Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rocketman Down!

Thursday was the day of Rocketman's cataract surgery. This was his 5th eye surgery in the last year so we were relaxed and ready to get it over with. His surgery was for 8:00am and we were to arrive at 7:00am.

They took him back and I got out my maedeup to do while he was in surgery. He said that they didn't wheel him into surgery until 8:30. He noticed his heart rate was 48 which is on the low side. He was a little irritated and anxious for it to be over.

This time they gave him a new drop just before surgery that really stung. The surgery took about 10 minutes and he was back in recovery sitting up and eating a cookie with some cranberry juice.

When I came back to see him, he looked great and was finishing his food. They gave us the post-surgical instructions and we walked out the clinic to our car. Rocketman was acting totally normal and everything was fine.

We got about halfway home when he started to complain he was getting really nauseous. I had the air conditioning on (it was in the 90's) and I asked him if we should open the windows and maybe the blowing air would help.

He never responded and when I looked at him, he was unconscious and twitching. I didn't see him breathing but I had only looked at him about 3-5 seconds. Totally panicked, I pulled over in the left hand turn lane of the major highway(Highway 61) we were on. Traffic was horrible since it was down to one lane due to road construction.

My purse was in the backseat. I jumped out of the car, tears spilling all over the place, and dug into my purse trying to find my cell phone. I found it and dialed 9-1-1. The dispatcher got on and I told her my husband wasn't breathing. She asked where I was and I could on get out that I was on Highway 61. She wanted to know what type of car I was driving. I couldn't think, I couldn't seem to process anything she was asking.

She told me to calm down and I told her I couldn't. I finally was able to tell her the cross street ( Country Road E). I was sitting in the driver's seat seeing Rocketman in what I thought at the time was a seizure. The police arrived and Rocketman woke up wondering what was going on. He had no idea what had happened. He threw up on himself and out the door where a police officer stood.

I told him with tears streaming down my face what had happened. He was surprised but felt fine and wanted to go home. The ambulance came and the paramedic told him that he should go to the hospital. He was able to walk to the ambulance and the paramedic told me to drive to the hospital and wait for them.

I got to the hospital and called my mom and my sisters telling them what had happened. It was about 10 minutes before the ambulance got there and I went around to meet it at the ambulance entrance. I knew if I walked into the emergency room entrance, I would have to fill out paperwork and who knew when I could get into the ER.

The ambulance driver wasn't too thrilled to see me there but I didn't care. The paramedic told me that they had had to stop for a bit because Rocketman had become so sick. They wheeled him into the same emergency room where he had had his kidney stones years before and put him into a room.

Tears still streaming down my face, someone came and asked me to come with them to fill out some forms. I was brought to the emergency room entrance and given a form to fill out. I don't know what happened to my mind. I couldn't fill out anything. They asked his name, I couldn't spell our last name. What was wrong? I couldn't spell seizure. I ended up giving them our insurance card and they were able to get the information they needed. I was escorted back into the emergency room to Rocketman.

He was hooked up to monitors and had an IV of saline solution going. They took him to CT to get his head scanned. The ER doctor came in and I told him what had happened. He called the clinic to see what they had given Rocketman for anesthesia. The ER doctor ordered blood workup and said that he would probably be admitted overnight for observation.

He was put into a room pretty quickly and by now it was lunchtime. He was hungry and they brought him a lunch. He was more worried about me than himself during this whole fiasco. They ordered more tests: EEG and an echo cardiogram.

We were visited by a neurologist who asked a ton of questions and thought that Rocketman had had a vasovagal episode but he would wait for the test results to confirm. He said the tensing and twitching I saw was his body reacting to the drop in heart rate and blood pressure. I had seen people faint before but I had never seen the clenching that Rocketman had done.

My best friend, Lynn, who is also a nurse, got off of work early and came to check on us. We were suppose to go out that night but then this had happened. Rocketman convinced her to get me out of there and so I followed Lynn to her house. I spend a few hours trying to understand what had happened and why I had become so hysterical. I had never reacted that way in all the trips to the ER with our kids over the years. I think it was because I thought his heart had stopped. It also didn't help that I was on a major highway in a construction zone.

We learned a new word while at the hospital: Hospitalist. They told us that doctors don't like to do hospital rounds these days so the hospitalist is in place of your primary doctor who used to do hospital rounds. He then contacts your primary doctor.
We had a wonderful nurse, not! He didn't make a lot of sense and English wasn't his first language. Rocketman spent the night being woken every 2 hours for vitals and was ready to leave in the morning. I got there about 8 am and it was funny that we were left alone pretty much the whole morning.
Lunch came and Rocketman ate. Then about 1:30 pm, Larry would had also been Rocketman's second shift nurse came in and said that Rocketman's orders to be released had come in at 8:00am and that he hadn't looked in Rocketman's binder. So sorry. He brought this up several times and thought it was funny.
We finally got out of there at 2:00 pm and we were glad the ordeal was over. The consensus is that the stinging eye drop they gave Rocketman was the beginning, the low heart rate contributed along with the surgery. It was also determined that the clinic let him go way too soon after surgery. Then the car ride home where the nausea set it was the final straw and out he went.

I'm glad Rocketman is going to be ok and we even got this souvenir from the ambulance ride. It's a cool barf bag. I hope this is the end of the adventures for a while. Rocketman has been through enough!
We were able to make his 1 day post op appointment where he had the surgery. The doctor was pretty angry that they had let us go so soon too.


  1. Oh, how scary! I'm glad he's okay!

  2. So glad to hear he is OK... I was so worried!!!

  3. Thanks for doing up this post. I can't imagine what you went through.... Happy he's okay!

    By the way, why "rocketman"? Is he a big Elton John fan?

  4. Helena and CreekHiker: I think I'm more worse for wear than he is.

    Sarah: I came up with Rocketman from the Elton John song. Most of our 30+ years of marriage he has had to rocket off all over the world for work so that's where the name came from. Also, he is a little uncomfortable when I blog about him and he liked that I was not using his actual name.


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