Friday, June 10, 2005

42 adventures with Grandma

Mayatime: 9 Muluc 7 Zotz

This morning I had barely woken up when the phone rang (7:15). A woman's voice said "Willy?" and I said "no" and before I could clarify that he was at work, she said "I have the wrong number" and hung up. The caller ID said it was the hospital. I called back and got a switchboard. I called my husband at work and asked if there was a woman missing who might have called him at home and he said no. I went to start my day, reading the news, my email, making bird food, etc. My cell phone rang. It was my mom's cell phone calling. My grandma was in the hospital with a stroke, and yes, she had hung up on me when she called earlier. (Stress, confusion, I don't know--she said she didn't recognize my voice!)
I called my husband again and he said he would come home and take me. I was surprised because he has this "thing" about grandmothers in the hospital ever since he had to be there when they pulled the plug on one of his grandmas about 12 years ago. I called in to work and fed the birds and we went.
My mother said that my grandma had called her at 4:30 saying she couldn't breathe and was calling 911. The police officer who responded with the ambulance called my mom (her number's posted by my grandma's phone) and my mom met the ambulance at the hospital. My grandmother couldn't remember calling my mom or 911, didn't know where she was, but knew the President's name and other things like that which they ask. They did a CAT scan and a chest x-ray and left her in the cubicle. When I got there just before 8:00 she had just come back from the CAT scan. She knew who I was but she seemed very weak. She was breathing harshly like I did last year when I had the terrible bronchitis.
It's terrible to just sit there and talk around someone like that, but she wasn't really responding, kind of dozing off or zoning out. My mom had left my dad at home. She called him to ask him to hang out some laundry and that took about 5 minutes to explain. I sat with my hands on my grandma's legs giving her Reiki. She took it in a gentle warm flow. (my hands are still on even as I write this at 11:00)
Apparently, I'm not sure when, my grandmother felt ill and started to vomit, and instead of vomiting (she said it was all bile, guess it runs in the family, I'm very bile-y too) she swallowed it and it went into her lungs. The ambulance people were very concerned over this (and eventually when we saw a doctor, so was he).
My husband went to get some breakfast (there's a Dunkin Donuts in the hospital) and while he was gone I asked my mom about her cousin, the one who fell in the septic tank. My grandmother started contributing to the conversation saying that the woman is 76, she's my grandpa's niece, and the shoulder she broke was the one she had polio in, and giving more details about what happened. After that she seemed okay. Will went backt to DD and got her a coffee which she drank through a straw. Then it was just sit around and wait. No one came by.
Someone was interviewing a guy out in the hall about hearing voices: "Do you hear the voices all the time? Did you tell the people you live with that you hear voices? Do you hear them right now? Is someone bothering you where you live? Who is it? Is it a staff person or another patient?"
Finally I went and talked to a nurse because my grandmother was getting terrible leg cramps and charley horses in her feet and calves and they got so bad I couldn't rub them away. I was holding her feet vertically because it seemed like the droop was causing the cramps, and that seemed to help. A few minutes later a doctor came by and recognized me from when my husband had been in the emergency room about 6 years ago--he remembered my eyes. He said my grandmother's tests were all normal for her age and she could go home if she wanted to, but if she started coughing or having fluid in her lungs she would have to be admitted for pneumonia.
So after a long wait for someone to come by and remove her IV shunt (which wasn't attached to anything) we were able to take her home, after much fussing over her lack of sunglasses and keys and her cane.
She's home now, and I guess she's going to be okay. But it was scary. My mom was freaking out--there's no way she could deal with my grandmother after a stroke and take care of my dad. She would have had to put my grandmother into a home, and that would be terrible. Not that it still might not happen, but not today.
Ometeotl. Back to the Order of the Feathered Serpent blog, if that's where you came from.

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