Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Worries, Part 2

I woke up this morning from a pleasant dream that faded the minute my eyes opened.  For a split second I stared up at the ceiling, completely relaxed, until my memory kicked in and I remembered  today was Mom's hospital appointment.   I wondered how (or if) she slept last night?  My heartbeat instantly increased as my anxiety revved up, it was time to get my oh-so-glamorous self vertical.

I took off my Hannibal Lecter-ish CPAP mask, removed my hair-protecting snood, yanked out my earplugs (told you I was glamorous)  and hit the Info button on my machine to see how many hours I'd slept.  6.1 with .08 apneas.  Not great, but could be worse.

Looking out my bedroom window toward Mom's house, I said a silent prayer.  It was too early to call her on the off-chance she was still asleep, so I donned my workout apparel and hit Play on the DVD player.  Leslie Sansone appeared on my screen telling me it was a perfect time to walk, any time you choose is the perfect time to walk.

"Yes, it is, Leslie," I said as I jumped onto my rebounder.

I don't think I've mentioned my rebounder, have I?  I bought myself a Cellerciser mini-trampoline one year ago this month for around $500.  I had been researching them for months and was hesitant to spend so much money on a piece of exercise equipment that was all the rage in the 70's and 80's but faded in popularity as the next fad came along.  They've recently been making a comeback and I'm happy to say I have used mine every day for at least an hour.  Rebounding looks deceptively easy, but it is a great workout and helped me build muscle, improve my balance and for heaven's sake, jog (me, jog? Yep.)  plus it is easy on the joints, which is fantastic.  If I ever wear this unit out I will not hesitate to buy another, but after a year of use it's still as good as new.  My only warning would be to buy the best mini-trampoline you can afford, because the very cheap ones are extremely hard on the body.  The high-end spring-types (like my Cellerciser) and bungee-cord types (Bellicon) are great for fitness.

I walk, walk, walked with Leslie and her group for five miles this morning, alternating side-stepping, jumping jacks and jogging.  Sometimes mindless cardio is just what the doctor ordered, it calms me down and raises a sweat all at once.  Something about the bouncing motion (moving the lymphatic system, the gurus say) is soothing to the soul.  I don't know if my lymph is moving or not, but I know it makes me feel better, and that's enough for me.

I had my eyes on the clock at all times, and ran for a shower and a bite to eat before calling Mom for the day.  She answered the phone on the third ring and sounded very frail.  She'd had a bad night again, her stomach pain wouldn't let her rest until 4AM.  I told her I was sorry to hear she wasn't feeling better and told her I'd be there to pick her up by 11:30AM.

When I arrived, she came out of the house right away and before I could jump out and help her, she was already in my car.  She spent most of the ride telling me about the pain and how she is still certain the Nifedipine is the culprit.

"What are they going to do to me today?" she asked as she tried to maneuver the visor to block the sunshine.

"You're going to have a CT scan," I said.

"Does that mean I have to take my clothes off?  Will you help me with those stupid gowns?"

"Sure, I'll help you.  I know you have to drink something before they do the test, though," I said.

"Oh, I remember when your dad had to drink that awful gallon of white stuff one time, do you remember that?  And then he was in the bathroom for hours," she shuddered, 'Do I have to drink that stuff, too?   I can't drink a gallon!"

"No, that was for a colonoscopy, I don't think you'll have to drink THAT much stuff."

"What's this all about?  Do you know?  Do you know why my stomach hurts?  I just don't understand it, do you?  Do you think they'll find something today?  I suppose I have to die from something; I can't go on forever, something's gotta give eventually."

I tried my best to soothe her; of course she's scared, I'm scared, too.

"It's a good thing you're driving, I don't even know where we are.  Where are all the cars, two, three, four, five, six, SEVEN in a row!  Look at that!  Are they all going to Seymour?  Where do you think all these cars are going?  They can't be going to Seymour, do you think?  So many cars...when I think about being a kid there were hardly any cars.  If you saw one on the road it was a big deal, and now there's cars everywhere.  Do you know where we are?  It's a good thing you're driving.  What is this thing in the road, a roundabout, you say?  What's a roundabout?  How do you know what to do?  Oh my, are they going to stop?  Oh, I hate these things, I think they built them to make old people stop driving. How long do you think you'll be able to handle driving?  Do you think you'll still be driving ten years from now?  Do you know where we're going?  I don't, I'm lost.  Is this the prison?  I've seen this wall before, are we in Green Bay?  Do you think there are cells in the prison?  Just look at all the traffic, how do you know where you're going?"

It never fails that I feel like a rocket scientist or at the very least, a race car driver when I drive Mom anywhere, she is awed by my prowess behind the wheel.  Little does she know I hate traffic with a passion and am not at all as sure of myself as I seem.  Luckily for me, I've ridden shotgun with Carl and our sons long enough that I know where I'm going.  Fake it til you make it is my motto.    I told her we were nearing the hospital and I was going to use the valet parking service so we wouldn't have to walk so far.

When I pulled up in front of the hospital, Mom got out of the car right away and started heading inside, which was fine, but I had to give the valet my name and receive the wristband with my car's number on it, so by the time I had that all settled, she was way ahead of me.  When I caught up with her in the vestibule, she was a little unsteady on her feet again, so I quickly moved toward the dozens of wheelchairs parked in rows, "Here, Mom, why don't you sit down?  We might have to walk a long way."

She looked at the chairs and shook her head, "No, I can walk.  We just have to take our time."

Luckily the walk wasn't very long and we were ushered into the reception room of the CT Imaging area.  A very nice nurse asked Mom all the usual questions, gave Mom a hospital bracelet and we were seated in the waiting room.   I could tell she was in pain again; she said her cramps were very bad.

A technician came and got us and moved us to another room with a hospital bed and two chairs.  She had a 16 oz bottle of what looked like orange juice with her, "Lucille, I'm going to need you to drink this juice in the next 30 minutes, ok?  When this one is gone, you have to drink another one just like it, and then we can do the CAT scan.  I'll get you a straw, there, is that better?  It is a little bitter, but we do put orange flavoring in it to hide the taste.  I'll be back in 25 minutes and see how you're doing."

She handed me the TV remote and said to buzz for her if we needed her.  Mom dutifully sipped the concoction, "It's not too bad, it's sweet, anyway."

She drank about a a third of the bottle and then set it down, so I had to keep reminding her to do her best to keep drinking.  She sighed but eventually the bottle was empty.  Almost immediately the nurse reappeared with the second bottle.

"You mean I have to drink this one, too?" Mom asked.

"Yes, please do your best, ok?  Don't drink it if you feel you'll be sick, but try to drink as much as you can.  I'll be back in a few minutes to take you for the scan."

Mom was having a much harder time now, she was very full and didn't want to drink any more but the lame movie I found on TV about a mathematician turned Olympic-hopeful ice skater did help a little.  When the technician came to get her, she'd drank about a fourth of the second bottle.

"You couldn't finish it, Lucille? Well, that's ok, you did your best.  You're a little person, that's probably enough for you anyway.  Ok, follow me, and I'll take you to get your IV set up and we'll run the test.  Are you her daughter?  You can stay here, I'll bring her back when we're done."

Mom followed the technician and I caught my breath when she teetered a little on her way out of the room, but she made it under her own power.  I was left to sit and watch the ice skating movie, but since I was anxious and all alone in the room, I stood up and started walking in place.  I'm sure if there were security cameras trained on me, they were laughing at the sight.

I was only ten minutes in to my walk when the technician brought Mom back, "All done, she did well, but she felt a little nauseous when I pushed the contrast dye.  Here's your take home instructions, results should be available in 24-48 hours.  Have a nice day."

"When will they tell me what is wrong?" Mom asked as we made our way back to the lobby.

"In 24 to 48 hours," I sighed.  "Maybe I can find out sooner when we get home."

I seated her in the lobby while I waited for a valet to retrieve my car.  Mom was tired and she said her stomach was hurting again.

"What are we waiting for?"

"They have to get my car."

"What do you mean?  Who took your car?  Have they been driving around with it all this time?  You just left them take it?  How do you know you'll get it back?"

"They gave me this bracelet," I said.  "Don't worry, we'll get it back.  They don't want a ten year old car."

She eyed the bracelet doubtfully, at that moment I felt empathy for Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk fame who traded his mother's cow for some magic beans.  Oh great, Jack, you traded Bessie for beans and we're going to climb a beanstalk and be rich and famous.  Mmmm-hmmm.

A valet came and took my bracelet and sprinted off.  "What was that all about?"

"He's going to get the car and all we have to do is sit here and wait.  Sure beats running around in the parking lot, doesn't it?"

I could tell she didn't share my enthusiasm, but of course she wasn't feeling very well.  When my car pulled up to the curb, I helped her to her feet, "Ok, my car is here, we can go."

A beautiful white sedan was blocking the view of my humble dark red Pontiac and Mom was ready to get in that car instead which would have been a surprise for the owner, I'm sure.  I steered Mom toward my car and she recognized it then, "I hate bucket seats."

"I know, Mom, next time I'll drive your car."

"I hope there isn't a next time.  I don't want to go through this again."

She was very tired on the way home, but said her stomach wasn't hurting any more, which was good, but weird, considering she'd had all that contrast dye to drink.

I dropped her off, settled her in and came back home.  The phone was ringing when I walked in the door.  It was the doctor's office, calling to tell me Mom's CT scan looked normal, so good news, it appears fine.  I asked about her latest blood work, again, no problems.

I said, "I'm glad the tests don't indicate anything serious, but she simply cannot go on the way she is right now."

"Did you want to see the doctor again?  The earliest appointment would be Friday."

I took it.  And then I went back up to see Mom and give her the 'good' news.

She was shocked, "But I hurt, I'm not making this up, I really do hurt, and now you're going to make me take those pills again."

"I know you do, don't worry, I've never doubted you.  I'll tell you what, we'll skip the yellow pill and then I need you to tell me how you feel tonight.  If you don't hurt at all, then we know the pill is the culprit."

It was the only situation I could think of for now.  The look of relief on her face was heart-wrenching; I really do hope it was that 'darn pill', too.

We'll see how tomorrow goes.  

(Thank you for all the care, concern and prayers.  They are greatly appreciated.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh my gosh, it's hard to believe all that your Mom is going through with the pain and them not finding anything wrong. Bless her heart.

Thank you for keeping us posted.

Continued prayers for both of you ~ FlowerLady

Karen said...

Dear Rainey, thank you so much for your words of support and prayers. You never fail to bring a smile and comfort. I too was hoping (and dreading) for some answers yesterday, but I guess none were to be had. Thank you again, dear heart.

Indie said...

I think rebounding might be coming back into vogue - I actually took a rebounding class at our community center a couple years ago. It was a lot of fun and good exercise! I sure hope this further appointment can help in finding out whatever is causing your mother's stomach pain! I'm sure it is so frustrating for both of you. :(

Karen said...

Thank you, Indie. I bet a rebounding class was fun. I don't think they have any around here, maybe I could start a trend?