Visiting My Mother in the Hospital
I tend to write things a little tongue in cheek, maybe because it's how I see the world. So when I sat down to start writing this bit about my mother, all I could think was 'My Mother Broke her Pelvis' sounds like something Freddy Mercury would have sung with thrashing guitars in the background.
The trouble is that there isn't much irony or humor with the complications that come from a woman in her 70s breaking her pelvis. A week after she broke her pelvis she had a heart attack and was in the ICU with pneumonia and a breathing tube. It's hard to by wry about things like that.
I found out about the heart attack by calling to see how she was doing only to have the place that was supposed to be taking care of her tell me they'd sent her back to the hospital, which set me off on my own adventure.
My brother lives in Seattle, and his first inclination was to get in the car and drive. Only we're not exactly teenagers anymore than our mother is, and driving all night has its own complications. So he got to Portland by dusk and I drove another four or five hours to Ashland.
The next morning the Internet told us there was a chain requirement to get over the pass so John bought chains next door. The fact that they lifted the requirement just as we got to the chain-up area didn't matter -- if we hand't bought chains first, we would have gotten there before they lifted the ban and turned around, losing an hour for nothing. This way it was minor victory.
Anyhow, my mother was extubated by the time we got there. Personally the whole thing about putting a tube in and taking a tube out of someone's trachea and calling it 'intubation' and 'extubation' sounds like doctors making up words. 'Hmm… we can't just say we put a tube in… in tube… intubate! Yes! That sounds much more obscure and billable…'
But, no matter what you call it, getting the respiration tube out is a good thing. Getting her up and moving is a good thing. And, while I know visiting her raises her blood pressure and tires her out, seeing her is a good thing.
There was a time that when you went to visit your mother in the hospital, you would read letters from friends, or maybe the bible. My sister read the good wishes people had left on my mother's Facebook wall. While a you can divide the comments into two basic kinds of wishes (prayers or good energy) the depth of feeling people poured out into some of those comments was moving.
Unfortunately, life is a fast, complicated place. After visiting on Sunday, I got up at 4:30 Monday morning, out the door by 4:45, on a plane by 6 and in the office by 9:30 -- my commute was about 600 miles longer than usual, and, no, it wasn't the most productive day I've ever had.
But think back a hundred years. First off, most people didn't even live to their 70s. Finding out what's happening with a loved one from hundreds of miles a way could take days, let alone getting there, finding them and being able to read the thoughts of scattered friends so quickly.
So while I'll file this in the, 'There's not much new, it's just faster' category, it's good to know that in this crazy world of long distance family, crazy medical slang, Facebook and 6AM flights that we're still people -- we find a way to connect and we find a way to come together in trying times.