For today I need to start right where I left off because I am still racing to get through some of this. When I get to the parts I savor and cherish I will slow down. First I called some very special friends to come get Krista. And then I called the ambulance hoping my friends could get there before the ambulance and they did, thank God. Ambulances can be so dramatic thanks to sirens and lights, but the 2 guys who came were so kind and sweet to my mom that I felt like for a short time I could let my guard down and let someone else be in charge. I don't remember exact details from that night, but here is what I do remember. My mom was in groaning agony and it took so long for anyone to do anything about it. When she told them the painkiller they were about to administer had never touched her pain, they ignored her and gave it to her anyway. She waited for hours (that is not an exaggeration) for a different painkiller that would actually touch the pain. Because she was in so much agony, I had to do the talking for her and I must have given the same information and answered the same questions for at least five people. There has to be a more efficient way. Also, I learned quickly that you do NOT leave the room of someone who is in the hospital if you want any chance of talking to a doctor. So, I was without food, drink, bathroom breaks. Okay, not to make this about me here, but hospitals need some volunteers to help out people who are stuck in rooms. At one point I tried to go somewhere and because it was the middle of the night, the ER door locked me behind me and I was LOCKED OUT. I had to go outside and be buzzed back in again. Could nobody have told me that? Finally at 3 am, a team of vascular doctors came in with an air of authority. I would soon discover that you always question the authority of the doctor in front of you, but as yet I did not know this and was happy to turn over the worries to this fine team. They said they were looking at a pulmonary embolism and that they were getting her to a room. They would then be monitoring her, and a bunch of other stuff I would not remember later. It took another hour before she was settled in a room, and then....it took another hour for the order for the painkillers to reach the desk of the floor she was on. This became a problem I was all to familiar with and with each new floor she arrived at in that hospital, my skin would grow thicker and thicker, as I advocated for getting her pain pills. The nurses could be your best friend or your worst enemy and thank God most of the nurses in our story were our greatest advocates. By now it was 5 am and my car was at home as I had ridden in the ambulance. I had already called a friend at school who assured me she would take care of everything and she did. Little did she know she would be taking care of everything for quite awhile. So, now it came down to taking care of me. Mom was set for the time being. I had not called my brother or sister because I thought that was unfair until we knew what was happening. My sister couldn't just hop a flight and get here and what if it was all taken care of in that day? And I didn't want my brother to get all crazy and try to drive here in the middle of the night. So, now it was time to make a call. I remember my nephew answering the phone. (He would later tell my brother he new something was wrong because I was calling so early.) I remember telling my brother of the events of the night. I remember he didn't think twice and said he would be there soon. I remembering being so thankful that someone else was going to come share the burden with me. I remember being tired, but what I don't remember is sleeping. The next hours would be sitting by mom's bedside praying for mom to return. Her agony was such that she was either sleeping from pain pills or groaning in pain. Before my brother got there I was not convinced she would live through the day. But, there had still been no doctor to tell us any more than what I knew in the ER. They were monitoring a pulmonary embolism. It would not be until about 7 pm when she would be brought to Intensive Care, that we would know how wrong that diagnosis was.
So, why do I share all this? Many reasons. It is good for me to sift these memories and share them. I want others to be prepared for a loved one entering the hospital for extended periods of time. People who love my mom dearly never really got to hear what the last few months were like and I want them to be able to know. In fact, some of them have asked recently and I want to honor that. But mostly, I just feel the need to write it down because this is the story of how I grew up.