We walked to the front of the restaurant. The ambulance was on its way. By this stage I was super short of breath and my heart was pounding. I was struggling to take in oxygen so my heart was pumping harder. My extremities were tingling. I was dizzy. I was sitting there gasping for air, trying to answer whatever questions I could to ensure Marlous had sufficient context to talk to the medics when they came. Even if they spoke English, who's to say I would still be conscious?
Anyway, about 45 minutes after I had the most incredible headache but I was breathing. They were shallow breaths, but they were consistent and markedly better than whatever passed for breathing an hour before. The doctors said my oxygen saturation was rising, which I could be transferred to the ICU. They put me onto a stretcher and transferred me to the ICU. They'd wired my poor diverse veins and arteries three unique methods to different drips, had me breathing from an oxygen mask and rigged to a couple distinct monitors.
I can't tell you how scared I was in this moment. Oxygen was thinning and there was no help in sight. There's a terror understanding that if I blacked out I might not wake up. What if the ambulance crashed only meters from the entryway and they all died? Imagine if they were dispatched accidentally to the wrong mall? What if they arrived five minutes too late and that I was too much oxygen starved, suffered severe brain damage after blacking out, and would never recover? What if?
We arrived at the hospital. I was swarmed by five or six physicians. They had been triaging me. Oxygen masks and inhalers and shots. A flurry of questions. Lots of questions! Allergies? Medical history? Do I drink? Smoke? And of course, I assured them as I was gasping for air, I knew as a non-resident I had been looking at a very steep medical bill of nearly $26,000 HKD were I to be admitted to the ICU for the evening. Wait. What? $26,000 Hong Kong Dollars!! Oh. . Wait... that's $3,350 United States Dollars or so. It was the only time I laughed all night.
I was OK for ten to fifteen minutes. I began feeling short of breath. But I'm used to feeling short of breath I'm asthmatic! I don't leap to conclusions. When I have gas, I might be short of breath. I might pant from physical exertion. I may be short of breath. And besides, I keep an emergency Albuterol rescue inhaler in my pockets. I don't use it, though. My asthma is well managed thanks to daily ingestion of Dulera, a preventative medication. The emergency inhaler was just that: for emergencies. So I took a few puffs. Nothing. The shortness of breath was becoming worse. I raised the issue with Dave Thomas, the founder of this YOW! Conference along with a friend, and he'd Cantonseand Chinese-speaking aid Marlous Teh quickly get me some medical help.
Keep in mind that a patient with dementia, which describes a category of diseases that impair the function of the mind, are not accountable for themselves. They may say things or do things that hurt you. They may present a danger to themselves. They may react with fear to mundane things. It's important to keep their surroundings distractionand surprise-free and their routines predictable. Don't contribute to their confusion. Symptoms reveal neuro-cognitive impairment. It's not possible to diagnose dementia without a post-mortem so if in doubt cure it.