Friday, February 27, 2009

the triage queen strikes again

The Internet is a really interesting thing. And while for the most part the Internet greatly adds to my quality of life, there are times it gets a little odd.

Case in point:

The FX spent last night in the cardiac evaluation unit of my hospital. He called me yesterday to tell me he was having chest pains and to ask my advice on what to do. I asked him a few questions and then told him that my advice was to Go Straight To The ER. He didn't want to do that. I asked him a few more questions and then repeated the Go Straight To The ER advice. He clung to the heartburn theory. I told him to take some Mylanta and if it didn't get any better ASAP to Go Straight To The ER, or, if he still felt stubborn, to go have an EKG done at our doctor's office at the very least. He took both the Mylanta and the EKG advice, and then called me later leaving the doctor's office to tell me that the doctor had told him to Go Straight To The ER. Jeez. It's not like this was the first chest pain I've ever seen. I'm about at the point where I can triage in my sleep.

Bottom line - he called me at ten last night to tell me that they were admitting him for observation. Labs and EKG looked okay, but he's got some crappy risk factors and some health issues that are not in his favor. He called me from his room, on his cell phone, with his laptop by his side.

And this is where the weirdness started. For the entire duration of our marriage, I was the one who communicated. I kept in touch with his family, I bought his mother's birthday and Mother's Day gifts, I called to let people know when anything especially good (or bad) happened. Even when we lived thirty minutes away from them, I was the one who took the kids to visit, and I was the one who built really solid relationships with his family - relationships I am assured continue to this day, despite the change in our marital status. As his mother said to me last week, "I'm almost 70 years old. You are my daughter. I'm not about to shake things up now." As happy as I was to hear that, it put me in a very weird spot last night.

See, I really felt that it was his responsibility to let his family know what was going on. Not mine. His. I told the kids, because Surfer Dude put on his big bionic snooping ears while we were on the phone at one point and I had to come clean. But the rest of his family - no matter how dear to me - needed to be told by him, as far as I was concerned. He had his phone. He had his laptop. California is two hours behind us. He had the means and he had opportunity.

And he didn't utilize either. But he did post a status update on Facebook, which his sister saw. (This is the sister who is the closest thing to a sister I'll ever have. And she and I are on the same page about virtually everything FX related). She then told his mom who posted her own status update, saying basically how fricking dysfunctional is this, that I have to hear this on Facebook? His sister and I then exchanged private messages where I said, Hey, I love you all to bits, but this is HIS responsibility. (The whole Facebook thing is weird to start with. Two of his sisters just joined, and they pulled his mom in. They all three friended me, which is great. But they also all three friended him, which is weird. It's a thin line in terms of privacy between the FX and I and I'm not sure what I think of it. When his mom sent me a friendship request, I accepted it, but made sure she knew that I might say things about her son from time to time that she might not be thrilled with).

He's fine, anyway. No cardiac issues, just a more pressing need to address some health problems he has been in deep denial over. And I'm sure he's talked to his mom by now and all is well. But I spent part of today feeling like I should feel guilty that I didn't take care of this for him and then feeling bad because I couldn't even make myself feel guilty about it. It's not my job anymore. He's a big boy. He can run interference for himself.

One little note before I move on - and this has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet in any way, shape or form. I do believe that the FX is a much nicer and more trusting person than I am. Either that or he's self-absorbed to the point of being comatose. Because if the situation had been reversed, there would have been no way in hell you would have gotten me into that ER. I would've driven to the next hospital thirty minutes over, because I don't think he fully understood what hostile territory he was venturing into. I'm not saying his medical care wasn't top notch. But these are the people who have seen me coping on a day in and day out basis over the last year, the people who have become a huge part of my life, and let me just say that he doesn't have many fans there. When I mentioned to my boss during my review that he had called asking for advice on his chest pain, she said "What did you tell him to do? Eat a hot dog and go mow the lawn?"

Back to the Internet, I've wondered today how we ever gathered information in the dark ages pre-web. I tried an experiment today. I casually asked a couple of people if they knew hot tax fix-it guy, including one of my friends who I was sure would. She didn't. But now she wants to meet him too. Sigh. (This is not a huge town, but it's not tiny, either). I'm leery of asking too many people since a) it's not my style and b) I'd be guaranteed a big ol' butt bite somehow. So I got on-line, and in about fifteen minutes nailed down the info I wanted.

In the right age range.

Single. And looking.

And a picture proving that my eyes were working just fine yesterday even as my lungs struggled for air.

Gotta love those open social websites.

Damn the Internet.


Rudee said...

A hot dog and mow the lawn... gotta love the work family! I think I love your boss.

For the sake of your kids, and his own mother, I hope your ex is ok.

I need more info on the hottie tax man. Way more info.

Maggie May said...

Strange how your ex gets in touch with you during an emergency.
Where did the new gal fit in?

Hope he recovers completely for your children's sake and that of his mother.

Flutterby said...

The FX hasn't grown up very much has he? Or moved on as far as he thinks he has.

Kaycie said...

If I were the FX, I would have been driving over to Stormont-Vail on oxygen before I'd go to the ER where you work. Somehow, men don't think about these things.

I know how weird it is to have to deal with an ex's health issue. I wrote a whole post about how I just worried for my kids and found that I really didn't feel anything at all for him. Even when he ended up with a triple bypass. It's a strange thing.

my two cents said...

I am with Maggie and Flutterby.
Apparently he is self-absorbed to the point of comatose, or just plain old oblivion. I think he has proven that. It didn't take him long to forget the 'we are not friends' conversation. Glad he is ok though and that your co-workers took care of him anyway.

the rotten correspondent said...

Rudee - my boss is a fricking riot. I mean, that woman is quick. I can't even convey the gleam in her eye when she said it. I need more info on hottie tax man too. Way more info...

Maggie May - yeah, I thought of that too. He'll tell you that he only called for the nursing advice, but I'm not buying it. And I'm not sure where the new gal fit in. He was in the hospital for less than 24 hours and I know when he got out he went to go "and spend some time with her". Don't know if she came and stroked his feverish brow or not.

Flutterby - No. No he hasn't. But he sure as heck doesn't see it. He kept calling me with updates, "so the kids would be okay". Yeah...

Kaycie - If I were the FX I would have driven to Wichita. Seriously. I wouldn't go into my ER if I were him unless I was unconscious or dead. And even then...

I remember reading your post about your ex husband's health issues. This was a weird one for me, too. I was sorry it was happening to him, but I didn't get worked up over it. My kids weren't even as freaked as I would have thought, but we were all relieved when there was nothing wrong.

Susan - I think he figures we're okay on the friends front since he gave me the apology I wanted - and then some. And I really am feeling a lot more kindly toward him since he was able to do that. But the bottom line is I'm not his wife anymore, and keeping an eye on his health is no longer my concern. Nor will I be encouraging a best buddy type relationship with him. But was interesting how he reverted straight back to old behaviors.

Mya said...

I've just been catching up on your news, RC. You've been busy!
Now...about this handyman/tax around your house now breaking stuff! Get those dogs worked up so they trash the place! And those boys? Just let them behave as normal...pretty soon you'll be needing to call that guy.
It makes me think of a song, I don't think it was James Taylor, but it sounded like was called 'Handyman' I think...there was a lyric which went - 'I fix broken hearts, I know but I truly can'. Oh yes!
Take care, sweetie.
Mya x

aims said...

Ya - I'm with everyone - the FX has not grown up and where the hell was the new woman in his life.

As for the new hottie. 'ahem' I'm thinking I'd like to see a pic of him too....just saying...and don't tell The Man okay?

Iota said...

And let's face it, he's probably reading your blog right now.

Can I ask you a question? You're not going to like it. But you know I wouldn't ask it if I didn't have to... It's none of my business, but, hey, you do keep asking for our thoughts, so I can't help myself.

You keep saying you're not looking, and then here comes this guy, just after you've had all that to-do with the FX wanting you to advise him on how to tell the boys about his new girlfriend. So... which is it?

(a) You're not looking, but life is full of surprises.

(b) You say you're not looking, but actually...

(c) You're not looking, and not interested, but at some level, you're p***ed off because of the FX/girlfriend stuff, and you want a boyfriend too. That'll show him.

If you don't want to answer, you can tell me to eff off.

Oh, except I have one more question. Why is it called and EKG? There isn't a K in there. Why don't you call it an ECG? This isn't the first time I've wondered...

the rotten correspondent said...

Mya - what makes you think I need to run around breaking stuff? My entire house is a city dump with furniture. Seriously. I could put a handyman on a permanent payroll. Except that now I can't get that stupid song out of my head. Thanks...

aims - you have no idea how tempting it is to post the pic, except that I'm sure it breaks about a hundred privacy laws and would make me look like a stalker...which I'm not.

Iota - Aaargh! What does that mean - he's probably reading your blog right now? Aargh. Now I have a bellyache.

Let me answer your easy question first - I have absolutely no idea why they're called EKGs and not ECGs. They used to be called ECGs, but not anymore.Rudee? Do you know the answer to this?

Second question - the harder one. I'm gonna have to go with A - and here's why.

When I say I'm not looking, I'm really not looking. Oh, I'm enjoying the hell out of still being pursued by the first two guys, but I'm not interested in anything other than friendship. And it is hard, because I consider both of them friends and I like them a lot, just not in THAT way. (This is especially problematic with the more age appropriate one, because I hear he's taking this kind of hard.I'm such a frickin' catch, you know.;)Yeah. Uh huh).

Along the same vein I have to go against C. I do think it's too early for him to have a girlfriend, but I think ultimately he's going to pay for that. I'd like to think that I can get my own personal crap sorted through before I drag some unsuspecting soul into it. And to be perfectly frank, I'm really REALLY enjoying not having to deal with someone else's BS right now. I don't feel the need to have a boyfriend to "even things up" - I really don't. I'd like to think that I'm way more self-sufficient than the FX is and that my own approval is enough for me without needing constant validation from someone else.

BUT. Now let's go back to A. I haven't felt a physical kick of attraction like this in years. And it feels fabulous, because I was starting to worry that I just didn't have it in me. So I'm actually pretty shocked that this guy has grabbed my attention like this. BUT. I don't foresee anything happening with it. It's just a nice little fantasy escape for me right now. I'm not ready for a relationship. And I'm not looking.

Final answer. A. Life is full of surprises.

And I would never tell you to eff off. You guys keep me sane. If I didn't value your opinions I wouldn't ask for them.

CAclark said...

EKG is from the German Elektrokardiogramm.

Altaglow said...

Hey, Thought you'd like to know CAClark is the one who wears tidy whities here on the trail. First comment, I think.

Devon said...

My mom used to do all the family communication for my dad. With wife #3, she refuses and says it is his responsibility. I used to think she was cold and unreasonable.

My dad now communicates better and I have learned that I have much to learn!!!

Your boss was too damn funny! But, I do hope the fx is O.K..

Iota said...

OK, I believe you.

And I only think he's reading your blog because if it was that easy for you to find him on networking sites, he has probably managed to find you (although I grant you that an anonymous blog is more of a challenge than Facebook or MySpace).

Iota said...

And on EKGs, I think it goes like this.

A very very smart doctor noticed that his patients would get freaked out whenever he said "let's give him/her an ECG". So one day he had a brilliant idea. He told all his colleagues "I'm not going to refer to an ECG as an ECG any more. It freaks the patients out. I'm going to have a special code word. But because I don't want any misunderstandings which might mean I get sued and ruined for life, I'm going to make it easy for you all to remember: I'm going to call it an EKG, because that's the German for ECG. Isn't that brilliant?" And all his colleagues and underlings nodded politely and said "oh yes, absolutely brilliant".

And that's where it all started. Other hospitals soon followed suit, and there we are.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

If my ex called me first because he was having chest pains and then would give me hourly updates, I would be mighty surprised and wonder why he needed me to be so involved in his life. That's more than keeping the kids informed.

No, I'm not a nurse and we have no kids, but he would have called you anyway, because you were the person he needed at that point, because you are the most familiar and dear to him when it comes down to it. He trusts you.

He is less divorced from you than you think he is. Watch that first step, it's real tricky.

Frances said...

you were his wife for a long time. You were together for a long time. He trusts you. Bottom line. He doesn't hate you and he knows you will talk straight. He knows you do your job damn well and that your hospital is pretty good. Do you go somewhere you don't know if you have chest pain? or do you go somewhere you think you will get a straight answer and good treatment.
And Irene is right. You will always have been his wife. You had kids together. You are important. If his new girlfriend is, say, a hairdresser, or an attorney, I would expect him to ask the one with the medical knowledge over the girlfriend.
You were his wife, so you are family. It takes awhile for that to happen.
So it's a compliment to you as a straight, trustworthy, dependable professional. And someone he likes.