Friday, March 30, 2012

The Break

Monday morning we got up really early. I was worked up about some emails that I needed to write for work, and Jay was done sleeping, so we got up at about 4:30. We were due for labs at 8:00am and Vanderbilt, and when we got there Jay was a little confused. Red flag #1: We were waiting for the lab orders and had been sitting there for about 10 minutes when Jay look at me and said, "What are we waiting for?" I told him we were waiting for lab orders and he said, "Oh. Right."

We got blood drawn and then I took Jay to Noshville for breakfast. Red flag #2: Jay let me pick out his meal. Red flag #3: He kept smiling at everyone around him. Like going out of his way to catch their eyes and smile. If you know Jay, you know that's actually not Jay at all.

We got back to the apartment and I called the Transplant number. It's a 24-hour line that we're supposed to call anytime we have concerns or questions. I left a message and told them that we had forgotten to bring home the anti-fungal powder from the hospital and that we needed a prescription for it, that Jay had a lot of lower extremity edema, and that he was acting weird.

After I left, Jay called his mom. Or tried to. We had asked her to register our car and he wanted to follow up. He kept looking at his phone and looking out the window. He looked like he was trying to call, but then he'd get distracted and look out the window some more. I finally gave him the number and dialed it for him. Red flag #4: At the end of the conversation, Jay said to his mom, "I love you so much, mom. Thank you for everything."

As we were walking out the door to grab some lunch, my phone rang. It was the nurse calling back. She said that she had just gotten his labs back and that some of his numbers (WBC and liver enzymes) had bumped up a bit, and that the doctor might want to see him during the day. Red flag #5: While I was talking to the nurse, Jay reached down and actually smiled while he tried to grab the phone out of my hand. I smacked his arm and he just smiled at me.

Red flag #6: On the way to Puckett's for lunch, Jay kept telling me that I was beautiful, that the world was beautiful, and that he loved me so much. He didn't want to stop holding my hand, and he got on the elevator going up even though we were going down.

Jay only ate a few bites of his lunch and kept saying that he wanted to talk to Joshua. This craziness went on and on until I finally convinced him to lay down and take a nap. During the nap, the nurse called to tell me that Jay had an ultrasound scheduled for 4:30. The phone woke Jay up, too, and again he went with the beautiful stuff. The kicker was when we were watching a video about The Turnip Truck and he started to cry.

"Why are you crying?" I asked.

"I just hope that the hungry people in the Gulch get the food that they need."

"Jay, it's the Gulch. There aren't hungry people there."

"I know, but what if a homeless person rolls through?"

I went to the bathroom and left the door open because I wanted to keep an eye on him at all times. He was just getting more and more bizarre. I looked out into the hallway and saw him put his phone down on the bedroom dresser. He walked by and said, "I just talked to Joshua. He's happy."

"Jay, it's 2:30. Joshua is still in school."

"I know. He's happy."

I called the transplant line immediately and told them that I was bringing him in right now. At least that's what I thought. He had settled in the bed (with no drawers on) and wouldn't get up. I told him that the doctor was waiting to see him at the hospital and he just smiled at me and tried to rub my hair. I tried to put his pants on him, and he and his dead weight just smiled at me. I put his shoes on him and he smiled at me. I told him again to get up. Yes. He smiled at me.

Then I called the paramedics. I've never done that before. I've had dreams in which I've called an ambulance but the ambulance never comes, which doesn't exactly engender a lot of faith in the process. But the dispatcher was amazing, and there were firefighters in my bedroom within 10 minutes. Jay wasn't going to get out of bed for me, but stick 5 hulking paramedics around him and he was going to move one way or another.

I was scared to death that they were going to use more force than he could handle, especially since he was split from side to side. But they were very sweet and gentle. They got him on the stretcher, but he wouldn't let me out of his sight. He rode the whole way down to the lobby and out the door sitting straight up with his arms out in front of him. When we got on the ambulance he informed us that he was then going to open to roof of the ambulance wide open.

I had a nice conversation with the paramedic who rode in back, and was amazed that Jay wasn't in more pain given that he was sitting straight up throughout a bumpy ambulance ride. The only mistake the paramedic made was telling me that his own uncle had had a liver transplant and acted like Jay was acting because of ammonia. When I asked what happened to his uncle he replied, "Oh, um. He was old and probably wasn't a good candidate anyway."


We finally made it to the Emergency Department, and all I could think about was seeing someone who could tell me what was going on.

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