Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I was wrong. I thought it was just another time when she'd get to the hospital and cheer up and her symptoms would be lessened. This has been such a struggle between my mother and I because every twinge of pain is perceived as an emergency. This time, I am caught by surprise--- and fear. This time, it was a real emergency.
She'd been battling a urinary tract infection since November and this latest rounds of meds made her very nauseated and when Ma gets sick, she panics. Her blood pressure goes up and she gets the dry heaves. She lays in bed worrying about all the disastrous illnesses she might have and thus makes herself worse. When she's nauseated, she cannot take Xanax to calm down.
The ambulance took her away before midnight and I went back to bed. Hey, this goes on at least once a year and last month was another such "cry wolf." I figured that they'd leave her sitting around for five hours and then I would be up and could call and find out what's going on. However, for once, I slept passed my normal time and didn't crawl out of bed until 6 o'clock.
I took my shower, got dressed, made a cup of coffee, and spent time writing. When I deemed it a reasonable hour, I put in a call to the hospital. They had admitted her and I was put through to her room. She sounded good, was bored because she didn't have her reading glasses or anything to read. She told me that they put in a catheter although the doctor in the ER told her that the urine was clear. By the time she was admitted, though, there was some blood. I asked her if she needed me to come soon and she said that she was doing fine and I didn't need to cancel my morning client.
I finally got to the hospital about 1 p.m. She hadn't seen a doctor since being admitted, but he was "making rounds." The room was very small and cramped. There was no place to be without being in someone's way. The LPNs were back and forth between my mother and the other patient. One had to change my mother's bag.
"It looks like that cranberry juice she's been drinking," I said staring at the bag, "Is that what it is?" The woman told me it was blood. Oh, my God... it certainly looked like blood, but how did that happen? Ma stated again that the ER doctor had said her urine was clear and that it didn't get bloody til after they put the catheter in. I tried to pooh pooh it and make like it wasn't a big deal. I cannot let my mother get worried--- she does enough of that without worrying about me being upset.
I hung around over an hour, then had to run errands. I trust that Ma is in good hands even though I doubt her previous treatments. After I'd put groceries away, I settled on the couch with a book. I'd just hung up the phone from giving an update to friends when the phone rang. It was Ma.
"You're not going to like this. It's bad," she began and then told me about a blood clot and what they are doing about it. The nurse happened to come in, so I had her tell me what they are doing, then when I got Ma back on the line, I was upbeat and telling her everything is going to be fine, yadda yadda. She has to keep her spirits up and cannot get panicky.
Later, the doctor called. With his prognosis, I am more worried. But I have to believe everything will work out okay. He said that what happened is that she had a blockage in her urinary tract and that caused the bladder to overfill. (But how can that be when she's been going to the bathroom A LOT for the past two months and has to wear Depends because she is leaking all the time?) When the bladder becomes too full, the walls become weak, then with the insertion of the catheter, there became damage which caused the bleeding. Her kidneys have failed because of this. They put in a different kind of catheter that will allow a clear solution to flush the bladder with hopes that the bleeding will be cleared and stopped and with that, the kidneys should kick in.
I said something about this going on since November with the urinary infection and he replied that in looking back through her records, he cannot see anything to prove there ever was a urinary infection. (So what was she being treated for? What the H is going on, has been going on?) He went on to say that the urologist will be in on Wednesday and he will have seen the report. Ma may have to have an operation and may have to be transferred to Concord.
I think of all the suffering she has gone through the past few months and I am not pleased with the treatment she has received. I definitely won't be bringing her back to her PC! Dr.Weber never once gave Ma an exam, almost seemed to be afraid to touch her. This should never have gone on this long. Ma is not the best of patients, for sure, but she deserves better. And now an issue needs to come to an emergency for anyone to pay attention.
I have to remain calm. I cannot let my emotions get out of hand and I certainly need to remain upbeat around Ma. I have a lot of questions that I'm sure won't be answered. In the long run, doctors have to protect themselves and will stick up for each other. I also have to realize our part in this. Ma refuses to see specialists. She is stubborn about what she will take for medications.
My own attitudes are just as stubborn regarding doctors. I don't think they are looking out for their patients. Medical care is now too much of a business... but this isn't the time to go into that. I don't want to lose my mother. She is not ready to go, yet, it is not necessary. Yes, she is her own worst enemy, but she still has some good life left--- if she can get the proper medical care.
We'll see how it goes. I've got my fingers crossed and I'm praying.