Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Friday, May 12, 2006

Feels like February Again

Where did my week go? Why is it Friday and I’ve only managed two posts, and one of those a press release?

Well, Tuesday morning I got another one of those phone calls. Those of you with elderly parents understand the italics. My sister called me at 7:30 in an amazing panic, telling me that my mother had experienced a serious stroke and they were on the way to the hospital.

“I’ll meet you there.”

This was followed by a quick SSS (shower, shave, shit) and trucking down the highway to glorious Rock Hill, SC. Fortunately I’m close enough to home to be able to rush off when these emergencies crop up, which has been happening with disgusting regularity lately.

So we spend all day Tuesday waiting for tests and admitting and all that jazz, and I get to see my mom, and she seems okay. Not like anyone who’s just had a stroke. No slurring, no paralysis, none of that stuff. So I figure it wasn’t a stroke, but that we’re going to be there for a while trying to figure out exactly WTF happened.

Damn, I’m good. An MRI, CT scan and EEG later, we know that it wasn’t a stroke. It looks like she has a problem with blood pressure that is causing her to pass out. Apparently as we stand up, the blood vessels in the legs constrict, increasing blood pressure to get enough blood to the brain. Well, some people as they age begin to lose some of this constricting action, and their blood pressure drops drastically as they stand up, leading to fainting, or almost catatonia, which was what happened to Mom on Tuesday.

And since the spell hit her while she was sitting upright, the body couldn’t compensate, because the blood flow still wasn’t going right. It didn’t catch up until she was laying flat, right before they put her on a stretcher to haul her out. By then my father was absolutely losing his shit, and my sister was convinced that our mother was going to die.

Compound this with the fact that the numbnuts ambulance dispatcher gave bad directions to the ambulance which sent them 25 minutes out of their way along rural roads, and you’ve got a bad morning.

But Mom’s okay. For 73 and senile. So I spent three days sitting in the hospital, one to see if she was going to be okay, and two to meet with the doctors because she gets confused really easily and can’t remember what the doctors tell her. Natural progression of aging. What a muthafucker. So we’re not sure when she’ll get to go home, maybe tomorrow. And we’re not sure what to do with her when she gets home, because if these spells continue, she can’t stay alone. And there aren’t exactly a lot of home healthcare options in Bullock Creek, SC. Think Mayberry, only without all the urban development and infrastructure.

So we wait and see. I feel like a bad son for thinking it, but all the way down there Tuesday all I could think was, “If it was a stroke, I hope it’s the big one.” I watched my great-aunt lay in her hospital for two years praying to die after a stroke left her partially paralyzed and completely incapable of taking care of herself, and I just hope as we get to this point in the lives of my parents that it can happen quickly, and that neither of them have to suffer through that pain and ignominy.


Bloody P said...


I hope everything turns out okay. Two years ago, my Dad had two heart attacks and my mom had cervical cancer. All within about 9 months.

It's a scary place to be. Keep us all updated, yo.

drewspop said...

Best of luck with Mom.

FatBaldGuy said...

You're not alone in thinking that. My dad had a series of strokes a few years ago and has had heart attacks as well. If he has another, I think we both would rather it was not the kind that makes you into a vegetable, even if the alternative is passing away. Best wishes. Would say good luck, but with time not on our side, we know that won't happen.