Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Mama and My Birthday: Nothing is Ever Easy With Mama
It's 9:16 in the morning of my 51st birthday. They've just taken her back for the first of several procedures. We don't know exactly what procedures, only that they will or won't show her eligibility to have world-class cutting-edge-technology surgery at Ochsner's Heart and Vascular Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Favorite Child paid for me and Mama to come over Monday evening and stay in Southern Suites Marriott. There was a ground floor accessible room.
We took it. Our delight in finding the queen bed squishy comfortable was only dimmed by the affable and warmly friendly staff and easy access back to Ochsner's.
Easy, that is, once google maps was re-consulted to make sure where we were was where I thought we should be. Joy! We were closer! It's amazing what a change in directional course can do for navigation!
Mama didn't eat this morning, her gut instinct of standard-fasting-before-testing proven true. They're doing an angiogram now, three and a half hours after our arrival here. We left the hotel at 8:11, arriving here at 8:37, almost an hour before her check-in time.
"Well, you can never tell about weather or traffic." I know she wanted to add "or your driving," but didn't. It's my birthday, you know. Less passive-aggressiveness is her special gift to me today.
This is not an easy trip for her osteo-arthritic bones to make. Riding jostles her last good nerve that's managed to remain healthy enough to be considered 'good' some fifty years now. She'll be stiff and stove up for sure going home tomorrow or Thursday afternoon. I'm glad Joe is coming over and she's riding back with him. Favorite Child always has an analgesic effect on that nerve.
She's difficult to live with when she's scared. She wants me as close as possible here today. She's glad there's no hotel room tonight. She told me, "I won't have to be scared with you in the room."
Scared? No way... It's a hospital with real security officers with real guns. She's scared she will hurt beyond the normal hurts? No. She's scared she can't be strong without me.
I'd like her healthy enough to not use me as an excuse for any negative thing in her life. I'd love for her to be healthy enough that I don't use her as an excuse to not excel. Joseph Heller's Catch 22 is everpresent as I find the very situation that can make my situation better can only make it worse.
Brrrrrr.... At 2:35 I'm sitting in room 309 on the short stay cardiac wing - waiting for Mama! Some cute creole wearing scrubs and a sweater fetched me from the brightly lit CathLab waiting area to this cave-ish sort of room of maximum efficiency and minimal space.
Reba's come over with specialty birthdaycupcakes
The thermostat was on 68 when I walked in. It was promptly dialed up to 80. Mama can't stand the cold. She's already going to be ill as a hornet from hunger; a cold room would certainly finish off that last remaining nerve.
At 3:30 Dr. Ramee comes in, her blood pressure is dropping, he'd like to put a stent in the coronary artery that's blocked. He believes it will help.
At 4:30 Dr. Ramee's physician's assistant, Kristen, fetches me and Reba from the room, bringing us around the way, past the darkening walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, to the waiting area of the cardiac care unit. There was no time for the stent, epinephrine was begun when Dr. Raymee went back to her side at 3:30, her blood pressure continuing to drop to critical levels from an anaphylactic reaction to the contrast used for the angiogram.
It's my concern, my fear, that something will go horribly wrong. Something will happen and not only will I be left without Mama, I'll be at the end of creative energy. The last of good deep thoughts will have come and gone and nothing innovative is left. I'll be one of Those People. You know the ones. You shake your head and you say "Poor Thing, what will she do now?"
She has to fit the parameters of the trial study; has to have this almost non-invasive surgery to fix the aortic stenosis. We have to live...
And here I am, at 10:28 in the evening of my birth day, thankful to be another year older, even more thankful my mother's at a world class hospital and her cardiologist literally writes the text book on high-risk cardiac care.
It's been something else but I wouldn't expect anything less. After all, nothing is ever easy with Mama...