03 December 2008

"What a long strange trip it's been" --The Grateful Dead

The plan:
Wednesday night we do last minute cooking, laundry, pack, etc.

Thursday morning we drive to NJ, pick up my mother, take her to my sister's for Thanksgiving dinner with 25 or so family members and friends. Thursday night we deliver Mum back to her home.

Friday we visit some with Mum.

Saturday we, and a stuffed giraffe, drive to Long Island for a baby naming ceremony. Saturday afternoon we drive home.

The reality:
Wednesday night we do last minute cooking/etc. Also, in the blink of an eye, I manage to spill coral nail polish in a remarkably wide swath on the brand new seafoam green carpet in the family room. We spend hours feverishly trying to remove the polish with limited success.

Thursday we drive to New Jersey and make comments about all the terrible things we are aware of by comparing them to the worst possible thing ever.

Hubby: Wow! Can you believe how badly that Volkswagen cut off that van?
Me: At least he didn't spill nail polish on the new carpet.
Hubby: Yeah, nothing's that bad.

And so it goes.

We arrive at Mum's to find that she is not well. She was in the hospital 10 days earlier and no longer exhibits the symptoms that she went into the hospital for but she is very weak and dizzy and sick. She can't go to my sister's. I stay with Mum and we have a quiet evening. Hubby brings the six food items we cooked/baked/promised to provide for Thanksgiving, plus a few gifts to my sister, stays for the meal, and brings Mum and me leftovers.

An aide comes to spend the night with my mother.

We check into the local budget hotel. Normally they treat us well and upgrade us. Not this time. We get the room we paid for. It is lacking the usual amenities (hair dryer, shampoo, tissues) but does come with a fan in the bathroom that has the tonal pleasantness of Roseanne singing the National Anthem. But without the charm. We discuss that this is not ideal but not as bad as polish on new carpet.

Friday morning I discover there is no plug for the bathtub so I shower instead of bathing. We agree this is inconvenient but nothing in the grand scheme of the horror that is spilling polish on the new carpet.

At 8 am, I speak with my mother. She says she'd like to see us but there's no hurry. I tell her we will visit at 10 am, when the aide is scheduled to leave. At 9:45 we arrive. There is an ambulance and two police cars parked out front and the paramedics have my mother on a stretcher. We are told that she was so weak that her legs buckled under her. The aide caught her before she hit the floor, and called 911.

We follow the ambulance to the hospital.

We spend the day in the Emergency Room. After running a series of tests, all of which elicit the following exchange:

Tech: I'm here to take you for a doppler [or EKG or chest x-ray or...].
Mum, weak and angry: I was here less than two weeks ago and I had a doppler! Don't you have files? Get it from the file.
Tech: We need another one.
Mum: This is ridiculous.
Me: They have to check you out again.

it is determined that the medicine prescribed for the last problem, has created a new problem: her sodium has dropped dangerously low. A few points lower and she might have suffered brain damage, they inform us.

They admit her Friday late afternoon. We send a message to our Long Island cousins explaining what has happened and that we will not be coming to the naming ceremony.

From Friday to Tuesday Mum slowly gets her sodium levels up and a modicum of strength back. We call our bosses and explain that we are staying in NJ. We keep her company in the hospital, helping where we can. It is not easy to stay with her because she keeps getting moved. She is placed in five different locations in five days. I'm not kidding. Five. Once, they move her at 3 am. I've got to tell you, it's unnerving to go to the room where your loved one was only to find either an empty space or a different person. You immediately think "Oh, god, what's happened?!" What happened is they needed the space for someone else so they played musical beds. Again.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Mum is discharged and we deliver her home by early afternoon, arrange for round-the-clock aides until she is stronger, and we, and the stuffed giraffe, head home ourselves.

We arrive home last night.

Hubby: You know you can hardly see that nail polish.
Me: Yeah, it's no big deal.


Lemmonex said...

Oh, man...there is a reason you should have felt nervous.

I am really sorry to hear this.

On a MUCH lighter note, I spilled nail polish on the carpet when I was 7 (I got in to my mom's). To this DAY, my mother reminds me to be careful every single time I go to paint my nails.

Kate said...

So sorry to hear this, but so glad you were there for your mother. And yes, the little things suddenly become the little things again and again as we go through life.

charlotteharris said...

Wow, I didn't expect the post to take such a turn! Hope you mom is doing fine this week.

As for the polish, I do think seafoam green and coral go well together - like floral cushions in a Florida sunroom. No worries.

LBluca77 said...

Oh I am sorry to hear about your mom but good thing you were there for her.

Ok what is a naming ceremony? Did I miss a post on that? Glad to see you back in the blogging world. I am doing a christmas giveaway contest on my blog if you would like to enter.

Ibid said...

Oh yeah. Medication fun. Grammie had a reaction to her Parkinson's meds. Collapsed, didn't recognize people, talked to invisible people, missed the flowers people brought but admired the flowers that weren't there.
She recognizes people again now that she's been off the meds for a bit but she's in a nursing home until she can get her strength back.

Made me kinda glad I missed Thanksgiving with the family.

Anonymous said...

So sorry :o( but at least it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

fiona said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mum, I can only imagine how scary it must have been for you. That said, I'm glad you were with her and that she is on the mend, sending you hugs!

Bilbo said...

Well, I suppose that you actually do have things to be thankful for...your mom had you with her during her trouble, she's getting better, and the nail polish doesn't look so bad on the carpet after all. Have you considered carpeting your nails...?

SingLikeSassy said...

I'm glad your mom is OK and they figured it all out. I can't even imagine how scary that must have been.

Mike said...

Life throws you a curve and you say,"Wow that's bad!" Then Life says, "Oh yeah? Watch THIS!"

But I think you just said that.

Reya Mellicker said...

You are absolutely right that there are many things worse than spilled nail polish.

So glad your mom is on the mend. So sorry your Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be such a chore.

Sending good vibes in your direction. You could use some!

Matt said...

I swear, sometimes I think doctors just prescribe too much crap and it ends up causing all sorts of NEW problems.

Herb of DC said...

Wow! Tough trip but I am glad you were there for your Mum. I hope she is doing better now.

lacochran said...

Lemmonex: Thanks.

But did you find a way to get it out? Inquiring minds and all that.

Kate: Thanks. So true.

CharlotteHarris: Thanks. :) But am I Dorothy, Blanche, Rose or Sophia?

LBluca77: Thanks. It's like a baptism but without the water. A contest with pay-it-forward homework, huh? Is this a pyramid scheme?

Ibid: Yeah, it's frustrating. I hope your Grammie has a speedy recovery.

MadamMeow: Thanks and amen to that.

Fiona: Thanks, Sweetie.

Bilbo: I have so much to be thankful for. Carpeted nails? Do guys dig the werewolf look?

SingLikeSassy: Thanks.

Mike: Yeah, life's got a wicked sense of humor.

Reya: Thanks. I'll take 'em. :) I like your new blog pic, too!

Matt: I agree. It seems like all medicines have side effects so you get to decide is the new problem worse than the old one?

Herb: She is. Thanks.

LiLu said...

I'm so sorry! I hope she regains her health quickly. As for that nail polish, I think a new end table would look just lovely right there.

lacochran said...

Lilu: Thanks, Dear.

Sean said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mom and hope that she is doing OK.

f.B said...

i'm sorry.

though it's really hard to do, sometimes we have to know that the people we worry most about are stronger than we think. and it definitely seems like your mom has a great spirit about her: "Don't you have files? Get it from the file." in the midst of all of that? amazing.

lacochran said...

Sean: She's doing much better, thanks. (Despite her primary care physician doing his best to kill her.)

f.B: Thanks. I knew she was getting better when she got more ornery every day. :)

Kristin said...

I hope all's right with your mom! I'm a little slow this week but my thoughts are with you. In the grand scheme of things, nail polish and carpet don't seem so big.

lacochran said...

Kristin: Thanks. She's getting better every day.

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