Monday, June 25, 2012

Where are the doctors?

In preparing for this next post I have done a lot of thinking.  No matter how hard I dig into these memories I just can't always remember the order of things.  For example, I know we called Kristin and filled her in.  She wanted to come but it wasn't quite time yet.  We didn't want her to fly all the way out without more information.  I don't remember when we called Kristin.  I just know that we all decided that we would talk to the doctors and call her again with their advice. 

Mom did not sleep well.  She moaned and spoke gibberish and woke up still in fierce pain which she described as worse.  Mary assured us that all would be better.  The doctors came through at some point and although wanting to feel reassured, the doctors didn't really have much to say to us.  Also, take note, this was a teaching hospital.  Almost never was there one doctor coming through which made it harder (or feel harder) to stop them and really asked questions....and what more could we ask aside from, "Is she going to be okay?"  And what more could they tell us with her pulmonary embolism.  Thank God, somewhere down the road there was going to be a doctor who said, "This pain in her leg that isn't going away, something isn't ringing up right."

At some point, I received a phone call from the doctor's office.  Remember my mom had been at the doctor the day before.  They said one of her blood tests came back positive and she needed to get to the hospital right away.  I informed them that she was there.  They asked what was going on. They told me to tell doctors the results of the test.  They told me to "keep them updated."  When I informed my brother of this, he became enraged that they would ask us to keep them informed.  I remember him calling to complain.  Who cares what they said or how it came out in the end?  The fact is we had someone to be angry with and that helped a lot.  It got better when they called to say mom had missed her appointment that afternoon and I informed them for the second time that she was in the hospital.  I was disgusted with the lack of communication in their office and I was done with them. 

At approximately 1:00 that afternoon, mom started to get really crazy with her gibberish.  She was telling me as she shook with fever that now she knew how her dad died and this was her time to go and on and on.  I was freaked out and Mary called the doctors with this new information.  They informed her they were coming.  They didn't.  Mary called the doctors again at 2:00.  They said they were coming.  They didn't.  My brother and I were both scared and angry.  Where the hell were our saviors?  At 3:00 Mary checked mom's blood pressure and called an emergency.  I don't know how a nurse does this and I assume they can get in lots of trouble if doctors arrive and there is no emergency, but the doctors got their asses there within seconds.  In fact, it was frightening how quickly they were there after Mary checked mom's blood pressure.  The room became a frenzy of doctors in motion ( a whole team)  checking blood pressure, seemingly yelling, "Mrs. Lotane can you hear us?  How are you feeling?"  While in one fluid motion 2 doctors grabbed her bed and started wheeling her to do the door.  I will never forget the physician's assisant (who later helped us come to terms with letting mom go) talking to us as he wheeled her by the head of the bed and the team moved all around him.  The next 6 hours would be critical he said.  They were taking her to ICU where they would intubate her.  We were not sure what was happening still, but her blood pressure had taken a massive drop.  My brother told the PA that my sister was waiting for a call telling her if she should come.  The PA said, "hold off on that call just now.  Let's see where the next six hours bring us." 

Mary was getting ready to go home.  She stopped by the waiting room.  I broke down in her arms yet again and she said, "Its going to be okay now.  ICU is the best place in the hospital because she will have just one nurse who is solely watching over her.  She is in the best place."   Every time I think of Mary I am reminded how we make our jobs what they are. Mary had several choices about how to treat the family of her patients and she had made the choice to make a difference.  I wish I could thank her everyday for her caring.  Because really when your dad has died and your mom needs taking care of...who takes care of you?  Michael, Kristin and I would come to lean on each other more than we ever had.  I would continue growing up.  The journey had only just begun.

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