Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Bad Day for Grandma's

Another inspiration from Sunday Scribblings

I was blogging in March of 2004, but did not share this because it was just too emotionally overwhelming. I have my hand written journal in front of me and it outlines the events of that day, yet it does not capture the sheer terror I felt that evening.

When we called our brother to tell him Mom had had a heart attack we found out that my SIL's mother passed away,(after a long struggle with lung cancer), that same day. MY SIL said, "It was a bad day for Grandma's".

"N., L. and I sat all day in the waiting room while they operated on Mom. They took her for prep around 1030am and she refused to take off her rings. She said they had been on her hands for over 50 years and would not come off easily. The prep personnel told her that they had to be removed in case of swelling. Wouldn't she rather cut them off than loose a finger?

We waited and waited and waited some more. They were to bring her rings to us.

Around 230pm we had had enough and asked. We were told that Mom was in a sterile environment and we could not see her nor wait with her. Finally, they rolled her out and we we received the rings as they whisked her to the operating room.

We were then ushered to the heart surgery waiting room.

I think they began operating around 315pm.

We were kept informed throughout the afternoon. They surgical team called the waiting room with updates. "They have hooked her up to the by-pass machine". "They have begun working on her valve". "They are finished repairing the valve and are now beginning the by-pass".

All afternoon Doctors came into the waiting room and sat down with the each of the families and delivered the results of the operations. The room that was filled to overflowing earlier in the day, slowing began to dwindle down to a handful of concerned and strained faces.

Around 8pm a nurse came into the area and asked at the desk where the "SURNAME" family was sitting. We were asked to leave and enter an adjacent conference room and wait for the Doctor.

A feeling of cold dread flooded me. I felt as if I had taken a punch to the solar plexus. My brother asked if Mom was out of surgery and was told only, "The doctor will talk to you".

I knew my Mom had died on the operating table. That is why we were being shown into another room so that we would not upset the other families.

I sat down next to L. and began to pray. The dread was threatening to overpower me. I could not speak. I could not share my anxiety with L & N. But L. knew, my face said it all.

Sitting in total silence for the longest most excruciating five minutes, the Doctor finally burst through the door and announced that Mom was in recovery and had sailed through the operation.

I broke down into sobs of relief."

I have spent many hours, days and nights in hospitals over the past five or so years and I can only conclude that Hospitals are an evil necessity. The staff are at times kind and supportive, and at other times cruel and inaccessible. I have learned to ask a lot of questions and even challenge them if I think the situation warrants such an action. They are only human, not super humans or God's. They make mistakes, get tired, become cranky.

It's my Mom and Dad lying there.

A necessary evil.


Lisa :-] said...

I have spent many hours, days and nights in hospitals over the past five or so years and I can only conclude that Hospitals are an evil necessity.

I have been there, and I have done that, and truer words have never been written.

meno said...

That horrible, helpless feeling of sitting in the waiting room while someone you care about undergoes surgery is just awful.

And the hospital has seen it all and it so feels as if they don't care.

Unhinged said...

Good lord, that nurse didn't have the common sense to let you all know that your mom was in recovery?!


(Okay, this hit a little too close to home because my mom had a heart scare recently and I was imagining the worst.)

emmapeelDallas said...

Boy, did this hit home. I know about being ushered into a little room, away from everyone else, and fearing the worst, and the incredible, almost palpable relief when the news turns out to be good...

You always have to be an advocate for yourself in today's health care (and I say that having worked in a hospital)...