Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Crash That Keeps on Giving

(Fire Department at our door)

                I wanted to give an update on how Levi’s recovery is going after his mountain bike wreck a few weeks ago (see previous blogs here and here). Things were a bit rough the first two weeks with good days followed by really bad days. The first week he dealt with some paralysis of his digestive system probably due to the impact of the wreck and a little with the pain meds (though once he got home he really wasn’t taking anything heavier than Tylenol). Once things got moving there he started having severe headaches. It was about 6 days post wreck on a Friday, when he had his first. He was lying in bed in extreme pain. He felt sick. He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t have even the slightest amount of light or noise. He was in a lot of pain. The next few days the headache subsided though it was still there, just not as severe. Then on Wednesday we decided to venture out to Snoqualmie Falls as we thought a short easy walk would be fine. His pain was getting better every day. After the Falls, we stopped at a park and let the kids play. When we got home another extreme headache hit. That’s when I began googling and got a little worried. I know you should never “google” symptoms as you’ll get the worst-case scenario.

                After reading that people can have slight brain bleeds after injuries that don’t show up for about a week I called my sister who is a nurse for her advice. She thought he may have had a minor concussion from the wreck, or there could be a hematoma pressing in his brain, or unlikely but still a small chance of a brain bleed. I mean if he hit hard enough to lacerate his kidney, his head could’ve been injured as well even though he didn’t hit it hard. She thought it would be best to get him checked out since his head was never checked in the ER as he wasn’t showing any signs then of a head injury. I called Levi’s coworker, Jason, who was biking with him and spent time at the hospital after the wreck to see if they ever checked his head for injury. I told Jason Levi’s symptoms and being a trained first responder he also thought we should take him in to be seen. He said it was probably nothing but with his symptoms there was a small chance it could be something serious and he didn’t think we should mess around so long as there was a chance. It’s an understatement to say Levi was not thrilled with the idea of going in to the ER. He wanted to wait until morning but with this headache he was clutching his head in pain and was not looking good. Behind the scenes, Jason called a captain with the Puget Sound Fire Authority at the station near our house and told him the situation. I also called the number on Levi’s discharge instructions for Harborview to talk to the nurse there. I was waiting to get a call back and was relaying information back and forth to Jason. Jason told me to call 911 so the crew could be dispatched. He also talked to Levi several times to make sure he would go in, even joking (though I don’t think he was joking) that he knew all the right things to say to get him “invol’d” (involuntarily brought in which involves police and soft restraints). Levi obliged.
I got a call back from the nurse’s line at the same time as I heard a knock on my door. I opened the door and saw the fire department. Now that’s the quickest response time ever! I technically hadn’t called yet. While I was on the phone the Captain told me to hang up so I could call 911 and dispatch them. Then when he heard I was on the phone with Harborview he told me to stay on the line with them so I could see where they wanted us to take Levi and they would dispatch themselves. The nurse told me that they typically want to see you back at the hospital you were treated at, however, they also recommend going to the closest hospital. Harborview is great for traumatic injuries but in this case the closest hospital seemed like the quicker and more appropriate response so the Fire Fighters decided to take him to Valley. They called their Aid car to transport him and asked him when he wanted to go. He said he wanted to try to eat something as he knew he wouldn’t be getting any food at the hospital. He ate a few bites of food that had been so graciously made for us through a meal train started by people at Faith church in Kent. He got into the Aid car and they took him to the hospital.
Jason called and told me he was going to the hospital to stay with Levi and drive him home afterwords. Eve was sleeping and Lily was supposed to be in bed, though the excitement of having the Fire Department at her house was keeping her awake. She talks about how fun it was to have them over at our house. I’m hoping we don’t have to have them over here anymore. No more emergency visits. We can visit them at the station. We watched as the trucks drove away then went inside to wait. About midnight Jason called to tell me they did a CT scan and everything came back fine. He was having bad migraines. We aren’t sure why he started getting them but so far, he’s been migraine free for 11 days.
During this time, he also had a hard sneeze one day and felt immediate pain in his lower abdomen and a bulge. He immediately thought he had a hernia. He has had two inguinal hernias so knew what it felt like. Since he was off work for his kidney recovery he wanted to get this checked out as soon as possible so he wouldn’t have to take more time off work. He opted to go to an urgent care center since his Doctor couldn’t see him for a few weeks. At the urgent care, they diagnosed him with a hernia then scheduled him for an ultrasound a couple days later. The radiologist called after the ultra sound to say he didn’t have a hernia. It didn’t show up via imaging. Now he was in a predicament. Should he wait and see if things resolved? Was it a pulled muscle and not a hernia? What if he waited and it was a hernia and he just delayed his recovery? He decided to set up an appointment with the surgeon who did my hernia repair 5 weeks earlier for a second opinion.
After seeing him, the surgeon confirmed he had a hernia and said that sometimes, especially if it’s early on, they don’t always show up on imaging. When he was laying down for imaging Levi felt like it went back in and that he didn’t bear down hard enough to make it bulge. The technician told him he was bearing down plenty hard so he assumed it was showing up on the imaging. He is now scheduled for hernia surgery tomorrow (June 7th). Hopefully this will be the last surprise we get related to his crash that keeps on giving.

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