Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting

G'ma fell.  She doesn't remember how or why but her screams brought the aides to the bathroom at 5am on Sunday. My phone rang ten minutes later; I knew it wasn't going to be good news as soon as I saw the time.  No one calls to share happiness before the sun rises.

The EMT met me in the courtyard; the gate is locked and the code is outside and he was stuck within.  We laughed about it and then, looking altogether too serious, he asked me if I was squeamish.  There was the second indication that everything was not all right.

Her leg was broken. The sole of her foot was next to her ear. It took ten milligrams of morphine to sedate her enough to move her from the floor to the gurney.  I stayed out of the way, in the living room of the pod castle, sparing myself the sight, heeding my family's warnings to be sure to take care of myself, too.  By the time we met up at the hospital, they'd reduced the fracture (medical speak for putting her leg back in the direction from whence it came) and inserted another IV or two.  She never really woke up all day.

The trauma team was so impressed with the fracture that the photo showed up on many cell phones. G'ma had no idea how it happened or that it had happened or where she was or why.  She didn't remember the ambulance or the fall.  She was in a much better state of mind than I was.

We were in the trauma center at University of Arizona Medical Center, the same place that saved my life in 2008.  It was like old home week. "I was here that day." "I was your ..." "You look so good!" "How are you doing?" They weren't random comments; it was reestablishing connections to a seminal event.  I felt the love, just as I had that January.  My answer to everyone was the same: I'm fine.  I'm back where you saved my life.  Mom is in good hands.

The homeless dude in the bay next door was hollering and screaming and making his displeasure known.  No f'ing way was he being treated by people of color, though his verbiage was somewhat less politically correct than that.  The staff kept apologizing and trying to close the door, but I found the whole scene quite amusing and distracting and was able to reassure them that I was neither insulted nor upset by his outbursts.  That was true right up until he threatened "to pull a Loughner on you." 

At first, I wasn't sure I heard it right.  That notion was quickly dispelled when the Tucson police officer who'd been called to the scene felt the need to repeat it... and repeat it... and repeat it again in ever louder and clearer tones.  By the second repetition, I was out of the chair.  By the third time, I was out in the hallway, up in his face, yelling that I'd been shot by that name and that I didn't need to hear it over and over again and would they please just stop it. The officer was flummoxed - should he arrest me or apologize?  Through my tears, all I could do was rant.

G'ma's nurse was the same kind man who flew with me in the Medevac helicopter from the Safeway to that same trauma unit.  He was also the screamer's nurse.  When he was able to extricate himself from the room next door, I found him in our bay, teary and arms out for hugs.  We held one another and PTSD'ed together.  Somehow, a social worker had appeared and I watched her watch us as we embraced.  There's no privacy in a hospital under the best of circumstances; sharing the rage/sorrow/fear/anger with a total stranger didn't feel odd at all.

After fourteen hours in Emergency, a clean room was found and up we went... to Diamond 2 North... four doors down the hall from my room... room 1, the tech who helped me shower reminded me. It was like old home week, only weirder. It didn't make me feel anxious... or so I thought until I noticed my heart beating harder and faster than it had been downstairs.  I didn't spend the night; I went home to TBG and my own bed.  G'ma didn't notice, or remember.

Taking care of myself is the hardest part of this.

And now, she's in surgery.  They'll fix the bone with a plate and screws and hope that it doesn't interfere with the hip replacement above it.  Should that seem loose, the simple operation becomes much more complex.  I'm hoping for the best and preparing for the worst and typing to you to distract myself from the various permutations of complications and confusions and planning that might need to be done.  There's no sense wasting energy on that until I have the facts.

Instead, I hold out hope that the anesthesia won't damage her brain and her memory any more than it already has.  She was so much less than herself after her hip replacement... and her back surgery... and I'm just not willing to lose any more of her than I have already. It's too bad that wishing can't make it so.

My siblings and my kids and my nieces and nephew are in my phone and grouped together for communication.  They send me smiles and encouragement across the miles.  JannyLou offered to sit with me, but I turned her down.  Some things are easier to bear alone... except that I am not alone, am I?  You are out there, in Los Angeles and Foxboro and Granger and Chicago and Maryland and in the Pacific Northwest.  I'm sharing with you and you are there.

You are just there... and I'm grateful.
*****
I realized that it would be unfair not to share: the surgery was uneventful and the anesthesia as light as possible and I left her smiling in her sleep. We will plan tomorrow.  Tonight, we're going to rest.

16 comments:

  1. Yes, take care of yourself through this. It is so hard to deal with our parent's weaknesses, their needs, their pain, and can take us down also. I hope it all works as well as it can for her and wish words helped more than they do *long distance hugs*

    As for that guy and what he said, it's beyond me how anybody gets like that and there are no words for how revolting it is.

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    1. Your words did the trick, Rain. It's a virtual hug. YES, it is so hard to deal with the losses and the desire to fix it all and the knowledge that I can't. Sigh...

      The fool in the next room is out of my head; I am done thinking about him. How he thought that his words were appropriate is beyond me... and I'm leaving it there.
      a/b

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  2. Yes Love and concern to you and your mother is coming from Foxboro. Today's entry was hard to read, upsetting on so many levels. The journey has been rough, try not to let the bad guys have power over you. Love to you. FAMBB

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Mom smiled when I told her you were sending love, FAMBB. You are still in her memory banks, it seems.

      I'm getting better and better about putting the bad guys in their place; it's hard when they are screaming in my ear, though. Knowing you're out there really does help.
      a/b

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  3. I'm so sorry about your mom's fall ... and the sad excuse for a human being that you had to endure while you were at the hospital. I'm glad there were people there to hug and comfort you too. Your journey will keep changing and sometimes get better (as it already has, yay!) but it's still going to be a journey that only a few of you are on, and none of you would have picked it if you'd had the choice. Please know that your readers are grateful that you choose to share with us; sharing seems to really help you and we are all happy about that.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I love that I'm not shouting into the wind. If reading these words can help someone else know that she is not alone, then it's a two-fer!

      Thanks for the love <3
      a/b

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  4. I'm sending love and hugs to you, your Mother and your extended family. I'm keeping you in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, Bella. We can use all the help we can get :)
      a/b

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  5. Yes. We are all here for you and grandma with our love and hugs and prayers. Hang in there. xoxoxo

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    1. I'm loving the fact that she's your grandma too, now that the kids are hitched! I'm hanging by my fingertips, but I'm hanging!
      a/b

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  6. OMG that's awful. Daughter #1's leg was broken by a camp counselor two days after I came back from maternity leave from my third child (July of 2009). He literally sat on the lower part of her leg on a water slide at LifeTime Fitness and broke both bones clean through. Surprisingly, she was calm when hubby got to the gym and rode with her in the ambulance. They thought they were going to have to do screws and pins to hold the bones together, but the orthopedist put her under, reset the bones and casted it all up. You can see a pix here: http://tinypic.com/r/xaqpn9/5

    I'm hoping G'ma won't have any lasting issues with her leg. It took almost four months for my daughter's leg to heal. She had four casts and had to use a wheel chair. Hopefully, with the pins, she will not have to have the cast on as long.

    I'm sorry about the guy at the hospital and the police officers should have been more cognizant of where they were. EVEN if you hadn't been there, there were other people that work at the hospital that probably didn't want to be reminded about He Who Should Not Be Named and that time when they were at work. It was most likely very traumatic for many people.

    I'm saying a mediation for G'ma and you because you must have been emotionally and physically drained after all of that.

    Sending hugs!


    Megan xxx

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    1. She has no cast, just a big bandaid on the incision. She'll be off it for six weeks, with PT to maintain her strength and a wheelchair to get around.

      Yes, the police officer should have taken a sensitivity course before he left home that morning. Ugh.

      Thanks for the love, Megan.
      a/b

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  7. I am so sorry that this happened to her, but heartened to know that the surgery was successful and seemingly not too traumatic. Please do heed the pleas to take care of yourself. Don't worry about the guy in the hospital - he will get his - eventually.

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    1. He's out of my mind...for the most part... as I concentrate on all the good kind people here at UMC who have only our best interests at heart. I'm trying to be smart and kind to myself; today I even remembered to eat lunch!
      a/b

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  8. A prayer for healing, both for your mother and you. All this seems unreal, and I am sorry that it happened.

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    1. Unreal,unfair, unfortunate... the un's are never-ending. Home tomorrow, I hope.
      a/b

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