Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"I think I'm in trouble!"

Wednesday, December 26, Monument Valley UT at O Dark:thirty and I'm on my usual pre-dawn walkabout.  Explore a bit, have some breakfast, greet the dawn, make some decisions about the day.  Our usual routine is that I bring a cup of hot coffee back to the room and attempt to entice the lovely Miss Paulette into getting up and joining me on a day's adventures.  She usually tells me to go away and leave her alone for a few more hours.

Today she's already up and dressed, "I think I'm in trouble" she said and my heart froze.  A handful of days earlier she had some dental work done on 2 upper teeth.  One was extensive and evidently resulted in an infection.  She had been rubbing the side of her face the day before and said it felt a "little funny."  The side of her face is swollen and there's a really frightening dark line running from her jaw to a large dark lump just under her eye.  It appears to be growing as I watch it.

The Big-Rez has it's beauties and charms but immediate emergency medical care is not one of them.  No air service available...I decided to drive to Flagstaff.  It's a bit farther than either Moab, UT or Page, AZ but it's a much larger town.  The Audi engineers have built the S-4 to be a much better car than I am a driver and at a MPH or 2 under recklessness we made the trip in 2 hours.

They triaged her immediately and took her directly to the back.  2 doctors, an RN and an EMP, massive infusions of antibiotics, steroids and other fluids, tests, scans, procedures, more tests...on and on it was a very long day.  We weren't ever left alone, someone was always there asking questions, medical and personal, sharing bits about their lives with was comforting for Paulette and for me.  I was terrified.  A good night and an emergency dentist the following morning and they declared us "OK to continue your trip."

I am so...Incredibly  grateful.

I have an "online-friend" who lives in Australia.  He quite recently had the overwhelming tragedy of losing his beloved wife quite suddenly while she was visiting relatives in Finland.  Somehow he managed to do the things he needed to do, and still copes on a day to day basis.  I thought about him often this day.  Whether you care for this or not, Chris, your strength helped me.  Thank you for not giving up.

I also need to say I am convinced that our health care system is by far the best in the world.  When people are in trouble, the very best health care is here.  I can see that changes are inevitable.  I also believe that these changes are for misguided political reasons alone and can only hope the changes don't ruin everything.

Below are several images before and during.  The last 2 are when they told us we could leave and when we did.  I especially like the next to last image.  Most of the swelling has gone and Paulette was just tickled she was "better."