As of today, February 21 2011, mom has been in the hospital since Feb 17th. Currently, she's in DOU (direct observation unit), which is just one step down from ICU. We're still waiting for a radiologist to read the results of her CT scan before we know what happens next.
One thing is certain.... she'll no longer be able to live on her own. The best possible outcome is that she won't have to live in an assisted facility, where the last vestiges of her independence will be no more. My brother and I are trying to persuade her to accept the idea that she'll need to come live with me, assuming she won't need any in-patient nursing.
When I called last Thursday, she was short of breath --- said she wasn't feeling very well and didn't want me to come and visit. I told her she didn't sound very well and I was coming over anyway but would hold off for 30 minutes. 10 minutes later, she called back and asked me to come. When I arrived, she was still short of breath, her normally ruddy yet fair complexion was extremely pale to the point of being sallow, forehead was clammy, hands were cold, a pinch on the back of her hand testified to dehydration, and toes were curled under. When she told me she'd been throwing up all night and day, I called her Dr's office (programmed as a contact on my phone), who referred me to urgent care based on her symptoms.
As soon as we got her to urgent care, the poking and prodding began. From that point, both mom and I have encountered a blur of new faces in the form of nurses, doctors, radiologists, lab techs, x-ray and respiratory specialists, nutritionists, orderlies and so many other professionals, yet one thing beyond their call to health and healing remains in common. When Mom sees a new face taking blood or monitoring her IV bags, she asks... What is your name? The only doctor who didn't provide his first name was the ER doctor, who told her his name was Dr. Wilson.
By asking for a name, she not only humanizes everyone who is responsible for a portion of her care, but she in turn humanizes herself. She is no longer "patient x". She is the patient named Karen.
Good on you, mom..... Please stay with us, you still have much to teach. Positive thoughts for myself and prayers for mom (who is a non-religious believer) are welcome.