We had impressive, violent even, winds here last Thursday night. As we had power failures that day, and mom had a doctor’s appointment Friday morning, I had my cell phone at my bedside for a backup alarm clock in case the power gave it up over night. This meant that I awoke to a text from my eldest daughter sending me a picture of herself in the ER. This is a child who does not make ready use of the medical system, aside from recommended care. She would rather walk off a an ache or pain that the rest of us would seek advice for. Granted my kids have higher than usual pain thresholds, but sheesh.
She has been bitten by kidney stones, and one stone is determined to make a run for daylight, hence the intense pain that made her decide to head to the ER. By the time she texted me, she had the diagnosis and pain meds were on-board. So she was a little silly! Her sweetheart was with her, and kept me up-to-date as the early morning unfolded. She has a follow-up appointment with the specialist tomorrow.
It’s kidney stones! One way or another, we (she) got this! She comes by this honestly, even though this affliction isn’t necessarily a familial one. Her dad had them, and so have I, though mine were thought to be caused by a med I’ve taken for more than 18 years. Perhaps the propensity, or susceptibility to get kidney stones is what she inherited from her parents.
It is difficult to be so far away when your child is under the weather. I am thankful her sweetheart is there to take care of her. After talking to the kids as they left the hospital, my intention to work before heading out to take mom to the doctor evaporated. It was more important to be in touch with them. After we got off the phone, I left to pick up mom.
Of course, mom wasn’t in her apartment, even though we wrote my pick-up time on her daily New Yorker calendar ;->. I took a moment to scoop Elvis’ box, soak his food dish, and refill his water. I found mom in a News & Reviews gathering. We went back to her apartment to get her purse and coat. She chose her violent purple rain jacket. I was wearing a deep purple dress shirt over a grey tank-top. We looked very fetching together!
Finding a parking place at the doc’s took some doing, and left us far away from the garage-entrance to the building. I was afraid to leave her at the door, as there was no where for her to sit, and if she were to take a fall, it would have taken 911 to get her up again. So, we took the slow, long walk from the car to the door. More than ever before, mom veered to the left using her walker, as we needed to head right. Trying to guide her with a hand on her back didn’t work. Guiding the walker, with a verbal, “Mom, we need to head right, and you’re heading left!” was met with understandable ire. We finally got to doc’s office. She headed to the restroom. The doc’s nurse called her before she was done. It gave us a few minutes to chat.
Again, mom didn’t recall her fall before Thanksgiving. When I corrected mom’s answer, the doc looked at mom’s records and said, “Wait, we don’t have a picture since before this fall?” I replied, “No, or any other falls we don’t know about.” He said, with a gracious wave of his hand, “X-ray is just across the hall!”
Within 30-minutes, Dr. P, his student, PA, and I were gathered around his monitor, and he said, “This is bad, really bad.” I’m no radiologist, but having seen my own healthy knee x-rays, knew this looked pretty dire. He then said to his collective audience, “It’s memory test time!” and went through a series of clicks to get back to mom’s Feb 2019 knee x-rays. I gasped out loud while uttering, “Oh my God!!” Dr. P said she needs a new knee. I looked at him and said, “We’re not going there. There’s no way she could do the rehab.’ He understood and agreed.
He next pointed out fracture lines along the top of the fibula. He couldn’t hypothesize how this could have happened. We don’t get to know.
Dr. P agrees palliative care, and PT are what we have available to us. He gave mom a scary looking injection in her knee. A steroid for the inflammation. Other than a wince, mom barely noticed! I told her she was very brave.
There have been other speculative conversations… ‘What will we do if?… How does one handle such-and-such a health crisis, given mom’s disease?’ Friday was the first time I had to exercise the answers to these questions. On one hand, I am thankful for my over-thinking, rabbit hole diving, scenario-running brain. I didn’t have to think for a second where I stood in terms of replacing mom’s knee. There’s no way I’d put her through that. It would make a painful and more confused shambles of what time she has left, than merely handling a painful knee. The emotional aftermath of knowing this is the correct choice, is in the top ten of ‘hardest life-choices’ I’ve ever made.
So, yeah, Friday was tough. I’m not quite over it yet.