Friday, January 1, 2010

Not Exactly the Way We Planned to Ring in the New Year

I had an idea to use today to author a new post looking back at 2009 and what a significant year it was for me, but that'll have to wait.

Throughout 15 years of marriage, I'm not sure my wife - Kay - and I have ever gone out for New Year's Eve. It's hardly because we don't go out - we go out/get out more than most couples! We just find this a good evening to Zig when everybody else Zags. However, this year the NYE celebration at the Riverside Theater with the band Spoon was an opportunity I did not want to pass up. I'm a big fan of the band and it sounded like a great way to ring in the New Year.

We started the evening at Cafe Hollander in Wauwatosa and had a nice meal before catching Bus 31 downtown. Kay felt a little odd and a little dehydrated at Hollander, but it wasn't anything that looked too serious. We arrived at the theater and ordered our first Pabst. Walking to our seats in the balcony Kay got a little winded, but once we sat down, things seemed to settle and we were able to enjoy the rockin' first act: Jay Reatard (pronounced RE-ah-tard). At intermission, we went for a stroll to the theater's lobby and met a couple of friends. Again, Kay was feeling a little out-of-breath, but it wasn't something totally new, and, while uncomfortable, it didn't seem like anything that was going to stop her/us from having a good time. We took the elevator back up to the balcony to avoid the stairs. That helped and we comfortably got to our seats to enjoy the Spoon show.

Kay never felt well during the concert, but I think she was able to at least enjoy it as long as she didn't move around too much. I, on the otherhand, felt great with Pabst in hand watching a band I really appreciate. It was a great show. Spoon timed the show such that at the end of the set it would be New Year's Day. Their timing was perfect timing: the last song, balloons droopped, and everybody applauded loudly for the encore. Kay - drinking water not Pabst - said she needed to use the restroom. Having a good time for the last hour, I kind of forgot about her Asthma condition, and anxiously anticipated the return of Spoon for the encore set. I figured she'd be okay - that's where I was wrong.

The band came back out and I loved the song, although, for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. My phone lit up to let me know I had a call coming in. It was Kay. I tried to answer, but there was no way I could hear. I went down the steps and searched the balcony's lobby for Kay. Nothing. At the same time, the show ended and the lobbies were filling with revelers. I called Kay numerous times and could not get through. I can't remember how many minutes passed - maybe 10. Finally I saw her standing in the main lobby. When I got to her, she said, "I need to go to the hospital - NOW!" I ran outside to see if I could see/hail a cab. There was none. Back inside, I tried to retrieve our coats; the line was soo long [Seriously Riverside, this needs to be addressed; that was chaos]. Another 10 minutes passed while I got them. Kay was still standing in the lobby. This time, however, there was no more waiting. Kay was hurtin' and hurtin' bad. Time to call '911'.

Within 5 minutes an ambulance pulled up in front of the theater on Wisconsin Avenue. Paramedics went to work and asked me questions. At this point Kay was trembling. I felt so sorry for her. After another 10 minutes or so we were off to the Froedtert Emergency Center. Wheeled in, doctors and nurses quickly ascertained the situation and administered some immediate medical attention. I can't remember all that was going on nor can I remember the names of the all the substances they were putting into her bloodstream, but it seemed to be working. Slowly.

A number of hours passed. Soon it was 3 a.m. and we then knew Kay was going to be able to leave in an hour or so. Earlier, when we went to Cafe Hollander, I drove my truck to the public parking lot. My expectation was that we would cab it home after the show and walk to the village on the 1st to retrieve my vehicle. Instead, at about 3 a.m. I told the attending doctor or nurse (I couldn't quite tell what he was) that I was going to walk to the village to get my truck. I think he thought I was a bit nuts to do that in single digit temps, but I do stuff like this all of the time. "No problem," I said. Within 25 minutes I was back at the hospital. Kay was feeling much better, but New Year's Eve chaos ruled the Emergency Center and I could see it would still be a while. I can't say enough good things about the men and women who work Emergency Centers - they deserve high praise dealing with the traumas they do. Finally, sometime after 4 a.m. she was discharged. Still wheezing, but no longer in urgent crisis.

At some point last night I tweeted, "At Froedtert Emergency. Hello 2010!" I cannot express how grateful I am to our twitter friends and family for the outpouring of concern that we received. It's rather remarkable and I'd like thank you and wish you a Happy New Year! Here's hoping the rest of the year can only get better!


  1. Wow. I agree, it can only get better. Looking forward reading more, keep writing ;)

  2. Glad that everything turned out alright Mike! Sounds like it was a pretty crazy couple of hours. I, too am looking forward to reading more! Oh, the last song they played, if you haven't figured it out yet, was "the underdog."