Sunday, October 1, 2023

That Was the Week That Was

Any time you start a conversation with "So first of all, [person] is is okay," you know the story is going to be interesting...

So first of all, mom is is okay. She's home now, and everything seems to be fine in the short term. That said, here's how my week has been. 

Early Monday morning -- around 8 am, I think -- mom was out in the yard doing yard work and pruning hedges. She'd been working maybe 15 minutes when she felt a terrible pain in her chest, like something very heavy was crushing her. She sat down for a few minutes to see if the pain let up.  It didn't, and she was getting light headed, so she knew she had to get inside. Fortunately it was only 10 feet or so to the door, so she made it in, but she couldn't make it to the phone and had to lie down just inside the front door. After lying there a few minutes, she involuntarily soiled herself with urine and feces (I'm not saying this to be crass, it's relevant to the story later) due to the pain. If she wasn't going to call 911 before that, it certainly changed her mind. 

HOWEVER, my mother is a Proper Southern Lady, and it Just Wouldn't Do for the EMTs to see her in such a state, and besides, she didn't want to be a burden to them by smelling of feces and being soiled, so she went to the bathroom, cleaned herself up and changed her clothes, and then called 911. Then she waited outside for them so that our dog, Precious, wouldn't attack them in an attempt to protect mom/ward off the intruders. 

Now you may well be wondering "Where was Erin during all of this? Why didn't she help?" Well, that's an excellent and fair question. The answer is "She didn't want to bother me while I was sleeping, for exactly the same reason that she didn't want the EMTs to deal with her being soiled."

Yes. I facepalmed at that, too. 

So when I got up Monday morning at my usual time (about 10 am), I noticed a Post-It note on the bathroom door with the terse message "GONE TO ER" on it. I checked to see if her car was still here, and it was, so that told me she'd gone via ambulance and that meant it was serious. 

Now, one of the things you need to know about me is that it takes my brain time to wake up. I can do basic "move around" things, but actually thinking, especially making decisions, is something that takes at least 30 minutes and at least one cup of coffee. So as I drank my coffee -- because what else was I going to do? She'd taken an ambulance, she was in good hands, there was nothing I could do at that moment anyway so I might as well get my brain online -- I pondered what to do next. 

I contemplated calling the ER, but I didn't know when she'd left. It might have been 5 minutes before I'd woken up, and she might not have arrived yet. I could have jumped into the car and driven there, but sure as I'd done that she or the ER would call the house and I wouldn't be there to answer the phone. I'd come to the decision that I'd wait to hear more, either from mom or the hospital, when my cell phone rang. It was someone from the ER who told me that my mother was in "the cath lab" and would be admitted to the ICU after the procedure was done. 

My decision made, I got dressed and was almost out the door when the phone rang again, and this time it was an ICU nurse telling me that mom's procedure was successful and telling me her room number. It was at this time that I finally had the presence of mind to ask just what the hell was going on. I was told that mom suffered what's called a STEMI, which stands for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction. I'll let you look up what "ST Elevation" means, but "Myocardial Infarction" is fancy doctor-speak for what you and I would call a heart attack. 

Apparently mom had 99% blockage in some very important artery whose name I can't recall but I think had a three-letter acronym, and a 50% blockage in another. They put a stent into the 99% blocked artery in "the cath lab" and the procedure went well, and she was recovering in the ICU. I went to see her and she looked beat up but about as good as someone in Intensive Care recovering from a heart attack and an operation could look. She was sore, but coherent and in generally good spirits, so I kept her company and asked the nurses lots of questions and contacted my sister so she could call mom. Later in the week I sneaked mom a Sausalito cookie from Pepperidge Farms -- for "morale purposes", you understand, because she was on a low-everything diet and hospital food isn't very good -- and she came home on Wednesday. 

So like I said, she's fine now. Despite her little stunt of not calling 911 until after she'd cleaned herself up -- oh, and we had A TALK ABOUT THAT, let me tell you! I told her the next time something like this happens, she is to call 911 before she does anything else because she could have collapsed in the bathroom and died! And she is to WAKE ME UP! -- despite all this, she seems to have gotten to the ER within the "golden hour" and is recovering well. She has a follow-up appointment with her cardiologist on Monday and we will discuss how this happened, because the last time she'd seen the cardio was earlier in the year and none of this was detected. 

The pet theory we have is that this has been caused by all the stress we've been under this year. For those folks who haven't been keeping track, and I confess I haven't written about a lot of it on this blog, but here's the highlights:
  • Water leak in master suite which caused damage and mold
  • Furniture was removed from master suite, all carpets and a lot of drywall removed
  • That was in February, it's now October and our insurance company STILL won't pay to make those rooms livable, and we're tripping over the furniture that was moved out
  • My father died in June, the day before my mom's birthday
  • We had to put our other dog Daisy to sleep because her congestive heart failure got to the point where she was struggling to breathe and couldn't sleep
  • All sorts of minor crap involving bills and funeral arrangements and the assorted aches and pains of getting older
So yeah, if mom's heart attack is partly the result of our insurance playing fuck-fuck games with us for 9 months, I'm gonna get a lawyer and sue the ever-loving SHIT out of them. 

That was my week, and I'm only now recovered enough to recount it. I swear to God, this year is the worst I've had this century, and if things don't let up soon I will likely end up in the hospital, the jail or the morgue. 

Before you ask if you can help: you can't, unless you have a magic wand or a million dollars or a Florida-licensed lawyer who's willing to work either pro bono or for a chunk of the settlement. 

Now I'm gonna post Monday's podcast episode on social media because all that went out the window when I went to the ICU and I'm only now getting back on schedule. I missed the Patreon deadline for it for September, but oh well. 

And goodnight, America, wherever you are...

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