I am going to preface this post with the statement that Nana is doing well, so as not to cause anyone undue stress.
On Friday, April 8th, my plan was to do a couple of things at Grandma’s cottage, which we were working on cleaning out, have lunch with a friend, and then head to Syracuse to bring daughter T home for the weekend, which would be her first time home since Grandma died on March 22nd.
A few minutes after I arrived at the senior community, my cell phone rang. It was my mom (Nana) calling from the emergency room. She had collapsed in the waiting room of a medical building across the street from the hospital. The rapid response team had done a couple of rounds of CPR on her and she was in the emergency room for monitoring and tests.
I used the speakerphone to tell B what was happening. He made arrangements to go to Syracuse to get T. I left messages for my friend not to expect me for lunch. Meanwhile, I drove to the hospital.
I was lucky to find a parking space in the visitors’ lot and rushed up the hill toward the emergency entrance, a cold wind blowing directly into my face, making it difficult to catch my breath. After an unusually mild winter, we had a couple of cold snowy weeks once spring had officially arrived.
Once I was able to get through the line and behind the locked doors of the ER, the wait was on. An EKG was done. The heart monitor was tracing green lines across a screen above Nana’s head. Blood was drawn for tests. They took Nana down for a chest X-ray. There was a line started in her arm, although she wasn’t hooked up to any intravenous fluids. She wasn’t allowed to eat or drink. We were talking to pass the time. The ER became increasingly busy and noisy.
Nana was having some pain in her back and chest. The nurse told us it was from the CPR. A small price to pay from having been brought back from death…
Several hours later, the physician assigned to her case came in. Nana was not dehydrated. Her electrolytes were fine. She hadn’t had a heart attack.
In fact, her heart had not stopped at all.
She had fainted, mostly likely from a combination of cold, wind, walking too quickly uphill in the morning when her medications tend to drop her blood pressure.
We were grateful that she was okay, although I admit that I have been struggling with the fact that a highly trained medical team missed her pulse and performed CPR when they should have been reaching for the smelling salts.
This was especially difficult as she has had to deal with a bruised chest and ribs over these following weeks. It was all unnecessary.
For me, it was also an extra measure of fear that pushed me within a hair’s breadth of melting down. I have been working hard at keeping myself functional during this stressful time. For a few hours, I felt as though I might not be able to cope with an added crisis.
Thank God that Nana and the rest of the family were spared what could have been so much worse.