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My Mom Reflects.

Posted from my mom's livejournal.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005. I woke up at 5 a.m. to go to the bathroom. I had just gotten back into bed when I thought I heard the phone? (our phone doesn't ring very loudly and the attic fan was on... normally I would not have heard it at ALL but I guess since I was awake and had just been up....) Another mad dash to the phone... I grabbed it up and saw on the caller ID that it was my parents number. I answered it and it was mom. She said she had been suffering all night with abdominal pain that she was sure was gall bladder. She said she was having my dad take her to the Emergency room and asked if I would meet them. I said, "sure -- do you want me to come to your house (so that I could help dad load her into the car, etc.) or to the ER?" She said to meet them at the ER. So I went into the bedroom to tell DH what was up and get dressed.

I arrived at the ER around 5:30. Mom and Dad were sitting in the waiting room filling out paperwork when I arrived. I began to help mom with the paperwork and after just a few minutes they called us back into a small "triage" room, where they asked mom about her symptoms, took her temperature, blood pressure, pulse, etc. etc. They slapped a plastic bracelet on her arm and wheeled her back into an exam room in the ER. A nurse came in and gave her a gown and asked her to get naked and change into the gown. I helped her and we got her changed. The nurse came back in and said very rude and snippily -- "You aren't in the bed! How can I examine you if you aren't in the bed?!"
My mom said, "well you never actually said to get on the bed; you just said to get undressed and into the gown..." She then explained to the rude-ass bitch of a nurse that she was physically handicapped (she had polio when she was 9 and it paralyzed her right leg from the upper-thigh down. She had “used up” the left leg living a normal life and raising 4 kids…) and sitting in a wheelchair that belonged to her personally (not the ERs) and might need some help getting into the bed. The bitch snapped, "ORDERLY!" and two big guys came in. One grabbed Mom under the arms and another at the knees, and they hoisted her right out of the wheelchair and onto the bed.
The nurse begins her exam. "What seems to be the problem?" My mom tells her she has abdominal pain that she thinks is Gallbladder related. The nurse says, "Why do you think it's gallbladder?" My mom said because of a family history (her mom had gallbladder surgery; her sister had gallbladder surgery; and her son has had gallbladder surgery, among others) and because she has heard about their symptoms. She tells the nurse she has had similar problems for about a month, and had gone to see our family doctor a month before, but that he hadn't found any evidence of gallbladder problems. Instead, he diagnosed her with a mild urinary tract infection and gave her antibiotics and sent her home. My mom told the nurse she had some constipation as well. The bitch-nurse says, "Well! Then it can't be gallbladder! You would have diarrhea if you had gallbladder problems, not constipation!" She seemed to be discounting that my mom had gallbladder problems; she seemed to be discounting that my mom had ANYTHING at all wrong with her. She was acting like my mom was a hypochondriac...The Emergency Room doctor on call came in and examined my mom, did some basic bloodwork, started an IV, and said that they were going to be sending her down to X-ray for an ultrasound of her gallbladder. She said that she would ask x-ray to phone our family doctor with the results (since it was shift change time and she was getting ready to go home), and let him decide where to go from there.

Shortly after that a new nurse came on duty. She was the total opposite of the bitch-nurse it was like night and day. My parents and I even commented to her, "you can sure tell the difference between the well-rested nurse who just came on duty, and the stressed-out tired one who is getting ready to leave!" This nurse really seemed concerned about my mom. She asked about her level of pain: my mom replied the same as she had to the bitch-nurse about an hour before -- on a scale of 1 to 10, it's about an 8. This nice nurse said, "That's too much pain in my opinion" and went off to see if she could get my mom some pain medication. She came back with a shot of Demerol and they gave it to her shortly before 7 a.m.

Shortly after 7 a.m. I told my parents I was going to go call my oldest brother and my sister and let them know what was going on. My mom says, "Call My Sara too please..." I said, "Mom, it's barely 7 a.m. and Sara (my college-aged daughter and my mom’s granddaughter) will still be asleep. I will call her after we get the results of the ultrasound." I took a break and went into the parking lot to use my cell phone and call my brother and my sister and let them know what was up. My brother had talked to my mom the evening before and knew she was having the abdominal pain, so he didn't seem too surprised to hear we were at the ER. He asked if I wanted him to come to the hospital. I said I would call him as soon as we got the results from the ultrasound and knew whether they were going to do surgery, or send her home, or run more tests, or what. I then called my sister (it's an hour later in Jacksonville Florida so she was already on her way to work) and left messages on both her home machine and her cell phone. I told her I would call again once we got the results of the ultrasound, and not to bother trying to call me back, because my cell phone battery was almost dead.

I went back to the ER room and sat and visited with mom and dad ... telling jokes, a little light banter....
At 7:30 a.m. a lady comes in and says she is there to take my mom for her Ultrasound. Mom was all dopey and was concerned about having to get out of the ER bed and onto another gurney or table for the test. She told the lady this, and the lady said, "No problem honey; I'm going to wheel you down there on this bed, so you don't have to do a thing but lie there..." My mom joked, "That's good, because between the drugs and the fact that my legs are paralyzed, you can punch my time card cause I'm toast..." or something similar. The tech told us that the ultrasound would take about 15 or 20 minutes and then they would bring her back to the same ER room, so we should wait in the ER. As they wheeled her away I said, "see ya later Mom..."

Maybe 10 minutes later, my dad's cell phone rang for a split second. (Service was very sketchy inside the building; that's why I was going to the parking lot to make calls...) He looked at the call log and saw that it was my sister. He left to go to the parking lot to call her back. I picked up a book I had brought, and began to read, with one eye on the clock (I was waiting for 8 a.m. so I could call work and let them know where I was and why I wasn't coming in...)
At about 7:55 the nice nurse came in. She said, "Honey, where's your dad?" I told her that he had gone to the parking lot to make a cell phone call. She pulled up a stool and sat by me. She began to pat my shoulder. She said, "there was a Code Blue in the ultrasound area...." I said "Yes" -- thinking she would say, "and that's why your mom's test was delayed; she should be back in just a few minutes..." but she said, "and Honey... it was your Mom." I jumped to my feet in total shock and disbelief and said, "WHAT?! OH MY GOD!!!" She said, "they're working to revive her now, and after they revive her, they will bring her back to this room, but she won't look the same as when she left; she will have a breathing tube down her throat, etc. and we don't want your Dad to walk in unprepared. You need to go get him and tell him what has happened." Still in shock, all I could say was "Oh My God!" I grabbed the phone and called my brother and told him what the nurse had told me. He said, "I'll be there in 10 minutes..." By then it was barely 8 a.m., so I called my boss on his cell phone and told him what was happening. Then I called DH and asked him to come to the hospital. Then I went out to find my dad. I met him about halfway to the room and told him what the nurse had told me. We went back to the ER room and the nice nurse came in and told my dad the same thing she had told me. She offered us coffee. I declined; dad accepted. I just had to get out of there -- I told my dad I was going to the parking lot to wait on my brother to arrive.

I had been in the parking lot less than 5 minutes when my brother arrived. As we were walking in I was briefing him on what we had been told. A nurse met us, and said that our family doctor had arrived and was waiting to talk to us. We passed him in the hall, surrounded by nurses, other doctors, and a nun, and he would not look at us; he kept his eyes glued to the floor. I think I knew then.

A few minutes later he came into the room, walked up to my dad and took the coffee from his hand and sat it on a table... put his hands on my dad's shoulders and got down in his face and said, I'm sorry... we did everything we could to revive her, but she didn't make it....

And that is how I found out that my mom had left this earth. She died, and is an angel in heaven. She was 74 years old.

Posted: 11/08/07 at 11:16 (751 views)

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