>UPDATES in the comments (from me and, on the assisted living issue, from Virgo Sis). Short version: Mom’s on the mend but a little more slowly than I hoped at first. The conservative estimate for discharge is not until Friday at the earliest. But at least they’re letting her drink and eat now.
Sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile. I meant to blog from, ahem, beautiful Effingham, Illinois, beneath the shadow of a hideous 50-ton steel cross where I-70 and I-57 meet (get it — it’s a cross at a crossroads, just like Charing Cross only much, much more appallingly ugly), but I didn’t get a chance. As my brother pointed out in a comment below, I’m a cheapskate who chose the Motel 6 over other options — well, it was next to the drive-through Starbucks — and it didn’t have its own wifi and the Starbucks signal (if that small one did have one) wasn’t quite strong enough to reach my room. So no blogging from the road.
Then things got kind of bad here in Cowtown.
I arrived in Cowtown yesterday afternoon with flowers and chocolate covered cherries for Mom. She seemed weaker than most days — she didn’t get out of bed — but otherwise things seemed as normal as they’re going to get. Virgo Sis was there and Eldest Niece came over, and we sat and visited with Mom in her bedroom. And then Virgo Sis and I watched Grey’s Anatomy, which I don’t usually watch. I think it was an omen, because I’d spend most of the rest of the night in the hospital with Mom and Virgo Sis.
In the middle of the night, Virgo Sis woke me up to come help — Mom was having difficulty getting her breath and we decided she needed medical attention. (In usual form, Mom unreasonably wanted us to do something without involving doctors or hospitals. We overruled that, not being medically trained ourselves.) So I called 911 and a firetruck and ambulance came right away. (Why, btw, must they send a firetruck when I said clearly on the phone that the problem was an elderly woman with a history of heart failure who was having trouble breathing?) The head fireman, who I swear to god looked like something out of central fantasy casting — tall, dark, and handsome; all a bit surreal at 2 am coming up the lawn to the front door — was acting like we’d overreacted (well, handsome doesn’t mean “not a jerk,” you know) but the EMTs did want to take her to the hospital and they finally convinced her it was necessary. One of them, who kind of looked like the put-upon guy on Grey’s Anatomy, was particularly kind and gentle with Mom and convinced her she needed to go. (Lesson: ignore the hot guy — the competent guy is probably hiding behind him.) And they let her decide which hospital she’d prefer, and she chose “Dredel Hospital” (not it’s real name, of course!) over “St. Jumping Jehosephat,” which is actually nearer. Part of me thinks she did this just to spite Dad, since he grumbled about it.
Though Dad was awake at that point — to see her go — he actually slept through most of this. When he did wake up, mostly what he said was how when he was here all by himself he didn’t need to call an ambulance. He was able to take Mom to the hospital himself. He could have carried her if he’d needed to. Then he went back to bed while Sis and I followed the ambulance to the hospital and stayed there until about 4:30 am until we knew whether Mom was being admitted or not. She was and she’s in the ICU now and probably through tomorrow. Dad has still not been to the hospital.
So Mom’s pretty stable and very alert. But she’s uncomfortable — she’s thirsty and hungry but they can’t give her food or water until the fluid is out of her lungs. And she’s cranky and telling them that she’s going to die of thirst and it will be all their fault. Frankly, though, a little cranky fiestiness is a good sign, so I hope she’ll be out of there by tomorrow afternoon or the next day at the latest. When I left at dinner time to go get Dad some food, she was asleep and I left her that way simply because I didn’t want to wake her up to more fussing and discomfort.
Anyway, while in the hospital all day — in between telling Mom for the gazillioneth time that no, she couldn’t get up to use the toilet, that they had her hooked up to a catheter, and no, they weren’t purposely trying to starve and dehydate her, and that actually she was getting nutrients from the IV — I managed to finish most of my Kalamazoo posts (a series of four!) and I’ll posts those one a day over the next few days, whenever I get a chance to get out and get a wifi connection.
I swear, I’m starting to think I’m bad luck for Mom! Maybe I shouldn’t visit anymore!