She was a pleasant young lady that didn't speak much when I went in to take her vital signs. I imagine she would rather have been at home with her baby and husband than in the hospital. It must have been hard on the new mother to not have her baby with her. Her vital signs were normal when I took them, but an hour or so later I heard her crying in her room. I went in and talked to her.
I asked her if she felt like her blood pressure was getting high again, and she said, 'no'. Per the report we were given she knew when the pressure would get high because she got really bad headaches with it. I talked with her about how she missed her baby. I assured her that we could get a bassinet for the baby and a recliner for her husband if she would like them to stay with her. She turned down the offer, but still seemed really bothered. I sensed she was hiding something from me. I told her that I understood that she wanted to be at home with her baby, but that she needed to let me know right away if she got a headache again. I reminded her that she needed to be honest with us so that she could get better and go home. She agreed.
The bulk of our evening work was done. Now it was just a matter of answering call lights and taking another set or two of vitals signs for our patients during the rest of our twelve hour shift. I went to the break room and sat down to watch t.v. About 10 minutes passed before she rang on her call light. She said her head hurt really bad, that she was lying before because she really wanted to go home. I notified the nurse and got the vitals machine. It couldn't get her blood pressure, so I decided to take it manually. I don't recall the exact pressure reading, only that it was double what it should have been. The top number was well over 200 and the bottom number was around 130. I couldn't believe what my ears were hearing. With tears in my eyes I handed the stethoscope to another medic and asked them to see what they could get. Their reading confirmed the high blood pressure. Pressures this high cause headaches for a reason - to warn patients. We knew that at any moment she could have a stroke. A stroke which she may not ever recover from. In the hospital we see people that have had strokes bad enough that they are unable to even talk anymore. This young mom had much to live for. The nurse immediately paged the doctor. The doctor didn't call right back.
We wheeled the crash cart into the room. We broke the lock on it and the nurse began to review the meds available in our crash cart. He announced that he would give the doctor a couple minutes to call back before he started pushing meds. I called the ER and asked if they had a doctor available. The other doctor called back and orders were given for medication to correct the blood pressure. The patient was transferred to our SCU (special care unit that isn't quite a full ICU). After a few more days in the hospital was eventually released to go home.