle all day.  I said no and I told her that if she was  ready when I came by, she could grab it and drop me off at the office once I was done.

When we were over at Office Depot, she came over to Oliver and I realized immediately he was having a seizure.  I turned him on his side and we walked out of the store and the seizure continued for a couple more minutes.  He has choking, convulsing, and shaking violently with his eyes rolled back into his head.  I have seen a lot of seizures at the Centre but then again, this is the first one I have seen my son have.  While he was having it, I was thinking that it takes 15 minutes for an ambulance to get five blocks to the Centre (seriously, an EMT riding a slug could get there faster on many calls) and I realized we were only five minutes from Royal University Hospital.  So we drove over there and as Wendy took Oliver in, I tried to find a place to park (much of the RUH parking lot is out of commission).  By the time I got in, Wendy had been rushed past triage and was in the pediatric emergency room.  Oliver was pretty unresponsive and was really out of it.  He was acting strange and took over an hour to settle down while the entire time he seemed scared, disorientated, and confused.  Along the way he was seen by the resident, the pediatrician, and almost managed to escape the three nurses who had to hold him down while they took blood tests (I don’t think Oliver appreciated the rather cool Spider-Man band-aid they gave him either).  He eventually fell asleep and then when he woke up, was back to normal.   I know that a fever can cause kids (and adults) to have a seizure but Ollie’s temperature was totally normal.  All that is wrong with him is a bit of a cough and a runny nose.  After taking some more tests, they released him with instructions that if it happened again, we were to return.

He had another nap and woke up.   We had some errands to run and while Wendy has been passive aggressive about getting a cell phone for her, this convinced her that she needed to get one.  We went to Wal-Mart to take a look at some and while we were there, Oliver had another big and long seizure.  It was bad but not quite as bad as this morning but it still lasted for a couple of minutes.  We left Wal-Mart and it was back to RUH.  Triage took Wendy and Oliver right back to pediatric emergency room and while the same nurses were on, the resident was just finishing her shift.  She stayed behind and brought the evening pediatrician up to date which made the process smoother and I imagine a little quicker.  We weren’t there long and after a consultation with another specialist (a pediatric neurologist), we were sent home with a prescription for some medication to help stop the seizures, promises of an appointment with the pediatric neurologist, tests and instructions that if it happens again, we are to come back so he can be admitted.

I would have liked to walk out of there with a definite answer on what was happening to him but it wasn’t to be.  Oliver’s blood work came back normal and he didn’t have a fever.  The hope is that it is connected to a virus he has but I suppose that will come out in the tests.  The staff at RUH did everything they could and I didn’t really see the reason why Oliver could not go home.  It is rare that he would have a seizure at night (according to the doctor) and the medication that they gave him will help even more.  The doctor said it was “unlikely” he would have one tonight but I kind of work in the world of “unlikely” which makes me a little nervous but at the same time, it is pretty unlikely he will have one while sleeping.

Right now Oliver is both really cranky and groggy (from the medication) and is growling to himself upstairs as Wendy feeds him his medication.  She hid his medication in chocolate pudding which seems to be sending him a mixed message of “We don’t want you to have any more seizures but we may be bringing on diabetes at a young age…”

One story worth re-telling from the day.  While we were waiting this morning for tests to come back, I went upstairs to make a couple of phone calls and to get some Starbucks.  On my way down there were two doctors trying to get their swipe card to work on a locked door.  As I was walking past, the one doctor said to the other, “That’s your Starbucks card, you idiot”.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud which rather embarrassed the guy fumbling for his access card.