Wednesday was going great. Dad and Nick had gone in separate directions to spray gorse while I did a morning milking. I came home and got a heck of a lot done at home with Mum. Went to town, registered the dogs, did some groceries. Came home, ate hot cross buns for lunch (yum...lol) did some work around home, precooked a lasagne for dinner, among other things.
Then I decided to make a brownie, some for us and surprise our neighbour - who seems to like it a fair bit - with some too. However I was gutted to discover we had run out of coconut (so, so annoying after just having bought a few grocery items that morning...) so back to town I went - just a short trip this time, to buy some. I guess you could say that when I want to do something, I'm pretty determined to do it!
Life is great, I got home after listening to some funny story by the radio presenter, feeling amused, I opened the front door with a grin on my face - then I saw the look on Mum's face and mine dropped. She was in the lounge, looking horrified, pacing the room with her cellphone up to one ear and the landline at the other. Within a split second you know something has gone wrong - is it Dad, or Nick?
She's saying things like, "how far away is the ambulance?" and then to me, "It's Dad," then I suddenly realise and feel my hands starting to shake a bit. He's been stung by wasps. He's seriously allergic - called being anaphylactic - and it could kill him, very fast.
Mum is on the phone to 111 and to the person Dad has gone to for help. A lady is driving him as fast as possible to meet an ambulance half way to save time, and Dad later told us he thought he might die from a car accident instead - because the lady was so stressed out!
By now Nick has also found out, so he had to simply abandon his spray gear and get home asap to drive us to the hospital - there was no way Mum would be in any state to drive, let alone the motorway in peak hour traffic.
As time goes on we slowly peace together the information, Dad was happily spraying gorse - as you do, quite a way out of our normal district, but he decided to take the job anyway. There was no cellphone reception, so we hadn't heard from him all day. That morning a neighbour to the property he was working on asked if he could come over sometime to have a look at some work there too - the people seemed friendly enough so he figured he'd have a quick look then, before starting work.
Sometime in the late afternoon he suddenly came across wasps, one flew into the sleeve of his shirt and stung him multiple times before he managed to get it out. Then others came and stung him on the head.
He said he couldn't do anything but stand there and take it - thinking, oh crap. The more you move around the more likely they will attack even worse. Once he'd gotten away from them (I can't believe this) he grabbed a couple antihistamines to slow the reaction down, packed up his spray gear onto his ute (in quite a state of panic now), jumped into the ute and hightailed it to the people he had spoken with earlier. Where he asked them to call an ambulance, call Mum and help him. They called Mum, and she called the ambulance for them, by now they're in the car and on the road at very high speed, where they eventually met an ambulance at an intersection that was waiting for them.
They had helped him with some adrenaline medication, opening the vial (he doesn't use an epipen) and drawing it up so that he could administer it. Looking at the needle and syringe, the poor people were ghostly white and couldn't watch him stab it into his leg. Except that he took too much, he thought you needed 1ml of it, but you're only meant to have half of that - so his heart rate skyrocketed and his whole body got the shakes.
It was about 6pm by the time we got to the hospital in Auckland, you're constantly not knowing what's going on and hoping like heck that he doesn't drop back into a secondary reaction - like he did last time, a few years back. Nick and I dropped Mum off at the emergency entrance, then tried to figure out how and where we could park, it is seriously confusing in there.
But when we arrived Dad was, thankfully, sitting up and happy, although he was in the bed right outside the nurses station in ED. I guess you could say, happy as you could be after you've been stung 6 or more times, overdosed on adrenaline, getting one scary car ride and then a ride in an ambo, then getting to sit in a bed wearing a beautiful hospital gown...that has "Hospital Property" stamped all over it, just in case someone wanted to steal it.
He had to stay put for observation, with a drip and blood pressure monitors and everything attached, and eventually we were moved into the "Observation" ward, where we were promptly forgotten about - although they all deny that. He needed to stay put until six hours were up - that's the time frame you can relapse in, so we all sat and waited for 10:30pm to roll around, so we could soon go home. As I said, they forgot about us. What seemed like the main charge-nurse was an absolute horror and they all claimed they are understaffed. We kept trying to get some attention - Dad's drip is empty and still hooked up, is that a problem? Can we see someone? Is anyone coming any time soon?
Each person we saw looked at us, averted eye contact and said that they couldn't help us but they would be 'right back', or 'would send someone who knew' or, 'some other lame excuse', before quickly leaving in the other direction.
They failed by putting us in a thoroughfare, because we always saw them. I guess to them we looked like dogs in a pound - looking up with those little puppy eyes, but the people adopting can't adopt every one of them and is looking for someone in particular, so they don't stay in the vicinity for very long so as not to gain any unwanted attention. You know how it goes, if you're not currently on death's door, they don't want to know.
It was after 11pm when Mum started stamping her feet, Dad's in pain, we're all dead on our feet, Nick and I needed to be at work in a few hours and they all kept promising someone would come, who never did. They said 10:30 was the cut off time, it was over an hour past that, what was going on?
So miss grumpy scary charge-nurse eventually came, as did the earlier doctor he saw. They muttered a few things, she yanked out the lure in his arm, and almost threw us out the door. Nick and I had lost where we had parked the ute, (underground but not really underground carparks are confusing). We were finally home by 1am, eyeballs falling out.
Nick had to be up again at 4:30 and me at 6, so Thursday was a really long, hard day for us all. But everyone was still very much alive - thank goodness. That's the important part.
What was interesting was the things that had happened throughout the day. Like, when Mum and I were out and about I had to quickly call *555 on my cellphone while Mum was driving because there was someone driving through the main road of our town in a very dangerous manner. I later said that I wouldn't often call anyone off my phone, so to quickly try and dial a number I sort of froze - not quite knowing where to go to do it.
Put in the password, click the phone icon, click contacts, no - that's not right, eventually I found the keypad and eventually got into the system, but it took so long. I realised after that that you can just tap "emergency" rather than putting in your password, and it instantly goes to the keypad while also bringing up the option to look at your medical ID. An iPhone gimmick that Mum didn't know about, and not many people do so that in an emergency someone can get your name, medical and next of kin information if they can't get into the phone. So that night we mentioned it to Dad and he and Mum filled theirs in, as they never knew about it.
We also saw through Facebook on a town page that fire engines and ambos were heading, lights and siren, along the road that Nick was working on - he also hadn't been in contact all day, but we soon found that he was fine anyway after we called him.
And Mum, with her scary intuition, had had a song playing in her head recently - a "Farewell" song she said they sung at school - and she knew something was going to happen so she had been keeping a really close eye on what was happening. It just so happened that we hadn't been able to contact Dad, and she admitted she would've only been concerned at about 8 o'clock that night - he could've possibly been lying on the ground for hours and no-one knew where he was or how to find him. It's scary to think about and scary to think about how much we've come to rely on technology to tell us that everyone is OK.