Thursday, February 5, 2015

Better Life Through Chemistry!

It's been an "E-Ticket" ride of a couple of weeks. There I go again, dating myself. For those of you who are younger than 30, "E-Ticket" refers to a pricing scheme that was popular at Disneyland. There were different entry fees charged per person, depending on which rides you wanted to include on your visit. The "E-Ticket" rides were often the most popular and/or the most thrilling. They were also the most expensive. My "E-Ticket" reference refers to challenges and emotionally charged rollercoasters.

One of the few trips Haime made with
us--Italy for one of my
"significant" birthdays
Mom had heart surgery last week. Most of you who are regular readers of this blog will remember that Barbara is not just my mom, she's my travel buddy. Haime, you'll also remember does not suffer from the wanderlust affliction that I do. He's happy being a "home body" and is happy I have Mom travelling with me.
The condition that Mom had repaired via the surgery was one that her doctors had been monitoring for several years. It's just been within the past six months that she had become symptomatic. So, the procedure was considered "routine" by her doctors and surgeon. Well, when we're talking about your mom rather than some "anonymous person," and heart surgery, there is no such thing as routine.

Mom was just ready to get it done. She was, as the saying goes: "tired of being tired." A few days before her surgery, Mom asked if  I would stay with her in the hospital. I told her that, that was the plan and not to worry, she would not be alone. Thankfully, God does great work and guided the surgeon through the whole thing and mom came out with no issues.

As you might expect, she was in the Intensive Care Unit for the first day and "a half," (more about the "half" later)...All of my four sisters and I were at the hospital for the surgery. We had predetermined that I would be the "sleep-over" daughter. Two of my sisters tend to "sleep LOUDLY," and we certainly didn't want to take a chance of being asked to leave; and one sister claims that she works for Cruella DeVille and could not be off of work for more than a day. Also, Haime has been in TOO many hospitals, so I have lots of practice sleeping therein. I was informed that I would be unable to sleep in the unit with mom but that there was a waiting room immediately out from it and that I could come inside to see mom as much as I wanted, anytime during the night.

When I went to see the waiting area, I was acutally thrilled because most of the chairs had no arms! As I mentioned earlier, I  have lots of experience sleeping in hospitals so I know that if there are no arms on the chairs, one can actually stretch out across several of them and maybe actually sleep. I felt like I was in HIGH COTTON! Also, I was a girl scout so I had planned well for my stay...I brought a blanket-throw, a pillow, toiletries and a few changes of clothes. The first night of my "camp-out," as I prepared to sleep, stretched out over three(ish) chairs, I learned that we were not allowed to turn off the lights...WHAT?! Oh well, I thought, I am really tired, I can probably go to sleep. WRONG! So, I devised a "light-cancelling-shelter." As you see, I butted two pairs of chairs up together and draped my blanket across the them. The chairs under the window are affixed to the floor and butt right up to the wall. The blanket end on those chairs fit very snuggly. Unfortunately, the opposite side of the blanket kept sliding off of the other chairs so I tied my shoes as anchors to each end of that side of the blanket. GENIUS! I crawled inside my new home, with my belongings with me and thought, WOW, I've just constructed, and am living in a homeless shelter tent. The five other campers were so jealous!

So, after spending that first night in the waiting room, I thought I'd be on Easy Street for the remainder of Mom's stay. We had requested a private room so I could sleep on a recliner in the room with her. Well, remember when I told you that we'd be talking about the "half" day that Mom would be in ICU? Well, the morning after her surgery, we were told that Mom would be moved to her room as soon as the person currently occupying it, was discharged. Unfortunately, we learned later that the bed was in a semi-private room, which was not ideal but at least Mom would be out of ICU. That fell through, however when we learned that the other person in the room had contracted the flu. We continued to wait for a room throughout the day. Finally, about 10:30 that night, I reestablished "Camp Aggie" (more classy than Homeless Camp), and dove in for the night. At about 12:15, the ICU nurse came knocking on my tent to say that Mom was moving to a room...that's 12:15! (They call Vegas the place that never sleeps...)

So, by 1:30 AM, after a little bit more "musical hospital room changes," we settled in for the night. Mostly the next few days passed without incident. And with the aide of Milk of Magnesia, everything finally passed as well. Finally, on the fifth day, Mom made her escape. I drove the get-away car and we turned for home. Once there, I organized her meds and made sure that two of my sisters, who would be staying with Mom over the weekend, knew what the new temporary "normal" looked like. As I left Mom in their very capable hands, I realized for the first time what an adrenaline rush I had been on for about 5 days because suddenly, I was raw and I really didn't understand why. I was never worried that Mom would not be OK, I was pleased with her progress and I had slept well. However, as I was driving home, I felt like I had nothing left...what a WIMP!!! So, I got home, fixed myself two double vodka tonics and felt the world tilt back into know what they say, "Better Life Through Chemistry!"

I've included some of my favorite pics of Mom from some of our travels...enjoy
Italian Nights
"Cowgirl Mom" (Nashville)

              "Minute Mom" (Boston)
                                    Travel Buddies
"Lobsta-Bait Mom"  
(Bar Harbor)          







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