Losing My Head and Finding My Voice

HeadRest

It would be too easy to call this entry, something negative ,” but in truth, with all that I’ve been through, I can honestly say that I feel blessed.

Mom fell again two weeks ago Monday. She hadn’t recovered her strength and I was feeling increasingly frustrated because of that. I had done everything from making changes to her diet, pep talks and threats of more physical therapy, but nothing made a difference. This was combined with my continued lack of sleep and all around exhaustion.

So when she fell, I had a meltdown. I started crying and babbling, and even though I felt miserable, I also felt good.

You see, I haven’t cried – well had one of those cathartic cries where you release pent-up poison – since mom’s cancer diagnosis. So yes, it felt good . Of course, it didn’t help mom much because she was still on the floor.

Thankfully, my friend Diana came over and helped mom get up, since I was too much of a basket case to do anything but cry.

That was how the week began.

By the end of the week, mom would be in the hospital after three more falls, no more meltdowns from me, but the realization that mom’s continued weakness and falling signaled something beyond changes to her diet and pep talks.

So I called 911, and after many hours of testing, they found out that mom was suffering from a bad UTI (urinary tract infection). The doctor said that falling commonly occurred as a symptom of UTI in older patients.

Who knew? I was imagining the worst possible scenarios, so I can honestly say that both mom and I felt blessed to find out that her problem was treatable, and that she’d be home after getting some physical therapy to get her strength back.

As I said, this happened two weeks ago, so it has given me time to reflect.

I am not the person I was before mom’s diagnosis. I don’t like confrontation, but I have learned to push past that dislike and confront both people and situations head-on. This came in especially handy when I met the doctor who was scheduled to treat my mom at the hospital after her fourth fall. It was the same doctor who, when my mom was in the hospital last September, gave us such a bad time.

I didn’t write about this at the time, because when all of this occurred I was too busy to do so. Now, after all these months, here goes; Mom had become very weak one morning, so another friend and I took her to the emergency room. The doctor decided that mom was suffering from a very low blood sugar, but of course, they had to do more testing to be sure. Nothing was conclusive, so mom was taken to a room for observation.

In comes another doctor, who after briefly introducing herself announces quite flatly that mom has had a third heart attack. Obviously shocked, my mom says, “no!” The doctor, one who clearly has a very high opinion of herself, responded, “yes!” This went back and forth for over five minutes with me sitting in the corner trying not to gastrically explode. I mean seriously if the doctor thought mom was having a heart attack, why would she argue with her and get her more upset?

Finally the doctor, who I will refer to as “Dr. Yes/No,” left the room.

Now mind you, mom was in a normal patient room without any sort of heart monitors or special care, which made it seem as if they ER doctor wasn’t concerned about any heart problems, but merely wanted to observe her to monitor her blood sugar.

So the next thing we know, Dr . Yes/No walks back in and announces that because she’s had a heart attack, mom is going to be transported to another hospital that has a special cardiac unit. I remained calm, because I had to, and because mom was clearly upset. Saying anything at this point, would have only made it worse for her, and that is something I refused to do.

So all the the ballyhoo transpired that is necessary to transport a patient from one hospital to another, and we were both happy to bid adieu to Dr. Yes/No with the hope that we’d never have to deal with her again.

Long story short, mom did not in fact, have another heart attack. Dr. Yes/No was wrong, and she had upset my mother for no reason.

So here, we are two weeks ago, and mom is in the ER and who walks in? You got it, Dr. Yes/No, who promptly asks me (in the hallway), “So did your mother have a heart attack when she was here last?”

My eyes bugged out of my head like a cartoon (at least, that’s how it felt.)

I said, “No,” this was followed by a barrage of questions from Dr. Yes/No about my mother’s heart condition and nothing about why she was currently in the hospital for treatment. She was clearly frustrated to find out that mom hadn’t had a heart attack, which undoubtedly meant that she was mistaken. Of course being the type not to take this well, she got one more dig in, “Well the UTI could be caused by her heart.”

And this is when my head exploded.

I didn’t yell or react outwardly, but what I did do was have Dr. Yes/No removed from treating my mother.

There is a process to doing this, which seemed long and exaggerated while I was doing it. I spoke to more people than I can remember until finally I was assured that Dr. Yes/No would be removed from my mother’s case. Of course she didn’t leave before going into my mom’s room and confronting her when I wasn’t there, but thankfully mom told her the reason why we asked to have her removed, and poof she was gone.

So yes, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Currently mom is in a short-term rehabilitation facility where she continues to get stronger each day, and I’ve gotten some much needed rest. So yes, I can honestly say that blessings abound.

Well for everyone but Dr. Yes/No.

The image is by Maggie Taylor, Mood Lifted.

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This entry was posted in Cancer, Caregiving, Coping, exhaustion, Friends, hope, Mom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Losing My Head and Finding My Voice

  1. KjM says:

    “…blessings abound. Well for everyone but Dr. Yes/No.” Well, everyone can’t win all the time, can they?

    Falling and UTIs – who knew, indeed?

    It seems you were due a cry. We don’t always get what we deserve (thank goodness else “…who should ‘scape whipping?” as the Bard wrote.)

    But sometimes we do and, it seems, blessings abound.

    I’m glad to read that, even though the circumstances were trying, and beyond trying, you had “…one of those cathartic cries where you release pent-up poison”. It seems to have been good. It’s also good that your Mom’s infection is treatable, resolvable, can-be-made-go-awayable.

    And thirdly, finding one’s voice. How does that television ad go? “Priceless.”

    What’s that line from the Book of Ruth – “May you be blessed, my daughter…”

    Blessings to you, Rachel – may they continue to abound.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Thanks Kevin. It was a tough week, but thankfully mom is finally getting the physical therapy she needed. She continues to get stronger every day and is due to come home on Monday.

      Thank as always, for your kind comments.

      Blessings to you too,

      Rachel

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