Quick Visit to the Emergency Room

Cook_County_Northshore_Hospital_1460076Tom and I already had our adventure day this week and it was more adventure than we care to repeat.  It culminated in a visit to the Emergency Room at Cook County North Shore Medical Center in Grand Marais.  But here’s how it started.

I woke up Sunday morning with a sudden, severe, and painful cramp in my leg.  Because it hurt so much, I jumped out of bed, instead of my usual sit on the side of the bed, then get up.  I changed levels too quickly for my blood pressure to catch up and passed out.  I have some throat congestion going on which might have exacerbated the problem.  When I passed out, I landed in such a way that my breathing was obstructed.

Fortunately Tom heard me get up, and then didn’t hear anything, and woke up.  He got me straightened out and started the CPR steps.  According to him, I was only out about 15 seconds after he got up, but it seemed longer.  And, after I started responding, all I wanted to do was pass out again.  I got mad at him because he kept yelling at me to stay awake.  Tom called our neighbors, Johnny and Val, and they came over to evaluate and help.  Once they came, Tom also called my dad who is a retired Family Physician.  Although I was slowly getting back to normal, we all decided it would be good to go to the emergency room in Grand Marais to get things checked out.

All four of us were supposed to be working on Sunday, so Val went in to work and to tell them that three of us were heading to the Emergency Room.  We were glad Johnny went with us because I couldn’t stand up and it took lots of maneuvering by Johnny and Tom to get me loaded into the back seat of the truck.  I was still so dizzy that I threw up from those few moments of being vertical.  It was an interesting ride to the emergency room:  36 miles with lots of twists and turns that made me nauseous.  Johnny kept an eye on me and told me funny stories to keep me alert so Tom could concentrate on driving.

Hospital and Emergency Room
Hospital and Emergency Room

The “hospital” in Grand Marais has a three bed emergency room and a sixteen bed care center for people who are receiving dialysis or chemo but are too weak to stay at home.  There is no surgery center.  For care beyond basic tests and treatments (including giving birth), you have to go to Duluth, which is three hours away.  But the North Shore Medical Center is the only emergency treatment in Cook County, an area about 1/10 the size of the entire state of Ohio.

There weren’t any other patients in the emergency room when I got there, so I had the full attention of the one nurse and doctor who were there.  They ran some blood tests and did an EKG, all of which came back normal.  My blood pressure was also normal and remained the same whether I was standing, sitting, or reclining.  By the time they were done with the tests, I was feeling better:  weak but not dizzy.  We drove back to Grand Portage (with me sitting up this time), dropped Johnny off at work, and came back to the RV for naps.

I am feeling fine today, although I got up very slowly this morning as a precautionary measure.

We are thankful that there is a care facility – even though it is small – a short distance away.  And there are EMTs here on the reservation who would have responded if Tom had called 911.  We are thankful for family and friends who prayed for us early on Sunday morning.  Tom and I are also praying that we won’t have to experience another episode like this in the future!