Thursday, July 12, 2007

When you receive a phone call saying that your mother has severed two of her fingers, and you work on a severed finger floor as a nurse, the first thing that goes through your mind is 'Mom cut off two of her fingers??'. The second thing is 'This is right down my alley--I know what to expect!!'. And the third thing is 'Oh my god---MOM cut off two of her fingers!!!'

After a frantic round of phone calls between me and everyone I share blood ties with, I practically ran out the door, my morning Chai still full in my hand. We drove to work that morning because we were late for the bus. I was so glad to not need to take the bus home!!

I headed home, stuffed some clothes in a bag, grabbed shower stuff, and headed out. Well, without the shower stuff. I left that in the bathroom. Which I found out later.

It was a million degrees outside, and the AC is not working in my car. I sweated up a storm. A really wet, stinky storm. And was called a million times by various family members, the most problematic of which was a call from Jobie just before I5 splits into another freeway and you have to be on the far right lane to stay on I5. I was in the far left lane, Jobie called, and in my phone fumbling I missed the exit and spend the next 30 minutes driving around metro Portland trying to find I5. In Washington, when you get off the freeway, there is easy access to get back on it going the other direction. Not so in Oregon, apparently.

Nevertheless, I DID find my way back and made it to Legacy Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin. Walking in through the ER doors, the coolness of the interior was amazing. It was over 100 degrees outside, and cool as can be indoors. Mom was located in the family birth center ward, in a birthing room, to be exact. Nice, spacious.........I told her that if this was her way of telling me she is ready for another grandchild, she had gone just a bit too far. Mom was fine, numbed up with a nerve block done in the ER. The doctor came in a half hour or so later. Yale Popowich, a plastic surgeon. He was great--told us what his plan was, answered questions. Good bedside manners.

Right after that, we were moved back into a regular med-surg floor. The smallest hospital room I have ever seen. Ever. We waited a couple more hours, had flowers delivered and some visits from mom's coworkers, then she was finally taken to the OR around 8pm. I came along as her personal interpretor. Someone would ask a quiet, long, wordy question, then I would shorten and simplify it and bellow it at mom. "DOES YOUR HAND HURT???" "THEY NEED TO TAKE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE!!". Very technical work. Without her hearing aids and glasses on, Mom is a whole new ballgame.

After surgery, the MD came out and told me what they had ended up doing--the middle finger now ends just at the bottom of her fingernail--he is uncertain whether the nail will still grow or fall off. The index finger was a bit more work--they had to shorten it below the first knuckle to get enough soft tissue to cover up the bone. All in all, the surgery went well.

Mom with medicine in her system is a sight to behold. She was totally out of her gourd. All she could say when they asked her how she was doing is that she wanted pants. She really did want pants, but I don't think that was what they were getting at. I found pants for her. They she got goofy. NOTE TO FAMILY-- Mom does ot do well with dilaudid (hydromorphone). She gets every single side effect it can do, and no good pain control. She said she saw that I had one eye, my ear was on my forehead, and my eyebrow kept going down to my chin. She knew that was not real, but it looked that way. Fun.

We realized around midnight that Mom just wasn't going to wake up enough to go home--she needed to be able to walk, pee, eat and drink, and she could not stay awake. Because of the tinyness of the room, combined with the fact that I can't sleep if I think people are watching me, I decided to sleep in my car and come back in the morning.

The car had a blanket and a reclining chair--all the comforts of home. I got around 4-5 hours of sleep, then was awakened by my bladder and returned to Mom's room after a quick stop by the bathroom and cafeteria. Mom was in lots of pain, and the pills they gave her did not work. The IV medicine (dilaudid!!!), made her fall asleep and be totally goofy. We finally switched her to oxycodone, and she got a couple hours of sleep and pain control. After some lunch, she took another dose of the pain pills and we headed home.

Mom was still pretty loopy, but got some good sleep in and cleared quite a bit. When I went home at 5pm, she was lying on the couch waiting for Sabrina and Matt to arrive, totally with it and comfortable....

Sabrina had lots of fun with her last night, it sounds like; but Mom is currently doing quite well and is back to her regular self, if somewhat sleepy.

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