In part one of this post, I wrote about reading at poetry open mic for the first time. Here is a (somewhat condensed) continuation of the story.
While stopped at a traffic light on the way home, I turned the ringer of my phone back on and was surprised to see that there was a missed call from my husband B, who had stayed at home because he wasn’t feeling well. He knew where I was and that I wouldn’t have the phone on during the reading, so I immediately became apprehensive and rushed home to find that my mom (Nana) had called for advice as to whether she should have my dad (Paco) take her to the walk-in or the emergency room when she had suddenly exhibited symptoms of a gastrointestinal bleed.
B advised the emergency room.
B had called my cell phone, hoping that I would put my ringer back on before leaving the bookstore so that I could get to the hospital more quickly, but, as it turned out, it was good that I had gone home first. They phoned again during the few minutes I was home to say that Nana was being put into a room in the ER. I grabbed a few magazines that I could leave with my mother for entertainment during the inevitable waiting times and headed out to the hospital.
The ER waiting room was filled to overflowing and there were so many patients back in the unit itself that some were in the hallway. My mom was in a room, though, because they needed to keep her hitched up to cardiac monitors, given that some of her symptoms could have been a second heart attack. Her heart was okay, but she needed to stay in the hospital to figure out where the bleeding was occurring. There were no rooms available in the hospital proper, so, about 2 AM, she was moved to another section of the ER that had beds rather than gurneys.
The next day, the gastroenterologist who was on weekend call, Dr. B., came in and we decided that it was best to do a colonoscopy on Sunday morning and Nana was admitted to the GI unit when space became available. The colonoscopy revealed that Nana had developed arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and was bleeding from several different sites, which Dr. B. cauterized. Dr. B. explained it to us as being similar to varicose veins that break through to the surface and bleed. Unfortunately, the meds that Nana needs to take due to her cardiac stents don’t help matters, as they act to prevent blood from clotting easily.
Although Nana had lost quite a bit of blood, the doctors decided not to transfuse but to let her try to build back her blood count on her own. This didn’t turn out so well, as Nana had to spend several days in the hospital about a month later when her low iron levels started to affect her blood pressure. They finally gave her a couple of units of blood and, while her iron level isn’t quite up to what is considered normal, she is slowly gaining strength and getting back to some parts of her old routine – with, we hope, more progress to come as spring continues to unfold and we celebrate Mother’s Day and her birthday.
There is no way to tell when the AVMs may recur, so, for now, there are weekly blood tests so that, if she becomes more anemic, the gastroenterologist can intervene before she loses too much blood.
Vigilance is our friend, as is following through on recommended treatment, medication, and lifestyle choices. It’s what has kept Nana and Paco as active as they are as they age.
But fingers crossed that we don’t have any more medical adventures in the coming months.
We all need a rest.
9 thoughts on “Friday night fun? – part 2”
Oh Joanne, that must have been really frightening for all of you. I’m glad to hear she’s slowly building her energy up again. So sorry for how tough it can be.
And SO grateful to you for your loving and supportive presence last night. Thank you so much!
Thanks, Pat. I was so happy to be at the reading for “There’s a Woman in the Pulpit” (http://www.skylightpaths.com/page/product/978-1-59473-588-2) last night, to meet Martha, and to share time and food with an arc of Sarah’s Circle with some new additions!
Between your own experience and working in ministry, I know that you know exactly how frightening these situations can be. It’s taken me quite a while to get my head together and to take time to write this post. There are probably another dozen posts rattling around that I need to get to at some point, but – well – life is never predictable, so…
It sounds like a really good reading, Joanne, and I’m so glad to know that your mother continues to recuperate and heal! May it continue to be so (may it be enjoyably uneventful in the coming days and weeks on that front!). I continue to reflect on some of the Interspiritual percolations … perhaps they’ll overflow into the blog again one of these days, too. 🙂 Blessings, Jamie
Thanks, Jamie. I’ll keep an eye out for more interspiritual posts. I saw Yvonne yesterday and the conference found its way into the conversation.
Our parents medical issues can sure be complicated. I’m glad Nana is healing so they can go on with their active lifestyles. I love how you refer to these events as medical adventures!
Thanks, JoAnne! I do’n’t think of myself as the adventurous sort, but necessity wins out. Coming soon is the continuing saga from the other side of the famiiy…
What an unexpected ending to a poetry reading! I join you in hoping you get a reprieve from medical emergencies. p.s. I am also one of three sisters. I’ve often thought it’s why I prefer odd numbers of things.
Three sisters rock! I am the middle in our family. Where in the order are you?
I do hope that things will remain quiet on the medical front; I am going to visit my daughter in Hawai’i for five weeks, starting next month. We do have back up assistance on the mainland, though, just in case.