Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1980: My first asthma hospital experience

I do not remember my first hospital visit. In my mind's eye it was in 1980, although it's highly likely it was 1981. I was to the emergency room many times. But I think most of my experiences to this point just involved going to the doctor's office. Based on things my mom wrote in the picture books she made for me, I had been given Sus-Phrine more than once. 

I have no memory of being admitted to the hospital until I was prescribed Alupent in 1980. I mean, it's possible I was to the emergency room, it's possible I was admitted before then, but I can't say for sure. Either way, it was at West Shore Hospital. I usually ran out of my inhaler first. Then I'd try to deal with it on my own too long. Then I'd get the nerve to wake mom. Then either mom or dad would take me to the emergency room. 

I remember the nurses wore their white uniforms and white nursing cap. I remember being admitted to a pediatric unit behind the nurses station. I remember there were a bunch of beds, and some of them had other kids in them. Each bed had a TV. They were all black and white TVs. You had to pay $5 a night for access to the TV, so I did not get to watch TV. 

Anyway, I remember dad being with me. I don't remember how I got up there. I would imagine I was on the ER bed, but I suppose I could have walked. More than likely, I did not walk. Anyway, I had to take my clothes off and put a gown on. I remember the nurse saying I had to do this, and then I looked up and saw that the nurse and a bunch of other nurses were watching me. 

Dad said, "They've all seen under wear before, John." I knew this, but still, it was embarrassing. I ended up changing. I got in bed. Dad had to leave. I remember it being dark. I remember there being just enough light where I could see paintings of animals on the wall. I remember vividly a giraffe. It could have been something else. 

A part of my memory wants to say that Bugs Bunny characters were on the wall. Either way, there was something to look at. I needed something because, after getting a Sus-Phrine shot in the ER, I was pretty wired. I was not going to sleep. This was pretty standard after my ER visits.

I do not have any memory of being short of breath after I was admitted for asthma. I was short of breath when I arrived in the ER, but once admitted I was fine. I would imagine I was only admitted because I had made several visits to the ER. I would imagine that the only reason I was admitted was so they could get me away from whatever was triggering my asthma, monitor me, and give me a high dose of systemic corticosteroids and then wean me off. A typical stay for me was six or seven days. 

I remember being in this room more than once. I remember one day another boy had a TV. I remember his mom telling me I could watch. I could not get out of my bed, but she had him turn his TV in such a way so that I could see it. Now that I think of it, this was my memory of Bug's Bunny. I think I remember watching Loonie Tunes. I couldn't make out the TV real well, but it was good enough to act as entertainment. 

This was about the extent of my early asthma hospital admissions. 

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