Friday, May 30, 2014
I got the kids off to school and Dad his breakfast this morning. Mom was still asleep, Dad was watching TV and I was tired so I went back to sleep. I happily drifted back to sleep and was happily dreaming when I heard a loud crash and fall. Whatever made the sound was big and I knew right away that it was a person. I didn't know who, but I knew it was bad.
I think I flew out of my bed and I am sure I made it to the living room in one or two steps. I screamed "Are you okay?" Hoping to hear a reply as I was running but there was no answer. I saw Dad calmly sitting in his chair and for a moment I thought everything was okay. Then I turned towards the stairs and I saw my mother as the bottom of the steps.
Her head and neck were on the floor at an odd angle. Her body was lying up the stairs so she was basically upside down. I looked up and saw a pair of pants halfway up the stairs. I looked down and she was so still. It took me a moment to realize that she wasn't breathing. Her head was blocking her tracheotomy and she was unconscious. At first I thought she was dead. I moved her so her head was off her stoma and made sure her airway was clear. Breathing was more important than a possible broken neck.
Luckily she started to breath on her own and her eyes opened up, but she didn't know what was happening. I ran to the phone and once again called 911. I have called 911 too many times in the last six months. You know you have when start to recognize the paramedics and police officers, and they remember you too. Luckily I have the routine down now and had all of Mom's meds ready for them so they could write them all down.
Then I realized that I was asleep, snuggled in my bed and that I'm in my underpants and the police, paramedics and all sorts of people are about to arrive. I ran and put my pants on and I felt so guilty. I should have not cared and held Mom's hand while we waited. Instead I put pants on!
I have to say that it felt like forever for them to come, but I know in reality it was just moments. They flowed into the house and swarmed around her. That's when I noticed the blood. It was under her and the stain was getting bigger. Dad was still calmly sitting in his chair. What must this be like for him I wonder? He isn't reacting like he knows what is going on. Does he even know what happened I wonder? Or is he like me in a state of shock wondering what else can possibly go wrong with Mom? Can't she catch a break and just recover and heal?
Back to the chaos in my living room, why was she even walking down the stairs? We have one of those chairs that takes you up and down the stairs so she should have been using it. Of course she is stubborn. That is where I get it from. She has gone into the basement and had trouble getting back up. My brother and I and her physical therapist all told her she had to stop. She isn't steady on her feet yet and she was in danger of falling down the stairs. How right we were!
Chaos! I don't know how many first responders were in my living room? They are all asking me different questions. "Where did she fall from?" "Was she using the chair lift?" "When did she fall?" I call my brother and try to stay focused. I'm the rock now, it used to be my mom, now it is me. More and more is becoming my responsibility. I have to adjust, I have to be responsible, I have to focus on everyone else. That is my role now.
They get a neck brace and I can finally hear Mom answering some of their questions. Funny how looking back on this morning and it is all a blur. I couldn't even tell you how many first responders where in the house. I had to move the car for the ambulance, that I remember. Then they strap her to a backboard. The one thing I remember is one of the paramedics asking for a 4x4 gauze patch so,they could tape her head to the backboard and not have to put tape on her face.
Then they were gone. She was off to the hospital again. I turned and looked and Dad is still sitting in his chair. Does he know what happened? He doesn't seem to be reacting and through all the chaos I was so focused on Mom and the first responders that I don't know what Dad was doing. I should have been with him too. All the should of would of could ofs! I should have stayed awake and made her ride the stair glider. I could have, I would have then she would be okay.
Dad doesn't want to go to the hospital. I go alone, but first I draw his insulin in the syringe and make sure he knows to take it with lunch. Not for the first time I am happy that meals on wheels brings him lunch and I know that he will be okay. He also is stubborn, but he knows his limitations. Mom is still adjusting to hers. I let him stay home.
My brother beat me to the hospital, I called him while the first responders were still at our house. He was just leaving work when I called. We sat and waited for them to let us back in the ER. I was so scared. I was thinking of the blood, how I had to move her so she could breathe. Did I make her worse? What if I wasn't there. What if I was at work? So much guilt!
They let us back and Mom is in yet another ER room. The same doctor as the last time. He recognizes her, I recognize him and a few of the other people. We have been here way too often! The paramedics are talking about pain in her ribs, the blood is so red and it seems like more than before. Then they roll her on her side and for the first time I see the wound.
There was so much blood! The image of watching them roll her and the partially clotted,ropes of blood that were between her head and the backboard made me gasp out loud. My brother tried to console me, the nurses told me that it looks worse that it really was. I knew that, I know head wounds bleed a lot. I knew that because she was lying still the blood was starting to clot. I knew all of that but the image was so startling and real. So much blood!
They stitched her right there. She was hurting, her ribs were sore. I was watching the doctor sew her head closed and her white hair was bright red and matted. When he thought he had her all patched up the nurse found a spot he missed. It was hard to tell what was bleeding and what was bled on. I am so focused on her head I almost miss that she is starting to complain about her ribs more and more.
I have to work in the afternoon. I know they are short and need me. I call and see if I can come in a little latter so I can know that Mom will be okay. I want to hear that she doesn't have a broken neck, I want to hear that she doesn't have another brain bleed. I am afraid that I will hear that she has both. How am I going to teach while she is in the ER?
Then I feel bad that I'm worried about me when I should be worried about her, I have to make sure that Dad knows what is going on. I have to get laundry done and the dishwasher emptied. I have to get my brother to help me finish my daughters room and the front porch and the back porch. There is so much to do and I should be worried about her.
I have to clean the blood from the rug where she fell. One spot from the original fall and then a bigger spot from where I moved her to. Why was that what I was focusing on. Then the doctor comes in ad tells,us the CT scan was good. No brain bleed, no broken neck! She will be just fine. We still has to wait for the X-ray results about her ribs, but I knew that she had broken at lest one. She was in so much pain in her ribs. To hear her cry like that was so hard. She is my mom. She is supposed to comfort me, not me comfort her.
I had to leave to go to work. First I stopped home and let Dad know what was happening. I made sure he ate and took his insulin and made him tea. I have become the parent for both my parents. This is so surreal. I tell him that I have to go to work and I will check on Mom on my way home. I tell him it will be alright.
While I'm at work I get text updates. My brother is with her so I find out that she has four broken ribs and that she is yet again being admitted. In another text later in I find out that she is in the ICU again. The other teachers are making sure that I am okay. They tell me that they are praying for Mom. Being at work is helping me get through the day.
On the way home I stop by the hospital and know exactly where to go. The information desk is unmanned but I know where to go. I hate that I know where to go. I hate that I recognize so many people at the hospital. I hate that yet again I have to go home without my mother. I hate that yet again my dad has to sleep alone in his bed.
I pick up her prescriptions after I leave the hospital. I started trying to get them filled over a week ago. Because they were from a skilled nursing facility and not her primary doctor it turned into a huge mess to get them refilled. So much medical drama fills my life now. I have to order too many meds. I have to make sure Mom and Dad take them when they are supposed to. So much responsibility! I'm so tired!
Mom sleeps in the hospital tonight, Dad sleeps alone and I am in my bed wanting my man to snuggle with. I can't contact him so I am alone. We all sleep alone!