My mother went to the Good Sameritan ER last Sunday with severe flu-like symptoms, trouble breathing and feeling faint. She has been fighting a “cold,” for two weeks and using OTC medications for self treatment. As she lie in the hospital bed, I looked around at the filth around me. This hospital was disgusting. Clearly the janitorial department needs some training!
After sitting for a few hours, a blown vein, severe diarrhea and CTscan, my mother was moved to the Telemetry unit on the 4th floor. She wasn’t there long before she was moved to the ICU and intubated. There is nothing more unnerving than seeing someone you love on life-support. Unconscious and tubes running everywhere just makes your belly flop. I wasn’t at the hospital when my mother was intubated- and later that night when I got home, I stood at the sink washing dishes and almost lost it at the thought that this afternoon might have been the last time I’d ever see my mother awake. I was upset with myself for having left when I did, thinking I should have stayed longer so she wasn’t alone and afraid. I was mad at the fact that my life still has to go forward – I still have kids and homework and and and…..
The entire time my mother was in the hands of the Good Sam staff she was poked no less than 20 times. None of the idiots could tell me what was wrong with her except that she had, “some type of pneumonia.” My mother was transferred from Good Sam to the UK ICU at 4:30am Monday morning. I have to say that UK hospital is very nice. It has been expanding like crazy over the last decade. I was initially disappointed learning that my mothers specific ICU was in the old part of UK. I just knew it was gonna be bad.
I was right about it being old and dated but I cannot be happier with the medical staff caring for her. Every doctor, nurse, tech, and specialist have done their best to keep me informed and treated my mother with the upmost respect. Like I said, the unit is dated but it’s clean and filled with the best advanced technology available. Within hours of being admitted at UK I was given my mothers diagnosis: pneumonia caused by corona virus hku1, in other words, the common cold. All they did was sick some snot from her lungs and test it. How hard was that Good Sam??
The last three days have been a twisting, turning, bottom dropping out, roller-coaster ride. You wouldn’t think a common cold could cause so much havoc. My mother goes from bad, worse, worse, better, great and now… bad again. It’s a hella ride and I’d not wish it on my worst enemy. To give an example, yesterday my mother was weaned slowly from the ventilator, eventually extubated and let to sit up in a chair. This morning she was eating jello and now, she’s in bed, lethargic and seemingly not with it. She has some odd behavior going on at the moment; ripping at her gown, reaching for things unseen, restless legs and moaning out often. When I talk to her she responds with jumbled sounds that I cannot decipher. Frustration is the only word I can think of to describe what we each feel. Respiratory came in to give breathing treatments and hook her to a bi-pap machine which gives a constant flow of oxygen both upon inhale and exhale. My mother hates this mask on her face because it makes you feel like you’re being suffocated but her lungs are wet.. She has no other options but lasix and this machine.
I’ve seen my mother is some very bad ways when I was younger which left only snapshots of random moments burned into my mind. This time, being older, I have had the awful experience of senses overload. All of my senses have been in overdrive and for the first time in my life I FEEL stressed. Usually I just write things off as having had a bad day and move on but this past week has taken its toll leaving me with, “what if,” scenarios playing in my mind over and over like a bad song. I fight the stress, I fight the fatigue, I fight the tears back and I tell myself and everyone else that, “I’m fine,” hoping that if I say it enough it will become true. There is just one of me but I carry many titles that include many responsibilities and right now they all on the back of my neck, jumping up and down screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!!” It’s hard to get everything done and it’s harder to know which order they should go in.
I have two really good aunts and an uncle, many friends and my kids who have been right there with me each step of the way– but still it’s kind of lonely. I’m an only child and my mothers ‘Power of Attorney,’ so no matter who stands beside me, ultimately it is me who has to make all the hard decisions when my mother cannot speak for herself. It’s a heavy load. I don’t usually buckle under stress but this year has sucked ass and I really wish someone would throw me a rope before I drown.