Thursday, January 30, 2014

Report from Pillville: the ER, the pharmacist, the nightmares, and the nose

I used to travel.

Let me begin by suggesting that you read  THIS. I had two dogs and two cats then. All of them getting older with a myriad of problems. By some stroke of incredible luck my lovely niece and her fianc√© were willing to pet sit while I was out of town for weeks. I think I may have gone to Greece.

I may be completely under the control of an overactive ego, but I'm pretty sure I am now irreplaceable. My human "patients" can not be sated by meds tucked into jerky treats.

The man who loves me had a typical rocky night last evening. Up and down with opiate nightmares and pain. Last night was night six post-hospital. He's in command enough now that I pretty much roll over and sleep through most of his getting in and out of bed. Guiltily. But I have no musical talent. I cannot paint or draw or design costumes. Sudoku is a mystery. I am, however, the world champion of sleeping. So I do what I am good at.

The plan this morning was that I would go off to the blood lab with my mom for a routine blood draw and leave him alone for an hour. Which turned into four hours because after she threw up in the wastebasket at the blood lab and complained of a splitting headache, I drove her to the hospital. The man did fine while my mom was rehydrated, given anti-nausea meds and some morphine. I did less well while there in the ER cubicle, fantasizing about nursing homes in Iowa while I simultaneously trembling at the thought that she might be dying. My own heart was racing, and I wondered about the physical toll on me  of all these ER visits. For my mother, a CT scan of the  head. X-ray of chest. Swab of nose to test for flu. EKG. And a paper cup of water for me. It turned out my mother was fine. Maybe a stomach virus, they said.

And when we got home, I found her morning meds still in her pillbox. She interpreted her orders to fast for her blood test as no water--and so did not take her pills. Which would explain her to the moon blood pressure this morning. Closer oversight on my part is now required.

While my mom slept most of the day, the man and I sat on the couch calling his doctors and the insurance folks. How to get his check-up x-ray here in the county where he is recuperating instead of in L.A. county. What do the instructions "take 3 times a day" really mean. What is the difference between hydrocodone, oxycodone, and oxycontin? Is there any difference at all between Percocet and Norco? His eureka moment that the reason he isn't sleeping is his nose. And that he needs antihistamines.

I was thrilled to manipulate a trip to the pharmacy into a dusk walk (only a tad guiltily) under billowing clouds  to discuss the nose with pharmacist, who, after considering the myriad of meds, cautioned against antihistamines.

Somehow we all managed to eat dinner together. And now I sit here on the couch with the one remaining resident of the old Pleasure Palace and Pet Hospice. Piper, the ancient cat, just sneezed. But she's okay. Nearing 100 in human years, she's heartier, I believe, than the human residents of this house. My mother is in her room murmuring, the man upstairs searching for a way to comfortably breathe while his body adjusts to the absence of a section of his left lung. I am neither murmuring, nor missing a body part. My body is not racked with pain. And I know that I am kidding myself when I say that I am irreplaceable. I could go nuts and hop a plane to Greece tomorrow, and love and care from others would fill the void. Love and its path of least resistance. I bow down to the love. I bow down to the path.


Ms. Moon said...

What else is there? Bowing down to love is, ultimately, what it's all about, I guess.
Well, and you know- travel, margaritas, music, joy.
Which could well come under the heading of "love."
But you know- you are going to need some respite soon. You have to take care of yourself. Such a cliche, but a very true one.

Marg W. said...

I check every day to see if you have posted with fingers crossed that life is being a little kinder this time. You are a strong person, but be as kind to yourself as you can. A little bit of respite can work wonders. Do you have a friend or can you hire a nurse for the day so you can go out with an easy mind? It gives you hope and renews your energy. Do it if you can - it is light in the middle of the tunnel.