Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Richard is in the ICU (What?! Who?!)

Richard is in the ICU.  Not Robert.  Richard.  

I'm as shocked as everyone.
Say Cheese, Dad!

As many of you know, Richard has severe back pain and it is managed with an intrathecal pain pump filled with Fentanyl. This is refilled every 60 days or so. He had a pump refill appointment early this morning and he walked out the door like any other day.  Well, except that our puppy, Taz, escaped and we had to chase him back in the house.  Twice.

Other than that, everything was perfectly normal. Robert was picked up for Day Program and I left for work. 

Mid-morning I texted Richard asking how his appointment went.  I didn't think anything of it when he didn't reply as I thought he was busy. I ended up making an appointment for myself because I've been experiencing some dizziness and thought I could take a longer lunch and have a quick appointment and then back to work. 

That was the plan, anyway.

In the middle of the appointment, Richard called and sounded awful. He was groggy and he said he was in the hospital. What?? Were you in a car accident? What happened??  He answered my questions with non-answers and just kept saying he was in the hospital and told me which one. 

As I was rushing out of the doctor appointment, explaining to a nurse that I couldn't wait for the doctor and had to leave, I realized: Robert is going to be dropped off by his van in 10 minutes.  

I then realized my phone was about to die. 

Oh crap. 

My phone charger in my car doesn't work so I just had to hope I had enough charge to call the transport company and tell them I was on my way home to get Robert.  When I called, they answered, "This is Medstar. Please hold." Click. 

Are you kidding me? 

Thankfully, they got back on the phone before the phone died and I explained I might be a few minutes late in being home.

I zip home, still without any information about Richard, and the van hasn’t arrived yet.  I plug in my phone, let the dogs out (pleasantly surprised not to find any accidents after such a long time in the house alone!).

Taz didn’t even eat anyone’s bed which was an added bonus.

I called the hospital and told them all I knew was my husband had been admitted and I knew nothing else.

“What’s his name?” Oh, okay, I know that.

“Richard Kreis – he’s in the ICU. Let me transfer you.”

He’s in the ICU?? Why is he in the ICU?

“Let me transfer you.”  Okay, okay, okay.

I talked with the ICU nurse who didn’t tell me anything other than the doctor would call me. Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.

“No, really, he’ll call you as soon as we hang up.”

The doctor actually did call right away and as we talked, Robert’s van pulled up. I went out to get him in the house and ushered him to the bathroom all the while talking to the doctor and taking notes.

Apparently, at Richard’s appointment, something went wrong with the pump refill and the medication went into his body instead of the pump.

Richard had overdosed on Fentanyl at 7:30 this morning and NO ONE CALLED ME!  The doctor said they were monitoring him and he would have to stay overnight but that he should be better by the next day. 

I couldn’t even believe how this happened but the doctor had given me all the info he had.

I quickly packed Robert’s meds and a snack and hurried him up in the bathroom, helping him change his briefs into fresh ones. Robert wanted to brush his teeth which is always followed by shaving so I explained Richard was in the hospital and we had to get going to see him immediately. 

“I understand.”  Robert didn’t put up a fuss or anything. He didn’t even ask to shave, bless his heart.

On the way to the hospital, I called Richard’s pain clinic and spoke with the doctor Richard saw this morning. He was extremely apologetic about what happened and also apologized for not notifying me.

It went only slightly better than: “We almost killed your husband and on top of that, we didn’t call you but we are very, very sorry.” 

Gee, thanks.

He had no good explanation for what happened. 

My husband is lying in the ICU with an overdose of drugs in his system and no medication in his pump so I know once he recovers, he is going to be in a world of hurt.

I still don’t understand how this could have happened. I don’t understand how I was not notified by the clinic, the ER or the ICU!  Once I make sure Richard is recovering as he should, these will be questions I will ask and answers I will get.

I do not want this to happen to another family!

When I left the hospital tonight, Richard was still groggy and sleepy but on oxygen, being monitored and given fluids as well as an antidote that is supposed to counter-act the overdose.

I’ll update more when I know more.

Oh, and the picture is payback for all the times Richard took candid pictures of his mom while lying in a hospital bed! Richard is passed out and the girls are enjoying some fun time with dad.

Because, no matter what, Richard would want us all laughing. 


Jane said...


What an ordeal. My thoughts and prayers are with your whole family. I can't wait to see Richard smiling/laughing again.

Once again, you are amazing and inspire me. There is no excuse for nobody calling you!!!! I know you will get answers.

I freaked out when I heard about Richard because as you know Nicole uses a pump for her medication and I am always paranoid that it will malfunction and I am sure it has before as I have seen hives on Nicole and I truly believe it is because the pump is giving her too much/not enough medication.

I hope that today is a better day. Make sure you get yourself back to the doctor ASAP. I hope that you are feeling better.

Please don't hesitate to let me know if you need anything.


Anonymous said...

What a horrible ordeal - I will never understand how you manage all you do without some help, ......or at least drugs of your own. Wishing you and your family all the best and a speedy recovery for Richard.....