Thursday, December 17, 2009
Miracle at OHSU
Now that the danger has past, I can write this without shaking hands. Still, several days later, if I let myself think of what could have been, my heart starts to quiver.
The story, for us, started early in the morning this past Saturday. I was awoken about two in the morning to Riff telling me that he needed my help with Shilo, our 20 year old daughter. "She's really sick", he told me. Riff had heard a crash, went upstairs to investigate and found Shilo passed out in the hallway with a big gash on her chin. I quickly went upstairs with him and Shilo was still in the spot where he had left her, awake but mostly incoherent except for telling us that she was in incredible pain in her stomach, shoulders and her back felt "tight". I asked her if she had been drinking, (which Shilo very rarely does), and she said that yes, she had. She seemed to be breathing really hard and just kept saying how bad she hurt. She couldn't seem to get up, her legs were not working and she couldn't remember falling. Because of her breathing and pain, we decided to take her to the hospital.
Riff had to carry her to the car and at the hospital we put her right into a wheelchair as she still couldn't walk and was in incredible pain. I told the lady at admissions that I thought she was drunk but was concerned about the pain she was in. Back in the ER, Shilo's heart rate was very high, she did not have a temperature that would register on the thermometer, her oxygen level was 83% and her blood sugar was 187. The nurse eventually got her into a gown that blew warm air through it to warm her up, and after taking some blood, got her onto an IV as she was extremely dehydrated. The testing showed that her blood alcohol level was .01, not even legally drunk, so what was going on? The doctor came in, stitched up the gash in her chin, asked Shilo if she could possibly be pregnant, too which Shilo replied that no, she had just finished a 3-1/2 week period. "What? Why hadn't you told me about that?", I said. The doctor only said, "You're blood test shows that you're pregnant". Shilo barely registered that as she was actually in and out of consciousness at this point and even though her temperature was coming up, she was still in incredible pain and her heart rate kept spiking back up to between 140 and 150. Even so, her heart monitors were removed and we were sent home with instructions to follow up with her primary physician next week sometime. There is actually more to this story, Riff and I asking questions and suggesting that maybe more testing needed done. We were not listened to.
At home, we put her to bed, with Shilo still in great agony, but we kept thinking that with some rest she would be better and maybe the pain was from the fall and her fibromyalgia. NEVER DO THIS! IF YOU FEEL THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG, PLEASE GET TO ANOTHER HOSPITAL FOR ANOTHER OPINION!!!!! It was morning by now, 5 am, so when the poor girl finally got to sleep, I let her sleep but kept a close eye on her all day. By evening, she had taken several doses of the pain medicine that the hospital had prescribed for her chin. She was feeling a bit better but still in an incredible amount of pain. The more we talked about it, the more that Shilo and I convinced ourselves that it was muscle pain from her fibromyalgia, so Saturday night we all went to bed. Sunday morning, Riff and I got up and were discussing Shilo and her health as the coffee brewed. We heard her bedroom door open and down the hall she shuffled, looking absolutely no better than she had the day before. She could not stand up straight, her skin was completely gray and she had fallen in the bathroom again during the night, splitting her lip open. One look at her and we made the decision to load up and drive her to OHSU in Portland, 2 hours away. OHSU is a top hospital and I told Riff that even if they told us the same thing that we had been told at our local hospital, that at least we would have what I felt was a professional opinion.
Two hours later, Riff pulled the Suburban up to the emergency entrance to OHSU, grabbed a wheelchair and I wheeled Shilo in as Riff went to find a parking spot. At the Admissions counter, the young gentleman took one look at Shilo and called Triage to come get her right away. A door just a few steps down the hall opened and Shilo's name was called. I wheeled her through the door and before I even noticed that she was doing it, the Triage nurse had a heart monitor hooked up and was on the phone telling the emergency room doctors that she had a patient with a heart rate of 140 and was bringing her back to a room to finish Triage. Riff was coming through the doors as they were taking Shilo into emergency. Two doctors met us in the hallway for a history of the last couple of days. As we were talking to them, about four nurses had descended on Shilo and they had an IV in her arm, monitors on and had taken an EKG. This all happened within ten minutes of us initially walking through the doors of the hospital. Within another few minutes, blood work had been taken and the Doctors were doing an ultrasound. We were told right away that they thought Shilo had a tubal pregnancy that had burst but that they were doing testing to make sure that they were correct. The ultrasound verified this, showing that Shilo's abdomen was filled with blood and her blood levels were frightening low. Only two pints of blood were actually circulating through Shilo's system, the rest was in her abdomen.
They called in the OB/GYN team of surgeons and within an hour and a half of us being there, Shilo had received a transfusion of 4 units of blood and was in surgery. We were told that the plan was to not wake her, leave her breathing tube in and have her in ICU for the night after surgery, but apparently part way through the procedure, Shilo woke up and was what the Doctors called "feisty". We were told that this is when they knew that she was going to make it and that it would all be okay. Because of this, they did wake Shilo up after surgery and she did so well that she was placed in a regular room and did not have to go to ICU.
After surgery and after Shilo was out of danger, these incredible Doctors told us that had anything happened differently - had we been delayed in traffic, had we been in a fender bender - anything, that most likely our little girl would not have made it. It is still so hard to think about all of the little things that had to come together just so for this miracle of life to happen. She has a long road to recovery, and is so bruised and battered that she looks like she's been through a war, but I guess in a way she has. A war for her life.
The staff at OHSU, right down to the orderly who wheeled Shilo's bed into her room after surgery, was incredible. Angels in disguise who saved our daughters life. They were all compassionate, warm, caring, intelligent, professional. I could go on and on. We will be forever grateful for their incredible skill and urgency in treating Shilo. I can not thank them enough. Don't even have the words. God bless, everyone!
Posted by Paula at 3:17 PM