Saturday, September 20, 2008

Two long days

Last February, I was diagnosed with a slipped disc in my lower back and three herniated discs in my neck. After lots of therapy and lots of prayer, the discomfort is mostly under control and frequently absent all together. However, after a weekend of rehearsals, a week of teaching and practicing, and another three days of teaching, I decided Wednesday evening to take one, not two, muscle relaxers after lying in bed for 45 minutes and not finding a comfortable position. The drug did its stuff and I was sleeping like a baby, planning to do so until late Thursday morning, the first day I had the chance to sleep a little later and not be at an early event.

One hour after I took the muscle relaxer, the phone rang. I don't remember much, but found myself sitting up in the bed, trying to find the source of the music (ring tone is set to Vivaldi) and had the light turned on. I intercepted the call during the message phase and it was a friend of my Mom's, who had driven Mom to the ER. She told me that she had severe stomach cramps and they were already in the exam room, seeing a doctor and an IV was inserted with something for pain. I remember saying that I was afraid to drive at that moment and would be there as soon as I could. After about 45 minutes (normally a 10-15 minute trip) I arrived in a sorry mental state to find Mother groaning in pain with a great nurse who informed me that the IV had pain killer, anti nausea, GI cocktail, and saline. Mother's friend left when the blood work labs returned and nothing showed up.

After forcing her to drink dye for a CT scan, which revealed a badly distended bladder and led to testing for a urinary tract infection, she was catheterized and in about 2 minutes 1600 cc's of urine flowed freely, which the nurse and the doctor thought would eliminate the pain. It didn't. She was released with a prescription for an antibiotic and orders to follow up with Dr. Will, given one Levaquin, and after 5 hours we came to my house. She slept for two hours, woke hurting again, and the pain was worse this time. I tried to call Dr. Will off and on for 2 hours, reaching the answering service too many times and leaving too many messages. I could not leave her alone long enough to get the medication at the pharmacy.

At 11:30 a.m. Dr. Will's office asked to have her admitted to the hospital and managed to reserve a room. We were at the hospital 20 minutes after receiving the call, but the admissions office was backed up terribly and working short handed. An hour and a half later, while waiting in the car with a simple grain bag I had heated in the microwave at my house, the pain stopped. Then admissions called my cell phone to say they were ready for her.

It was 9:30 p.m. when I finally left the hospital to come home. My almost-brother, GW, was with Mother for hours and stayed with her while I taught a group lesson without my violin. The labs, scans, and tests showed nothing unusual and she was given a ham sandwich to eat at about 7 p.m. , which she tolerated very well. Nothing unusual happened this morning after she ate breakfast, which was delivered very late. Lunch was on time, but she wasn't hungry yet. Dr. Will visited after 1 p.m. and she was released, which took over 2 hours to accomplish.

Late today at her home, Mother received a call from her friend who drove her to the ER. The friend's daughter commented that the pain Mother experienced seemed much like hers when she had a blockage due to adhesions. It was a light bulb moment. Mother had very serious surgery removing 18 inches of colon six months following a ruptured appendix about 23 years ago. She also had a complicated removal of her gall bladder resulting in an 18 inch incision, and that was 12 years ago. We never thought about adhesions. I don't intend to think about them much--just pray that they dissolve and break down.

About 30 minutes after driving Mother to her house, Muffin and I were overwhelmed with fatigue. That two hour nap was the best medicine dispersed in two days.

No comments: