Woody Allen is credited with saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” God must have had a good chuckle when I decided to try to post regularly during December, concentrating on the holidays. Everything went to hell in a holly basket the first day.
I posted here about my mother having a terrible sciatica attack, but I was actually hopeful her condition would let up as they evening went on. It didn’t. By ten that evening I was begging her to let me call an ambulance and get her to the hospital to get checked out. There was no question of me taking her myself; it was an excruciating ordeal for Mom to grope her way from the bedroom across the hall to the bathroom. Hobble out to the car and try to climb in? No way.
I followed the ambulance to the hospital. The roads were quiet, the darkness brightened by light displays at houses and in mall parking lots along the way. By the time I found a parking spot near the ER, Mom was installed in one of the cubicles and a team of nurses was already examining her and taking information. The ambulance ride had been miserable: not only did every bump aggravate Mom’s pain, the ride itself made her nauseous. I stayed in the background, feeding the check-in nurse Mom’s lists of allergies, medications, and previous surgeries while the staff sliced open the sleeve of her scottie pajama top so they could insert IV painkillers.
It was the kind of prolonged agony I’ve come to expect during emergency room visits, although everyone was very nice and capable. The young doctor seemed stumped by the suddenness of the sciatica attack when Mom hasn’t really suffered with the condition much in recent years. She had a bad attack in the spring, but somehow she got it quieted herself with medication.
This time even the IV drugs weren’t having any effect. We’d arrived sometime before 11 p.m.; a couple hours later two nurses tried to get Mom to stand up and her knees buckled with the pain. Around 3 a.m., just after a nurse started an IV steroid, an admittance nurse wheeled her computer into the room. Mom was getting a room.
Once I provided all the necessary information, the admittance nurse said I might as well go home and get some rest. They’d take care of transporting Mom to her room. I knew Mom was worried about me getting home safely that late, so I stumbled numbly out of the hospital. I didn’t get to bed until 4 a.m.
Sunday was gray and miserable, literally and figuratively. I visited Mom right after lunchtime (Diamondqueen had visited during the morning), and she was in lousy shape. Still in pain and viciously nauseous on top of everything else. I didn’t stay long; Mom’s nurse said the doctor should be in between four and five that afternoon. Diamondqueen and I made plans to return at 4:30.
Naturally, to the nurse’s chagrin, the doctor appeared at three o’clock, so we missed our chance to talk to him. In the meantime, they’d given Mom a muscle relaxant, and they’d taken her down for back x-rays during the afternoon. Mom was still in pain, still nauseous, but looked a little better than she had around 1:30. She also was bombed out of her skull. She was confused about everything, kept saying how she needed Diamondqueen and me there to help her understand what they were going to tell her. We insisted no one was going to be saying much else the rest of the day, but she still couldn’t work out what was happening. “But why did they arrange this big gathering?” she demanded. She thought we’d been asked to attend some kind of meeting. Before we left, Mom looked around and said in astonishment, “Oh, I’m in my ROOM.” I couldn’t see we were doing her much good, especially since she seemed to be drifting off at times or in misery at other moments, but she said she enjoyed listening to Diamondqueen and me talk. Finally, after not quite an hour, we went on our way.
I napped when I got home; and even though I was bone-tired, I still stayed up very late. Therefore, I was asleep with Rusty on the futon in the living room when I was startled by a noise around 9 a.m. It was Diamondqueen letting herself in the front door. She’d talked to the nurse after she’d gotten the Hooligans off to school. Mom was so improved she was sitting up in a chair and had eaten a bit of breakfast. Diamondqueen said Mom was in the background calling out that she wanted Diamondqueen to bring her some clothes.
When I arrived at the hospital after lunch, bearing the iPod, comb, toothbrush, glasses, and shoes Mom had requested, Mom was dozing in bed but roused immediately when she heard me come in. The nausea was gone as was the pain. She’d had some lunch. Mostly she was groggy from all the medications. Neither of us expected her to be coming home later, but she was in good spirits and talked with me for over an hour.
This evening I got a call from Mom herself—it looks like she’ll be coming home late tomorrow assuming she doesn’t have some kind of relapse. She’s going to get a session of physical therapy; I’m sure she’s concerned about aggravating the sciatica all over again. I do hope everything goes smoothly. We all want her back home. Rusty, perhaps, most of all. The poor old fart looks perpetually confused and goes wandering off down the hall as if searching for Mom. Last night I came out of my room to find him standing in the hall, peering into Mom’s bedroom. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to figure out if she was in there or if he was wondering where she’d been all day. He’ll be one happy mutt to have his Mommy home to aggravate again.