Sunday, March 31, 2013

Midnight in the ER.....

ER's have their own rhythms.  Patients tend to come and go in a rush.  Fill, and empty.  Fill, and empty.  Tonight's arrival coincided with a fill phase.  We watched three different people in hard neck braces get wheeled in from whatever car crash they were extricated from.  We saw family and friends weeping in hallways.  We listened to the punch-drunk humor of the nurses and aides. 

We arrived at the crest of the wave. 

Mom came over last night to eat a hearty dinner of scalloped potatoes and ham.  She hung out while a large, loud, room full of grands and great-grands decorated Easter eggs, chatting about anything and everything.  She watched Boo heave eggs (miraculously breaking only one) into cups of dye.  She watched as Citygirl revealed the stunning, incredibly sexy results of a recent photo shoot that she had modeled for my talented sister-in-law.  She admired Squeaker's dye-stained hands.

And she seemed fine.

I wasn't the one who escorted her into the house or I might have notice sooner that she wasn't breathing well.  But since she didn't move a step the entire time she was there, I didn't realize until everybody was packing up to go home that she was in pretty tough shape.  She got up, walked three steps, and her lips turned blue.  I had to put a chair underneath her where she stood because she couldn't make the three steps back to the table.

Since I couldn't get her out of the house, I called 911.  This remains the fastest way to get six attractive men to arrive at your doorstep at one time. 

We hit the ER, where her condition got her a lot of immediate attention.  Blood pressures of 211/88 coupled with oxygen levels that refuse to rise over 88 ON oxygen keep the nurses hopping.  And the repetitive cycles of long runs of abnormal heartbeats that overrode her pacemaker REALLY intrigued them.

It took from 9:30 PM to almost 2 AM to get her stable enough to admit to a monitored room. There was Nitropaste.  And IV Lasix.  And pills.  And a fourth med given by IV, all just to get her blood pressure down to 170/80.  And there were no monitored beds available, so when I left at 2:30, the plan was to monitor her in the ER until a bed became available.  I punked out at that point.  I have never left a family member alone in the ER before - I always stay until they are tucked in bed upstairs, translating the medical terms into English (I am bilingual.  Most doctors and many nurses are not.) and generally fetching and carrying.  There was no way I could do that this time.  When it was clear that she was stabilizing enough to survive, I had to move Babygirl and her biopsy back to the top of my list and hope for the best.

This is the first time in over 20 years that I missed the Easter sunrise service.

It sucks when the first thing the ER doc says is, "Don't I know you?"


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