In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion

So this is how my March went ....

First couple weeks - mind numbingly the same old same old. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dishes, a little xbox, then some cooking, cleaning, laundry, sweeping, mopping - well, you get the idea. The only time I left the house (and I mean this LITERALLY) is when I went to the store.

Then, my mom woke up one morning with unbearable abdominal pain. 911 was called and a trip to the ER was the result. I am so used to this now that I never even go along anymore. They take her away, I go about my day, and saunter over to the hospital when they've settled her in a room (which is usually the end result of all her trips to the ER). It usually takes about 8 - 10 hours for that to take place. Phone calls are made to check on her whereabouts, but I usually just bite my nails at home until I know where to go find her. I hate hospitals with a passion and the less time spent in them - worrying like mad with no effective distractions - the better.

Well, on that particular trip, they apparently gave her too much pain medication while she was in the ER and she forgot to breathe. So, when I called at one point in the afternoon it was, "Oh, she's still in the ER, but they're going to admit her." This, by the way, is the typical answer, and a couple hours later my mom usually calls to tell us what room she's in. Later that evening - when she hadn't called by 9 pm, the hospital operator's answer became, "She's in the ICU." ICU? WTF?

They kept her in ICU about 4 days making sure she could breathe, and running tests. They then pronounced that her problem was her gallbladder, but there was nothing they would do about it, since it wasn't an emergency anymore. They sent her to the floor at 6 pm on her 5th day in the hospital, and then called us (just as we were about to leave to visit her) at 4 pm the next day saying she'd be home in an hour. She was still in pain, still slightly dingy, and had not been fed anything the entire time she was in there, other than water, juice, and jelllo. You cannot pronounce someone cured of a gallbladder attack when they are a) still in pain, and b) you haven't started putting them back on food to see how they respond. But they were in some sort of major rush to send her home, so they did.

It only took about two days of being home (in pain and not able to eat) before it flared up again, and back she went to the ER. This time the story was that it was not just inflamed, but now, it was also infected! I had no idea gallbladders got infected - but apparently they do. So, she was admitted once again while they treated her infection, and weighed the pros and cons of removing it. They said it was likely to rupture at any moment, and that if it did, she would die - no doubt about it. They also said, with all the other stuff she has going wrong with her, she is not a good surgical candidate, and that chances are she would probably die from the surgery to remove it. So, behind door number one we have, do nothing and she suffers and dies. Behind door number two we have do something, suffer, and possibly live. My mom opted for door number two. But first she wanted a blessing, and she called all her old friends. She also insisted on tearing up and telling me she loved me every 5 minutes.

For the record, these are things you never want to hear from your surgeon before an operation (all of which my mother's surgeon said to us right before she was wheeled off to the OR):

"This is beyond risky, this is downright dangerous."

"I love surgery, but I am NOT looking forward to this."

"I wouldn't be doing this, except our hands are tied."

"Are you sure you want to do this? You can still change your mind."

And any phrase prefaced by "I'm not gonna sugar coat this ..."

I almost said to him - Look we, know this is a scary proposition, but I promise we won't sue you for any reason - if you'll just shut-up now!

This is the true transcript of what I was told by the surgeon when he called to talk to me after the operation:

"This is Dr. McNightmare, is this LuluBunny?"
"Yes." says I.
"Well ... it's over." he said, followed by the world's longest pause. "And everything went fine."

Jesus H Feckin Christ! My heart stopped completely when he paused like that after 'it's over'.

So, my mom had her surgery on Thursday evening, and we went to see her afterwards in the ICU (they're keeping her there for awhile), and there she was, very upset, very drugged, and very unhappy with the tracheotomy she'd agreed to get. However, when we went to see her that night at about 8.30pm, they had already switched the ventilator to the setting that let's you breathe for yourself (which was a really good sign I thought).

But today when we went to see her - she'd apparently had a really bad day - wasn't breathing well at all. So they switched out her trach tube to a bigger diameter, and longer, one. She was doped mostly out of her mind, and the settings on the ventilator were back to having it breathe for her. We only stayed about an hour before we left to let her rest. We thought we'd go back over after dinner, but then we didn't.

I should be asleep right now, because I want to go over bright and early in the morning, but I can't sleep. I'm scared if I fall asleep they'll call to say she's dying and I should come over immediately, and I'll miss it. But I'm also scared to answer the phone for fear they're calling to tell me she died. All of which is silly really because being hooked up to the ventilator pretty much precludes that. I just can't help it. Every time I start to fall asleep I wake up in a panic that she might be dying at this very minute. I haven't slept more than 3 hours straight in days, I'm starting to go insane.

So, that's where I've been lately - in hell - oops, I mean St. Jude's - ah, same difference!


b. said...

My goodness, girl! I'm so sorry for all the hell you are going through. Hang in there!

La Yen said...

Yowza. I hope that everything is better today.

Just sos you know, I clicked on one of your ads--it was for a "See if you are Gay" quiz. Apparently, I am not gay. W will be very happy.

LuluBunny said...

Thanks you guys ;)

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