Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Waste Deep

My Christmas was very strange and chaotic - my mother is in the hospital.
A week ago Friday, I got a call that she was headed to Minneapolis (about 60 miles from her home) via ambulance. I immediately concluded that if it were a stroke or heart attack, they would send her by helicopter.

I raced over to the ER and was relieved to find that it was an uncontrolled nosebleed, and she was feisty as ever with the staff. They packed it and off we went to spend the night at my place. I noticed her breathing was a bit labored, but, she is 79 years old. I am not a tidy housekeeper and she immediately asked me where the dustcloths were.

She went back home and two days later was enroute again. This time they admitted her and said her "lungs looked funny". She was diagnosed with moderate emphysema and sent home with an inhaler, being told she could resume her normal activities. I was so relieved. We even decided to go ahead with our Christmas plans.

Last Friday, another call, on her way again. They said they could go in surgically and cauterize the offending vessel, but it was considered major surgery and not something they like to do. On Saturday, she was walking and became extremely short of breath, and and MRI revealed she has a blood clot in her lung - go figure, blood clotting in her lung and gushing from her nostrils.

They are giving her strong blood thinners for the clot, and right now, I don't have a clue what the ENT is planning because he won't call me back.

She is talking about going into assisted living, because she doesn't want to be alone with so much uncertainty. This is something we've discussed "around the edges" but never in detail. My sisters are freaking out. One feels we should take it "one step at a time", while the other is wondering where a copy of the will is.

I came home tonight and there was a message on my machine that I was afraid to play. My heart was racing and it was only FedEx, saying they'd left a package in the foyer - a gift box of nothing I care to eat - pancake mix, heavily sweetened blueberry syrup, vacuum sealed bacon with 1000 mg of sodium per two slices. I did, however, like the basket itself.

My blood sugar was over 350 twice today, but I fortunately chose not to stop at the grocery store after work because I knew I'd head home with Doritos, peanut butter, and Ding Dongs.

One thing that I have learned from similar crises is that if we just step back, a tiny bit, there is an underlying sequence to things - the right friend calls at the right time, help is offered when needed, and eventually, the dust will settle. I just don't like the wait.

I am also glad that I have "stress plan" for my blood pressure that I had discussed with my primary a couple of years ago. He agreed that if I tested it, not guessed, and if was in a certain range, I could take another dose of beta blocker. I took it a couple of times today and it was not off target - a relief.

I know I have to let go of the stress, and the outcome, but it's a big task.


In Search Of Balance said...

I am so sorry! I hope your mom is better soon, and that things calm down a bit. I'll keep her in my thoughts.

Best wishes to you and yours.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey MN,

Crazy holiday for you indeed!

Thinking of you and hoping that things settle down for the better here in short order.

It is also comforting to me that you have a sense of order to things as you said. That the dust will settle, even if it feels waste deep right now.

Sarah said...

I'm sorry about the crazy holidays. Mothers are so awesome and wonderful, and having a sick mum would be hard indeed. I really admire your outlook on life, and you are so right, eventually the dust does settle. The things that get me, despite the fact that I know this too will pass, is the very things that stirred up the dust in the first place. Does that make sense? Even a little? I hope things quiet down and your mother finds a peace in her health that she hasn't been having lately.

Vivian said...

Kathy, You are such an inspiration. Your ability to be level headed and calm is wonderful. I will be praying for your mom's health and that your family can find a common piece of ground to stand on. (preferably yours.) =) Please let us know how it goes.

Lyrehca said...

Good luck and I hope things go well for your mom and family. No wonder your blood sugars are high (and don't even worry about them--just correct and move on). Sounds like you're doing the right thing by staying calm and focusing on one thing at a time. All best.

Carey said...

So sorry. I hope things look a little brighter today.

Minnesota Nice said...

You people are sooooo comforting to me. I have printed the comments so that I can have them on my desk if I start to feel anxious. Big huge thanks to all.

Michko said...

I've had a number of hormone-induced blood clots: twice in my leg and once in my lung. Seems I'm the 1 in 10,000 women who gets a clot from the pill. Oh, and pregnancy does it to me, too! It's not fun and quite scary. I'd be happy to answer any questions you guys might have. I'm pretty sure you can email me through my Blogger profile.

Molly said...

Here's hoping for good health for your mom, and wisdom and strength for you as you travel on this journey with her.

Sarah said...

Sandis was evaluated and received his diagnosis at the U of M, so it is in the cities. I do give them credit for finding an appropriate diagnosis for him, because in my heart of hearts I knew ADHD didn't fit Sandis. I just get frustrated with the entire bureaucracy and miscommunication of the entire thing.....Our last appointment at the U of M yesterday was the last time we need to drive up to the cities for a while. The rest of Sandis's care will be in Saint Cloud, unless we need further evaluations.

George said...

I am a few days behind in reading blogs but I just wanted to say that you are such an inspiration to me.

It always takes me weeks to figure out that the "dust does settle" and that things do work themselves out.

PLease take care of yourself and I pray that everything will work out very soon!

HVS said...

You're in my thoughts-hope everything settles down for your mom + you can figure out what to do next. Those are very difficult+ stressful decisions to have to make.
Glad you've found a plan to keep your bp down-now if the blood sugars were just as easy.. Keep well.

Flmgodog said...

I have been thinking about you and your mom. How is she doing these days? And how about you?
I hope things are on the upswing!!
Take care!

Vivian said...

We miss you. I hope all is ok. Big hugs your way.