Sunday, March 02, 2003

So, all hell pretty much broke loose around here yesterday.

Friday night, mom started to get sick. I nagged her to go to the hospital, but she wouldn’t go. Her temperature started going down around midnight, so I decided I’d let it slide. I made her promise she’d wake me up if she threw up, or if the fever returned.

Around 3am Saturday morning, she started throwing up, and the fever was back. But she didn’t wake me because she didn’t want to go to the hospital. I should have anticipated this, and I feel bad that I let her just sleep. It’s hard to bully my mom into going to doctors. She sees enough of them, and random extra visits drive her crazy. I empathize with it, and let it slide because the fever was dying off.

So I woke up at 10:30 Saturday morning. Made her check the temperature; found out she’d been throwing up. I threw a fit; told her she was going to the damn ER. She demands that I call my dad before I take her. I give way on that, but knowing it was really just a stall tactic, I had her packed and ready and practically in the vehicle before dad was in the driveway. She was screaming at me to turn the car around by the time I got to Ashland, but I wasn’t about to turn back, so she was stuck.

Dad took her in while I parked the car. She told the people at the ER that she was having some lung trouble. The nurses apparently didn’t take this seriously; which, was probably fairly appropriate, since she was still mobile and everything and there were lots of other sick people in line ahead of her. But that wouldn’t do for me. So I went up to registration, gave them the full story of the kidney transplant, the surgery earlier this week, the fever and the vomiting. They expedited her, moved her straight into a cubicle, and we started to wait.

We were in the room before noon. Blood was drawn; cultures were grown. Repeatedly. All day long. Around 5:30pm, the doctor finally tells us that he thinks she might have a blood clot in her lung, but that the special dye it requires to do the test on a renal patient couldn’t get to Ashland until 8:00. So we settled in a bit more. Around 8:30 she goes to get the test. By 10pm we’re informed that we know nothing from the test. But the new doctor on shift is extremely worried about risk factors. He wants to move her to the hospital she got her surgery in. But mom won’t go there because that hospital sucks, and the care was lousy, which was why she came home early in the first place. So the folks in the ER get stuck playing phone tag until midnight, trying to find her a room in another hospital.

Meanwhile, throughout numerous blood drawings, and oxygen tank switches, and people checking her incisions and everything else you can imagine, mom’s freaking out about how she doesn’t want to stay, and she doesn’t want to ride in an ambulance, and she doesn’t want this to be happening. It’s pretty bad on the whole; but to her credit, she eventually gave in and went.

At a little after 2am on Sunday, the ambulance picks mom up and takes her to the hospital. Dad and I drive to OSU Medical Center, by 3:45am we’ve managed to find her room. We give numerous doctors and nurses her history (which, due to drugs, and carelessness, and deliberate subterfuge she manages to mess up each time); there’s more blood drawing and culture growing. More x-rays; more tests; more ultrasounds. By four, we’re allowed to sleep, under the sign, consequently, which reads: “Patients may not have overnight visitors.” By 5:30am a resident doctor comes in, takes another history. By 6:30, we’re allowed to sleep again. 7:30, more tests. More tests until 10:00 when dad and I are finally sent home.

Brett’s down there now. He’s going to have a horrible day and I feel sorry for him. As for me, I have to be up and ready by 5:30pm to go back to the hospital, so I’d better get some sleep.

It’s been a long time since I had to deal with my mom being seriously quite ill; life-threateningly ill, possibly. I wish she wasn’t so difficult. I wish I didn’t have to bitch and nag and push her around to get her to do what she’s supposed to do. I want to be nice. I want to get along and just feel sorry when she’s suffering. But her behavior makes it impossible. It’s difficult.

I wish I could say I was on auto-pilot. That would be easier. But unfortunately, I’m the sort that still has to think about everything they’re doing even when they’re damned exhausted and stressed and better-suited for being on auto-pilot.

Tonight, at least, I’ll bring a bag of things to distract me. Yesterday, the opportunity simply wasn’t there. So I sat, for literally six hours straight at one point, without anything to do. No magazine to read, no one to talk to, no television to watch. Nothing to do but sit and listen to the people around me suffer. There were three babies in the ER yesterday; the woman beside us was in terrible pain and kept having to be sedated. There was a little girl, probably six or seven, who looked like death itself when they wheeled her by. I saw a little boy who reminded me all the world of Justin Timberlake when his hair was black, and he wasn't such a dork, whose father had part of his lung shut down. The kid was clearly used to the procedure; he brought a cdplayer along with him. It must be something to be six or seven years old sitting in the waiting room for the God knows how many-eth time this year, waiting to hear what's gone wrong now.

I don’t miss these things. I used to do this sort of insanity rather a lot, and I was desensitized to it and capable of dealing with. But I don’t miss it at all. And I’m having a miserable time of things now. Perhaps we'll learn something over the course of the day, and it'll get easier.