Well, haven’t had a moment to blog recently as have been extremely busy keeping mom ‘pink.’ Ended up in the hospital Saturday night as Mom had been having problems breathing in the morning for the past 5 days. Decided to call the ambulance Saturday morning when she got up so we didn’t have to sit in the emergency waiting room forever – I don’t recommend this trick unless it’s warranted. In Mom’s case, one of the EMTs told me I should always call the ambulance so we can bypass the waiting room. Felt good to know we weren’t playing wolf.
Anyway, at 9 am, we had 7 big, strapping mens in our kitchen to collect their charge. Of course, when an ambulance is dispatched, you end up with a fire truck too. I've never been clear on why this phenomenon occurs unless they expect patients to spontaneously combust, but that’s what happens. So, with all those mens at our disposal, Mom and I had a brief discussion about maybe getting a poker game going instead. 2 of the 6 mens were game (pun intended). But, since they had to log the call, off we toted to Shady Grove Hospital.
Once we arrived at the emergency room and she got stuck for blood (I volunteered to stick her but the nurse declined my kind offer), we sat, and sat, and sat. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. We were only in the actual emergency room around 5 hours or so and she was in a bed in the back so it was ok. Friend Jeff came up so I could run out to get some waters and supplies at the local Safeway, so that was a nice diversion.
One of the doctors asked if she’d been on a trip recently. Uh oh. ‘Um, yes,’ I answered with trepidation, already not liking the direction of this questioning. I took her to Solomon’s Island the week before and, double uh oh, the symptoms started the next morning! Holy CRAP! Have I damaged my mother??? So, they started looking for a blood clot, suspecting that she might have developed a clot in a leg during the ride which then traveled to her lung. Quite thankfully, this appears not to have been the case. But, man, I was sweating there for a bit. After all, I’m responsible for keeping her pink, not making her blue.
Once they ruled out the blood clot (as I’ve mentioned, much to my relief), the doctors thought that maybe she had a slight heart attack so went off looking for evidence. Then they thought that maybe her CHF (cardiac heart failure) had just exacerbated a bit and caused the event.
Mom had a breathing treatment which appeared to help the symptoms and we figured that she’d be released shortly. Well…
We were both a bit dismayed (and more than a little surprised) to find out that a hospital admission was in our future. I was particularly dismayed as my strong memory of spending the night in a hospital chair has not faded a bit. Ugh.
So, our address for the night was Shady Grove Hospital, Room 407, Bed 2. A nurse came in to do a full medical history and suggested that I (along with Mom's input) answer her rather involved questions. So, she started in with her history form. Does she have: glaucoma (no), diabetes (no), dementia (I hesitated and Mom filled in with a loud 'No.'), last menstrual period (Mom pointed to me). We laughed through most of the form. At one point, the nurse apologized to me in advance and said that Mom had to answer the next question by herself. Ok, no problem, what was the question?
'Are you now or have you recently been in any kind of physical harm at the hand of another person? Are you scared of anyone?'
Jeff and I exchanged an anxious sideways glance as this was not the time for Mom to crack a joke. She obviously caught the seriousness of the question and answered 'No' at which time I let out a large breath of air. We all totally cracked up, including the nurse. She knew from the previous questions that we were wiseasses, and she was relieved too.
Sophia came up to relieve Jeff and me around dinner time so Jeff and I tottled off to get some dinner and a drink at a local restaurant. Did I mention that Mom and I have the best friends ever?
Nightfall found me, as expected, fighting the naugahyde beasts in the form of a green ‘lounge’ chair. I'm certain a lot of naugas died to produce this montrosity of a chair. I was certainly cussing the green little bastards. This chair is totally dastardly and is beyond torture. We faced off quite a few times. Every time I got up to help Mom, the chair scored a point in tripping me. Mom, on the other hand, slept fairly well – as well as can be expected if you consider that hospital personnel evidently want to keep you up all night. I guess they figure that, if they have to be up, you're going to be up too. So, every 4 hours, blood was drawn and vital signs collected. It was a very long night.
Sunday morning, Bobbi appeared toting the daily papers and a pretty cactus for Mom. We were talking with Mom, and I mentioned that the cardiologist hadn’t come in yesterday when Mom turned to me and said ‘yes he did.’ Now, this was news to me as I had waited all day for the visit. Turns out that the one time I went downstairs and left the room without a proxy (well, I had to have a cup of coffee), he magically appeared – this is the exact reason that you should never leave an elderly person in the hospital without someone at their side at every single moment (lesson learned). Anyway, the cardiologist must have been waiting for me to leave as his timing couldn’t have been more impecable to avoid my probing questions. And, of course, Mom failed to mention his visit to me. Geez…Now, the woman didn’t miss an opportunity to relate to me the fact that everyone who saw her complimented her on her nails and toes (having recently had a mani/pedi treatment) but, when it comes to important stuff like, well, a doctor visit, these minor details appear to slip her memory. Thanks, Gert.
Anyway, the cardiologist appeared Sunday and did a brief looksie before proclaiming that the following findings were evident from all of the tests done:
No blood clots (whew!)
No heart attack
No evidence of exacerbation of CHF
In fact, he proclaimed that she was the healthiest 91 year old he’d ever seen and couldn’t quite figure out what caused the episodic shortness of breath. He directed us to get an app’t this week at his office for an EKG and a chemical stress test. This brings me to our 5 hour app’t yesterday…