Friday, June 22, 2012

The First Day

So, here I am back to the blog.  Before the summer ends it is really important that I work on finishing the story of how I grew up as my mother died.  It is important because people have asked me to do it.  And so here and there there will be other blog posts, but it is time for me to face these memories even when they are not the kind I want to sit with too long.  When last we left this memory, I had called the ambulance and mom had asked me to lie down with her and my one regret was that I didn't stay in the moment more fully.  I repeat that completely because it is easy to forget and I can think of three times in the past week that I was with someone I love but I wasn't WITH someone I love. 
The ambulance came and it was all I could do not to break down then and there.  I was so alone.  I daresay flashing lights make everything more dramatic and mom had her own battle with pain going on and I was scared to death.  I chose riding in the ambulance over bringing my car.  Already life had started to change. My decisions were only living in the now and I couldn't think further ahead than the next minute.  Thankfully, when we got to the hospital she was brought in right away.  Sadly, this led me to believe she would be seen right away which was not the case and her pain soon gave way to a type of moaning that made me frantic to get a doctor.  The problem in the ER is everyone is frantic to get a doctor.  
There are a few things here I would like to stop and mention.  I could not go to the bathroom, nor get something to eat/drink because if I left her there was the chance the doctor would come and I was needed because she was in so much pain she was starting to talk gibberish.  Not one single nurse/doctor/aide offered support for me in that ER.  I was scared, lonely, scared and scared and it would have been nice to have someone say, "Go to the bathroom and take care of you, if a doctor comes we will get you."  It doesn't happen like that in the ER (not where we were anyway) and so I daresay to you that when friends ask what they can do for you, don't be afraid to ask a friend to come give you a bit of a break so that if a doctor comes you don't have to be worried you have missed them for the day!  But, I digress.  At this point is was 3 in the morning and I had not told anyone what was happening except two friends who had already taken on big tasks.  One who had my daughter and was making sure she was okay and got to school and the other who was taking over making my subsitute plans for the day (and eventually 23 days)  so that I didn't have to worry about that on top of my mom.  So before you feel too sorry for me remember that and I will too. In a time of immediate need late at night, one friend took my child and one friend took my job with no questions asked.  The two biggest concerns I would have were off my plate faster than I could say, "please help me." 
Okay, I hate to bring up the anger but here it comes bubbling to the service.  In that stupid ER every single person asked the same damn questions.  Now, I don't need doctor/nurse friends to go off on me. I am sure on some technical level it helps save lives to ask the same questions over and over again.  Really, not even any sarcasm, I am sure there is a reason.  But- when you want action you are ready to take action by ripping a person's throat out when you hear, "and do you smoke?" for the 15th time by a 7th doctor who seems as stunned as you are by the moaning pain.  And I don't remember which doctor finally authorized pain medication but when the nurse came to give it she told my mom what it was and mom immediately said,  "That doesn't work on me."  Now I get it.  The doctor prescribed something and the nurse gives it, but Jesus can we at least pretend to listen to the patient?  So, nurse tells my mom (I can still remember the patronizing tone) that this will, in fact, kick in quickly and she will feel no pain soon.  Guess what?  It didn't and she didn't and then we had to wait a reasonable amount of time before they could give her something else. 
Finally, at about 4 am the heroes arrived.  Oh they were arrogantly wonderful in their assuredness that mom had a pulmonary embolism. They were checking her into the vascular floor and she would be in their care.  I remember thinking, "Doctor, sir, you are younger than me, but if you feel confident you can make my mother well, then by all means do your thing."  I was so frigging exhausted and I just wanted someone to take over.  I have not painted the appropriate picture of how long we sat with her moaning and me not knowing what the hell to do and needing coffee/water and really to go the bathroom.  I needed a savior.  This vascular team seemed to be it and I was not going to ask any questions.  Once they moved, they seemed to move quickly.  They got her to a room changed her medication and then someone new came into my life.  Mary.  Mary the nurse who once mom was settled took one look at me and gave me a dunkin donuts gift card and a pager.  "Go, take care of you.  Mom is going to be just fine now."  I broke down crying and do you know what super nurse did?  She hugged me tight and held on until I let go first.  I prepared myself to make some calls and I left Mary to hold down the fort with mom.  How could I know that the nurse who just saved me was, in just six hours, going to also save my mother? I couldn't, I didn't.  What I did know was that Mary understood familes and understood what I needed right then.  She had taken on two patients and I will never forget her for that.  I walked slowly to the bathroom and to dunkin donuts trying to prolong the call I knew I had to make.  I had considered calling my brother and sister as things were going down but it seemed kind of rude to scare them when they were so far way and there was nothing they could do. I wanted to wait for more information. So now it was 5:30 am and I knew I could call my brother.  I decided to wait on my sister because of the time difference. I didn't want to wake her up, scare her and still have no information other than mom was admitted and they think pulmonary embolism.  I remember hearing my nephew on the line and trying to act normal.  A near impossible task when you haven't slept and are worried sick.  I don't remember much about that phone call with Michael except when he said I will be there between 7 and 7:30.  My big brother was on his way and a burden shared is a burden lifted somewhat.  I made my way to the gift store for a magazine and back to my mom's room where she slept soundly and I napped until Michael arrived.

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