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After telling me about the need for blood transfusion, there was no way I was going to stay at the house, nearly one and a half hour’s drive to the hospital, so I started packing in the evening, for a stay at the apartment in town, of unknown duration.
Because I wanted to get up early to reach the hospital in time for visiting hour, I did not take my nightly nightcap, so naturally I did not sleep a wink. The trouble with that is you are aware of the time, but so tired and punch, it takes you much longer to accomplish anything at all. I had my shower, made my tea and finished packing, went down with some of the stuff then asked one of the boys to collect the rest. Of course this is exactly the time when each and every member of the staff has an urgent need that must be fulfilled right away, so another precious fifteen minutes to fulfill all that, then finally I am off.
Thank God the traffic was comparatively light, and I totally ignored speeding limits, so I managed to get to the hospital just five minutes late. I was dreading seeing my Mom, will she be aware and angry with me for not showing up yesterday? Will she be much worse and not aware at all? First person I saw was the ICU nurse who was there when we first got there. I asked her how my Mom was and she told me that they have already given her two packs of blood. I was shocked! I thought they were going to hold off until my brother and I were there to discuss it with them. But they had started the transfusion last night, so that was that. I walked down the short corridor where on both sides there are light blue curtains shutting off each patient, giving a semblance of privacy. I went down to her cubicle. She was asleep. Relief. I stood there watching her. It was not a restful sleep, she kept twitching, moving her hands, and then started groaning. Suddenly she opened her eyes and looked at me, no recognition, and started complaining about the aches and pains she has all over her body, and that I should DO something about it instead of just standing there. The nurse came to the rescue, very gently tried to pacify her, and just as suddenly she went back to sleep. The orderly came to fetch me as the doctor heading the ICU wanted to meet me as he was not on duty when she was brought in and I had not gone in the following day, so I went downstairs to his office. A very pleasant, understanding gentleman, he briefed me about what they have done up till now, and told me that he is working blind. He needs to insert another catheter. I literally turned cold at the thought of all the pain that she will endure again. I must have turned pale or something because the man’s attitude became a hundred time more solicitous than before, and I think he was sitting on the edge of his chair, figuratively speaking, waiting to catch me as I collapse. I must really look a fright. Anyway, I did not faint, but I did tell him about the horrendous pain that she had previously endured and that I cannot have her go through that again. He promised that she will be given local anesthesia, and a regular pain killer, that she will be comfortable all the time.
Anybody who knows my Mom knows what a lovely, decent, soft spoken lady she is. She has a terrific sense of humor and has gained a lot of wisdom with her years. She is very well love by all who meet her. Unfortunately, with all the pain and discomfort she has been through, she has turned abusive and has used insults – thank God still lady-like – whenever she is in pain and wants it stopped. This, instead of alienating the staff has strangely endeared her to them. Even a gentleman in the unit across from hers told us how enchanted he is with her and what a terrific sense of humor she has and he is now enjoying his stay in ICU because of her. So it looks like when God loves someone, he makes even their bad temper an endearing trait.
A few minutes after I got there my brother and his wife arrived and went in to see her. She still did not recognize them but, like with me, started complaining of the pain. When my brother tried to get her to focus on him, that it was her son and not a doctor standing before her, she insulted her son, his mother and his father. The muffled laughter of the man across the corridor could be heard. My brother was embarrassed and kept saying that she has never used language like that in her life, which is quite true. But it seemed that the staff, and even some of the patients, were either taking it in stride, or even enjoying the break in the ICU routine atmosphere of hushed whispers or the occasional groan of pain. So even in her half dragged state my Mom is the life and soul of the party.
We waited outside the ICU while they bathed her and inserted the catheter. While waiting most of the nurses who worked in the wing where we had stayed three weeks and left just a few days ago, came to say hello, then went in to ICU to see her and see if they can help in any way. Once they were finished we went in again, she was a bit uncomfortable because of all the prodding, but, thank God, none of that screaming with pain. The anesthetic must be good. We stayed for a bit, then I told them that I would be leaving because I was running on empty. I remembered that I had made my tea this morning, but I forgot to drink it. They said that they too will be leaving shortly, so off I went. The first thing I did was stop at the shop and buy a couple of bottles of Chardonnay. No sleeping pills for me, this was my magic brew. They were even cold already. Great. One good tall drink this evening and I am sure to sleep like the dead. I have now come back to the apartment and am having breakfast at 3.15 pm, so lunch will probably be at 8 pm. But that’s ok, it’s more than what I had yesterday. I shall try to relax for the evening and if I sleep well, will be ready to go again tomorrow. Thank God she is not as bad as I thought she was after they told me that she needed blood transfusion, but she’s still not out of the woods. Looks like we still have a long haul before us. I have to start arranging for the home nurses we shall be needing to keep her comfortable. But this evening, complete relaxation with all my friends on Facebook, and with my favorite author and a somewhat entertaining thriller, and my friendly nightcap.
27 February 2014

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