I've had a cold for over two weeks (yay immunodeficiency!), and several days ago it decided to settle in my chest. It really wasn't much of a surprise, but it was a bitch.
I took more decongestants and expectorants, and started using my inhaler. But I saw no improvement, and in fact, things were getting steadily worse. This was NOT good.
Today I grabbed my replacement inhaler, and the sealed bag told me it had expired in March. (And what does this tell us about the one that I've been using?) I'm getting little enough O2 at this point that I'm dizzy, and I start to have a panic attack. I take my clonazepam, because a full-on panic attack in this state=bad news. And I call my drs office and request a new inhaler, letting them know my refill expired. I am NOT thinking straight and do not ask for an appointment the next day (no car today).
Sarah calls, I let her know what's going on, she comments on my marked loss of ability to breath. I'm using the expired but just out of package inhaler, but I had JUST used it. It starts to make a difference, and I calm down.
about 2 hours later, some of the asshats in the building start smoking again. *Instant* asthma attack on top of already only being able to draw half a breath. >< Full panic attack as well. It's too soon to use inhaler. I call the NurseLine. Advise is "Get thee to the hospital, now. If you must wait for spouse, wait no more than an hour, then call 911."
I put in emergency call to wife. She says she will do her best, but manager is at lunch, should be back in 10 minutes. I wait 20. I get her back on the phone and let her know that I'm calling 911, because at this rate, she's not getting here before the hour is up, and to meet me at the hospital. And NOW she gets that yes, it really is that serious.
Hospital is less than 1/2 mile away, they get here fast. No one complains about Pùka. There's not just the ambulance, there's a fire truck, and probably cops (small town). Hopefully the fucking smokers noticed. There is no wait in the ER, and everyone is so very, very nice. Sarah gets there right before my x-rays, just in time to take Pùka (who can't go in there, for obvious reasons).
As we wait for results, I find out that Sarah very well may be in trouble with work for leaving, because it was more than 2 hours before the end of her shift (BY MINUTES). She said that she's going to refuse to sign any paperwork saying she did anything wrong, because her chronically ill wife was in the hospital.
Doctors come back, I have bronchitis, but I was treating it correctly, had I had a good inhaler. Pick up the new one first thing, continue treatment, if no improvement by Monday, get my ass in to my PCP, I haz major problem.
So we have paperwork stating that I'm to do no work, that I have *bronchitis* on top of my other chronic immune disorders, etc. Not small fish, right? But Sarah just got a raise this week, and we don't need her fired, or lose the raise, or... well, we really need her insurance.
So while I've dealt with the after effects of the panic attacks and albuterol, and the lovely half-breaths I can take (3rd night w/o sleep because of this, damn it) I made copies of the Excuse from Work and Driving for me (therefor showing that Sarah has to drive me), and the generic Bronchitis sheet they hand out that has my name and the date on it (showing this wasn't made up, and btw, it has nothing about my medications), and as the kicker, the Family Member form for FMLA. We're not going to ask for much, just occasional transport for medical tests and such, but if they try to actually penalize her for coming to the hospital when I was having breathing issues, I don't see what else we can do.
She was given permission to go, she was just told that she may be in trouble today for it. ><
3:20 PM PT: UPDATE: Sarah spoke with HR, and they agree with her. There will be no penalty, no Wal-Mart-esque Decision Day, and no mark on her record. Yes, family members at the freakin' hospital have priority over a few hours of work, why wouldn't they?
The management on the ground was completely and totally wrong!
Still, that was some very un-needed stress to an already stressful position. But at least now we only have to figure out how to pay the ER co-pay, not how to pay if with at the very least an entire day less pay this week, best scenario, or no job, worst scenario.
Yay for reasonable HR! (Do you think it helps that it's a vanishingly small team, and that everyone in the business knows everyone else? lol)