Saturday, February 16, 2008

An unexpected visit to the hospital

It has been in our thoughts in recent days that it was about time -- about a hundred days after the transplant -- to add an entry to our kidney journal.

What had especially been in both Nancy’s thoughts and mine was a growing awareness that, since Nancy’s gift of a kidney, giving comes more easily than in the past. While neither of us are the tight-fisted sort, still -- self-employed people that we are, with income being far from predicable month to month -- we tend to watch expenses fairly carefully and sometimes think long and hard about gifts and donations to be made. Now we find it much easier making gifts.

Lesson: Once you have donated a kidney, or received such a gift, other donations come much easier.

There you have, in brief, what might have been a longer journal entry, but I make it brief to add the day’s main domestic headline -- that Nancy was hit by a car just after noon today when on her way to a lunch in Amsterdam with other translators. Crossing a street, she saw a green light on the far side of the street but failed to notice a red light for the lane closer to her. She stepped out into the street and was hit by a slow moving car making a turn. Knocked down, her right knee and the back of her head took most of the impact.

The distressed driver and a number of bystanders immediately did all they could to help her. They were really wonderful, Nancy reports. Should you ever want to get hit by a car, she recommends you do it in Amsterdam. Friendly strangers will rush to your assistance.

One of them called for an ambulance. Soon after, she was brought to the emergency section of the nearby Lucas Andreas Hospital.

The head wound, though bloody, was quickly closed -- no stitches were needed. Nancy’s gray air now includes a punkish pale purple halo.

After two x-rays were made, Nancy was given the good news that, though the right knee was painful, bruised and swollen, no bones had been broken. Her right knee was bandaged.

Nancy’s main worry was that her one kidney might have been injured. She was hugely relieved when a urine test showed no trace of bleeding or other indication of damage. (On Monday we’ll contact the kidney staff at the AMC to see if they want to do any further testing.)

Luckily, Nancy had our mobile phone with her. As soon as she was able, she called me. Dan happened to be at our house just then. As soon as I left for Amsterdam, he made calls to the rest of the family, at least those here in Holland. As a result, by the time I got to the hospital, Thom and his partner Kylie had already been there half an hour.

The worst part of the ordeal for Nancy was suddenly going into shock, something that happened just when she thought she was in the clear and had made a reassuring call to me. She found herself short of breath, covered with sweat, pale as a sheet, and shaking uncontrollably. Several staff in the emergency ward, immediately coming to her aid, found her blood pressure had plummeted. She was put in bed, covered with warm blankets, and given an IV. It took about half an hour for the trembling and sweating to stop.

About four hours after she had been admitted to the hospital, we returned to Alkmaar by taxi. Taking the train was not an option, as Nancy has difficulty taking even a single step, and will need help getting about for at least the next day or two. For the time being, she will be leading a downstairs life.

She is in good spirits, has talked to several people on the phone, taken a couple of naps, and is now reading a novel about life in twelfth-century England (The Pillars of the Earth).

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