Friday, August 11, 2017

August Adventures at the A & E

I began the day around 6am being slapped around by a nice looking young man who wanted to give me drugs.

Well, OK, he was a nurse at Terem urgent care and was trying to find a vein for an IV. He stabbed me four time before the (female) nurse from the next shift came on and calmly and painlessly found a vein and pumped me full of antibiotics to treat what the on duty doctor believed was an acute infection.

Fast forward a few hours and I woke up from a nap with my upper face even more red and swollen. I was doing a brilliant impression of a Tajik nomad all incredibly high ruddy cheek bones and dark crescent shaped eyes, elongated nose. Seriously considered finding my Turkmen headress and necklace from my folk costume collection just to match the authenticity of my face. Asked DH if he might be able to import some yaks for me, or maybe at least yak butter.

Family doc said we had better rush to A & E, thank Hashem that morning I had told DH to arrange a babysitter for this afternoon beause I felt so awful. A friend's teen daughter graciously volunteered to watch the twins (other kids have long kaytana days this week, B"H).

An episode from House ensued at the hospital, trying to figure out the mystery of what had morphed my face in to someone else's, my eyes by now almost swollen completely shut. Staff were brilliant, kind, friendly, helpful, efficient and totally on the ball.

In the bed next to me there was a Palestinian security prisoner in an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg irons, guarded by three burly heavily armed prison wardens.

In the bed on the other side there was an elderly Teimani man from one of the recent aliyot, his wife like a Time-Life photo from the 1950s, all traditional double headscarf, filigre Yemini jewellery and old school tunic over embroidered leggings. Fortunately they had a Hebrew speaking adult son with them as she was a little mixed up and kept going over and checking the dustbin or walking over to the hospital security guard and talking to him in a Teimani dialect he plainly didn't understand but very kindly tried to pretend he did, all gentle smiles and nods.

Finally my blood tests were back and the conclusion was that it wasn't cellulitis as a local GP had originally thought but for sure an allergic reaction (the admitting nurses' hunches which they discussed with me at length while trying to find a vein, again) Secondary infection in the skin from the weeping sores which we now know are part of a classic text book case of reacting to - mango sap!

So now you know, weird bump like, blisters that look like infected bites, but oddly clustered, eventually coming to resemble burns and you know you picked mango earlier in the week, you get some contact rashes on hands, but nothing really serious, and then a few days later your whole face blows up and your eyes swell shut - mango sap. Wear protection while picking the fruit just in case.

After IV antibiotics, steroids, antihistamine shots and fluids followed by waiting to see if there was any change in my condition and they eventually decided that while I still look awful, the inflamation is starting to abate. As at least two nurses put it "At kvar lo nireit kmo agvania!" (you no longer look like a tomato). I do still look like a Tajik nomad woman, a fact confirmed by the Kazakh lady wheeling in her elderly father.

While we were waiting a bevy of teens (maybe old enough to be doing national service, but very young looking) clad in painted on jeans and crop tops came through with an Ezer Mitzion cart of teas, coffees and cakes. An hour later a hassid in full Hassidish regalia came through with a cart full of snacks, sandwiches and juices, sponsored by a different charity organisation. He stopped on his rounds to help feed some elderly women who couldn't manage the sandwich packaging (after checking it was OK with nurses) So much kindness at work in A & E, everything given out free to patients and those accompanying them.

Finally after another careful study of my face the very concerned and sweet Dr Mahmud decided to discharge me with an alphabet soup of medications to take around the clock, stern warnings about what signs to watch for and come back to them with. As the very very nice and patient pharmacist said "zeh yekhabeh lakh et hasreifa" (this will put the fire out).

Meanwhile DH spent the afternoon finding babysitters to cover for us. Neighbours, folks from our shul, local cousins, vague friends we kind of know from kaytana - so many people pitched in to help or tried to find us someone, such tremendous gmilut hassadim (loving kindness). At one stage there were four teens at our home playing with the twins (two neighbours and two daughters of the lady who helped design our kitchen renovation last summer) No one would take payment.

Home now, finally managed to eat, took a bunch of medication (the before the meal, after the meal, the wait five hours between this and my regular stuff etc). Feeling lousy, but relieved we finally seem to know what's going on and treatment seems to be finally showing an improvement in my condition.

So there you have it, my August adventure.

So in today's trip to the hospital we had:

Orange is the New Black - prisoner in orange jumpsuit, handcuffs, legirons and three burly heavily armed prison guards sitting with us in the A&E.

House - several nurses and doctors study my symptoms, quizz me about anything different or unsusual I may have been exposed to in recent days and try to figure out what caused my allergic reaction.

National Geographic - fascinating traditional clothing from Yemen, Ethiopia, India, Israel's Bedouin, Hassidic eastern Europe and Uzbek guy in stunning kippa.

Dr Who - middle aged doctor examines me, comes back an hour later looking 20 years younger and with a different face. Different assistant too. Still introduces himself as "The Doctor".

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